When we first met Lila, Braydon was instantly the big brother, helping with comforting her, showing her we weren't that bad, he was or best tool in Lila's adjustment. Lila was attached to him like glue. She looked up to him for comfort and safety. What's not to love. Braydon is a caring, sweet boy. He never wants to hurt anyone, he wants to be frieds with everyone, He will play with everyone. He has always been good to his cousins that are quite a bit younger then him, and babies find him funny.
Like I had mentioned before, our meeting with Ellie was so different. There was no defining moment when we were all introduced. I think for Braydon it was equally as confusing. He wasn't sure when he became the big brother, just like we weren't real sure when we became the parents. I don't mean to keep getting hung up on this topic, but I really feel it was such a jumbled mess of confusion that we are all still sorting out.
While we were in China Braydon was distant with Ellie, not having too much to do with her. You could tell by the looks on his face, his body language, and comments under his breath that he was less then thrilled with the whole situation. She was under his skin.
We started to get concerned when Ellie told our guide that her brother didn't like her or want to play with her. How sad for Ellie to come into this family and have a feeling of not being welcomed. We were all going through the motions, but it seemed harder for Braydon, the guy who wears his heart and feelings on his sleeve.
We tried talking with him, we tried showing him how to be more open to her, we even tried to explain if he would just give her a chance, he would have the best buddy ever. She likes video games, loves to wrestle, two of Braydon's favorite things. We tried to tell him she only wanted to be his friend and the sister part would come later, he was not ready. Every once in awhile there would be a glimpse of affection, but they were small and very far between.
Finally, we just left it alone. We didn't want to force something that was not there. He would come around when he came around. Slowly he began to invite her in a little at a time, but you could tell it was a bit of a struggle. I think he was doing it to make us happy.
I can understand what he was feeling, as much as you tell yourself that you were supposed to love this person, it was different this time. Ellie was not the needy toddler, she is independent, loud, pushy, she didn't need comforting, she is very competitive, and likes to tattle, all the things that i think really rubbed Braydon the wrong way. Us too a little bit.
Little by little I have been watching him let her into his heart. Each day I can see he wants to be the big brother and friend. It's not easy, it's different bringing a older child into a family. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's a very good thing, but it's not like bringing a infant home from the hospital, it's not like bringing a needy toddler home, it's just different, for all of us. For Braydon he now had to share us with someone he really didn't want to hang with.
Over the past week you can tell it is less of an effort for him. He is interacting more with her, including her in on his games, he even wanted to take her with him to meet his buddies in the neighborhood. I think it will take more time with Ellie for him and for us. She is set in her ways, her orphanage ways. She is rough around the edges, gruff, intense and yet sweet as all get out.
I keep telling myself it is going to take time. More time for us grow together as a family. More personalities, more individual needs, more getting to know each other. I know it isn't going to happen over night or even over the next week, but each day we make steps closer to our ultimate goal.....FAMILY.