If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

National Adoption Week, belated thoughts

National Adoption Week brings such a myriad of feelings, it reminds me at every mention on the news and social media that our last baby was adopted and with that comes the mixed feelings of adoption. 
Rightly adoption should be the last resort for children, where possible they should remain with their families however our society has made the decision that where a family cannot care for their children the children should be removed and placed in an environment where they can be cared for. 
I honestly don't know what is the best thing for these children so badly hurt by those they love. The decision is made by those with greater authority than I. I, like those who adopt are left to deal with the fallout big, small or indifferent. 
All the training, all the reading and if lucky the support does not really prepare us, any of us for the trials and tribulations of adoption. Our parenting becomes central to our whole way of life, if we get it wrong, which is often as we are human and evolution has taught us to react sometimes defensively other times aggressively especially when we are tired, confused or stressed. Our children seem to know exactly which buttons to press to get some form of reaction, not necessarily the one they were hoping for but once the roller coaster ride  has begun it can be really, really hard to put the brake on and preferably not when we are all hanging upside down. The fixing of these errors in judgement can be lengthy and saddening. 
Us adoptive parents all understand the need and benefits for PACE parenting, Daniel Hughes is a hero of mine, but the realities of constantly and consistently using therapeutic parenting are very very difficult. The expectation for us as parents is to always be calm, to be playful, to be able to wonder why something has happened, to accept it as the way that it is for the moment, to empathise with the child in question. We have to think like this when a car is being thrown at our face, whilst furniture is being pulled over, when one child is really really hurting a sibling, biting, hair pulling, slapping and kicking. In reality we react often in anger, despair or even desperation and then that often means that the situation spirals out of control, so we not only have to deal with a distraught child but also the pangs of guilt, knowing that we have made the situation worse.
I took a therapeutic parenting course not long after child 4 arrived and three years later need to go to the same course again, I need to be reminded of how to remain calm, how to be playful, how to consistently use I wonder. 
Some of this I am sure is because I am surrounded by families who have no idea about realities of adoption, who will say but all children do that, don't worry he will grow out of it or you should use the naughty step. It makes me question my worries and my parenting. Some time spent with other adopters is needed if only to make me feel that I am not alone, that we need to look at the positives. We have so many positives child 4 is loving school and he is loving rugby. He wants to cuddle up and says sorry when he has hurt someone. He sometimes recognises that he is getting angry or scared and will find his trusted adult to sit with. He has become such a part of the family that when life is calm we forget about adoption. I suspect that being back to school and normal routines life will settle down and I will once again just get on with things. That is until the next National Adoption Week 


Sunday, 16 October 2016


Usually, when someone asks if I love child 4 like I love my three older children, I answer bluntly and to the point but this week it was different. The person who asked was careful with the way they asked the question and it wasn't a curiosity about my relationship with my children, it was an honest question, a question from her heart, she was asking if the love for an adopted child could be the same as that for a child you give birth too. She was asking because in probability the only way for her to have a child would be through adoption.

My answer was as quick as always, but, a little later it did make me stop and think. I could understand the concern, there is so much in the parenting world about pregnancy, mothers bonding and that desired mothers love. Interestingly, I didn't really like my first baby when she was born and when I, concerned by my lack of love for this beautiful, helpless baby told my mum of my fears her response was "well I didn't like you too much either"

As a new young mum, I did not speak of my worries with my new found post natal friends, fear of looking like a bad parent meant that I kept my worries to myself. I wonder how many other mothers feel the same as I. Many I suspect. As a society we worry so much about how things must look, about  how we should behave so that sometimes we miss what is right in front of us. Of course I struggled to love my baby in the way that magazines and today social media portrays, bouncing, perfectly dressed babies and mothers. No one seems to show the long hours of labour, the stitches, the blood loss, the agony of breast feeding, the exhaustion. It was no wonder that I wasn't overly fond of my first born. But, the mothering instinct kicked in, I fed her, changed her, talked to her and when she did sleep I sometimes watched over her, slightly awed by what my husband and I had created.

Those want to be parents, who can not chose the birth route must feel just as scared, but in a different way. I would not even try to guess their worries and concerns, how could I have any real idea. But, having been fortunate enough to have done both, birth and adoption I can say, unreservedly and wholeheartedly that the love I hold for my children is the same for each of them, they are four totally different characters with different  strengths and different flaws. As parents we have to adapt our parenting to fit with who they are to ensure we support them the best we can and yes I am more protective of child 4, his uncertain beginnings mean that his need for us is a little different, more demanding maybe. But the love is the same.