Image: Kookkai_nak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There we were, waiting to hear about some children that we were interested to hear about, when a phone call came for us to have the three little boys that social services wanted us to do them a favour for (the boys I talk about in Adoption at Heart, The Beginning). The phone call says that they are bringing them round the next day.
I panic and nearly shout into the phone that they can’t arrive the next day as we’ve got nothing for them, no cots, bedding, utensils, clothes, bath stuff, bottles, food, nothing, nothing, nothing.
That afternoon, cars start arriving in my driveway by the multiples – laden down with buggies, cots, bedding, some clothes, bottles and nappies, highchairs, the works. Boxes and boxes of stuff on the driveway. I could see the neighbours window curtains twitching, as I hadn’t told ANY of them what we were doing, or why I had stopped working.
Emptying the big spare room at speeds that Max Wall would be envious of, we decided to put the three of them into the same room to start off with so that they would have each other for company. You live and learn, but we didn’t know any better back then.
Something or other happened and the boys couldn’t come for a few days. I breathed a sigh of relief, and we had the weekend to ourselves to organise everything before the boys arrived, which is just as well, as I now know that there is no way I would have managed to get everything set up and organised and cope with three little boys as well.
On the Tuesday morning, a loud knock at the door in the morning was the signal that they were with the social workers. Three boys under 3 years old. I said goodbye to looking for my forever children hunting on the internet for the time being and had to buckle down to looking after the boys.
The first day didn’t go too badly, but bedtime was horrendous. They didn’t sleep. Children don’t sleep in our world. Everyone knows that you bathe children, get their jammies on, read them a nice story, put them into their cots, sing them a lullabye, say goodnight and they go to sleep – that’s right, isn’t it? The boys weren’t interested in what grown ups want, oh no, no, no.
That night, middler cried, and cried and screamed. I slept by the side of his cot and he screamed and cried some more. Littlest did eventually fall asleep giggling about midnight, and eldest dropped off about 1am. I needed sleep, I wanted sleep, I didn’t know these children, and I was already exhausted.
After eldest fell asleep singing nursery rhymes with me, I lifted middler and put him in a buggy. I walked the floor for two hours and he eventually fell asleep about 3- 4 am. I put my head down to get some sleep, and at 6am it all started again. He wanted up, and no-one was going to persuade him that it wasn’t morning. I’m sure lots of you can identify with that one, it’s what most toddlers seem to do.
For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a shower, I didn’t wash my hair. Actually, I didn’t even brush my hair. Multiple toddlers at once certainly keep you on your toes.
I found myself up at the field behind my house at the end of the first week, walking the dog in the evening to give myself a break from the chaos that had taken over my home. I had called a friend who met me in the field, with a pack of cigarettes. I had stopped smoking, but that night I had 10, one after the other. So much so that I vomited on the way back with the dog. I had sat on the wet grass in that dark and dirty field for a few hours, and the tears streamed down my face.
I was doing all this work for children I didn’t know. When these children walk into your house, they are strangers. I convinced myself I could cope with that.
Somehow I did.
Somehow we also had fun.
There is something just so delicious about being able to jump about, and wave your arms and hands like a jellyfish wobble in time to a never ending nursery rhyme. And the faces, well, there is no excuse for making silly faces quite like having kids around.
Social services asked us to keep them longer, and we put off looking for our own children for a while longer, as I just didn’t have the time to look. I kept trying to keep the kids memories and meetings with birth parents alive to prepare them for the eventual handback if things all sorted themselves out.
Time passes very quickly when there are multiple children, and middler was enough work to count for 20 children on his own as a toddler. I kept my feelings for them at arms length as they were not my children, and would be moving on. They called us by our first names, and not mum and dad, as that is what I felt their birth parents would be more comfortable with.
Contact was difficult for them and their birth parents. Sometimes they would turn up, and sometimes they wouldn’t. When they didn’t show, the disappointment was hard to watch on eldest.
After about 9/10 months I began looking on the internet for children, and approached a few places about adopting children from oversea. It’s a slow process, but because we were approved in the UK already, it wouldn’t be too bad. We were looking at finances, and how much it would cost to go through procedures in three different countries, and I had started searching through the BAAF magazines again to see if there were any children on there that might fit in with us long term.
I did tell you adoption is a very clinical process once you get going. Many potential parents have to look long and hard to find their children.
The day came, well over a year after they had arrived, when we were notified that the social services had decided that the children would be put up for adoption, and would not be returning to their birth parents.
We had to make a choice. Did we start preparing the boys for a new move to another home with another set of adults to get used to, or did we want to take them on? It wasn’t as easy a choice as people might think. Going from fostering children to being responsible for them forever is a very big step to make.
