Labour of Love

If you follow me, you’ll know that through the wonder of adoption I have been blessed with two amazing children. Two beautiful souls that healed my broken heart.

But I have a third child that I also love dearly.

You may have worked out it is my labour of love. My children’s adoption storybook “The Family Fairies”, published two years ago in January 2019 – happy birthday!

I’ve written about how it all began in other sections of my website. You may have kindly taken the time to read it. But I thought I’d recap. If nothing else, for a little self-reflection on how far it has come. How much it has grown.

The first thing to reiterate is that I am not a professional writer. I have never studied creative writing. Never done an online course in how to write a children’s book. I became an author because I became a mum. Motherhood ignited a creativity in me I never knew existed.

We are heading towards eight years since my daughter came home. My son four years later. During this time, like many adoptive parents, I constantly wondered how I could unravel the maze adoption presents in a way little ones might understand. But how? When it is such a complex subject. The million-dollar question.

Adoption support has come a long way in recent years. It certainly wasn’t so readily available for us. Once the adoption order was granted and social worker visits stopped, we felt quite isolated. At that time, I was unfamiliar with the likes of Adoption UK and the amazing support they offer. So, we found ourselves fumbling our way through.

It all began when my daughter was around three. At this point, she had never really connected with her life story book. Although if I am honest – nor had we. I was acutely aware the younger you position things; the more accepting children are. We were at a crucial stage in her little life. Like so many before. And so many to come.

The truth was, we didn’t feel we really had anything in our toolbox to spark curiosity. A hook. She almost appeared disinterested about it all. Of course, she was still young, but I started carrying a guilt that we had not done enough. Time was moving on and I didn’t feel I was keeping to our commitment to help and support her understanding of how we became a family. I needed to up the pace. Think outside the box.

So, gently and slowly I started dropping in more snippets. I knew how important it was to take it steady. Too much information too soon is simply too much to take in. We always wanted to be open and honest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not that we had never mentioned it. Quite the opposite. It’s just I didn’t think we were doing enough. Especially as she was getting older.

Then one day whilst in my daughter’s room playing with her teddies and dolls, I started “role playing” with them about who their mummies and daddies were. And it just popped into my head – the family fairies helped them. Just like that. Out of nowhere. The missing piece of the jigsaw. The interest and engagement I had been longing for was sparked – “how did the family fairies make us a family mummy? Music to my ears.

I started making up rhymes to sing together. How we had wished for her. How our dreams came true. She loved the concept. She asked for it over and over. Each time I added more. The rhymes seemed to come so naturally to me. I was surprised at how easily it flowed.

And there it was. My story was born. Little did I know how important it would become. That one day I would be creating characters with an illustrator. Seeing my book launch on websites around the world. Become an Amazon bestseller. And above anything else, that I would be blown away with the love, support, and tremendous feedback from the adoption community.

Now, I am not naïve. I know the concept will not suit everyone. Some will think it is fanciful and a little bit twee. I’m ok with that. This was always a personal project. One which was designed for my own children. I just thought that maybe, just maybe, if a couple of other people might find it useful too, then this would be a lovely thing. I didn’t foresee how wonderfully it would be received by so many.

The premise of my book is simple. It is designed to lay the foundation of how families come together through adoption. It focuses on the steps taken and subtly introduces key stages of the adoption process in a child friendly way. I thought this was so important to do. I wanted to show how hard we worked for our forever family. That there were lots of other people involved. That we had to wait a long time for the stars to align. Show how truly wonderful it was when it all came together. It’s a story of hope and unconditional love.

There is an underlying theme throughout – the role that social workers and foster carers play. Often the unsung heroes. Dedication that I believed deserved some recognition. Without them there really is no us. I wanted to build on this relationship. They truly are the real “Family Fairies”.

My book is about the how of adoption, not the why. It’s not about the life children had before. The difficulties and upset this will have included. It doesn’t cover how birth parents would have had to make difficult decisions. Or may have had decisions taken out of their hands.

The Family Fairies purposefully allows the reader to choose how to introduce this part. Every adoption story is different. But overall, most adoption processes are similar. Therefore, I focused on the latter. I felt it would be the route to appeal to most and an angle I didn’t think was covered in other books.

I was always keen on using people as the mummy and daddy characters. There are lots of lovely books introducing adoption, but most had animals on their quest for a family. I wanted to demonstrate how people prepared for their family in the most realistic way I could.

You can be forgiven for asking if I was trying to keep it real, why I therefore decided to use fairies. This is easy. It proved to be the attention grabber I was searching for. Something little ones could connect with. The key in generating interest to learn more. Although I didn’t have a specific age range in mind when writing, I knew that if guidance was to be followed on starting early, my audience would probably be younger. I felt that fairies would therefore sit nicely with my concept.

Of course, not all family make ups have a mummy and daddy. Especially in families through adoption. I would love to revise and incorporate these different set ups, however, I’ve realised that it is not as necessary as I’d first thought.

Over the last year, The Family Fairies has reached a much wider audience. It has been so well received in the same sex and single adoption community. I have had countless messages from those that have used it. Ok, so a little poetic licence may be required and a few “just like us but with dad and daddy”, but it really does work. And I’m thrilled – and proud – at this.

Life story work isn’t always easy. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the biggest challenges adoptive parents face. When our children were young, we were in a blissful bubble. Thrown headfirst into parenthood and all it brings. But adoption rightly hovers on the surface of our daily lives. We don’t talk about it every day. But it is always there. I have an overwhelming sense of respect for birth parents. I owe them everything and I want our children to feel the same way. I hope my book pathes the way for opening those conversations. That it is a starting point. A helpful one.

So, what is next for Rosemary Lucas Adoption Tales? Well, I am delighted to reveal that baby number four is well on it’s way! I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s an adoption support book that I think is much needed. My focus has been off kilter a little of late, but with the start of a new year and a thoughtful notebook gift from a friend, this has put me right back on track.

You can follow my progress on my social media platforms found on the Homepage. Thank you to those that are already supporting me and who have shown such love and encouragement.

Remember, I’m just a mum, who happened to have her children through adoption, and who wanted to do all she could to help them understand how we became a family. I write from the heart because I found a love that I never thought possible. That love generated something in me I never knew was there. And what a tremendous feeling it is. A real labour of love.

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