I am writing anonymously. Due to a high profile job, I would rather this was not too public as I go through the early stages of the process. If you are a friend and wish to comment please do so, but try to respect this. Thank you!
I don’t really know where my story with adoption begins. As a child I grew up living next door to a girl of similar age who was adopted, we played together when we were young and I remember her explaining to me why her cabbage patch doll (of which I was extremely jealous) was just like her. I’m not sure if this early experience has anything to do with my life long desire to adopt, but adoption to me has always been a normal thing.
I always wanted a large family, I told my mother outright at about 16 I would have 6 children! However somewhere I always knew some of them would not be ‘homegrown’ as a friend of mine puts it. What I never dreamed was that I would be doing this alone.
I grew up in a quite conservative evangelical wing of the church, the kind that says don’t date people who don’t believe the same things as you, certainly no sex before marriage and presumes you will get married, usually by the age of about 22. There is no room in this kind of church for what happens next if that doesn’t happen for you. What happens if, as a woman, one of the few vaguely normal Christian blokes doesn’t fall madly in love with you. Usually its more of the same nonsense, that one day someone will come along who is ‘the one’. Well, I stopped believing that a very long time ago. But my desire to have children, to be a parent, a mum, has not diminished.
Not long ago I was put in a position lucky enough to get to know two adoptive families and it was a conversation with one of them that really helped me to get to grips with the fact that I didn’t need to be married to adopt. In fact she was so encouraging that about me personally, and what I might offer a child, that she really set me on this course. As a Christian she talked to me about why Biblically speaking, adopting had been important to her.
After speaking with her, I started reading every website and every book on adoption I could lay my hands on. I even bought my mother a book about being an adoptive grandparent for Mother’s Day a few years back. (This was met with a thoroughly mixed reaction).
Four years ago I moved up North to take up a new job and I thought the time was right to approach an agency. However in their discussions with me, they made it clear they thought I needed a larger and stronger support network in the area and to wait a while as I was ‘still very young’. They also implied strongly that they felt I would be better with a younger child, even though I never said that, and so they felt their agency was out, as it dealt mainly with older children and those who had disabilities.
So for the last four years I have waited and now I’m pushing forty I’m hoping another agency will take me a bit more seriously, and that the friends and relationships I have made here are considered a ‘strong enough’ support network. Again, I have been reading more blogs to try to get a handle on this process (although its apparently recently changed) and the kind of thing I have in store.
I do have lots of worries. I’ve started following a number of adoptive parents on Twitter and the stories they have to tell about parenting children with attachment disorder appear daunting. I’m not sure I have the strength and stamina to deal with it, but I guess most people think that before they are faced with it (surely?). I am still worried they won’t think I have a good enough support network (I read on one blog how a potential adopter needed 8 references!), even though I have family members living close by. I’m worried about how my parents will react when I finally broach the subject and tell them I’m going for it.
I believe I do have an enormous rocky mountain to climb. I’m not sure right now I’m actually going to reach the top. But I’ve just filled in my inquiry form…so today at least I’ve taken the very first step.