We Are Family


The Pause

The Pause - Amadeo Muslimovic 545385 Unsplash

I love my child more than I thought would be possible; more than I could imagine. But I always pause when someone who hasn’t adopted asks, "Would you do it all again?" 

I pause because my answer might change depending on the day. Has the day/week/month been especially challenging? Has the destructive and aggressive behaviour hit an all-time high? Or is it a phase I don’t see often, where things tick along ‘normally’? 

I pause because I wonder if I need to educate them or not. Yes, developmental trauma can start in the womb so, even if you adopt a baby or toddler, they can have long-lasting trauma throughout their life. Do they understand the effects on a child that’s been in foster care? (Or had more than one placement?) 

I pause because I wonder if they have ever experienced a time when they worried every minute, every hour if they would survive (no food, no water, no safe place, and certainly no love). Can they relate to my child? 

I pause because it isn’t a simple answer. Do I really remember the introductions and how heart-wrenching it was to take my child from the only person they thought could ever take care of them and provide the bare necessities? 

I pause because most days my child says, "I hate you. You’re not my real mum/dad." And yes, it’s been several years since our adoption order but no, shame and abandonment are not things that are ‘loved away’. 

I pause because it is an immense, complicated question to ask.

Today, I answered the question quickly - yes. Nothing has been more purposeful or rewarding. 

But it’s tough. In fact, it’s beyond tough most days. Our child’s clinical psychologist said to me this week, "It’s very tough work, isn’t it?" I nearly cried. I felt relief and validation. Yes - it is tough. 

It’s important to allow ourselves to pause. It’s important to be kind to ourselves. Because we are all doing the often thankless, demanding, unrelenting work. Every day. 

It’s okay to pause. And it’s okay if the answer isn’t yes. We will do our best for our children as often as we can. Some days we feel guilty, some days frustrated, some days numb. Every day exhausted. 

It’s okay to pause. We are all in this together. And our children have us - fighting for them, keeping them safe, and loving them.


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  • Ali

    It's a funny question isn't it. I wonder why people seem to ask it so much (I feel I've been asked so many times).

  • M&Ms

    I always pause following that question. A lovely blog and so true

  • JM

    Really interesting post and something I 100%relate to. Yes it’s hard work and it’s very different to parenting birth children. But it’s a no brainer to think ‘did I really want to parent a child and was I prepared to face what challenges might arise?’ For me there was no other path. Ok, there are many things I couldn’t have foreseen and times when I have felt so helpless and useless that I thought I had possibly done my child a disservice by not allowing them to be adopted by someone ‘more capable’. But what really matters is that we are there, Day in , day out, braving the storms, breathing when we remember and finding support where we can. I have never chosen the easy life, much as I sometimes wish that had been my journey. Maybe we are trying to fix things from our own upbringings or perhaps we are aware of our privilege and want to do something to redress the balance in at least one little life, Maybe in the future my child will stick two fingers up and me and my efforts and distance herself from me. But each day I am trying my best, as we all are in our situation. And that is all we can do. And it gives life, at least for me, so much meaning and depth that I can honestly say that yes, I would do it all again ( but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone!)

  • JT

    Thanks for a great blog. My son is downstairs refusing to go to bed after landing me quite a well targeted left hook. I took solace with the WAF blog and feel better for reading yours!

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