Thursday, 19 March 2015

Mother's Day... again

Yes, its that time of year - the one many adoptive parents dread the most - Mother's Day....

Well, dread is a pretty strong word, but we have had some pretty poor experiences in the past - you only have to look at the blog post from last year, "Happy Gay Dad's Day' to know why we were a little worried this year. It's on the list to the right and generated a lot of response.

TJ's school teacher however, gave me a quick call to let me know what they were doing this year and to make sure it was okay with us.

Except she called at 7am!

"Is it too early?" she asked. "No," I lied, still brushing my teeth.

Anyway, she went on to tell me that TJ had made a card in pink with flowers but rather than giving it to us he was going to give it to his Granny - "Was that ok?" she asked. "Absolutely fine," I replied.

In a way the school being extra careful is such a relief. No unpleasant surprises this year.

But then TJ came home from school. 'What did my Mum look like?" he asked. I resisted the urge to correct him and say birth mum but instead told him we could get out his life story book and find a picture of her if he liked. (Or we could look on Facebook where he could see her in her drunken glory partying with her mates - I opted for the life story book.)

In the past I have always edited the book as I read it to him. Omitting the bits that might be difficult for him to hear or would require further explanation - particularly over her treatment of his brother.

But now he can read - yes, school have been doing a good job and he is coming along nicely. Unfortunately, that meant he could also read the bits I was trying to skip, which then led onto a long chat about many of the meanings of the words used. But we got there and by the end of it he was just sitting quietly, snuggled up under my arm.

"I don't know why I have to be grateful for her?" he suddenly said, referring to the mother's day 'gratitude' assembly that was coming up.

"Well, I'm grateful to her," I replied, "Because without her I wouldn't have you."

He smiled and then skipped off to play lego. As he ran down the stairs he shouted up, "I've made a mother's day present for Granny this year - I didn't do anything for you, sorry."

I smiled back at him. "I don't mind," I said, "Just do double on Father's Day okay?"

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week - Thank You

Well, I've had my break and now its back to work.

And what a week to come back to work on - the launch of LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week which highlights the great work being done by groups such as New Family Social, BAAF and Adoption UK.

Coming back from Singapore, where being gay is still illegal and the idea of adoption by same sex couples a mere fantasy it seems strange to suddenly be over run with positive gay messages and stories of gay families.

It made me think how lucky we are - and that we should never take that for granted. Our children may not see themselves as lucky, after all why would they?- no child wants to be removed from their birth family, for whatever reason, no child wants to go into foster care and no child wants to wait for their forever family. It is we, the adults, who are the lucky ones. We have been able to adopt two amazing little boys and make them our own. we have been able to give them their forever home. After all, by the time they came to us they were considered 'unadoptable' by the social workers - they were both over 4 years old, both boys, both had suffered unspeakable abuse, both had different needs and they were a sibling pair.

Who would take that on?

Well, we did. There are times I think we must have been mad - but by struggling through the crazy world of adoption together we have become a strong family unit. Yes, there are times when the boys will say they hate me, or they want to live with another family, or they hate each other - its all documented here. But there are also times when we just sit together, when we are quiet and a little hand will put my arm around his shoulder so he can have a hug - he would never ask for a hug - but I know he needs it. It's moments like that that make everything worthwhile.

I can't help but think that the boys are lucky to live in a tolerant society whre they did get an opportunity to experience a family life - whatever that family make-up may be. If we hadn't been able to adopt them I think they would still be in foster care, actually I don't think it - I know it.

So thank you to everyone who fought to make LGBT adoption a reality in this country. I thank you and one day, our children will thank you - they may not realise it today but one day they will acknowledge that the alternative to 'having two dads' may just have been too awful for them to bear.

So, today I'll let them shout at me and 'hate' me for not letting them play their computer games at the breakfast table... but at the same time, I'll be thankful that I have the opportunity to experience the ups and downs of parenting.

And to anyone who is thinking of adopting - I strongly urge you to give it a go!