My husband and I often like to take time to reflect on becoming parents. It definitely was tough, but I think it is always good to look back and see what we dealt with together as then it shows us how far we have come. I think you never truly understand how much a child will change your life until it happens. I remember talking to my husband after we had been out for yet another Saturday night with too much eating and drinking cocktails. We both felt we were starting to get fed up of the bad hangovers and wanted more from life. We never say that now, 10pm and its bed time. But seriously. Our life is joyous with our son.
Many congratulate us for being amazing people; to have adopted someone else's child, but we never see it like that. We desperately wanted to have a child and nature was not going to allow us to have one naturally, so we looked at other ways to make our family complete. When I think back to when we initially enquired we were definitely doing it for ourselves. But as you go deeper into the process and find out more, you realise how much you are going to make a difference to a child's life. It's like a big wake up call that jolts you into reality. We went through the first 4 weeks of adoption workshops with social services, met many adoptive parents and listened to their stories.
You are made completely aware of the commitment and that each child's background can be so different. Some have harrowing stories of abuse and/or neglect, some children are born through rape and never wanted, whilst others the parents just do not have the right capacity to look after themselves, let alone a child. We are often asked the question 'So what happened to your son?' This is private and his story and unless you know us well, not something we will share.
We have been adoptive parents for a long time now and watched our son grow, change and develop. Interestingly, when he started school it felt like another layer was added. As an adoptive parent you are always a little worried about potential difficulties you may face later in life. Everyone who has met our son knows how confident, bouncy and full of energy he is and again we get comments to say 'well he looks fine to me, 'but we have come to realise that there can be many things more deep routed. School has been a great opportunity for him to make friends and learn but it also puts him out into the big wide world where he notices things and asks questions.
Our social worker always advised us that children will start asking questions about their identity from around the age of 6-8. Like text book, this has happened. I would even go so far as to say it was like a switch was triggered and then all of a sudden some of the hidden emotions and potential trauma rises to the surface. We openly talk to him about adoption and try and answer any questions in the best way we know how. We are human and do find it difficult and upsetting when he asks to see his 'old parents.' Even when we talk about this now, I think we naively thought these kind of comments would not happen until he was a teenager. In reality we know he is not yet sure what the word 'adoption' means in the true sense, but it is becoming more apparent that there is a “primal wound” that is deeply routed inside, a feeling of having something missing.
We will do everything to support our son. We will certainly ensure he feels he can openly talk to us about anything that may be bothering him and try as best we can to make sure he always feels loved and secure with us.