So it’s national adoption week 2020, and our second time celebrating it as adoptive parents.
Our adoption journey has had many ups and downs, but would I change our experience? Not at all!! I’m writing this blog post led next to the little man watching him sleep after reading his bedtime story. Times are tough at the moment, he returned to school in the beginning of September but due to 3 episodes of having to self isolate he’s only done roughly 2 weeks of school. His routine is all up in the air, and it’s affecting him and me quite a bit. During the adoption process it’s mentioned constantly that routine is vital in creating a secure attachment, it makes the child feel safe, secure and loved but it’s bloody difficult in these times when even I don’t feel fully safe.
I have been honest I when it comes to talking about mine and the mr’s adoption journey. Adopting is such a special thing but it’s not those becoming adoptive parents who are special, or amazing, or honourable (I’ve been called all those things, which are not at all true) it’s the children that are all of those qualities. For me I am honoured to be the dad to such an amazing, kind, caring and special little boy.
It’s a difficult time for many families and for pre and post adoptive families even more so as many of our professional support services are working remotely and being done if possible virtually. But the adoption community is such a strong and supportive community, I am so lucky to have found a number of adoptive parents through Instagram as well as support through social media from charities such as Adoption UK.
Would I recommend adopting? If your thinking of it, then definitely. Would I adopt again? Definitely. Do I have any regrets? Not at all. There are many myths about adoption but these are completely untrue (see my last blog for these myths). In my last blog I listed a load of resources that I have found super helpful during my adoption journey but also that I have used following the placement of my little dude. If you are thinking of adopting check it out, and check out my book and Insta page (you can find the links to these on my word press home page).
An amazing campaign in the UK launched yesterday. The aim of this campaign is to dispel the myths of what stops people from adopting and to encourage those thinking of adopting to take the first steps in their journey.
During mine and my husbands adoption journey we came across people who had been hesitant in the past to register with local authorities or agencies because of reasons like they would be single adopters, they don’t earn enough or because they rent their home instead of owning it. These are all myths. I’m so happy that this campaign has begun as their are so many children waiting for homes as well as children deemed ‘hard to place children’ because of their background, previous broken down placements or because they are over the age of 4 which is crazy, this means that our little boy was within this category as he had just turned 5 when he was placed with us. At the time of me typing up this blog there are currently over 2500 children waiting on the adoption list of which 28% have been waiting for their forever home for over a year.
There are common myths of why people can’t adopt such as being single, having a disability, not owning their home, not earning enough money, not having a spare room. But these are all myths. The only requirements in the UK are that you are over 21 years of age and are resident in the UK. Criminal record checks (enhanced) are done so make sure you declare any convictions to your social worker. Also as long as your in good health including mental health all should be good.
For us all these things were fine. I have a history of anxiety and depression but this was not a problem once I opened up and spoke about it with our social worker. This was difficult initially just because it’s not something at the time I talked about, but it’s totally worth it if it gets you further along the adoption process. My tip to you just be honest and open with your social workers, this is what they are looking for from you during the pre approval phase. It also helps you as well, because of my history our social worker checked in more with me during the early days of little mans placement to make sure that I was coping ok.
Check out these sites they also have social media accounts, I really recommend Adoption UK’s Instagram account. I have found this super helpful, there is also a great adoption community on Instagram to. Plus there is also my book (available on amazon). Also feel free to reach out to me if I can ever be of any help.
So on Saturday just gone, it had been a year since squidge had moved in with us. It has been a year of just having our dream son, and a whole year of constantly hearing “Daaaaaaaaad”. I cant believe where this year has gone already its completely mind-blowing. Also so scary because it really hurts to see him growing so quickly, he’s not the little squidge that he was when he moved in just over a year ago.
The one consistent thing that has been going on on, and probably will be an ongoing thing, is that I have learnt so much. There has been a super amount of self reflection, lack of sleep because of this. I have realised that all of the learning and prep work that you go through during the adoption process is the tip of the iceberg and until your parenting a child who has gone through psychological trauma (no matter how bad it is) will you realise how tough it actually will be. We have been through the mill lately with behaviour problems, generally not listening to us, feeling like absolute shit parents at times. Countless times I have felt like a complete failure, and to be completely honest I still do, but its a two way street, he needs to feel like we will be there for him. After many discussions with our social worker and our lovely psychologist who is working with us, I’m starting to remind myself that he is testing me and that he still does love me. I think that since this is all within the last few months its partly because he is now so settled and comfortable with us as his parents that he feels able to act out. Also, I was that constant figure in his life, for around 8months I never left his side, unless he was at school or if Ricky was with him, I was present for the good, the bad and the downright ugly moments in his life. But now I have returned back to work his life has changed again and his security barriers have now risen. He is still adjusting to that. Unfortunately, my job is not a 9-5 Monday to Friday job, I work 12.5hr shifts, days and nights as well as weekends so its a major adjustment for him and for me I am bearing the brunt of it. And it’s bloody difficult.
But I am super proud of this little guy, he has adjusted amazingly to his new life and all the changes that he has had to endure, change of house, change of parents and extended family, change of school and a change of his environment. He has taken it in his stride, and done so well. Academically he is acing it, he’s made a great circle of friends at school and is wanting to have some playdates with his friends. So proud of him for this.
Despite being told by many social workers that we will not get our dream child and that we wont have our dream family, we did. And I wouldn’t change a thing about him, he is truly the son I dreamt of.