So I have been more than a little preoccupied recently and in a short while you will get a hint of why. Firstly I want to wish all of you a very Happy Easter and secondly I want to share a secret..intimate details of which will have to wait for me to come back down to earth.
It is often said that we are given only what we can handle. Well that’s not strictly true in my life. I believe we reach out for what we need and if the planets are on course we will get it in time. For ten years I have nurtured and adored my girl and with every breath in my body I will continue to do so. For 13 years I have loved and raised two strapping lads born of another mother. I actually have it in writing that they love and respect me as a mother as much as they do their own biological mum . I take great pride in knowing they see me this way as the wicked step mum image never suited me in my view. I have a different kind of broomstick? Ha!
It is fair to say my girly is a real mini- me and never fails to inspire me . Her creativity and her kindness are unlimited. Her beauty a source of wonder. Her wish every Christmas and with every blow of her 10 years worth of Birthday candles has always been the same.
I told her fairly recently that I always knew what that wish was. She said ‘But how, I never told you because you said it wouldn’t come true’. I agreed and said ‘Well, sometimes I just know stuff, its maybe Mummy intuition? Or maybe a wish we share so I could easily guess. This pacified her and we changed the subject . In the back of my mind I knew because as I said before my child and I share such a strong bond that I feel her mind in my mind as well as hold her heart in my heart.
My daughter will always be my treasured prize … awarded to me for being a child bearing woman. Have the stretch marks to prove it too!
My womb was blessed the day she was conceived and every day since. I look into her beautiful face and my heart swells with pride at the perfection she is.
So if you cannot guess yet what I am getting at I will have to spell it out…..
Her wish to be a big sister has been granted . Her coverted baby brother has arrived. The adoption journey continues for Black Sheep and new chapters in my life are unfolding at a rapid pace. As if the planets took 10 years to position themselves so this could happen..
So for these last 6 or so years her wish for a baby brother has been not only a source of amusement but also of great pain. Sharing the same wish carries a burden of guilt . Guilt for not being able to grant it but also guilt for wanting to add someone else to our bubble of love in which we are already more than comfortable. If that sounds as if I expect our mutual adoration to change in any way should that wish be granted , then you get me all wrong.
I honestly couldn’t love her more than I do and certainly will never ever love her less . A friend told me today that he thinks I have enough love in my heart to love many children. And I do in fact do just that. They don’t have to all be my own of course. I have many special children in my life, those of the special grown ups in my life. I think I am quite good with kids, maybe because I see things through childlike eyes. By this I mean I remember being a child clearly and maybe as an adopted child I can feel and understand the future uncertainties my own adopted child will undoubtedly feel too.
In his face now I see a look of curiosity , yes curiosity , not anything like fear . It is clear to me with every new face that peers into his. Maybe as an adoptee I am more watchful for signs of an issue than anyone else in the room. Its possible I guess. I don’t worry for him right now, as he has only known one foster placement since birth so the much warned experiences of trauma are unlikely. We are in fact his first experience of trauma and being showered with love and care is as bad as its ever gonna get 🙂
It is natural to be initially wary of new people , adopted or otherwise. And actually testimony to how strongly attached he has already become with his new forever family. Within only a few minutes of meeting a new face, an adorable gummy smile with two tiny bottom pegs, lights up the face of this small person and his wide brown eyes shine like chocolate buttons in porcelain.
People are usually ( and rightfully) mindful of a baby who may at any second kick off and have a screaming hissy fit, so I figure my excited neighbour who immediately snatched him from my arms into hers, was a very brave woman indeed.
Given he reached back towards me on first bounce was a good sign I reckon. Funny how she is my new best friend and claimed to ‘want him!’ ..rarely speaks until now that I have him home, but hey babies should bring the best out in people and bring them together shouldn’t they?.
* Make a mental note of this point for later chapters in this new book of my life…
She also gave him some lush trousers so she may in fact prove to be a good neighbour one day!
Just for a second, imagine being taken from everything you know and plonked into a new place the other end of the country, with new smells, new clothes and new people to get to know. Surely it must be terrifying to a baby. However, that part of my own childhood I don’t recall and neither will he.
He really is beautiful and I do know how lucky we are. Trust me on that one. None of this amazing blessing is taken for granted in any way. You don’t try to conceive for around 9 years and take anything for granted. He truly is a miracle and as soon as I saw his little chubby face I knew he had waited to be born for when the time was right for all of us.
