Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Adoption: all the baby and none of the stretch marks :)

The eagle eyed among you noticed that a while back this blog started featuring a second child. There were no announcements or foetus photos. No coy references to whether it was going to be a boy or a girl. Our boy came to us fully formed and ready to rumble.
Before Easter we were a family of three then the first day after half term here I was at the school gate with a pushchair and a child who clearly wasn't a newborn. There were confused smiles, whispered remarks and occasionally actual reactions to my face. The only mum who knew about our plans had kept it to herself - even keeping the secret from her husband who was surprised when he met our new family member in the school playground. Thank you for that by the way L, you are so precious.

I wasn't sure if I should take Baby Boy with me on the school run - Hubbie was still on adoption leave so I could have left him at home with Daddy. However, Big Boy insisted that he wanted everyone to see him and kept telling everyone "he's my baby brother." They smiled at him indulgently, but didn't want to question further. I almost wish they had actually - he was really bursting to tell everyone he was so proud.

Brothers

It was all still so new to us. We had been a family of four for less than two weeks and here we were facing lots of people who clearly had questions, but didn't know how to ask them. The one they didn't dare ask was, "where did he come from ?" I wanted to tell them we'd picked him up in the supermarket, but we live in an area where that could actually happen so I didn't dare.

On the second day it was Big Boy's swimming lesson so I took Baby Boy with me and wasn't prepared for the onslaught of questions that I did get. We had spent so much time preparing for our new son and preparing our older son and our family. Preparing the house and digging out pushchairs and cots that we had packed away. What I hadn't really considered was how to prepare for all the questions, I should have prepared the answers because I sure as hell didn't know them.

Oh when the questions came they were fast, furious and often confusing. 

"How old is he ?" Oh I can answer that one. 

"He's big for his age isn't he ?" Is he ?

"Does he call you Mummy and Daddy ?" Of course he does, what would he call his parents ?

"Is he with you for good or just temporary ?" Well, we certainly intend to be his forever family.

"Do you know much about his past ?" Erm yes, we have to know in order to be his family.

"Did it take long ?" It felt like it, but now he's here it seems like no time at all.

"How is Big Boy taking it ?" He's delighted and angry and jealous and proud and everything all at once.

There were the inferences about abuse and neglect and his ethnicity. I started off just being defensive about all of them. How dare people ask me such personal questions about my son ? How would they feel if I asked if they had abused their kids or if they had a history of domestic violence ? When I mentioned these questions to our social workers they suggested responding by explaining that it's all confidential and we can't discuss his private life. It made sense of a question I'd been asked at the adoption panel, would I advocate for my son ? At that time I explained to a room full of strangers that I would defend my child against a wild animal if it came to it. I hadn't known then that I would be required to defend him so soon and so often against the everyday.

There is so much more to tell and so little time to tell it. It's been 6 months since our son joined the family and we find it difficult to believe there was a time when he wasn't with us. He has had so many firsts with us, his first visit to the beach, his first ride on a steam train, his first scooter, his first holiday. The everyday milestones like feeding himself with a spoon, combing his own hair, climbing down the stairs himself.

My beach boys
When I talk to people about adoption I'm amazed at how little they know. I hope that by sharing our experience this will change. I'm a big fan of adoption - we started when we adopted the cat and haven't looked back since. The obvious reason we are so keen is that adoption has given us the second child we longed for. The not so obvious reason is that our family means so much more to us and we don't take anyone for granted.

We are the family we have chosen to be.


It's National Adoption Week (19th - 25th Oct) and the theme is 'Too old at 4 ?'

Find out more here: www.first4adoption.org.uk  0333 222 0022




6 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, I did not know that your family had grown. I am so pleased and delighted for you all. I presume that you have had to tick a lot of boxes, jump through a lot of hoops, answer a lot of questions to be able to adopt, so you can handle the playground nonsense like a pro. Really delighted for you. Did I say that already?

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    1. Thank you lovely - yep it's been the longest interview process ever, but he's here now and we couldn't feel luckier xxx

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  2. Great awareness post and I can vouch that you have a lovely family, all 4 of you.

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    1. Thank you lovely - we are very lucky xx

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  3. This is a lovely, encouraging and affirming read all at once! We are currently awaiting matching panel for two kids, and we have two birth kids who keep us well distracted while we're waiting ;) Lovely to come across another blended family. All the best with your boys xx

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    1. Thank you so much - good luck with your plans. It's an amazing thing to be part of. Please stay I'm touch as things progress xx

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