Equally Best

A short while ago I was listening to talk radio and the discussion was about an estranged birth father’s fight to overrule an adoption order as he had not been contacted and made aware of the adoption. I was amazed at just how many people phoned in saying variations of ‘blood is blood, they are his children of course he should get them back’. This was often said with complete disregard for the adoptive parents and it made me realise how for many out there we adoptive parents will always be seen as second best.

Of course the ideal is that all children stay with their birth parents who will love them and care for them, but we are all well aware that it’s a utopian ideal. We live in the real world and that’s where we adoptive parents come into play. I’m not about to blindly go on about the wonder of adopters and the altruistic act of adoption, because we are human and I am sure there are good and bad adoptive parents out there and I am pretty sure most go into it – initially anyway – to satisfy themselves and their needs to parent.

However I would like to scream that we are NOT second best. We are parents! To the children we are rarely ever called or thought of as ‘adoptive parents’, but simply Mum or Dad, simply their parents. Although we may sometimes use the term adoptive parents to describe ourselves to others it is not how we define ourselves and what we ‘feel’ is that we are of course just like any other parents.

Not ‘second best’ parents, but in fact the absolute best parents our children have had and will ever have.

The radio program also got me thinking about the lack of shared blood with our children and how it has NEVER been remotely relevant – in fact not from the very moment we met.

After a very long and gruelling adoption process it was the night before introductions to our sons and we were at friends for dinner, they asked ‘what if you don’t like the children when you meet them?’ Which is something we had not considered at all, my response of ‘they are 4 and 5 years old what is there not to like?’ Was shot down with various examples of their children’s friends who were apparently anything but likeable.

It did fill us with a degree of trepidation and we went along the next day with a new anxiety added to the many we had picked up during the three year process. We were greeted by foster parents who told us that the boys were in the garden playing and we were sat at the end of a long reception room.

I will apologise in advance as this is where it all gets a bit ‘Disney movie’ and indeed if it wasn’t like it for you (and I understand it’s anything but for many) it probably sounds terribly smug –

The boys were brought in and stood at the opposite end of the room, we were pointed out to them and the foster mother said ‘ there are your new dads , go and say hello’ at which point they literally ran across the room and into our arms and in that very moment both my partner and I fell completely and utterly in love with our sons.

No blood – but total unadulterated love.

How could we be so sure? Well apart from the overwhelming emotion of the moment – trust us it took every ounce of strength not to break down and cry like babies – whether or not we liked them became completely irrelevant, they were our sons and we loved them however they came.

There are certainly moments we don’t like traits in their personalities and we sure as hell don’t like some of the challenging behaviour, but you don’t need shared blood to be able to understand these and respect them as part of the package.

I don’t know the outcome of the father’s legal challenge, and I guess I don’t want to find out. Because if he did win it will feel like such a personal insult – not to mention threat. I certainly hope he didn’t as he wasn’t there for his children when their mother was abusing or neglecting them or even during their time in care. Yet their new parents came along when needed and will no doubt always be there for them – blood or no blood.

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