So this blog is a bit different to all my others, this one is a tear jerker but it does have a happy ending. Now I am not writing this to showcase how saintly my wife and I are (which we are obviously but lets not polish the halo too much yet). I am writing it as the whole subject matter has significantly changed my life for the better and other than a cold or STI, it is good to share. In this blog you will catch a glimpse of a side of me that few rarely see.
Some people reading this will already know that I have an adopted daughter, but for those of you that don’t…SURPRISE! We decided to adopt a child long before our birth children were conceived and last year after completing a shit load of paper work and social services looking into everything from our finances to the state of my prostate (not literally!), our little girl literally arrived on our doorstep.
Now, before you are allowed to adopt a child you have to complete an awful lot of checks and courses so that the authorities can determine that you are not secretly the child catcher from chitty chitty bang bang. This is actually the easy bit, it’s long but its easy compared to the next step of finding an actual child.
You would think that finding an actual child to adopt would be easy wouldn’t you? I mean there are more children that need adopting then there are adopters so it should be a walk in the park, however it isn’t. There really are only two ways of finding a child and that is through the following two channels:
- Auto trader for kids.
Now it technically isn’t called an Auto trader for kids but it does follow the same principal which is a local authority can take a picture of a child and then pay for an advert in the monthly magazine. This magazine is truly heartbreaking and after a few episodes I couldn’t bring myself to read it, a few times I actually cried.
2. Ebay for kids.
Again, not technically called Ebay for kids but the principal is the same. An advert is placed for a child anywhere in the UK and you have to “bid”. Yep, you have to place a bid and compete with the masses and effectively beat your competition to win your prize. This is a real brutal way of doing things and i mean truly brutal. A social worker on the other end of the advert can simply dismiss you by a click of a button on something as simple as they didn’t like the look of you. Even more brutal is the fact that you think about all the other couples that you are competing against. In the end I am ashamed to say that I left this to my wife, I was far to soft for the process and would have literally taken every child on there.
Prior to registering your bids against kids you actually have to write a brief about what type of child you want, further to that you have to drill down into things such as sex, hair colour, skin colour, religion, eye colour, disabilities (yes or no?), age group and a lot more things. You get to the point where you feel that you are being incredibly cruel as you are ruling out kids with every stroke of your pen. We kept ours open minded but this isn’t for everyone.
My wife “bid” on our daughter in January 2016 and after much deliberation we were given the thumbs up in February.Our daughter has learning difficulties and because of this it took a bit longer for her to come to us, we had to take things steady as at the time she did not cope with meeting new people very well. We had a lot of settling in playdates where our daughter came with the foster carers to our house and we went to theirs. Eventually our daughter came to live with us and that was life changing.
When you have a child naturally you have an instinctual love for them, you know their little habits and you know everything about them, you don’t get this when you adopt a child. My wife is very maternal and there was an instant bond with our daughter which was evident for all to see. With me however it wasn’t the same and I found that incredibly hard to deal with. First of all I didn’t have an instant love for her like I did with my boys and this made me feel incredibly guilty. It wasn’t that I hated her or anything horrible like that, it was more the fact that I had no connection with her and it takes time to build those connections and bonds.
I remember when I first bonded with my daughter. She was struggling to settle down to sleep one night and was particularly tearful so I went and soothed her. I put her head against mine and slowly ran my fingers through her lovely curly hair, after a few minutes she started to calm and then I felt her whole body relax. She hadn’t fallen asleep but had realised that I wasn’t a threat. I cried, I’ve never told my wife this as us men have to be rough and tough, Hurrahhh and all that bollocks, but after that acknowledgement I was unable to hold the tears back and even writing this I am welling up a bit.
Our daughter cannot talk and when she came to us she had very little communicative abilities. It was evident to my wife and I that this wasn’t going to improve unless we did something about this so we taught our daughter sign language for kids. This was pretty easy actually and over the course of a few weeks we taught her things like food, drink, thanks, please, sleep and love you. I realised that I had a bond and love for her when I was putting her to bed one night, unprompted she gave me the sign for “love you” and I instantly blubbed my way through another bedtime.
My daughter didn’t even arrive with a pair of shoes, just a few clothes and a few second hand toys. Here was this amazingly gorgeous little girl with no possessions, she was a ward of the state and as such only the basics were given. She couldn’t walk when she arrived and just laid on the floor, the argument was “why give her shoes, she can’t walk”. Our first priority was to get her a wardrobe full of new clothes as well as several pairs of shoes. I have never bought girls clothes before but I don’t mind telling you that I well and truly got into the whole thing. I bought dresses, cardigans, trousers, leggings and even tights! Our savings took a pounding that day.
Over the course of the last 9 months I have not only come to form a bond with my daughter, I have actually come to see her as my own flesh and blood. My heart sings with joy when I see her, even when she is blowing snot bubbles. Seeing her develop has been an incredible journey and at no time have I regretted putting in the work that has been required to get her up to the level she is now. She can now walk, she is starting to talk, she can feed herself, she eats solid foods and best of all she tells me that she loves me every single day. All things that we were told would never happen.
I am proud that my wife and I decided to adopt our daughter and am incredibly proud and thankful for all of the hard work my wife has put in and constantly still does when it comes to our daughter and our boys. But like I said, don’t call me a hero or a saint just yet, I haven’t told you about the time I shit myself among a large group of people whilst vomiting off the back of a small boat after a few beers. That will well and truly change your view.