Welcome to our first Bounce Back Blog in which a blogger revisits a much earlier post and reviews their original feelings and thoughts.
The original text is in italics and was first published in April 2014. New thoughts are added in bold, followed by a final comment from the blogger.
“I heard a discussion on talk radio 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 almost exclusively said with complete disregard for the adoptive parents and it made me realise how for many we adoptive parents will always just 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 live in a world where sadly that is not so and where adoption is a necessity and I want to scream loudly and clearly that becoming a child’s parent through adoption does not make us adoptive parents any less of a parent. We care for our children the same, we teach them the same, we love them the same, we bond and attach to them exactly the same. They are our children and they become part of us and not being born to us is completely irrelevant.
“We may sometimes need to use the term adoptive parents to describe ourselves to others, but that it not how we define ourselves and what we feel is that we are of course just parents – just like any other parents.
Not ‘second best’ parents, but in fact the absolute best parents our children have had and will ever have.”
To our children we are quite simply Mum or Dad, not adoptive Mum or Dad, not second best mum our dad. Just Mum or Dad – forever.
The radio discussion made much of the biological rights of the father and it 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.
“The night before meeting our sons for the first time we were at friends for dinner, they asked ‘what if you don’t like the children?’ which is something we had not considered at all, My response of ‘they are 4 and 5, what is there not to like?’ Was shot down with various examples of their children’s friends who apparently can be anything but likeable.
It did fill us with a degree of trepidation and we went along the next day with a new anxiety to add to the many we have picked up during the adoption process. We were greeted by foster parents and sat at the end of a long reception room. The boys were brought in 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 me it took every ounce of strength not to break down and cry like babies (we just managed to hold that off until after we said our goodbyes and drove away, immediately stopping the car when we were out of sight) – whether or not we liked them became completely irrelevant, they were our sons and we loved them however they came.
There are certainly times when 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 or when they were first placed into their new forever home.
Yet their new parents came along when needed and blood or no blood will no doubt always be there for them.
Bloggers comment –
This was the first blog I wrote and clearly it was fuelled by a degree of anger.
As a reasonably new adopter I had been hurt and greatly offended to hear so many people give no consideration for the new parents in this tragic case or indeed it seemed even for the children who were settling into a forever family and had hopefully started to lay down roots and who were no doubt beginning the long process of attachment.
The notion that the father trumped everything simply because of ‘blood’ made me feel vulnerable and I confess fleetingly made me consider if my new role as a father could ever be quite as significant without that blood tie.
I soon got over that – of course it bloody can and it most definitely IS.
I hated the radio programme and it’s callers for making me question it though and really appreciated the opportunity that blogging gave me to voice my feelings. The therapeutic benefits of getting my feelings ‘out there’ were immediately evident and I have continued to blog regularly as a consequence.
Of course I understand the argument that first and foremost children should be with their birth parents and that the father in this case was fighting for what was indeed ‘naturally’ his, but it’s a slow and methodical process to remove a child and to have them adopted (at least 9 months) and a father who had not been there through this or (as I say in the blog) when the child was being neglected or abused, has to have that automatic right to be a parent severely questioned, yet so many people clearly thought otherwise.
We adopters are not second best, we are indeed equally best and we need to stand up and state that emphatically whenever and wherever it is questioned.