I can remember reading Sally Donovan’s blog ‘Fake mummy’ and loving it.
I totally identified with it and it reminded me of my fortune cookie mantra just fake it till you make it, and that’s exactly what I do. I Force feed myself with trips to soft play hell, and weekends rammed with kids parties.
Kids parties are a breeding ground for insane, extreme and completely crazy behaviours at the best of times – not just from the kids but from anyone within a hundred mile radius – but it was pure embarrassment that drove my wife and I home after the last fiasco.
We were both asked at different points in the evening by the same person how old our daughter is, and we both gave different, inaccurate answers. Somehow we just couldn’t get it together and she probably thought we stole her.
In retrospect we realised that we were remembering her at the age she was when we were introduced to her, but 5 months have flown by since then and we hadn’t added this on.
To complete the scenario, the same lady had also asked us when her birthday was and when I gave her the month, I saw her mentally calculate the age, realise we had given it wrong the first time, then choose not to correct us. She was simply too polite to tell us that we the parents were half a year out. What parent makes these mistakes? It’s embarrassing, and from now on, we plan to arm ourselves with relevant facts and figures before leaving the house in the hope we can quell any suspicion that she is in fact stolen.
So here we are, 2nd child adopted and well into the initial settling in period.
I had thought it was just about safe to venture out to some groups and join the rest of the community, but I had completely forgotten what it feels like to be the new kid/Mum on the block.
The dry mouth. The stumbling over the birth date, and the histrionics that fly so effortlessly from other mums mouths but not mine.
I managed 6 groups in total then gave up.
The last one we went to completely threw me. My daughter and I had arrived in the middle of winter, wrapped up in a cazillion layers, and overheating as soon as we entered the threshold of the venue.
A dozen NCTers in full throttle greeted us. Breast feeding, cooing and swaddling new borns with near perfect post pregnancy weight loss.
Then there was me.
I looked like the Michelin mum carrying a screaming, overheated baby. A baby who on paper is in my care, but from whom there is no invisible strand of golden bond linking up to me the mother. No bond. No relationship. No eye contact.
There is nothing visible to demonstrate we are mother and daughter and it feels like a tragic comedy. If I could have stopped crying internally I would have laughed because to say it out loud it sounds hilarious.
“What am I doing?” I silently wonder as I wait for the 45 minutes of the session to slowly tick by.
It does not feel good. It is raw but you know what – it’s real. It’s real life and it’s my life.
Then I realise that this moment is pivotal and my whole head does a u turn.
Parenting adopted children is a completely different kettle of fish and I was unwise to believe otherwise.
I was foolish to dupe myself into believing that I could fit in when actually it’s really like putting a square peg in a round hole. It won’t bloody fit. I don’t fit. We don’t fit. We are not in sync and she doesn’t even look at me when I call her name. Ahhh the agony of it, but then the empowering realisation: I DON’T NEED TO DO THIS ANYMORE! And I made a decision there and then.
I went private and brought the teachers to me and my new daughter.
We now have shiatsu, massage and yoga weekly sessions in our home and it’s a whole lot better. My daughter is relaxed and confident in familiar surroundings and the therapists have built up a fantastic rapport with both of us.
We are still in very early stages but at 5 months in, my girl is definitely my girl. She is smart, sassy and very funny.
I have learnt a very humbling lesson of late, loving her and exactly her in this moment.
Not what we want her to be, not what we expect her to be, not what the red book dictates.
I look at her, and I love her in that moment. Now, I can feel the warmth of the invisible strand of golden joy pulling us, binding us together. Fully.