Tag Archives: adoption

Expecting

24 Sep

I don’t know how to start this blog post.

So I will simply begin with how I feel.

I feel very happy! I am 18 weeks pregnant. And utterly overjoyed at this new life growing within me.

It still, at times, feels somewhat surreal. Me. Pregnant. Me. Soon-to-be-a-mama. Us. On the path to parenthood.

It hasn’t been an easy road. Or a straightforward one.

Month after month of disappointment.

And the won’t-go-away questions: will it ever happen? Is there something wrong? Should we do something about it? The doubts. The maybe’s. Maybe we won’t ever have our own (biological) child. Maybe we just need to come to terms with that. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

We had talked about adoption. Talked seriously. And we still talk about adoption now. Another maybe. And yet, staggeringly, we made our own baby. It took time, but I can now look down at my growing bump and know this is not just a dream.

Earlier today, I read an article about adoption that was so shocking, it left me lost for words (it’s well worth a read, if you have a few spare minutes). It talks of the emerging “rehoming” industry in the US – where adopted children no longer wanted by their new parents put them up for “transfer” online. This black market in child swapping sounds unreal, like a Grimm’s fairy tale, but it is not fiction. And yet, within the horror – the hard-to-imagine desire to give up a child you had so desperately wanted – I see the utter desperation of humans out of their depth. Desperation at an overly bureaucratic system, at the expense involved in adoption (particularly internationally). I glimpsed the isolation these parents must feel when their longer-for adoption seems like one big mistake.

Whilst not in any way condoning the actions of those illegally and irresponsibly “passing on” their child to a new home, I do wonder whether such horror stories are some of the symptoms of a system-gone-wrong.

It has often amazed me that those-who-fall-pregnant are treated so differently from those-who-want-to-adopt. Potential adopters have the minutiae of the lives publicly analysed. They spend much time (and often much money) hoping they will perceived as “parent material”. They have to prove their potential-parent qualities.

What about the rest of us? With 22 weeks to go, I don’t really have a clue what lies ahead. I still can’t quite believe that, in just a few months time, my hubster and I will be wholly responsible for a precious little life. It is a gift and a delight. An incredible privilege. And just a bit scary too.

As we prepare to bring a new life into the world, I want to remember too the children whose lives begin very differently – who are not wanted, not cared for, not loved. I don’t want to cut myself off – in a little “new parent” bubble – from these realities. And I don’t want our child to be cut off from them either. I don’t ever want to stop thinking about adoption. Or fostering. Or supporting families in need so that they can stay together.

I don’t want to become a self-satisfied, middle-class parent, immune from the realities faced by the majority in our world.  A world where some parents are so desperate they give up their longed-for child, not even knowing where he or she will end up. That is true desperation. True isolation. This system needs to be fixed.

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Failure to care for the children

21 Dec

This evening, I finally watched the Panorama programme “The Truth About Adoption” on the BBC iPlayer. This is absolutely essential, and absolutely heart-wrenching, viewing. This is documentary making as it should be – helping us, as viewers, to grasp the real life implications of decisions by social workers, foster parents, birth parents and potential adoptive parents. Last year, just 60 babies in care were adopted in the UK – staggeringly, this figure is 3,270 fewer than in 2007. The documentary highlights the endless delays in the adoption process, which seem to damage children waiting to be adopted deeply. I have good friends who are hoping to adopt soon, as well as others who have successfully adopted, and I am very aware too of the pain caused by endless delays to those hoping and praying for children to adopt too.

Something is wrong with the system. But something is wrong too with people within the system – not just poor social workers (and those in the documentary seemed brilliant and passionate – unlike the usual social worker stereotype), but the rest of us who stand at arms length, with our doors firmly closed, whilst thousands of children languish in the care system, desperately hoping the day will come when they will be adopted and/or fostered. How is it possible that – in a “civilised society” – we have become so divorced from our neighbours, and from our fellow human beings in need, that children can end up living their entire childhood in institutions? Surely, if we really were “civilised”, there would be no children without homes, no children without an alternative “family” home? Surely every child would have a safe place to go, with someone known to them?

It breaks my heart that children can spend years waiting to be adopted, that some return to care after adoptions break down, that any child should face continual rejection because adoptive parents can’t be found. I feel deeply challenged about my own apathy. I love my adopted god-daughter very much and have always been interested in adopting children one day, but I have done nothing about it. I don’t think that adoption should be the alternative to giving birth to your children – I think the two can, and surely should, somehow be able to mix. It should not be an “either/or” scenario. What can’t it be “both/and”?

If you can, please set aside an hour to watch this documentary. Any sadness you might feel watching it (and I certainly cried) is only a fraction of the sadness many children feel each day as they wait for a new Mummy and Daddy.

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