My thoughts for National Adoption Week 2015

I wrote the following reflection for National Adoption Week 2015. This was before we were approved and a year before our daughter came home. She is mixed race (although not actually a mix of our ethnicities). Our vey mixed family was certainly seen as a positive factor in our match to her and didn’t disadvantage us with her. As I had hoped, she has turned our world upside down & has given us so much  joy, love and fun.

 

I am 29, nearly 30 years old. I am currently nearing the end of stage 1 in the adoption process. I am married to the wonderful E, we’ve been married for 3 years now.

So, why did we decide to adopt you may ask, not married long, and not yet 30, isn’t that too young, too soon? Why not try to have your own children first? try a bit longer maybe?

Well, my answer is that I can tell you firsthand that adoption is a truly amazing thing & well, why wait to welcome a much wanted child into a family who can be the loving family they so desperately need. Yes, the adoption rates are going down, and yes, there are seemingly less children for adoption, but we do know that there are children out there still waiting. Why produce another child, when there is hopefully one already there waiting for us. Our case is a bit different as we are not coming into adoption after the heartache of infertility. Yes, we tried naturally for a while, but didn’t want the medical tests and interventions. So, we don’t know why we didn’t conceive, and at this time, we don’t want to take it further. We like the fact that for us, adoption was the 1st option, a very much wanted option, and hopefully one day our child/children will understand that it was a conscious decision to choose to find them. I think you’ll agree this is a pretty amazing thing to do.

This is my story, I am myself adopted, at 16months. My parents worked in Asia, and whilst they were there they adopted my sister and I. I know that adoption changed our lives. I love the fact that my parents chose me, loved me & have given me the best upbringing any child would want. I know that without my amazing parents, I wouldn’t have made it through school and university. I wouldn’t have become a successful therapist, and I wouldn’t have developed my own christian faith which is so very important to me. They have taught me to be myself, and have supported me every step of the way. I don’t know what I’d do without them, they inspire me so much, and they have inspired me to adopt a child myself. As any family, we’ve had ups and downs along the way, but it’s been an amazing adventure too, with many laughs and much fun. All my siblings are also adopted, and we’re just about to add another little sister to our family when my parents adopt an 8year old. We’ve lived in several countries, homeschooled whilst abroad, had some beautiful holidays & had many additions to the extended family as my parents also foster.

I know that things have changed since I was adopted, and that it’s difficult to compare my own adoption with the journey that we’re on now to adopt my own child. However, I can’t help thinking that some things these days are over analysed and thought about. Take inter-racial adoption for example, I’ve experienced it, I live it and I’m all for it! (my adoptive parents are white British, I’m not) I don’t particularly remember it being a problem for me when I was younger. Yeah, we got strange looks when we were out as a family, but then again we are a larger family with people of all sorts of colours, so of course we were going to attract attention. I don’t remember any nasty comments or remarks. I think that it doesn’t matter what your colour is, as long as you’re safe, loved and have all your immediate needs met, thats all a child needs. I think it’s sad that there are so many loving families out there who are not given the chance to adopt a child in need just because they don’t look the same, or won’t fit in. I do however totally get that the child’s identity is important, and this in part will come from discovering who they are and where they came from. As long as the family can demonstrate how they will support the child in exploring and forming their own identity, then race/colour should not be a barrier to adoption. We discussed this at our stage 1 group training, and I think that we challenged the social worker to think about her views on the subject. I was surprised that even these days it’s still a very debated subject in adoption, and I wish it wasn’t.

The adoption process is hard work, very hard. I naturally like to be in control, like to be organised, and like for things to happen when they should. The adoption process has challenged me greatly in all these areas. I think it’s preparing me for adoption and the rest of my life when a child joins our family. Im going to have to get used to contact with social services and the endless waiting and chasing involved in health and social care services (I know, I work in & with one!), but it will be a different experience being on the receiving end this time. I know that when a little person comes into our lives, they’l turn our world upside down, and I’m ready for the challenge (and hopefully joy, love and fun) that they’ll bring.

100 Things about my lovely little girl

100 Things about my lovely little girl:

I was inspired by someone to write 100 things about my little girl. It was a really helpful exercise to do as it encouraged me to think of the positives at a time when I felt we were struggling and things felt quite negative. I love that I’ve only known her 4months, but I already know so much about her. What makes her tick, and what doesn’t. When times are challenging I’ll look back on this list and smile.

