Before we decided to find out more, adoption for me was an obscure and seemingly complicated thing. When we finally decided to give adoption a go, I had to learn more about it, and as it turns out, adoption is indeed complicated.

The process itself is confusing. It involves stages, weird assignments, and all sort of people panels; but we got through it just fine. And not without a good helping of arrogance on my side. I was confident, more than confident, in fact. I knew we would have sailed through the approval process in a breeze because, I thought, we were exactly the kind of family the adoption service was looking for: young (-ish) professionals in a stable relationship, financially safe, and living in two in a house made for a larger family. I’m sure all that helped, but I still think it was the way the selection process changed our thinking about adoption that made us good adoptive parent material.

A few truths helped me make sense of the selection process. There were bad birth parents, and good adoptive families, all children were equally easy to love, and love could conquer it all. Adoption was always good, and how couldn’t it be. We were in the process of adopting a child because we wanted to be the best parents we could be for him or for her. How could that be a bad thing?

But that was four years ago and very much has happened since. As you learn more about adoption you realise that the simplistic views that propped you up in the past aren’t even half the truth. Scratch the surface, and you’ll find that you were right when you knew nothing about it, adoption is complicated.

I have been forced to change my views on adoption at every turn. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have agreed with much of what I believe today. This process is still very much ongoing, but despite all the u-turns I make in the past, I’m still thinking that what I believe today is right. I will disprove myself in a few years, no doubt.

It helps to meet a birth mother before concluding that all birth mothers are bad people. There are some awful people out there willing to do the most appalling things to their children, and that’s what we often read about, but most birth parents are not the monsters we read about. They truly love their children and wish things were different for them, but it’s hard to be a decent parent while dealing with alcoholism and family violence. Their children will always be caught in the crossfire, and that’s why they’re taken away from them. It’s for the best.

But the truth is that often, in foster care and adoption, there are only bad options to chose from and it’s incredibly hard to pick. That’s the case for Holly, our foster daughter. Until not long ago, the options available for her were going back to her mum or go and live with a close relative. When this close relative pulled out, kind of last minute, we were all glad this change of heart happened now rather than later. But till not long ago, the close relative seemed to be the Holly’s best bet too.

We’ll need to make a choice too, because it’s possible Holly will need to remain in care for some time yet, and our supervising social worker is already asking what we’re going to do if that should happen. There are reasons (which I won’t disclose to protect the privacy of everyone involved) that make this choice more difficult that it should be. Soon we’ll have to decide what we think is best for everyone: us, our son, Holly. And again, there isn’t a single good option, what is good for one is bad for at least one other. But we will need to make a choice.

And maybe the best choice is for Holly to live with a new family, although I hate to even consider it. And as we put together a photo album and collect little mementoes for her to keep in her memory box, I worry what it will be of her, and who will be at hand to help her in the future, if not us.

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One Comment

  1. Herding Chickens 11th June 2017 Reply

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