My views on adoption changed dramatically in the last 2 years, I like to think I know more about it now, but there’s a part of me that sometimes wishes I didn’t.

At the beginning, adoption was a much simpler concept. Babies waiting to be adopted existed in a vacuum, in various combination of sex, age, and colour, waiting in a suspended state until adopted by their new, loving, and caring parents. The nice people from the Social Services office were there to hold our hands throughout this difficult process, and to make sure we were getting the best possible child to suit our needs. Adoption was the perfect win-win solution: good for the aspiring parents, and good for the children.

I might be slightly exaggerating here, but I assured you, not by much. I suspect I wasn’t the only fool in my class either.

It is staggering how wrong I was back then, and how long it took me to fully realise it. No one slapped me in the face and forced me to deal with reality, not even the adoption training managed that. Learning from the experience of people that have been around much longer that I had… that helped.

Going in, I had incredibly vague ideas about parenting too, while now I have nothing but firm convictions on how children should be raised. All children: in care, adopted, or otherwise. I’m only joking of course, to some extent.

But all this learning is making me a little cynical, and increasingly conflicted.

By cynical I mean that I constantly need to remind myself that these children’s parents should not be pigeonholed for the little that is known about their cases, only so that we can make sense of the situation. I realise they are not all monsters and villains, but people with their own past that needs to be read and understood with the same empathy we grant their children. But after reading about some of the ugliest accounts of violence and neglect, I have a hard time keeping impartial and objective, or calm. And I never met the people involved.

In many cases children must be removed from their families for their own good, but how is that decided? It’s true that making the wrong call could have severe consequences, that’s why Social Services tend to err on the side of caution. But that also means that some of these children should never have been removed from their family at all; it only happens because it’s safer to do so. I can’t possibly imagine how terrifying it must be for a parent to have their children taken away, even if only for a few days, and having to prove they don’t deserve what is happening to them and their children. What will I do when one of these children is sent to my door?

I feel like there is a lot about fostering that I still don’t know, the same way I didn’t know about adoption two years ago. The only difference is that not knowing, back then, never worried me for a second.

There will be things I find hard to accept, or even understand. I hope that focusing all my attention on the children, and do the very best I can for them, will be enough to distract me from the rest of it. Should I come across one of these blood-chilling cases, I’ll turn to the children to remind me that there’s still hope in humanity. And if it turns out that the whole adoption system, however made up of well-meaning people, is broken and unfair, at least I’ll find some comfort in being a well-meaning part of a broken and unfair system. How’s that for a plan?

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4 Comments

  1. Dave 17th June 2016 Reply
    • Diego Boccaleone 17th June 2016 Reply
      • Suddenly Mummy (@suddenly_mummy) 18th June 2016 Reply
        • Diego Boccaleone 18th June 2016 Reply

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