Assumptions make an ass out of you.

Assumptions make an ass out of you.

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It’s a shame you left it so late in life to start thinking about having a family.
Ass.

You must have been desperate to have a child, so you adopted.
Ass.

It’s shame you couldn’t have a child of your own.
Ass.

You must be grieving having gone through IVF with no baby to show for it.
Ass.

Adoption was your last resort.
Ass.

She’s lucky to have you as her parents.
Ass.

I’m quite tired of people, some of whom should know better, making assumptions about my life and my motivations, my background, my feelings; I am tired of people not finding room for nuance. In some ways, the age we live in with the hashtag, the tweet, the text-speak, the “here we are with your 30-second news update”, is responsible for our lack of depth. Why bother taking the time to find out how someone really feels when you can hashtag it instead, reduce everyone and their feelings down to 40 characters or an all-emcompassing two-line slogan or even an outright lie? When did it become acceptable to tar everyone with the same un-nuanced brush? As a species we have spent generations, time and effort, lives even, to fighting against the simple, to allowing for complexity, to stop generalisation being the hegemony.

As adopters we all must have been desperate to have a child. As adopters we are buying into a conservative cultural and social, exploitative imperative to form a “traditional” family by whatever means. That as adopters we are putting our own selfish needs ahead of the child’s; that we are supporting the enforced break-up of families to succour our own selfish desires to be parents. Adopters = Desperate, exploitative, selfish.

No nuance.

So here’s some nuance.

I’ve had my script flipped. I’ve recently been thinking that I am not a real parent at all, but a time-limited guardian. That I am only looking after my daughter as an interim step to her eventually being reunited with her real family. It’s a complex switch from certainty in my role as a father, to a somewhat uncertain role as a guardian. It has nothing to do with love; it’s not possible for me to feel a greater depth of love (nor a deeper connection) than I do for my daughter. It has something certainly to do with my age, that of my partner’s; the likelihood of us being alive much beyond our daughter’s 35th birthday being statistically slim. It has something to do with the ties of blood that I certainly feel for my siblings, that my daughter may well feel for hers when she is old enough to understand that she has them. It has something to do with reading about, and seeing, reunions of adopted children with their birth parents and birth siblings; the adopters are ghosts at best in these reunion stories, references to 30 or 40 years of parenting fleeting.

I know that’s the point of these stories; that’s the editorial.

But it came to me as I visited my own father’s grave. Actually, that’s what we all really do; prepare our children not to be with us anymore, however we arrived at parenthood. We love and care, nurture and teach, to let them go, wherever their life’s path takes them. Then our role is to be the net below their life’s tightrope; we catch them if and when they fall.

We are all just guardians, as were my parents, as my child may well be. But done with love, that’s the most important job of all.

Ask the Kids #12

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As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

1 what is something I always say to you? I don’t know
2 What colour are my eyes? pink ( worrying …)
3 What makes me happy? watching something
4 What makes me sad? hitting ( true !)
5 What is my hair like? black
6 How do I make you laugh? watch something again ( hmmmm there is a theme …) or tickle me
7 What do you think  was like as a child? don’t know
8 How tall am I? this big
9 What do I do when you’re not around? work
10What is my favourite thing to do? play
12 What is something I’m good at? gymnastics ( what ?!!!!! )
13 What is something I’m not good at not handstands ( again what ?!!! )
14 What do I do for a job? work
15 What’s my favourite food? goulash ....( never ever had this …!!!)
16 What do you enjoy doing with me? going to school on my bike

Ask the Kids #11

boy-1298788_1280

As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

1. What is something I always say to you? Oh, not this again. Guess what… I love you. (Clearly bored already…)

2. What colour are my eyes? Greeny pooper colour. (I hope not)

3. What makes me happy? The moon coz you want to watch sparkly dresses all day and night. (I think this is a reference to Strictly Come Dancing which I’m a bit partial to).

4. What makes me sad? The sun coz you can’t watch sparkly dresses. (I’m not completely obsessed with Strictly…)

5. What is my hair like? pointy. (True)

6. How do I make you laugh? By going pffff (points one hand in the air and the other at the floor making a pfff noise) (Don’t remember ever doing this.)

