Monday, 20 January 2014

Post Adoption Blues?

Every now and again I feel the need to share something that leans toward the more serious side of adoptive life.

After my piece on being a stay at home dad I was surprised by how many people, both Mums and Dads, wrote to me expressing their own thoughts - most felt the same and were happy that the issue was being raised.

But one of the things about being a stay at home parent - or having stay at home parenting thrust upon you is the sudden negatvitiy that fills your life.

I don't think I was suffering from post adoption depression - maybe I was - its more common than a lot of people think but its a condition that many adopters (and I'm sure birth parents) feel incredibly guilty for feeling.

We spent over two years in the adoption process - fighting homophobia, running aroun the country following leads about possible children only to have doors slammed in our faces. When we eventually found our two boys we were elated - but then we spent 18months fighting for the funding and the rights that these two horribly abused little boys deserved.

Finally, after nearly four years we got our adoption order and we became a family. Then the real problems started - as the boys settled so it became apparent that I couldn't work and I had to stay at home - I could never earn the sort of money Papa could, so my career actually took a back burner purely because of the financial rewards.

So now I found myself at home spending each day waiting for the phone call telling me that I needed to go into school, for whatever reason, or simply waiting for the boys to come home.

If I wasn't called into school then it was considered to be a successful day - so a successful day was one where I wasn't required... That doesn't fill you with a great sense of self.

There are days when I would sit looking out of the window wondering why we had done this. Papa was now stressed as his was the only income, I was losing my sense of self and the boys were trying to discover who these strangers were that they now called their parents and how they fitted into our lives. We had to move home as the boys needs were too great for out little house - thats stressful in itself...

I felt I was losing everything - I'd lost the house I'd loved and made into a home, I was losing my relationship, I wasn't being this amazing 'super' parent that the TV programmes and self help books get us to strive for. I was disappearing into a vat of homework, fish fingers and bedtime stories. Papa is rarely home before the boys are in bed so as soon as he got through the door he would go upstairs to do his goodnight routine whilst I cooked his dinner - from 4.30 till 8pm each week night I am cooking... luckily I like cooking and decided to use this as a way of maintaining my sanity.

Then it was a bit of TV - I watch that whilst Papa finishes off whatever work he still has to do and then its bed - exhausted we crash and then up at 6.30 to begin it all again.

I couldn't tell anyone how I felt - after all as soon as you start to complain people are quick to point out that you chose to adopt, you chose this lifestyle - you chose this... and thats when you start to feel guilty.

Yes you did choose this - in fact you fought for it - but once the dust settles you realise that the choices you made didn't give the results you expected. I didn't choose those...

Life does that...

So I punished myself for feeling sorry for myself and in turn I punished my family - not physically but mentally - I was so angry for so much of the time. Angry at everyone else but myself... and that anger got in the way of our bonding as a family.

I learned to channel that anger - into my writing I hope - but its only now that I can admit that I was actually angry at all... I don't like who I became but I hope that I will learn to love my new role and learn to love the person I will become... a good father and husband... and maybe a better writer!

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