Dinner & DNA

My son and I went to a Cafe tonight for tea. I suppose we come here about once every six weeks now, it would be more if my son had his way – I blame ‘The Tiger who came to tea!’ Anyway, I digress. I often find myself thinking about my son’s birth family, not intentionally, but sometimes little thoughts pop into my mind. I wonder if they would approve of XYZ, I wonder if this or that. I suppose it is inevitable really. But I admit I tend to think more of his Birth Mum (BM) than his Birth Dad (BD).

Without giving away too much of my son’s early life story, its safe to say his BM featured more in his life than his BD. BD is a difficult character to even want to associate with my son. He has been involved in some pretty horrific things, things which I know it wont be easy to tell my beautiful boy about.

This evening I sat there across the table looking into the gorgeous eyes of my son and thinking just how much he is starting to look like his BD. We were chatting about this and that – people we could see, his food(!), that I am his best-friend (I suspect the cake I got him had something to do with that!), our dogs. Just chatting to the level a three year old can. Towards the end he was getting pretty tired and so sat on my knee and snuggled while he finished his food. I started to wonder about BD. Had anyone sat and chatted to him like this when he was young? Had anyone snuggled with him on their knee? Had anyone stroked his hair and told him how beautiful he was? And if they had would he have still done those terrible things… or did he do them despite the love and care of others? You see, I know his siblings are making a success of their lives, seem grounded, have even gone on to further education, so what was so different for him? I’ll never know, I guess.

When SW’s were putting my son’s Life Story Book together BD’s parent’s (my son’s birth grandparents) provided a photo of BD. It was a childhood photo. My son’s SW kind of mocked the photo and said she couldn’t understand why they had picked that one to send. I wondered at the time, as I do now, if it was because that photo was taken before BD did all the terrible things he did. It was a photo when he was still innocent, it was a photo of the boy they had loved, rather than the man he grew into. The photo was never included in his Life Story Book, the photos we have come from different sources, and I’m actually really sad about that.

I know we are more than our DNA and indeed we know now that our DNA can be shaped and influenced by our life experiences. But by God, I still pray my boy has a different future than the BD that he looks so like. I pray that whatever it was that was different for his BD’s siblings is true for my son. Because that is not a future I would wish on anyone.

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Broody

A friend of mine is very close to going to matching panel to be placed with siblings. She has a few people that she messages every so often with updates about progress. She’s been updating us about all the people she has had to meet – SW’s, FC’s, teachers, medical experts etc. And with every post I have become more and more broody. No, its not cute baby photos that do it for my ovaries any more (and believe me I still get oodles of those on my FB timeline), its what others might consider quite dull posts about meetings!

Now don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to adopt more than one child. For anyone who read my blog regularly a couple of years back or follows my Twitter that is no surprise. I actually originally wanted to be placed with siblings until my SW asked me to reconsider. Its even in my matching documents for my son that I fully intended to adopt again. So my increasing broodiness is really no surprise, I just wasn’t expecting to feel it quite so intensely quite so soon. I actually planned to approach my LA at the end of this year/start of next for an assessment as that felt like a natural time to do so – in my mind I had thought I would have been back in my current location for well over a year, we would be settled in our home and me in my job. Although the process second time around is likely to be quicker, matching/placement could well take much longer so in reality we may well have been here closer to two years by the time a child could be placed with us.

But over the last few weeks, may be exacerbated by the 2nd aniversary of my approval panel and our ‘Familiversary’ (a year since our ‘Celebration Hearing’) I am wondering if actually I want or need to wait. My son has struggled in nursery, that is no secret to those on Twitter, but other than that he is exhibiting no real needs. He is happy. He is meeting his milestones. I read Twitter and often realise just how lucky I am and how relatively easy it has been for us to bond and to become our family. And no, I am not naive, I am fully aware more attachment issues might rise to the surface as he grows, but equally they may not!

I am now wondering, but only wondering if, after the summer once I’ve seen how my son settles into his new preschool, I still feel the same whether to go for it and approach the LA then. If only to discern, with them, if it is the right time.

At the same time I am trying to prepare myself for the very real fact they may say ‘no’, or ‘not yet’, for a number of reasons:

  • First, my son’s age – wisdom dictates that there should be at the very least two years between adopted siblings. My son is preschool, that would mean we are straying into very young toddler/baby territory and I’m not even sure how I feel about that, let alone SW’s who need, due to the volume of older children, to push adopters away from the idea of adopting very young children. It also means that due to my son starting school there may be complications as to when a child could be placed. Now I know for others this timing has all worked out, indeed my friend was allowed to defer even being considered for matches due to a work related issue, but sometimes some LA’s seem to put hoops where there aren’t any.
  • Second, the length of time my son has been adopted. This seems to vary from LA to LA. Some LA’s say you must wait two years from first placement, others two years from Adoption order – I even read one website from a VA (called Jigsaw) suggesting that some LA’s forbid you to adopt again until your first child is 10!! Others don’t give specific timings. But SW’s may well feel that I need to give my son even more time to feel settled and that this is his home & family as we don’t hit the first two year milestone until the end of the year.
  • Third, the fact I am a single adopter. Like it or not, many people think that single adopters can’t cope with more than one child. My first SW suggested that I would struggle to bond with two children at once and that it would be better for me to adopt a second time so I bonded with each child seperately. I understand that logic but I suspect there are those who would take that further and think that it is too difficult for single adopters to have more than one child fullstop. Also I had wanted to be placed with two children under 5, my SW thought that would be too much to cope with, but in wanting to adopt again that is precisely what I would be asking for (albeit not at once).
  • Fourth, the fact some LA’s are not taking on any more adopters. When I first started thinking about adopting again and I tweeted something about it, a rather snotty message came back suggesting that as I already had one child, no LA would take me on anyway as there is still a ‘shortage of children’ and I have already got a child. Now that person does not know anything about my matching considerations, which yes ok, due to my son will be narrower than they were when I had nothing but myself to consider, but they still felt I would never be taken on. That may well be so, I have no idea.
  • Fifth, the amount of time we have lived here. We only moved back here last Autumn. I have lived here before and do have friends and support networks including family members here. However, moving, for whatever reason (in my case due to my son’s health initially) is frowned upon. I have moved quite a distance. They may feel we are not established enough with these friends/supports to start the process yet.

Despite all this, I am wondering if it would hurt to have that initial assessment at the end of September/beg Oct instead of waiting until Dec/Jan. Its only a couple of months difference?! It would also provide more time before my son is to start school. Or if I can and should steel myself to wait the full five months so that the LA might consider us more established here but taking it closer to my son starting school and the LA potentially wanting me to wait even longer.