I don’t have an elephant in the room. I have a haggard, spiky, gnarly terrifying dragon that stalks me everywhere. For most of my life, when expert therapists have suggested that this is linked to my adoption, I have retorted that it has absolutely nothing to do with that, thank you very much, and headed back to my absorbing and much more important Facebook conversation.
Now, I realise that the experts might have been right.
This spring, our eldest boy will have been living with us for longer than he was at his birth parent’s. I was just thinking about it as I lay in bed listening to the rest of the family get up this morning. He came in for a cuddle and asked me when our next adoption celebration day would be. Clearly he’d also thinking about us and how long we had been together.
The boys had been with us for a couple of weeks when it happened. It had seemed to be going fairly smoothly (apart from thinking I had lost the eldest - top tip: never play hide and seek in a strange playground), and, permanent state of exhaustion aside, we were all adjusting to our new lives. Or in a state of shock... take your pick.
We haven’t heard much of the birth family lately. Although our Christmas was difficult (thank God it’s over), it felt pretty ‘normal’, unlike previous years where the ghosts of Christmases past have definitely been stalking our rooms, clanking their chains and scaring the bejeezus out of us.
Children generally seem to like knowing what’s going to happen and what they’re going to be doing next. It’s reassuring knowledge that takes away some of their uncertainty and helps quieten their anxieties.
But for our children, it can be much more than that. The changes and lack of structure in their early lives can give them a dread of the unknown. The anxiety can be overpowering; the need to know can be desperate.
As soon as my husband and I met we knew we wanted to be parents, one way or another. We chose not to go down the medical route after years of trying naturally and what felt like hundreds of tests. We decided to adopt. We attended workshops, as well as meet and greets before deciding which agency to adopt with.