This article first appeared in The Door, and we are grateful for permission to reprint.
Caroline and Roger have spoken candidly of the harder times which they encountered with an adopted child. Now they share some of the highs – and each event has one thing in common …
“On reflection, I really think we overplayed the ‘lows’ in the last Diary”, says Caroline. “But it’s something that prospective adopters must realise: whilst having a family is a wonderful experience for those of us who choose to adopt – one day you’re a couple, the next you’re parents – it may well not be a simple or instantaneous transition for the child or children.
“As we look back on the really good times for us so far, they have been when Jon has passed a milestone. And in each case what was significant was that it was a confirmation of his place in the life of his family or the wider community.
“The first momentous event was 10 months after he came to live with us, when we all went to Court for the formalising of the adoption. That day was tremendously good for him – we took family members and the social workers with us, and Jon received a certificate and card from the Court. We chose to have this ‘rounding off’ take place in the same Court where the care proceedings had first been initiated. It was a lovely part of the country, and the Judge gave us the impression he had all the time in the world for us to set us at ease. It made it all very special and it really was a day of celebration, ending with a lovely meal out with the family.
“The next big occasion was when Jon had his first birthday party with his friends, rather than the small family birthday party we gave him when he first came to live with us. So the Court proceeding was his place in our family being affirmed, and now he could stretch his wings and take his place amongst his peers. Jon has gone on to be a confident and sensitive friend.
“In this last year, he has received an award at school and been baptised and given his last Christian name. It was thrilling for him – and deeply moving for us – to watch him utterly at home in the wider community of the whole school and of the whole church. He’s also discovered a talent for rugby and found his feet with other new hobbies and skills. Sorry if we go on about these milestones as if every parent doesn’t have the same, too – but these are important because Jon, for all his youth, didn’t come to us as a blank sheet – he had great sadness in his past. So these great achievements and special events are extra-important because they prove to him that he can defy, and to some extent erase, some of the negatives of that past.
“It doesn’t take long before the fact of your child being adopted no longer crosses your mind daily. I suppose that, if you adopt a child with a particular difficulty, things would be a bit different, but day-to-day, you don’t give it a second thought: we just get on with life.’
PACT and other voluntary adoption agencies tend to specialise in finding homes for the older child or those with difficulties of background or health.
PACT can be contacted on 0800 731 1845.