Whenever the topic of adoption comes up people will say the same thing to me – “oh we thought about adoption.” In the same way that you think about maybe one day running a marathon or trying that Thai place that you’ve heard is really good. It’s a conversational topic, but not necessarily an action. If you are reading this you are one of those who has taken the leap into adoption or are in the process. I always tell people honestly that it is not for the faint hearted and that it isn’t actually about you having your needs met as the potential parent. The process is geared towards finding the family that will be the best match for the child and it took me a while to truly appreciate what this meant.
I always wished for a blue eyed baby. I knew it was impossible because I am Asian and have brown eyes and my ex partner had non-descript, but very much not blue eyes. I resigned myself to the fact that this wouldn’t happen. What I hadn’t considered was that having a child might not happen at all. For most of my career I had worked with charities that supported children and as the eldest of 4 siblings I had taken on the role of carer in my personal life too.
It was while I was sitting on the steps of a family home in Romania surrounded by small children who were gleefully (if inexpertly) plaiting my hair that I realised I could love a child that wasn’t mine. This family had adopted 5 children from orphanages and were raising them as their own. These children had experienced neglect and mistreatment and were being supported by the charity to help them deal with the trauma.
In that moment though they were children who were having fun and enjoying playing with this stranger who had come to see them. I had brought small gifts for them, hairbands, pencils, colourful things that they could keep and call their own. Something that they had never experienced before. The darker skinned Roma children would stroke my face in wonder. They had never seen someone with the same complexion as them who wasn’t poor or struggling. They would touch the watch on my wrist, tug at my clothes and chatter excitedly asking if I was rich.
I often think about all those children I met. They will be young adults now. I hope they have been cared for and loved and given the opportunities they deserve. The chance to be more than the story that they started with. Just as I think about my own children and how it is that I am raising them. My older child who was a miracle birth child. The baby who I knew I loved a soon as I saw his profile picture. It incorrectly listed his eyes as green, but they are most definitely blue.
At the start I said that the process of adoption isn’t about making your dreams come true. It is, however, about you putting yourself through something that will test you, make you doubt yourself and if it works out you will become a parent to a child who considers you their family.
If you are exceptionally lucky you may also have your wish come true.