I was a certainly a busy bee last week speaking to various people about the marketing and PR of my book Eddy Finds a Family and of course how I can promote and build my brand in the right way through social media. It is a huge eye-opener to delve a little into the world of advertising, celebrities, television and social media and how we rely so much on virtual contact at the moment.
Talking about my book to others naturally leads us to talk about becoming a mummy and of course the adoption process. There was a comment made that adoption can be seen as the last option in a list of things to becoming a parent. I reflected on this statement and sadly yes I believe for people who can't have their own natural child then adoption may seem like their final choice. I did reply to say the choice was really made for us as we were not able to conceive naturally after trying to get pregnant for five years and therefore adoption felt like the natural progression, rather than the only option left. I know there are also many examples were people choose adoption to extend their family and others who adopt to be able to support their family member.
I was asked whether I regret not having a birth child and truthfully my answer would always be that it makes me sad that I was not able to conceive naturally. I always wanted to have a child and it seemed life was making it tricky for me. On the flip side of that though, if I had had my own birth child, then I would have never have met my beautiful son I have now and I can't imagine life without him. We 100% see him as our own natural son but of course acknowledge he has birth parents and recognise the importance that he knows his background. To us it feels like he has always been in our lives. The most wonderful thing is when people say our son looks like us and that can be from people who know our story and others that don't. It's the biggest compliment.
People often say how they admire the fact we adopted and it is lovely to hear such positive comments, but in reality we wanted to adopt to be able to have a child. Our motive was purely to help us have a family rather than any intention to rescue a child from being in the care system. Writing this sounds harsh, but that was the truth of the matter when we first started thinking about adoption. I had a conversation with my husband about this recently and now we have insight we can truly understand what we have done for our son and know we have most certainly enabled him to have a much better life. This in itself is magical and my wish would be that all children in care could have the same opportunities, but sadly I know social services don't have the resources to be able to help every child stuck in the system. In my opinion adoption should never been seen as a last option. It is a huge commitment to take on someone else's child and also potentially not understand the damage that may have been caused or the trauma they have gone through in their life. There is a lot of uncertainty. Even now we don't know what questions and feelings may come out when our son is older. The adoption process is tough and I would always advise anyone to go into it with your eyes wide open as every piece of your life will be looked at in detail. I would admit now we were hugely naive to think our life would not change completely and at times our marriage went through rocky moments as we adjusted to our new reality. But as they say, 'What nearly kills you makes you stronger.' That may sound dramatic, but I remember the first six months of adopting our son to be hugely challenging and this was more down to the fact it was a big change for us and the life we knew. I went on maternity leave and eight days later we had a baby in our house to care for. The anxiety I hadn't suffered for years suddenly came back. A lot has changed since then, we have learnt to be parents and grown and adapted so much as a family unit.
There are many children needing new mummies and daddies and it breaks my heart to know there are 61,320 children looked after under Care Orders and only 3,440 of these were adopted in year ending 31st March 2020 (corambaaf statistics). These children didn’t ask to be born. When you go through the adoption process, you really have your eyes opened to some horrific stories and the circumstances as to why these children are no longer with their birth parents.
I feel hugely passionate about exploring and understanding what adoptive parents and children want and need and to be able to start making a difference. I know when I became an adoptive parent I felt hugely out of my depth, we underestimated the support we would need from our network and we felt lost and isolated. Our social worker was incredible and I would always say never be scared to tell them how you feel. They get a bad rep sometimes, but in all honesty our social worker described to us what we were doing right and that we were being good parents, it was just we had been thrown out of our normal routine and also sleep deprivation tends to drive you slightly bonkers. Most other adoptive parents have felt it too in one way or another. There were few groups I could talk to that understood the adoption journey. I went to many baby groups and felt like an imposter when they talked about giving birth or breast feeding. I was so surprised there weren't any adoption support groups around and actually tried to set up one of my own. We met a few times, but I think at that point I was in survival mode so I did not have the focus or capacity to organise it. When I went into shops looking for adoption cards, I was surprised that the major card retailers didn't have any adoption cards. I remember wanting to get a card to celebrate becoming a family or wanting a special card to acknowledge our son had been with us a year, but there was nothing around at all. You can get a card for a pet or getting a divorce but not adoption?
My passion drives me forward, I want to make a difference to adoptive families.