After reading TootingMama’s blog post on adopted kids and why they’re so noisy, I’ve felt a little guilty about some of my more negative posts about the boy child. Both of our children are adopted, but you forget. You forget they’re adopted because they are all consuming, and they are now so much a part of us, and we a part of them, that it’s easy to forget. But I should probably stop and remind myself sometimes, when he’s having a particularly difficult time of it, that this is him acting out some of his insecurities.
I know I also talk more of the boy in this light than the girl child, but the girl came to us at birth and so her life experiences are quite different. We are all she has ever known, and so she doesn’t carry the burden of history that the boy does. Although he was very young when he came to us, he had already formed a bond with his foster carers, and we are the people that broke that bond. Looking back at pictures of him when he first moved in, you can see the confusion in his eyes, his little mind wondering “So WHO are you again??”
J and I had been together for a long time before we started to try for kids (I hate that phrase, it evokes awful images), the traditional route didn’t work and so we had tests. I still remember the day we got the results, the snotty crying at the doctors, the silent drive home. But I also remember thinking, this isn’t the end. I knew I didn’t want to go through IVF, I didn’t want the stress of it, the uncertainty. I’d always been attracted to the idea of adopting, and we started to talk about it; at first J wasn’t so sure, but we went to some open evenings and started properly looking into it, and he wholeheartedly agreed it was the right path for us.
The adoption process was an interesting time, we both really enjoyed it (there’s nothing we love talking about as much as ourselves!), we loved our social worker and we learnt a lot about ourselves and each other. We got stronger and became even more of a team; not just working towards our end goal of having a family, but also just enjoying being together.
Once we were approved as adopters, the wait seemed endless; each month would pass with still no sign of a child that was right for us. I think the waiting was the hardest part; it was out of our hands. Then, one normal evening, after work, our social worker came around and gave us the news, they’d found him, we got given photos and left to decide, to make sure this was the right choice for us. Honestly? This was the weirdest, most exciting, scariest night of our lives. We drank wine, we smoked cigarette after cigarette (years after giving up may I add, but I don’t think we knew what else to do) and we stared at the pictures. The next day the match was confirmed and a month later I finished work to start parenting this little boy I hadn’t even met yet. That month was a crazy time, we didn’t want to start buying too much stuff, as we still had to be approved by the adoption panel – it was only after that approval that we would meet the boy, and less than a week later he would move in with us. So we watched films, stayed up late and tried to do things we knew we wouldn’t be able to do once we were parents i.e. have lie ins and go to the cinema. The thing was, we were too excited to lie in. And the cinema is very expensive nowadays.
We went to adoption panel, they gave us the green light, there were a few tears and then we went to meet the boy. That was strange, walking into a room and meeting a baby and thinking “Can I love you? Can we do this job we’ve wanted to do for so long?” Every day after being at the foster carers, we’d head straight to Mothercare to pick up yet more things for baby. We told the neighbours (so they didn’t think we’d just kidnapped a baby), we got the house ready. The day we took him home forever was one of mixed emotions, we felt bad for the foster carers who clearly adored him, but we just wanted him home and to start our new life together.
And that, as Topsy and Tim would say, was that. Well, almost. A few months after the boy moved in we found out that the girl was on her way, and she arrived less than six months later.
Parenting from the off was tough. I was used to being selfish and doing what I wanted when I wanted, now I had someone else to think about. I’d always worked full time, but now I was a full time mummy, just counting down the hours until daddy came home. Because, being a parent is a really, really tough job and nothing else in life can prepare you for it. And I wasn’t prepared for just how bad some days were. People around you telling you “You’re doing a great job” but in your heart you don’t believe them. Thankfully J was with me every step of the way, he was a shoulder to cry on when times were bad and I had no faith in myself, and he always had faith in me (or at least did a good act of pretending to).
But time moves on, you learn from your mistakes, and now, despite my nagging mummyness, we have two beautiful, happy, confident children. Who I love more than anything in this world and would do anything for (with the exception of tolerating food being thrown on the floor at mealtimes because they “don’t like it”). Of course, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be anymore “Why, oh why, oh why are they just so ANNOYING” posts – I imagine there will be plenty. They’re adopted, not angels.