Our next Guest Post for National Share A Story Month is a real heart-string-puller! The author wishes to remain anonymous, which is understandable given the sensitive nature of adoption. One not to miss! Enjoy!
Accepting the Past, Loving the Present, Shaping the Future by an Adoptive Parent
“Fancy writing a guest blog?” my mate Phil said. I thought NOPE but here I am?! I’ll stay anonymous so you can moan at Phil and Pips if you don’t like this one.
We love stories in our house, we have a three and four year old who loves picture books, lift the flap books (some now flapless), made up stories (usually requested when they’ve sleep deprived me or I’m attempting to multi task), stories on the telly and a few movies (If I have to listen to “ Let it gooooooooooo’one more time….?!!!!!)
There’s two stories that are harder to tell and that’s our children’s life stories. We adopted our two and as no decision to remove a child from their birth family is taken lightly, I’m sure you can imagine the start of their story is not easy on the ears or the heart.
People in our community who love our children dearly have suggested we shield them from it “they don’t need to know, they have you now, they’re doing really well”. I understand the feeling behind this and at times I wish it were entirely true but the truth is their story including their difficult start has deeply impacted who they are now and the way they relate to others, especially us.
It’s written in the wild eyed mania of our four year old when something unexpected has triggered a memory, it’s written in the people pleasing panic of our three year old when she senses we are angry, it’s written in the rejection our eldest pushes with when she really needs us the most, it’s written in the controlling behaviour that’s a bid to stay safe.
I believe without their early life being known and able to be raised, they can’t understand their own behaviour. As they grow they could perceive themselves as angry, disruptive, manipulative when actually these behaviours are a child’s best attempt to take care of themselves from a time when they could not trust adults to appropriately do so for them. These adults too have difficult starts to their stories, sad tales of loneliness and horror. Initially I thought I couldn’t empathise with them but actually I feel a deep sadness for their experiences and hope that they can find healing and happiness in their lives.
The chapters that begin with our two’s amazing foster carers are filled with care, good boundaries and genuine loveliness. The chapters since they moved in we have tried to cram full of love, affection, adventures, playfulness, opportunities, routine and consistency. All this is of course shaping their little lives.
But like all stories the chapters aren’t separate, they are interwoven and you can’t just lop the start off or the middle because you didn’t like it. It doesn’t makes sense or appears differently when you are missing pieces. So, to bring this back to more popular stories… we feel for Elsa because we see she’s trying to protect her sister, she’s not the cold-hearted person she seems. Chief Tui appears a controlling father until we learn his past loss and subsequent fear. It’s like how Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy….wait actually nothing makes sense of whatever is going on there…
So I hear you say ‘point made love’, we agree you should tell them… but how? Well I’m figuring that one out and maybe I could let you know how it went when they both turn 30. We were lucky that our children’s social worker genuinely loved them and put so much time and care into considering this. She wrote a children’s story set in the jungle and created two personalised books with photos of their birth family. They are beautiful but it is an ongoing piece of work that needs the truth of the start worded age appropriately interwoven with the way that life has been since removal and how loved they are by so many people. There’s a few questions we haven’t been able to answer to because we just don’t know. I’m sure they’ll be more of them.
My hope is in having as many parts of their stories as possible that they write their futures with a full awareness of themselves, their bravery, resilience, their ability to trust and the love of their community.