7. What do you think I was like as a child? I’m looking at the stars.. Stop distracting me. I’m trying to see the moon and the stars. (More boredom I think)

8. How old am I? 88. (Not true)

9. How tall am I? As tall as that lamp. I mean as tall as a house. (Somewhere in between)

10.What is my favourite thing to do? Playing cookalooloo with me. (Again, no recollection of what this is)

11. What do I do when you’re not around? Going to golf and watching golf. (Somewhat true)

12. What am I really good at? Golf and reading. (Hopefully true)

13. What is something I’m not good at? Looking after me. (I think – and hope this is a joke as it was said between loud guffaws)

14. What do I do for a job? Do work. (Yep)

15. What is my favorite food? Mustard. (Absolutely not true)

16. What do you enjoy doing with me? I’ll show you… (picks up a picture she has made) Drawing with me. (True)

Aged 4 1/2

Ask the Kids #10

boy-1298788_1280

As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

Q1 something I always say to you
Don’t know
Q2 my eye colour
Brown (right)
Q5 what’s my hair like?
Blondie(right)
Q7what do you think I was like as a child?
Like me
Q8 my age
85(wrong)!!!! I’m 50
Q14
My job?
Work with people who have poorly brains(right)
Q15
Favourite food?
Pie and gravy (wrong)

7 years

Ask the Kids #9

boy-1298788_1280

As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

1. What is something I always say to you? Be nice! I love you so much
2. What colour are my eyes? Green
3. What makes me happy? Kisses
4. What makes me sad? Being naughty
5. What is my hair like? Smooth
6. How do I make you laugh? Tickles
7. What do you think I was like as a child? Good
8. How old am I? 48
9. How tall am I? 10 metres
10.What is my favourite thing to do? play with me and do yoga
11. What do I do when you’re not around? Work
12. What am I really good at? Tidying
13. What is something I’m not good at? Talking in Dutch
14. What do I do for a job? Teacher
15. What is my favorite food? Curry
16. What do you enjoy doing with me? Making banana bread

Ask the Kids #8

boy-1298788_1280As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

1. What is something I always say to you? I love you – correct
2. What colour are my eyes? Green – correct
3. What makes me happy? When I say I love you & when you see your friends – this one makes me sad as she always says I want to spend time with my friends not her!!!
4. What makes me sad? When I shout & when I miss Nana & Papa & when you don’t see me – correct
5. What is my hair like? Bobbly- crazy – correct!
6. How do I make you laugh? Tickle me – correct
7. What do you think I was like as a child? Crazy – she was shocked when I said quiet and shy!
8. How old am I? 45 -correct
9. How tall am I? 4 meters or 10 meters long – ha ha!
10.What is my favourite thing to do? See me – correct
11. What do I do when you’re not around? Clean up & see my friends – clean up yes , I’ve seen friends twice since school stared but interesting!
12. What am I really good at? Looking after me – I wish!!
13. What is something I’m not good at? Juggling – I am actually not bad!!!
14. What do I do for a job? Help people to be good if they have been bad. Interesting I am a programme manager working regionally to develop addiction programmes for those in custody!
15. What is my favorite food? Thai soup – I do love it!!!
16. What do you enjoy doing with me? Playing cards

Ask the Kids #7

boy-1298788_1280As part of National Adoption Week we asked for contributions in the form of a list of questions and answers supplied by our children on the subject of us – their parents.

Having received quite a few sets of these answers, some parents have chosen to omit certain questions in order to keep the responses within safe boundaries; and others have run with every single one of them and each and every contribution has been so gratefully received.

If you’d like to contribute, please feel free to play around with the format and customise it to suit your own family and forward your answers to me.

Son number 1 
1. What is something I always say to you?
I love you
2. What colour are my eyes?
Blue (correct)
3. What makes me happy?
When we do nice things as a family.
4. What makes me sad?
If me and my brother are fighting and when somebody dies like your sister.
5. What is my hair like?
Greyish and very short. (True)
6. How do I make you laugh?
By doing silly things
7. What do you think I was like as a child?
Really well behaved and you always listened to your parents.
8. How old am I?
54 (correct)
9. How tall am I?
Tall (1.75m)
10.What is my favourite thing to do?
Say funny things because it makes us laugh
11. What do I do when you’re not around?
Eat ice cream and watch TV with the dog and sometimes work (sadly all true).
12. What am I really good at?
Designing properties
13. What is something I’m not good at?
You always tell us that you are good at everything. ( I do and the brainwashing seems to be working)
14. What do I do for a job?
Design properties (true)
15. What is my favorite food?
Sushi (true)
16. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Playing Chess .

Son number 2

1. What is something I always say to you?
I love you
2. What colour are my eyes?
Blue (correct)
3. What makes me happy?
Me being good
4. What makes me sad?
Me Not being behaved
5. What is my hair like?
You’re bald ?!?!
6. How do I make you laugh?
By telling me jokes
7. What do you think I was like as a child
Naughty
sigh
8. How old am I?
57 ( 54)
9. How tall am I?
1.6m (1.75)
10.What is my favourite thing to to do?
Playing Jinga (random and incorrect)
11. What do I do when you’re not around?
Just work
12. What am I really good at?
You’re really good at building
13. What is something I’m not good at?
Piano (true)
14. What do I do for a job?
Build (correct)
15. What is my favorite food?
Sushi (correct)
16. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Going to the cinema and swimming