Todays Post is from the lovely Sarah who is the adoptive mum of two boys behind The Puffin Diaries. Her blog is full of the highs and lows of her family life, writing about adoption, living with depression, her love of cooking and all things creative plus lots of photography.
Sarah is also co-founder of The Adoption Social, a BiBs finalist this year in the Social Media category, the site promotes and supports the adoption on-line community. Sarah is also a trustee for Post Adoption Support Charity The Open Nest
A Family Secret – the story of a family made from adoption
If you saw me walking down the street, with my two boys by my side, you’d never guess the secret that we hide. You see, these two wonders with wide eyes and tussled hair did not come from me, they are mine in every sense that I can imagine a child should be considered yours, but I did not bring them into the world. My children are adopted.
Like I say unless you knew, as in I’d told you, you wouldn’t question our bond or attachment to each other. None of what you see would betray the bumpy ride that has been our adoption journey. We smile and look into each other’s eyes as we share a joke. I lean in to hear more, they seek out my hand for a friendly squeeze. Just like most loving families.
I used to wake up with a start each morning, gasp for air, knowing something in my life was different. Then it would hit me, like a high-speed locomotive, right between the eyes.
“Christ there is a two and a three-year old in the room next door that I’m now responsible for”
That was in the weeks following our 10 day introductions. On day one we met them for the first time and ten days later they moved in.
They, two brothers who had just turned two and three, one year and 5 days between them.
Two boys alike in their experiences, different in personality and very different in how they deal with where they came from. The place they came from not being a place that children could not have stayed, for fears for their safety.
We had our angry little fire cracker, over on my blog we call my oldest boy Stig. He did not like being told what to do. We soon came to understand that waiving his hands vigorously in front of his face, when asking him to do something, meant “You’ve got no chance; I’d rather kick, punch, bite and scream than follow your instructions”. His emotions spilled out of him from the day he arrived.
Then there was the quiet but sometimes funny little one. He’s the one we call Tink. He smiled, said yes and watched more television than was probably appropriate, as my husband and I continuously battled his older brother. He was on lock down, no emotions were going to seep from him, in our first five years together I can count the times I saw him cry real tears on my two hands. He’d fall, he’d bang, nothing, hospital, nothing, hospital again no tears. Yes we’d have tantrum tears but not those real ones that come from pain and heartache. He’d smile be funny and watch television.
So here we are, coming up to eight years together. Hey, who’s still counting? Seems odd now that we even think about the number, we are a family as a family should be. Nothing will part us and I’d do anything for them. That’s how I feel today any way.
To be honest it’s not always been like that, there have been days where I’ve wondered if we did the right thing. There have been days where one or other of them has pushed me to the point where I wish I’d never met them. You see with adoption you can have those thoughts. As it is their prerogative in anger to assure me that “YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER”.
We’ve had to deal with a lot more than we ever expected or were prepared for eight years ago. In those years more and more research has been done on how the brain of a child which has suffered neglect and abuse is affected (Google early life trauma or attachment disorder if you are interested).
The journey we, and more importantly, each of my children has made is huge.
At ten Stig is tall and almost proud, I say almost because that level of confidence is still slightly unimaginable for a boy who at three could not look at himself in the mirror. The shame and suffering that reflection once gave him is replaced by a smile of knowing he belongs and is loved.
At nine Tink is still finding his feet. After years of not wanting to reveal his feeling he’s finally finding his voice and it’s not always a pleasant or an appropriate one, think lots of swearing and telling teachers to “boil your head”. However it is all progress that will lead him to making his way in the world and also shows that finally he feels comfortable enough in our arms to do so.
It has been a hellish journey at times (Let me tell you about the time my son punched me repeatedly on a busy train and told me to “f**K off), with little support from those that should have been there for us (Local Authority). We have created a lot of what we have needed ourselves and blogging, twitter and the community I have found there have been invaluable. Also family have been our rocks, those that have been there have really been there.
It’s been unimaginable, we’ve journeyed with two of the most complex and amazing character I’ve ever met and it’s been a privilege. A privilege to guiding them and showing them the path that leads to a more hopeful life. I really love my boys.