Friday, 21 October 2016

Adoption Week: So, was it worth it ?

It's my final post about adoption this week and I've decided that having written about the trials and tribulations, the challenges and the worries today would be about the rewards. I have talked to many people who've said, "we thought about adoption..." and it kind of drifts off. I'm not judging how anyone had their family. How you had your kids is your business. It's not a competition and I'm not about to win any awards for parenting. I'm doing my best, just like you. We happen to have come to adoption as a result of intention and circumstances.

So, once we've got past all the other stuff the question is always something along the lines of, 'was it worth it ?' I think this is about the perceived effort, the assessment, the waiting, the settling in, the not knowing. It's a lot to answer.

The biggest part of adoption is being an advocate for my child, in a legal sense, but also on a day to day basis I'm the one standing up for him. As well as being his parent I'm his protector - that is what adoption gives a child. It's not about a home or toys, or nice clothes. It's having someone who will talk to the parent of another child when they aren't being nice. Knowing that you are not on your own if you're feeling sad, scared, excited. Someone who will care that you don't like the dark. Who will pop in after you've gone to sleep and turn down the dimmer, just enough to help you sleep, but not so much you are scared if you wake up in the night.

For my son it's knowing that someone cares about him and wants the best for him. I'll be at the end of the phone when he's an adult and he rings to ask how to set his heating system or where to get a new tyre - just like my Mum has been for me. I'll tell him how to cook his favourite meal, "are you cooking for someone special ?" I'll enquire, "no, nobody, nothing, never mind," he'll say. He knows he can ring Dad and ask for a loan (yeah good luck with that son) or tell my sister when he's done something he is too worried to tell us about.

Adoption gives a child a family, security, someone to shout at and to be angry with. He has a safe space to have all the feelings with people whose love is all consuming and who won't walk away when it's too difficult or painful. When he has his heart broken he knows we are here to dispense hugs, cups of tea and his favourite biscuits. When the hurt is so much that it feels unbearable I will hold him (emotionally and physically) for as long as it takes.

Now that he is in this family my son has grandparents who spoil him and have pictures of him everywhere because they love him. He has a cousin and aunties and uncles who adore him. He also has a cat. Neo quite likes him too.

My boy and my cat.

We are here to celebrate his successes, to champion his ambitions, to laugh at his jokes (even the really lame ones) and to tease him when he's being daft. To notice when he is doing something new and bragging about it. Only yesterday I asked a rhetorical question and he said, clear as a bell, "I don't know." You could have thrown tennis balls into my mouth it was so wide in shock. He spoke in a full sentence.

We're the ones with mobile phone memories creaking with photos of him from every single day since he's been with us. The ones who notice the milestones, we see and record and remember. When he does something amazing I'm the one beaming, "that's my son there."

So, was it worth it ?

A million times yes. I can't believe you even have to ask.

It's Adoption Week so I've been writing about adoption every day.

To find out more about adoption week take a look here: http://www.first4adoption.org.uk/nationaladoptionweek/


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