To anyone thinking of going through, or thinking of going through the adoption process, I have some advice for you.
Start cultivating some thick skin, because you are going to need it!
Everyone is going to have an opinion about your journey and the child who comes to be yours. Some are good and recognising them is important. Some are based on misinformation and old biases. I’m sure when a women in pregnant the advice is given freely and it is useful. After all a lot of parenting is learnt from our own parents and the people around us. What doesn’t happen when a women in pregnant is people talking about the possible issues that child could have.
When you adopt a child you, the parents, have to discuss things that the average parent wouldn’t hopefully never have to. I’ve touched on this briefly before but the closer we get to panel and our child, the more this seems to come up.
My wonderful husband and I have had to grieve the fact we are never going to have a little person who is a part of both of us genetically. And while I’ve known for so long that I wouldn’t have children, falling in love and getting married brings that to the forefront again. I love my husband and would give anything for having a child the natural way to be an easy and simple thing. But it’s not and so we have to push forward.
So then comes the acceptance that having a child through adoption means not only taking on any potential medical/developmental needs the child may have, but potentially a whole other family.
Imagine you adopt a 2 year old child who up until being taken into care had lived in a neglectful family environment but who lived with an older sibling. Now for whatever reason it’s been decided the two children aren’t going to placed together, but they should still see each other.
Could you deal with that?
How about grandparents? The child is 2, they may have had a close relationship with the Nan but she can’t look after them due to poor health. Is it fair she shouldn’t see her grand children due to their parents inability to care for them?
What about the birth mother? Whilst she was unable to look after the children, she most likely still loves them and always will. The 2 year old will be fully aware that you may be her new mummy but she has another mummy who she doesn’t live with any more.
It’s easy to say you only want to adopt a child who will have no contact with their birth family in the future, but is that what’s best for the child. If you know anyone who is or had adopted, trust me when I say whatever the contact arrangements that are in place a lot of thought and planning was put into them.
And what about medical or developmental issues?
This is one of my big problems at the moment, and the reason for the need for thick skin. The husband and I, along with our social team have gone through the kind of the child we could take on… In depth! Someone saying a comment a long the lines of don’t let them bully you into taking a problem child really isn’t helpful.
Whatever the needs of the child we adopt, they will be ours. We won’t adopt a child unless everything is 100% right for us and them. But the key thing is, it’s between my husband, myself and social team what is right.
Every child deserves a loving and caring home where they can be the best they can be. Some children grow up and become the biggest stars, the smartest scientists or fastest runners.
Some children grow up and live independent and happy lives….