Adopting an ‘older child’

8 November 2017 | Adopter Stories

We were approved at panel in February 2015, and then told there were fewer children in the system waiting for their forever family!  The disappointment was palpable, after an exhausting assessment we were both extremely disappointed.

Then in early July came the call we’d been waiting for: ‘it’s a boy!’

I keenly remember the description: ‘A’, a five year old, 6 the following month. Part of a large sibling group, hyper aware, too compliant then the dreaded words – Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty!

Following a meeting with his team it was agreed in principle that we were a good match and we worked towards matching panel.  The days dragged on. You see, we had fallen in love with our little man, we may not have met him but we cherished the one photo we had been given.

We met with all the people involved in his short life and gained as much information as we could about him, ready to welcome him into our lives.  The days dragged and dragged and our hearts ached for this little boy, but procedures had to be followed and he needed some sessions to ensure he was prepared too.

We thought we were prepared! I think as much as you’re given ‘worse case scenarios’ and talk through what is going to happen, until you have another little person in your home it’s impossible to know what to expect.  From the moment we met our son, our lives have changed for the better but things haven’t always been easy.  Just understanding each other’s ways, his little foibles and manners takes time.

The first few weeks were difficult.  It might have been easier if we’d known the right things about him and his ways.  Although the foster carer was kind she portrayed him as the perfect child and led us into a false sense of security.  Nothing major, we just could have been better prepared. For example we specifically asked her if he suffered nightmares or bed wetting – her answer was no, but he did!  We could have ensured we had more linen (we only had two sets thinking he could choose his own once he settled) so when he’d had numerous accidents in one night there were no more!  After his first nightmares we made dream catchers for him, and only this week, almost a year later, he shouted down the stairs, ‘Mum, can you please empty my dream catchers I think they’re nearly full?’

What we’d almost forgotten in our excited preparation was that our little boy has his own personality, he could communicate his like or dislike of something – for the first few days all he would eat was jam sandwiches! But as someone very wise told me, ‘the only control he currently has is what he puts into his mouth’.  This statement made me realise what a brave little boy he is.  At 6 years old he moved into a new family, new home, new city, new school and remarkably endeared himself to all who met him.

I didn’t carry him for 9 months, or give him life, or see him take his first steps or hear him speak his first words but I’m his mother.  I’m there when he falls over and grazes his knee.  I’m there to help with homework, I’m there to empty the full dream catcher, and I’m there to help him to become a confident, happy, loving little boy.

My husband and I are the luckiest parents, to have him, as each day he makes us smile and brings a tear of joy to my eyes.

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