Someone posted a question the other day, on how other adoptive parents were doing when it came to talking to their children about racism in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter events. The post came on a morning when I (white adoptive mum) had kept my son aged 5 (black) off school, on and off the toilet trying to do a poo disimpaction regime resulting from all the lockdown carbs. I swept up another lump of poo, wiped his feet where he had trodden in it and thought, “We could do this topic today while he is off school, but you know, what with lockdown and now bowels and all the adoption stuff, it feels like our diary is full.”
The 2018 Adoption UK Life Story Work conference opened with a speech from Sue Armstrong-Brown about the difference between the facts of our life versus the narrative. Many of our children are given the facts of their life but are unable to create a meaningful narrative without assistance. This is why life story work can be so important.
Why is it apparently so difficult for parents to ask their children if they are gay?
Time and time again we read or watch accounts of young men and woman coming out and saying that their mother or father said that they had realised for a long time.
Realised, but had said nothing.
I have just come me home from a wedding where one of the guests leaned across the table and asked “Is that your daughter running around?” When I answered in the affirmative she triumphantly announced to the table “I knew it! She is the absolute image of you! It’s like someone has taken a blue print of you and put it into a little person.”
Yearly letter box contact has been agreed and we diligently get the boys to write Christmas cards for birth Mummy and Daddy – regardless of indifference from our oldest and huge resistance from his younger brother – in addition we put pen to paper and write a letter updating them on the boys past year.
Five years old, the books tell me, is an age when my daughter is not going to be that interested in her life history and experience tells me that’s true. But it is also the age when children start noticing the world around me, hence the various conversations I have had in recent months around the theme of “my child was asking why your daughter doesn’t have a daddy. What should I tell them?”
This week we stumbled upon a DVD that the boys brought with them when then first arrived that was filmed at a children’s play centre. It showed the pair of them sitting in a car seat ‘driving’ in front of a screen projecting moving cartoon images. We had watched it soon after they first arrived and it is sweet and charming and we thought it a lovely little peep at the younger – yet to be part of our world – them.
However, watching it again now is very different indeed, and what we see are two almost unrecognisable little boys