Sunday, 28 April 2013

Chapter 2 – Deciding to start the process

And they're off!

As hinted in the first blog, we had always wanted kids – our plan of attack for life was the typical 2.4 children, dog and suburban idyll. So much for plans. After several years at the mercy of the fertility sausage machine we had wanted some time off. Some time just to be us again. And so we did for a few years.

But the desire for kids was still there and at one point a couple of years ago we both realised, pretty much independently, that it was time to do something about it. Adoption seemed like the obvious – read only – way forward and I think that we were both a little surprised at the other’s positive response when the topic was first broached.

We’re both pretty sensible types and so neither of us were making the decision with an unrealistically romantic view of adoption... “Oooh, we’ll get a wuvverly wittle baby and everything will be wuvverly!!!” No, we had a pretty good idea of the pool from which looked-after kids are drawn and the baggage that they might take along for the ride. In fact, a throwaway comment from my mum many years before came flooding back. “Hmm, adopting a child. You’re just taking on board all of someone else’s problems.”

Harsh, but to some extent true. Well, at least you’re certainly signing up for potential issues not of your own making. We’d both also independently come across cases of the “traditional” closed adoption which had gone wrong in the terrible teenage years – in one case in a truly “Eastenders” fashion.

So I think we came to the decision in a pretty open eyed manner; thinking long and hard about why children end up being taken into the looked after system and ultimately placed for adoption. Of course, our view of adoption was all wrong... but more of that later...

Then there were decisions on the type of adoption to consider. Local, national, international...? So many options. Fortunately on discussing the various options we found that we were already largely in the same place. For both of us it seemed most appropriate to pursue the adoption route through our local children’s services authority. We considered one of the national agencies (Barnardos, Comag etc) but in some intangible way going that route just didn’t sit right.

The national/international adoption was more straightforward for us. We were looking to create a “normal” family and were, to some degree, concerned that the child should have every opportunity to settle into our family as organically as possible. Going for an African or Asian adoption therefore seemed to be going against that ethos as it hardwired in a “difference” which would yell “ADOPTED” over our child in all its public interactions to come, whether in the playground, at the school gate etc. The Eastern European route would have fitted better into our vision of our family but, I must admit that the horror stories of life in Romanian and Russian orphanages weighed heavily on our minds. Besides, we thought, “There are so many looked after children in the UK’s own looked after system looking for stable loving homes.” There was no overriding imperative to look overseas.

Besides, I think that to us the idea of going for an overseas adoption seemed a little bit, how can you put it... Brad and Angelina or even Madonna. Hmmm...

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