When we first accepted Sam’s referral, Molly was ecstatic. She was going to be a big sister. Finally.
She told her friends that she was going to be a big sister. She told the neighbors that she was going to be a big sister. She told the mailman that she was going to be a big sister. She told the checker in the grocery store that she was going to be a big sister. She told perfect strangers that she was going to be a big sister. She told anyone and everyone who even looked in her direction that she was going to be a big sister. She even told people who weren’t looking her her direction.
All was sunshine and puppy dogs. Molly fantasized about how great it would be to have a sibling to play with, to take care of, and to teach about life. She would write Sam letters and draw him pictures to express her love. It was all so very sweet.
But then something happened.
Sam came home from China.
Don’t get me wrong, Molly’s little fantasy came to fruition. For about 5 minutes. For a few brief moments Molly thought the sun rose and set just for her little brother. He was the best, the cutest and the most lovable little brother in the world.
Then Sam messed up a jigsaw puzzle that Molly had completed and displayed on the coffee table.
From that point on Molly was on a rollercoaster of emotions that lasted for months.
First we went through the Send Him Back! phase. Molly insisted that we send Sam back to China. She didn’t like him touching her stuff, she didn’t like him getting attention and she definitely didn’t like Mom and Dad loving on him.
No matter how many times we told Molly that adoption was forever and that we would never, ever send her or Sam back to China, she kept insisting. For weeks.
The Send Him Back! phase slowly waned and another equally delightful phase began: The I Want Things Back the Way They Were! Phase. Molly would beg, plead and cry everyday that she wanted us to be like we were before Sam. She wanted to be back to a family of three. She wanted to be an only child again.
Although similar to the Send Him Back! phase, this phase was different. Molly seemed to understand that Sam wasn’t leaving, she just really mourned the loss of her previous ‘only child’ status.
In time, this phase also passed. But the next phase got really ugly. It was the I Hate You, Mom! Phase.
Maybe it is because I am the one who stays home all day or maybe it is because I left for China alone and brought Sam home, but Molly unleashed a whole boatload of anger square at me.
Although I understood it and knew it too would eventually pass, this phase really hurt because I got notes like this pasted to my fridge on a daily basis:I also got arguments, tantrums and tirades directed toward me. All of them accused me of being a horrible parent and loving Sam more than her.
When I write it down it looks so clear that she was suffering and what she needed most was for me to wrap my arms around her.
But in the middle of this phase it took everything in me not to run as far away from her as possible. She was so mean, hateful and full of spite that It was really difficult to love her, or even like her. I wasn’t sure if our relationship would ever heal.
Like the other phases, this one also faded away. Very slowly. Molly eventually worked her way through this set of emotions and our relationship began to improve.
With each passing phase Molly grew a little closer to Sam. She accepted him and his role in our family a little more. After months of upheaval, things started to feel normal again. Molly started to enjoy Sam and Sam had a chance to get to know Molly. A relationship grew and they finally became brother and sister.