Over the past few months, the children have been getting more interested in how babies come to be. I am blaming a Cbeebies programme which talks about how everything is made, so daily conversations are full of questions like: “How are beds made?”, “How are sheep made?”, “How are legs made?” “How is poo made?” and so on and so forth – the kids’ final words are always “Naddie would know” (referring to the presenter of the show, whose name is actually Maddie, which the kids fervently deny). During the “how babies are made” version of this conversation though, of course the topic of a mummy carrying a baby in her tummy is covered, which leads to the inevitable “I was in your tummy” from the girl.
We have always said that we would be open with the children about the fact that they are adopted, and we have always done this; we have story books to help adopted children understand the idea of adoption (although I think they see me more as the witch in Rapunzel, who steals the child at birth) and we always answer any questions honestly. So when the girl says “I was in your tummy” I always talk to her about how she didn’t grow in my tummy, but she came to us just after she was born from hospital, because the mummy whose tummy she did grow in, wasn’t able to look after her. Throughout these conversations the boy always looks on knowingly, nodding his head sagely, he is definitely an old soul and seemed to understand what to be adopted meant from a ridiculously early age, and rarely asks questions about it anymore.
We know that this is just the start of the questions, as they grow up, we will have many more from them, about the details of why it was decided they should be adopted, to who their birth parents are, and we will remain open with them and give them as much information as we can. It’s quite daunting though, knowing that all this is in the future, but I wonder if it is any more daunting than what any other parent go through. We will all have to answer some uncomfortable questions that our child asks at some point, will all have to deal with situations we’d rather not be in.
The hardest thing about being a parent is, you don’t really have any idea what you’re doing, because unfortunately children don’t come with a handbook, although I must admit that the adoption training was pretty thorough, and we probably received a lot more advice and tips than lots of new parents do.
Today I was asked by friends whether I was glad we’d had kids. It won’t surprise anyone to hear that I didn’t instantly blurt “Oh yes, of course, they are my everything and without them I would be nothing”, and had to think about how to answer honestly without sounding completely cold hearted. Having kids was something we talked a lot about, and we went through a lot to become parents (my previous post And Then There Were Four talks about this) and as a result of the adoption process, we have two very beautiful and very happy children, and I can’t imagine life without them. If it wasn’t for the kids, I don’t think for one moment I’d be sat here, writing this; I’d still be in my old job, probably in the same house, dreaming of our next holiday in the Lake District. Because of the kids, we were braver and took a huge risk to follow our dreams; we want to show them that life isn’t just for trudging through, it’s for enjoying and grabbing hold of, because it isn’t infinite and so you have to make the most of the time you’re blessed with.
I know parenthood is a full time job for the rest of our lives, and I know we’re going to face some tough times and some difficult questions we’d rather not have to think about. But I’m glad we did it, I may not enjoy every minute (more like somewhere between 10 – 70% of the minutes depending on the day), but didn’t someone once say that nothing worth anything in life comes easy (if not, I’m claiming it as my own).
Daily Post Prompt: Baby