  1. She has a beautiful smile
  2. She is very friendly, loves to wave at people
  3. She is very interested in people’s names, ‘who’s that’ is a constant question
  4. She loves a good hug & a cuddle
  5. She loves her cuddly toy dog we gave her before we’d even met her
  6. She loves her family – grandparents, aunties, uncles
  7. She is very tall, must remember she’s only 2!
  8. She has amazing speech for her age
  9. She loves her food, sausages are a favourite
  10. She is learning to scoot, but can’t steer very well yet
  11. She loves books, will sit & read on her own or with someone for ages
  12. She knows we’re Mummy & Daddy & is happy to see us when we’ve been apart (even if it’s just to pop to the toilet)
  13. She likes slides, but not the ‘wet bottom’
  14. She loves church, particularly Sunday school & giving the peace
  15. She loves cheese, even the stronger flavour ones
  16. She likes to be pretty & have her hair done
  17. She is really cute when she very excitedly tells Daddy ‘it’s nearly tea time’ & tries to open his office door
  18. She loves nursery rhymes, twinkle twinkle is still a fave
  19. She loves the staff at playgroup & always runs in for a cuddle, they love it too
  20. She has an amazing memory, particularly for names and places, basically she never forgets
  21. She loves music & having a dance
  22. She used to sleep through the night, not any more!
  23. She knows lots of colours
  24. She loves to run, she’s got a lot more confident and steady running
  25. She wants to go running to get a medal like mummy
  26. She likes watching television, thinks she is Tree-Fu Tom for some reason
  27. She appears to have selective hearing at times, as all toddlers do I’m sure
  28. She is starting to work out where she lives, can say her address correctly
  29. She’s very interested in all the street names, needs to know all of them
  30. She loves flowers, and can’t help but want to touch them
  31. She has got a lot better at not drinking the water or eating the bubbles in the bath
  32. She knows her alphabet & can identify all the letters
  33. She knows numbers 1-10, gets a bit confused by the teens.
  34. She enjoys watching frozen ‘Let it go’ every night before bed
  35. She sleeps with many soft toys in bed
  36. She has a very cute high pitched voice when she’s excited
  37. She loves the tickle monster book, we’ve read it so many times she knows it off by heart
  38. She was very excited and proud when she got to wear pants (pull ups) for the 1st time
  39. She loves climbing, anything
  40. She has an infectious laugh
  41. She loves to bring a toy with her on any trip out the house
  42. She loves the park
  43. She claps herself when she’s proud
  44. She likes to say ‘you are funny’ like in Mr Tumble
  45. She likes to loudly say ‘what’s the man/lady doing’ when it’s actually not a man/lady, cue move on quickly
  46. She likes to run up our street by herself on the way home.
  47. She likes to draw & colour & will make grandad draw endless pictures
  48. She likes everyone/thing has to have a name, and then mummy has to think of new ones & remember them all.
  49. She has huge feet, already a size 10
  50. She likes looking for the moon/Venus
  51. She loves fruit, strawberries, blueberries & grapes are faves
  52. She loves having her photo taken, does a silly scrunched up face smile & then always want you to show her the photo afterwards
  53. She sits on the potty & says ‘me do a wee wee please’ & claims she’s done one within milliseconds
  54. She is very comfy sleeping in the car
  55. She is very concerned when other children are crying/having a tantrum, but can have an equally good cry/tantrum herself
  56. She likes to watch a bit of Jamie Oliver with Mummy
  57. She listens to a lot of Radio 2 with mummy, gets really excited when her fave song comes on
  58. She loves the siren that plays on Radio 2 on a Friday afternoon
  59. She loves emergency vehicles, especially with flashy lights & sirens
  60. She knows that poorly people go to the hospital where doctors and nurses make them better
  61. She likes to visit the hospital where mummy works & seeing all the poorly people in bed.
  62. She did think we only bake for mummy’s friends at the hospital as when we made some brownies she asked if we were going to take them to the hospital
  63. She likes to help bake & then lick the bowl & spoon
  64. She looks cute in her little apron
  65. She likes to play with play doh, and try to eat it
  66. She’s not keen on having her hair washed or combed
  67. She will say ‘hello doggy’ to every dog we see out & about
  68. She was very good with her first advent calendar, only ate 1choc every night
  69. She was very cute when listening to Rudolph the red nose reindeer at Christmas as she was always very concerned he couldn’t ‘join in any reindeer games’
  70. She was not keen on Santa when she met him at the playgroup Christmas party, have a great photo to show her when she’s older
  71. She believes anything Christmas related has gone ‘back to the north pole’ until next Christmas
  72. She likes to sing happy birthday
  73. She knows she is 2 & will be 3 when it’s her birthday
  74. She is very active in bed & is frequently found on top of the duvet the wrong end if the bed
  75. She still doesn’t get out of bed herself, will always wait until we come and get her. Will also call for Daddy to pick up toys which have fallen from her bed.
  76. She is normally very good at entertaining/singing to herself in the morning, on a good day we can have a lie in until 8 if she is settled
  77. She is very interested & likes playing with people’s phones
  78. She has a musical mobile phone. It came with her, its very well used & loved
  79. She is a fan of Minnie Mouse
  80. She has some very cute Minnie Mouse wellies
  81. She can walk quite a long way now, won’t be needing the pushchair for much longer
  82. She likes to try to help Daddy do some work, she likes to ‘type’ on a spare keyboard he has that’s not plugged in
  83. She knows what a full stop, question mark & exclamation mark are
  84. She likes to wave to Daddy when he’s in his office every time we go out/come home, is so excited to see him again, every time
  85. She likes to tug at her ears, think it’s a comfort thing
  86. She likes to have her face stroked
  87. She was a bit confused by the concept of middle names
  88. She will whisper her name when anyone asks what it is
  89. She loves to study people’s photos on their name badges
  90. She has the most gorgeous curly springy hair
  91. She loves a babychinno, it’s our monthly treat to go to a coffee shop and have on
  92. She’s rarely ill & can now attempt to blow her own nose
  93. She has coped with so much change in the last year, she is doing so well
  94. She’s excited to be a big girl & go to nursery
  95. She calls mostly for Daddy, but sometimes Mummy in the night
  96. She always starts the next day bright and cheerful, no matter how tricky the day before was
  97. She loves a good snuggle in a blanket
  98. She loves being tucked up in bed
  99. She has the most beautiful big dark brown eyes.
  100.    She has taught me so much about myself & inspires me to be better person & Mum. I feel honoured I get to be her Mummy