For as long as we’ve been together, my husband and I have talked about adoption. It’s something that we discussed many times but I suppose something I always thought we’d never do. 10 years ago we had our first child, a birth child. Eighteen months ago we bit the bullet and embarked on the journey to expand our family through adoption. We have never come across any negative comments around our decision (that we are aware of) but I’m aware of others who have. Having experienced adoption and giving birth, I’m writing this blog in the hope that people will be more aware that family is family – regardless of how you came together.
After hitting the ripe old age of 30 we became pregnant. I spent at least 7 of the 9 months of my pregnancy being sick and the last 3 with very swollen joints and limbs. Most women you talk to will have a different pregnancy story. For some women it’s an enjoyable experience, for others – it’s not that pleasant but the end result is worth it. I was one of the latter. Same goes for the birth stories. Some will tell you it was quick and reletavely easy; others will scare the life out of you with tales of blood, pain, emergency trips to surgery or births that will last for days. Again, I am one of the latter.
However, for those 9 months, you are aware of when your baby will be arriving, you have a choice to find out the sex so the nursery and clothing can be all purchased in advance, names chosen and there are endless discussions with family and friends about the birth, the maternity leave, the colour schemes, your parenting views etc.
Once your baby arrives you spend every minute getting to know them insisde out. You learn what each cry means and as they get older you learn to interpret moods, unintelligable mumblings, what makes them frustrated, angry and what gives them comfort. You know every part of their family background (as much as your own) and who they look like etc.
As they grow older, you can read their facial expressions, moods, know how they are likely to react in certain situations and you can answer all their questions about their early years including first word, age they did other firsts etc.
Our son is creative, intelligent, funny, affectionate and downright bonkers. It’s amazing to know another human being, created and carried, by yourselves and to watch them grow over time and to spend time wondering what they will become in the future.
At the even riper age of almost 40, we decided this time to do the thing we had always wanted to do an adopt. We made the first phonecall to Barnados and arranged a visit from someone to go through the process with us and off we went. Long story short, we spent the following 12 months completing a lot paperwork and meeting with our assigned social worker with some very lengthy periods of waiting in between. After a year we were approved by panel and we could finally begin searching for our child.
We spent hours scouring Linkmaker and received many profiles from around the country. Within a few weeks we had found her! A profile of a little girl full of character complete with video won us over and we began the proceedings. Several more visits, a new batch of fresh paperwork and a 10 hour round trip for a 10 minute panel hearing and it was finally confimed that Little Miss would be joining our family. At last we had a child and personality to decorate for, buy gifts for and to discuss with friends, family and ourselves and we couldn’t have been happier. We could finally put a name to our new arrival. But we were limited in our knowledge. What did she like? Dislike? What made her angry/sad/happy? Who does she look like? What were her first words? etc. Some of these answers we were able to find out from her carers. Some of them we will never know.
After another month, our daughter arrived home. She’s beautiful, intelligent, fiesty and hilarious and 2 months later it feels like she has always been in our lives. But, every so often, she will ask us something or try and recall a story and we simply can’t fill in the gaps for her. We’re still navigating her emotions, her needs and her quirks. We are with both our children to be fair but we are 5 years behind with our daughter. Additionaly, we have also gained a much wider family as we have made a good start in building relationships with her brothers and their new families.
I find it hard to chose which method I prefer. They both come with their own glories and tribulations but I do know that they have been joyous and difficult in equal measures.
For anyone considering adoption, I urge you to go along to a coffee morning or to speak to adoptive parents and seriously consider it. It will be a long process, it will come with tonnes of paperwork, there will be months of just waiting around, you may fiund yourselves without a clue (maybe you will – I didn’t) how to support and nurture this child so they can begin to trust again. But it is amazing and lifechanging!
For anyone considering becomming pregnant, you may feel lousy for 9 months, you will get bigger and struggle to sleep, it is very likely to hurt when you give birth and you’ll feel out of your depth and clueless the majoirity of time. But it is amazing and lifechanging!
For anyone thinking about having children; just remember, we are all winging it 😉
Linking up with …….