We talked it over, and decided that they were in our home, and if they weren’t going back to birth parents, that they should stay with us if we were allowed to have them. The social workers applied to Court for the freeing order and we put in our request to go to matching panel. Both were approved. After the freeing order was granted, the boys birth parents appealed it, and it was overturned on a technicality, so the process began again through the childrens panel system.
At the point the freeing order had been granted, and the matching approved, we began to plan for the future, organising the boys staying with us, school moves to suit us, replacing social services equipment with our own and returning theirs etc. When the order was overturned, the potential of having the boys living with us permanently, which I had allowed to creep into my feelings after it had been legally decided, took a huge blow.
We were suddenly faced with the position of having let the kids in further than I would have feelings wise, and had begun planning a future with us. We suddenly faced the possibility that we might not have a future. It was an awful time for everyone involved.
It was over 2 years that the boys had been with us before we became a legal family.
That day, when the papers were stamped, my boys began to call me mum after a lovely judge told them to look after their new mum.
I am mum.
Adoption at Heart – The Beginning Part 1
29 thoughts on “Adoption at Heart – The Beginning Part 2”
I got a lump in my throat towards the end, such a lovely moving story. I can’t imagine how it must have felt at the time. I hope the boys are looking after their new mum xx
Thank you. I’m just run of the mill for the boys now though lol.
Wow what a journey and beautifuly told. You brought as tear to my eye at the end of a long day. I have never been through adoption but a close friend has so I know it is far from easy but I can symathise with the extreme tiredness of lots of tots. Respect to you, those boys are very lucky.
So glad I stopped by to read.
Thank you for reading and commenting. Good to see you here. x
Crikey – your last line made me cry
It was great to read this. I’m middle aged now but was adopted as a baby and its interesting to get some insight of how an adoptive parent feels. I think things are very different for adopted kids now from the 1960’s and much more is taken into consideration of their heritage and I’m full of optimism that things will work out well for you.
It’s lovely to hear that it turned out well for you in the end. It’s unbelievable the hoops people have to jump through to adopt children. They turn away a lot of people who would be great parents and when you think that a lot of children are kept in their family homes for a long time, at risk and neglected, it doesn’t make sense. It’s nice to hear a positive story, thanks for sharing.
What a great adoption story! Much like my own journey to motherhood, however I had to say goodbye to a set of sisters first, whom I also held at arms length. This little one we have now firmly has a hold on our hearts. Praying we get to be her forever-family.
That must have been horrendous for you having to say goodbye to the girls. Good luck to you with your little one, and I hope it all works out for you. People tend to think we either start down the road of IVF or adoption and that it, it will just happen. They don’t realise how many people never get to the end of the road.
I am in awe of you. I was when I met you and even more so now. You did a very brave and selfless thing adopting your sons.
You and your husband are an inspiration in the self centred world we now live in.
I really , really hope we get to meet again with more time to chat over a coffee and cake xxx
I’m so glad you are sharing your story. Not everyone’s path to becoming a Mom/Mum is the same. I hope it’s okay I pass this on to a friend xoxo
Of course its ok. Feel free to.
I shouldn’t read your posts whilst at work, they make me cry (in a good way)
It is also good to read adoption stories from the other side. x
Aww sorry hon. Thanks for reading. It is good to share sometimes I think. x
What a lovely story, I’m so glad everything turned out how you wanted it too. Its hard enough gradually adding the children, but 3 in one go wow! You really are a supermum. I don’t think I’d ever be able to foster because I don’t think I could let them go in the end. 😀 xx
Thank you Amy. It was a long time ago now – well it seems like it., Babies kind of stay where they are when you first get them, they’re just noisy. When they said two were so young, I kind of expected the babies that sat still lol. Nobody told me that littlies get into everything from such an early age. Seems silly now to look back on it and NOT know that but there ya go. We live and learn as the kids grow don’t we.
I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been, to have them with you, but trying not to fall too much in love with them.
They’re lucky to have such a dedicated mum! 🙂 xxx
At the time, they weren’t our children, so you kind of look at it like you do when you are babysitting friends children etc. To make it even harder, week 2 of kids being here, we had promised hubs best friend that we would look after their two while they went away for a week. Their two were 4 and 6. So we had 5 of them for a whole week, but to be honest it was good for the boys to have another two children round here to learn from.
Thank you for telling your story. I love reading how we all find our path to motherhood.
Thank you. Us adopters tend to keep our stories to ourselves when the rest of the world share their “birth” stories so I have changed that.