My son started some animal handling therapy two years ago. He loved it so much and it was just wonderful watching his confidence grow as he learned how to handle and care for the animals...Well, we thought! A few months later we brought home our own gorgeous cockapoo pup.
A recent weekend away with a friend's son threw up moral dilemmas that I was not expecting. How we parents have to interpret other families' norms, how our own standards clash with those of the culture we're parenting in, and how innocent assumption can lead us into treacherous territory.
I was at a meeting with non adoptive parents and somebody brought up the fact that their child had screamed ‘I hate you' at them the day before and how hurt she had been by this, almost all of the other parents said that they had experienced the same and the group went on to discuss how difficult it is to hear and how hurt they had been.
Both our sons have indeed declared their hate for us in fits of anger - as well as the possibly more dramatic ‘you are not my parents anyway’, but neither my partner or I had been hurt or upset.
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.
'I thought these are your real parents, no?'
'So you are not real brother and sister then?'
I guess most adopters have experienced questions such as these being asked of us or our children at some point. It's frustrating to say the least and at worse it can feel insulting and indeed be quite painful, even so I am surprised at some adopters reaction to it.