Almost a year ago, I wrote a post, which you can read here This afternoon, I sat down and wrote an almost identical post. As I was writing it, I kept thinking, this feels familiar. Then I looked back and realised why. So clearly my feelings haven’t changed much in a year.
I’ll be honest, where I live, National Adoption Week doesn’t really have an impact. There’s not a huge drive to recruit more adopters, there’s no billboards, no adverts on buses. It doesn’t really get mentioned.
But, adoption week or not, I realised today that adoption, to me, means so many different things than I thought it would.
It means accepting that I’m not the mum I thought I was going to be. And it’s also accepting that I’ve still not quite accepted that.
Adoption is about being the parent you need to be. About meeting your child where they are. About accepting that that might look very different to how you imagined it would.
I struggle so much with this. I still expect my seven year old to behave like a seven year old. I still get cross that she can’t hug me or say nice things to me. I still want her to be the child I imagined having. And that’s not fair.
I was talking to our OT today about the girls’ Form Es. After having met the girls for two hours, I knew the girl they had written about was not the girl in front of me. I knew it had been written by someone who either didn’t know her or did know her and wanted to gloss over things. And that’s not okay. B and I were never given the chance to start out on an even keel because everybody kept telling us both that she was ‘fine’. Any child that can move to two sets of different people within 5 months and not ask where those people are, is not ‘fine’. Nobody gave my big girl a chance. They didn’t involve her, they didn’t even tell her we were coming. We’re both still accepting this huge thing that’s happened from such different places, I wanted it, she didn’t. She doesn’t want to accept that this happened, I’m desperate for her too.
In our family, adoption means having many conversations about first families. Trying to answer many questions when I have so few answers to give. It means one of my children asking all these questions and the other listening and watching me carefully.
Adoption, in our family, means being stared at as your child screams at you in the street. It means accepting that you’re not going to be greeted with hugs and kisses. More often than not, it’s a scowl. A mixture of relief ‘you turned up’ to ‘you keep turning up, why have you not left me yet.’
Adoption is about living in the same small town as your children’s birth mother and spending a lot of time worrying that the first time your children see her again is going to be a fleeting glimpse of her in the park or at the school gates.
Adoption is many things. For my children it seemed hugely to be not about them. They weren’t considered, they weren’t consulted, they weren’t respected. And they’re still not. Because adoption also means fighting harder for support for your child than I’ve ever fought for anything.
As L says sometimes ‘I HATE being adoctered.’ And I hate that she’s adoctered. But also, I’m so grateful everyday that I get to be her mummy.
Adoption means understanding both sides of the same coin. And really not knowing what to do about it.