I think every school aged girl who gets adopted feels at least a little bit like a princess. That was certainly true for my daughters. Sarah, who was five-and-a-half when she came home, played it to an extreme. Events of the day didn’t help the situation.
My brothers and I own a company named White Knight and we were in the process of preparing to move the business to another state when my first three children from Russia joined our family. A year later, my family moved to Utah to oversee the rest of the construction of the building that would be our new corporate home. The façade of the building for White Knight aptly looked like a medieval castle. It had just been completed as we relocated, though the inside of the structure was just a warehouse with two stories of offices that were only rough framed. The day after our arrival in Utah, I was scheduled to release the next round of bank funding so I decided to make an inspection of what had been reported as finished. Sarah told me she wanted to go to the castle with me, so I let her tag along.
As we drove up to the building that first time, my daughter was giddy. She smiled from ear to ear and said; “Thank you for my castle, Daddy!” I think I croaked out loud before I told her that it wasn’t her castle. Then I told her it was mine. She thought for a few seconds before she changed tactics. “One day a prince will come and take me away,” she replied. I laughed out loud and told her that would only happen if her prince did what I told him to do. My daughter informed me that princes didn’t have to listen to anybody. They did whatever they wanted to do.
“Let me explain something to you, Sarah,” I said. “The guy who owns the castle is always the boss. And he always makes holes in the bottom of the castle where he can keep the people who don’t listen to him. If your prince doesn’t listen to me, I’ll throw him in the hole and give him nothing but old bread and dirty water.”
Sarah scowled and said only one more thing before we walked through the side door of the building and into the warehouse. “There is no hole in the castle.”
I almost laughed as I shook my head, realizing that I was as likely
to be caught in my lie as the contractor was to be caught in his.
As I walked around doing my inspection, there were lots of things that had not been finished. The contractor and architect had been lying to me. The more things I found, the more irate I got. Sarah didn’t know that, though. Her mind was still on other things. “Daddy…” I ignored her and walked to another area to continue my inspection while she followed. “Daddy!!!” There were more incomplete items to add to the list so I wrote them down. “DADDY!!!”
“What, Sarah?! What?! What is SO important?”
“Where is the hole for the prince?”
I almost laughed as I shook my head, realizing that I was as likely to be caught in my lie as the contractor was to be caught in his. Then it hit me. “Come here, Sarah.” I took her hand and walked over to the five by eight by four foot deep hole that had been left for the installation of the sub-floor equipment for the elevator. The sides were concrete and the metal pieces that had been used to hold the forms in place were still intact and pointing ominously into the pit. “That’s where I’ll put your prince if he doesn’t listen to me.” Sarah gasped and we left.
I used that same story with my other daughters and even their cousins over the years, but none of them believed me. Finally one of my brothers felt sorry for thirteen-year-old Sarah when she told her sisters and cousins, “It’s real! I don’t know where it is, but I have seen it! I have never been able to find again, and I have been looking for it ever since. But my dad showed it to me the first time I came here and he knows where it is!”
Just like the contractor, my lie came back to get me when Uncle David showed sympathy to Sarah. My daughter and I still laugh about it, though.
There really are some difficult things that come with adoption and I never downplay them. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Still, don’t let the naysayers get you down as you contemplate giving your family to an older child. There are always a few castle and princess moments.