as good as you are!

I’m going to be the prefect parent. In fact, we’re the dream team we can do this…

After all I’m in education. I GET young people and children…

I’m confident about who I am. I am a strong person inside…

SURELY our relationship can withstand the pressure, WHAT PRESSURE!

We have family, friends and lots of support…

WE’LL be a great family – just the four of us – what more could we need…

And they will love football…

That was our dream, or really mine, despite everything we understood and learnt what the needs could be when adopting a sibling group, in this case two sisters.  Elizabeth and I had pictured what our family would look, live like for years, then they arrived.

Annie and Jane have been with us for six months now.  Their story in brief: pretty stable foster homes but time to move on. Neglected by young parents, birth mother being around seventeen when eldest conceived.  Annie suffered the most and now at five years old is consumed and held captive by issues of neglect.

Introductions were not easy, which is a different story and one to come.  The sisters were not together in foster care. One was in London the other outside of the capital.  Surely this couldn’t be an issue, as they had contact up to three times a week; they are siblings albeit half-sisters, and they had never lived together, so what? The local authority had never placed siblings who were separated, or was it that they had never placed siblings, again can’t see the issues. Elizabeth and I have been together for 16 years – Surely this is in our favour?

Summer months 2013 what better time to get to know your new family? I don’t think I can recall a more prefect summer.  The heat was on therefore lots of time was spent in the park swinging, sliding and climbing, it felt wonderful. Until the honey moon was over, and in turn the girls realise they are not going back and we realise this was it, the real deal.

The impact of adoption on the children and the family is hard to describe and understand.  I can now look back and we perhaps thought love was enough. In the prefect world love should be enough. Why can’t the girls understand that I am, we are, the best thing for them? Doh, it’s not a perfect world. The prefect parent – I realise now everything I believed to be right regarding parenting, I was beginning to throw out of the window. Taking on these two little girls was always going to be difficult. But as I write I raise the question; how much of the perceived difficulties are what I, as the prefect parent, expected it to be…

Our relationship can withstand the pressure.

We have family, friends and lots of support.

We will be a great family – just the four of us.

And they will love football…

Six months on and it’s not perfect. Six months is nothing! My children have experienced nothing but neglect, from those, who claim to love them, plus WE love them! But six months is nothing!

Although six months IS enough time for me to hurt but seeing as I’m in my later years, I can articulate that feeling to those who will listen. It can’t stop the feeling of hurt and rejection experienced in the early days of adoption. How much of my frustrations is about being the prefect parent? I EXPECT my beautiful five and two year olds to realise that I am not the prefect parent but I am good for them, but they are two and five for God sake. I find it hard to accept I am not the parent I had hoped to be, the prefect parent.

Perhaps it would be more useful to accept that there is no such thing as a prefect parent and it is ok to accept to be just good enough most days if not all days.

Going from 2 to 3

I feel like I could write forever about the beginning of our adoption journey but somehow to do justice to our son, I feel I should focus purely on his entrance to our lives.
Barleys picture came via an unexpected email from our social worker one Friday afternoon. We were at work and could hardly keeps the adulation out of voices as we tried to maintain a calm disposition until 5:30. We printed it out and anxiously arranged a meeting with the social worker to find out more. We spent the weekend “what iffing this and that” and gazed lovingly at our little boy – I feel we fell in love before we met him in the flesh. Something curious happened to us as a couple after that photograph became our beacon of hope. We were going to be actual living parents and be responsible for another human being. We kept pinching ourselves and stole knowing looks at each other, as it was to be kept under wraps until things were finalised.
We had the initial meeting, met the fosters carer, saw lots more photographs and asked a zillion questions. We had a month to get our flat ready for Barleys little 9 month arrival. I felt as sure as I could that we were going to love him with every inch of our being. Going to the matching panel for a baby we had never met still seems bizarre now. I got asked a crazy question from the panel ” why do you want to adopt Barley?” I could only reply through my tears with a garbled ” have you seen his photo” Getting ready to meet him required trips to the hairdressers and new shirts, to pass the time before we got to meet him. We were so nervous driving to the foster carer. We were parked outside way before the social workers arrived. We didn’t want to be late, didn’t want to miss a second of that special day.
We were ushered into the house and Barley was playing with his toys behind the sofa. He smiled and allowed me to hold his hand – I was smitten. We took turns feeding him and then our first visit was over. We called our family and friends and went through the induction process without a hitch. It was the jubilee week after induction, I felt as if we had a royal welcome for him into our lives. The foster carer and her family were truly amazing and gave Barley a great start to his journey to us. We couldn’t wait to have him home and start our life where we went from 2 to 3.
A year and a half later, Barley is half my height, hitting all his milestones and has a wide circle of friends. He knows what he truly likes and what he doesn’t. He is passionate about transport as a lot of little boys are. I drive past many building sites on rainy afternoons, just so he can point out the cranes and diggers.
Our lives as a couple has done a 360 turn. We have forged a special bond which makes us a team. We know a lie in to be grateful for is now 7am and our love for our little boy grows deeper each day. We wished for Barley and our wish did indeed come true.