Below are the words of a fellow adoptive mum. My “adoption buddy”. I count myself very lucky to have her in my life. She is strong and passionate. Patient and inspiring. My role model. The love she has for her children is unwavering. I often say to her that I couldn’t survive without her…and it’s absolutely true! We have such a strong connection and I am so grateful that adoption brought us together. Our paths would not have crossed without it. What a travesty that would have been. Her friendship is such an added bonus to our adoption journey and I am so grateful for this.
She is the one I turn to when I’m wading through the maze of having adopted children. When I need advice on how to explain parts of life stories. When I’m wondering if my children are behaving in the way they are because they are adopted, or just because they are…children. I trust her. Value her judgement. Confide in her about things that I don’t tell anyone else. Everyone needs an adoption buddy and I hope you are lucky enough to have one as special as mine.
I often question if it’s possible to love my children any more than I do. Would it feel different if I had given birth to them? Here is how she feels about the love of a mother, who just happened to have her children through the wonder of adoption…
“My children are growing up so fast, too fast. I often find myself just watching them, trying to absorb every moment, to remember every detail. The sound of their little voices, the cute ways they sometimes mispronounce things. Their laughs. Their little hands. Their morning hair. How did I get so lucky to have this privilege? To get to be the one they call Mummy?
They must say that word a hundred times a day and each time it’s like a little golden deposit into my heart. Every once in a while, I find my mind wandering down winding roads – “What if they had stayed where they were?”, “What if they had ended up with someone else?” “What if, what if, what if…???”
And while all I can do is continue to thank my lucky stars and be the best mother I can be to them, I can’t help but feel a daily abundance of gratitude to the social workers and child protection teams who intervened (in very specific and differing ways ) when my children were babies. Ensuring they were brought somewhere safe until the courts could decide their future.
Without social workers and foster carers, who work tirelessly and with little support, the entire system would fall apart. Without them, what on earth would happen to the thousands of children born into vulnerable or dangerous situations. Babies like mine.
There are currently around 4000 children in the UK waiting to be adopted. In some areas the number of children waiting outweighs adopters 3 to 1. Why? Perhaps misconceptions about eligibility? Perhaps the process seems too daunting? Perhaps fears around the challenges of parenting adopted children? Being an adoptive parent does come with challenges. We are parenting children who have, even in the best of circumstances, experienced some form of early childhood trauma. Some much worse than others.
As adoptive parents, we must parent our children a little differently – therapeutically and empathetically. Always from the perspective of building and maintaining attachment and keeping their base secure. As Sally Donovan says, it’s like the Olympics of parenting. But to be perfectly honest, in my opinion, all children could benefit from that style of parenting, anyway. Imagine a world where all children grew up in a Playful, Loving, Accepting, Creative, Empathetic environment.
Making the decision to adopt is/was/will always be, the greatest decision we ever made. Words cannot express how honoured, proud and blessed I feel every minute of every day to be an adoptive parent. My children are funny and sweet. Smart and curious. Absolutely gorgeous and as stubborn as mules! As brother and sister, they are fiercely protective of each other and I love their loyalty. My children are the children I had always dreamed of, exactly as they are. My love for them is overwhelming and my heart overflows with joy every day, even on the hard days (and of course, there are hard days – parenting certainly isn’t easy!). Over the years people have said utterly ridiculous (but well intended) things like, “those kids are so lucky to have ended up with you guys” and I shake my head vehemently. No, I am the lucky one. To experience this privilege of being their mother, I am the lucky one.
I often find myself thinking of the thousands of children in foster care – around 4000 in the UK, 400,000 in US and thousands more all around the world. My thoughts and prayers are with them now and always. And to my babies – thank you for being born, for finding me, for calling me Mummy a hundred times a day. I love you both infinitely”.