Our Adoption Journey: The experience of a lifetime

Our Adoption Journey: The experience of a lifetime

Posted on February 17, 2020 at 12:00 PM


Our adoption process – now approaching finalisation – began three years ago.

We are at last mummy and daddy to two delightful children, a little girl of six and a boy aged five. Looking back, it seems now as if we went to the end of the earth to get them, but it has all been so worthwhile.

Although we understood its necessity, my husband and I found the adoption assessment very rigorous. With an extremely exacting adoption panel, our biggest concern was that we would miss the children we wanted and might have to begin the search all over again.

The day finally arrived in June last year when we hugged our children for the first time. Walking through the door of the foster family’s home was the hardest and most emotional thing we have ever done.

After 10 days of introductions, the door was locked, and we had our children sleeping upstairs at home. It was a magical moment, but love didn’t arrive instantly, at least, not for me. My husband was ready to love them immediately, but I wasn’t so sure – I struggled with their smell, their toys and the different noises they made. I was desperate to love them, but I found the first 3 months extremely tough. Our daughter demanded constant attention and at the same time our little boy was banging his head, bouncing off walls, biting and spitting.

We continued to persevere, we listened to advice from our social workers and put in place what was advised. We began a routine almost from day one. Morning, evening and night, we followed the procedure. Consistency seemed to be the key, it made both our children feel safe. They were always aware of what was planned for us all and responded brilliantly to it.

But how horribly unprepared we were for what was to follow.

My husband was diagnosed with leukaemia on a day that changed our lives forever, despite passing the adoption medical just months before.

The fear of losing the children left us sick with worry. The guilt that they may be better off with a different mummy or daddy was impossible to ignore. We were reassured by social services that it wouldn’t happen, but the worry persisted. It was hard to ignore what awaited us when doctors described the worst scenario. But we got ready to fight - my husband especially and we carried on.

Reality was very hard though.

I had 2 unsettled children, a sick husband and added financial worries when my husband had to stop working and commence his treatment. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed somehow to keep the routine going. Still the same routine but with relentless hospital visits on top: one chemotherapy session after another to prepare my husband for bone marrow transplant.

The approach of our first Christmas was made hard by the nagging fear that we might not remain together. My little boy worried that we might have to cancel Christmas altogether because his daddy was in hospital… and we didn’t have a tree. I had so longed to put that tree up together with my husband, but he wasn’t ready to come home from hospital, so in tears I dragged the tree by myself, to ensure our little boy’s happiness….and how happy he was! They both were. We did it in preparation for dad and we had him home for Christmas too. Not so many toys as might have been hoped for but cuddles on Christmas day together with endless Lego sessions was just how it should have been.

From then on, the children progressed week on week.

Unfortunately, as a result of his treatment and subsequent absence, my husband was forced into the background. I was the one they came to for almost everything and became their main carer. We knew it would be a long process but consoled ourselves that my husband would have lots of time to catch up with them.

The bone marrow transplant took place in February and 9 months on, there is no cancer to be seen. How poorly they had to make him feel in order to make him better. It was hard to watch but the children kept me strong. I wasn’t alone through it. I didn’t need to be alone through the nights; at home I had 2 little souls snoring their heads off. Every day I had new stories to tell my husband about them while he remained in hospital. I wasn’t having to eat dinner on my own. Bless them, they helped me set the table everyday as a result of which our food tasted so much better. Hugs and kisses on tap with less and less tantrums.

The tantrums finally ceased after we made the house rules: no head banging, spitting and biting. I think no one had told my little boy it wasn’t acceptable behaviour, plus it might also have been that he began to trust us and let us in; let us love him.

Our daughter had a hole in the heart and an operation to repair it was necessary. On the day we could hardly breathe. She went to theatre without a pause showing her trust in us and what she is made of. Life just carried on as it should through all this drama.

My husband now feels much better. They have bonded with him as they should have. It just took longer but him being a soft touch made it so much easier.

None of us ever know what’s around the corner, but we know now that we have 2 gorgeous children. They listen, they eat all their meals. They’re doing brilliantly well at school and we are proud almost to bursting point.

We appreciate that we still have a long journey ahead yet. My husband’s treatment is ongoing but having those 2 mites with us makes us so, so happy. We are also sure that whatever happens they are not going anywhere. They are here to stay, and we wouldn’t swap them for anything in the world. We constantly tell them that we needed them more than they needed us. They completed our family and they now appreciate how special being an adopted child is.

We wouldn’t change our situation for anything now but, on a cautionary note: If you’re considering adoption, prepare and be prepared for anything.


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