14th-20th October 2019
I can’t believe I’m sitting writing this post almost 4 years to the date when we first walked into an information session to learn more about adoption and almost 3 years to when we actually became parents to not one, but TWO awesome little boys!
But what really hit me this week was reading an article on The Guardian’s website that stated that there are only 1,700 families waiting to adopt yet there are actually 4,100 in the system waiting for their forever families!
It’s truly heartbreaking to think of so many children living in temporary care having already experienced so much hardship in their young lives. Now don’t get me wrong, foster carers are awesome and provide so much love to the children in their care, but it’s not the forever family where a child can start to finally feel settled and secure as the threat of another transition is always looming.
I have spoke to so many people over the last few years who have said something along the lines of… ‘I’ve/we’ve thought about adoption, but…’, and it makes me ask the question, what’s stopping people?
So I thought I’d jot down a few of the reasons that perhaps caused me some anxieties and concerns in the early days and how I feel about them 4 years down the line.
The adoption process, and panels particularly, sound terrifying and intrusive
They are, but they are a means to an end. Any ‘uncomfortableness’ we felt over that 9-12 months of social worker involvement suddenly disappeared and became a distant memory the day we read the boys profiles! 3 years later and I can assure you I’ve suffered no long term damage as a result! I have heard stories of the process acting as a trigger to something for people but I also heard really good outcomes that included social workers helping them access the support they needed and then them going on to adopt and having amazing families later!
If I could respond to this worry to myself 4 years ago, I’d say ‘get over yourself and suck it up!’. However, if you’re worrying about it though, I obviously wouldn’t be so harsh, but I would say that it’s not as bad as you think and before you know it, it’s all done! Saying that I know other adopters who really enjoyed the whole process… sickos! haha
Can I really deal with the problems these children might have?
You can’t go into adoption with your head in the sand about how the impact of early childhood trauma or feelings of rejection are going to manifest themselves in your adopted child. There are also lots of children with physical and/or learning disabilities that are waiting for their forever families which can, in honesty, feel quite daunting to imagine being a parent to. But I can honestly say, from the moment you are matched with the right child and that overwhelming instant connection you feel… even just from reading their profile… you wont give a flying fook anymore.
Most ‘normal’ families have their own problems; emotional, physical, learning etc. But that’s life, you get on with it, you deal with everything that is thrown at you and you do it instinctively, with love, for the child that you are raising without a second thought. It might not always be easy, but hey, that’s being a parent issue not an adoption one!
I’m scared of saying the wrong thing to a social worker and they might not think I’m good enough
You probably will, they definitely wont… and if they do that probably says more about them and you absolutely have the right to request a different social worker if you are not feeling comfortable with the one you are given! I could talk all day about this but I have already in a previous post!
Will I even make a good dad!?!
What was I even worrying about? haha
I think part of this worry was also ‘will other people think I’m a good dad’ and ‘are people going to be scrutinising my every parental move’?
I guess it’s pretty natural to feel this way, and I don’t doubt that people have scrutinised my actions and decisions as a parent… but guess what… I’m a judgey b*****d too, aren’t most parents and people who haven’t got kids!?! I think it’s our own way of trying to reassure ourselves that we aren’t completely f***ing it all up, and guess what this is another one of those ‘parenting issues’, not an adoption issue!
The kids might get bullied in school for having 2 dads
I’d be lying if I didn’t say this wasn’t still a worry for my boys, even more so after events like earlier this year over the teaching of LGBT stuff in schools (which isn’t about SEX… but don’t get me started on that one, I’m planning to write a whooooole post on that bad boy topic!).
But you can only do your best to find the right schools, ask the right questions, work with your school and develop an open and inclusive language with your child and hope that the people around you aren’t total d*cks about it. I always felt quite strongly that I wouldn’t let this concern stop me becoming a parent. We [same-sex families] need to be visible and have a voice if we want future generations to accept our families as part of the ‘norm’! ooo get me all activist!
The list is endless…
That’s probably only a small percentage of the questions I had running through my head and I’m sure there are many of you out there with other worries that might be preventing you exploring the idea of adoption. I’ve found a fab page on the Corum website that might help answer questions people might have regarding things such as, age, employment status, previous or existing mental/physical health issues, being a single parent, already having your own birth children, disability etc.
The fact is, if you have the energy, drive and attitude to adopt, then there are very few reasons why you wouldn’t be considered, so don’t let your own fears become a barrier!
If you have ever thought about adoption, what is stopping you going to an open evening or information session. Just because you went doesn’t mean you are now committed to taking ten kids and a rescue dog! What’s the worst that could happen finding out a little bit more?
Obviously I totally accept it just isn’t for some, but I feel like I speak to so many people who for one reason or another rule it or themselves out and I look at them and think… You’re awesome, you’d make an awesome parent, just go for it you won’t regret it! But obviously I don’t say those things to them because it’s not my place to push my own agenda on them… so instead I subtly write it in a blog in a completely passive manner of course!