Wow what a crappy year 2020 was!!! Started on a high following our first family Christmas and New Year, we were looking forward to having our first family summer vacation with the in-laws but COVID had other plans!!!
But a positive of 2020 I actually accepted and finally opened up to those close to me about my mental health struggles which had come to a full on crisis last month to the point where I was drinking more, not eating properly (whether not eating at all or bingeing), going to very dark places, feeling that it might be better for those around me if I wasn’t around anymore. I held on to a lot of guilt and self hatred for the family separation during the initial part of the coronavirus pandemic.
It all came to a peak when I developed a ‘exit plan’, this is when I scared me I knew I needed to speak to my Gp and get some help, I spoke with my work and decided to get signed off sick. I knew it wasn’t safe for me to be there and I needed to actually take some to focus on myself and my family. After talking to my immediate family on how I was feeling, speaking with my therapist and the community psych nurse as well as starting a new medication I started to feel a tad better. I’m still not feeling back to myself but I am in such a better place than that I was say at the end of November.
But there is something about being a dad that makes this so much harder. Society dictates that as a Dad your not allowed to feel certain ways, and dads are often overlooked. For me there’s also the explanation that I’m a gay dad which is either responded to with raised eyebrows or that’s amazing….which I find patronising. Adoption as well just adds a lot more stress and pressure, adopted children come with a traumatised history, emotionally they are not the same age so when they have an emotional meltdown and you handle it in a therapeutic manner those around you tend to not understand and label it just ‘naughty behaviour’. This is also a parenting technique which isn’t associated as a norm for a dad. Modern day dads are hands on with parenting (regardless of parenting technique), housework, involved in their education and it’s still not deemed normal in society.
But thanks to the wonders of the online adoption community, LGBT community and the online dads community (namely the Dad AF app) have been amazing. There’s a world of support out there, and we dads have to be that pillar of support for each other as not many others get it.
We all know that adoptive children will naturally suffer from emotional trauma and emotional damage. That is a given fact, just based on what they have gone through prior to the match with adoptive parents. During the adoption process we were given loads of info on this and attended workshops and training sessions on trauma. But none of this could ever prepare me for the heart shattering crying and screaming that I would hear this evening when I left for work.
I have a night shift tonight and Ricky is at work which normally means a little ‘battle’ with the little man to allow us to leave the house.
I did the sit down with him and we talked about suggestions of what he could do in the short time between me leaving and Ricky coming home. Win!!
We came up with ideas but when it came to me opening up the front door that’s when the screaming began. Our family friend pick him up and held on to him, when I closed the door I heard him screaming for him to be let go and I saw his little hands against the blurred glass of the front door. My heart shattered, I couldn’t leave him this way and I had to go back in. Even if his crying last 5 minutes. Yes, this was more for me than for him, but my heart just wouldn’t let me walk away. As a dad I can’t just walk away when my child is in a traumatised state.
In my previous blog posts I have mentioned my little guy has been through so much up turn in the last 5 months. What he knew as his new norm following the adoption and that things for him were just settling everything has now been blown up and we are back to many temporary situations: temporary home, temporary work situations as well as just not knowing what the future will hold and how long everyone’s new norm will last for. And I feel that I am mostly to blame for this, which is why I want to be there to support him when he is in these moments and feeling vulnerable. I feel that this is not just because of how I feel that I am to blame for all the changes he has experienced but because I was his main caregiver – the stay at home parent for the 9 months before I went back to work.
This is not just standard parenting feelings but this is the reality of parenting an adopted child with backgrounds of emotional trauma and neglect amongst other things. It’s shit and it’s tough more so on us as adoptive parents. But, the love, the want to protect them, and attachment is real and it’s strong. Maybe how I have acted this evening is showing this. I don’t know but it’s my reality at the moment and my mind is swirling in what it’s….mainly what if I am not doing the right thing? Or is that my anxiety? I haven’t a clue and probably never will know what is truly going on in that little lads mind.
I’m not sure what I am getting out of this waffle of a blog post. I guess I just wanted to show my reality and cast a light on the traumatic side of adoption. I want to help normalise adoptive families and LGBT families as I feel our types of family aren’t fully ‘normalised’ or ‘understood’ properly in today’s society.
Thanks for reading this waffle. Any advice is welcomed. Hit me up on either here or my Insta account.