In fact he was being born pretty much at the exact same time as I celebrated a small hurdle with good friends over dinner some 10 months ago. Dining with two of my dearest friends and one remarked how odd it was to think that my son could be being born that very day. And oddly it was true enough give or take a day or two…
Already many have marvelled at how alike my two children look facially. Also how uncanny it is that he could easily be our own. Our neighbour , who claimed to be almost as excited about his arrival than I am (er nope I don’t think so love!) said to us OMG I cannot believe how they look so alike! Hubby asked me later what he was meant to say in response… I said you say ‘Thank you, yes they are aren’t they!? and leave it at that. Who would say Oh, well they shouldn’t , that ones adopted blah blah….Imagine it! Talk about giving a child a complex. I said even my mother had people say Isn’t she like you?! They clearly meant in terms of mannerisms and learned characteristics…given I am the colour of molten dairy milk chocolate and she’s the colour of the milk that went into making it!
Point is, it is imperative to ensure my boy feels as much ours as his sister. Until the time is right he will know he is wanted, loved and chosen. When he wants to travel the often rocky road of discovery, as I did, he is safe in the knowledge that he is 100% ours and of us by nurture if not by nature.
During our week of introductions another mum commented in a cafe how gorgeous this baby boy was…I felt a bit bad as I should probably have said a simple Thank you. Instead and before I could check myself, I replied Yes he is isnt he!!Ha! But truly he is remarkably so and its fair to say there are some fairly epic genes in there, even though we know very little about them!
Many might say Oh that’s risky but lets take you back some 47 years (shit! how many years!….*deep sigh*) to a time in the late 60’s when the risk was all my parents’. I came with little more than a gift tag saying ‘ Please look after this child!’ Sound familiar? Anyway as I said the risk lay with the adopters and still does even with a hundred pages of carefully dictated text. When I was wrapped in a blanket and handed over to my parents they took a massive leap of faith that all would be well and that the promised screenings had actually resulted in negative outcomes. Luckily this was the case but it didn’t make it easier when as an adult I was regularly asked such questions as ‘ Are you allergic to aspirin? Do you have a history of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and all manner of nasty ailments?….My BM filled in the blanks of course once I found her, but up until that point I was living in hope that I was in fact healthy. Thankfully I am pretty much untouched by anything to give me cause for concern. It makes me laugh how my BM told me recently that a routine check up for her dodgy knee cartilage had a nurse ask her if she had been screened for sickle cell?..shes over 60! I said ‘ Why would they ask you that now? clearly you haven’t had it and don’t have it now! She replied ‘ Well they probably had about 2 black women with sickle cell in the past 20 years and figure we all must carry it and be able to hide it from the screening tests, like drugs mules??! She does make me laugh! 🙂
So the risk is ours and looking at him sleeping soundly with a cute snuffly snore I am pretty sure this robust and stocky little man with pudgy hands would fight off anything that stood between him and a happy healthy life.
Just the way his little fat hands grasp round my fingers as he chugs on his night time bottle and I am reminded how much he needs me and how much love I can give this little life.
He was definitely written in the stars for me and that’s the truth. Warnings from my own mum of how bonding might take time and to be brave if its not right away…well for me I bonded from the second I opened my iPad to see his face on Dec 27th 2016. That bond grew daily as I watched his image and video come to life on the plasma screen of my laptop. He was never two-dimensional to me. He was warm and soft and needed me. His eyes told me he had to know me and have me as his mummy. I feel passionate that this is his destiny and despite all the angst of adoption for all concerned, it feels right . His needs are exactly as any other baby: love, health, warmth , safety, security and family. These will be met in bucket loads. His little soul will be nurtured and he will be reaching his full potential before our eyes.
The match is remarkable and I know in my heart its something pretty powerful that brought us to this child. You see we planned to adopt whilst enjoying a romantic mini break in Poland in January 2016 . This December, only a month after approval he popped into my search feed on the ‘social service family finding system’. The second child to which we had been drawn (first was introduced to us but turned out not to be right for various reasons)
Again we happened to be in Poland. This time with my girl too. So one look and I just knew. Yep, it was that simple. His eyes said ‘ Take me home Mummy’ and that was it..the seed was sown . Even the lovely Social workers working on his behalf couldn’t do a home visit quick enough. I am proud to quote one as saying ‘ The feeling of a family home filled with clear signs of love swung it for them. It was confirmed that they approved the link and wanted to proceed with us….within an hour of their 6 hour journey back to the home town of my son.
Other signs are clear to me now but to be honest its run like clockwork and I couldn’t imagine any other baby being my son. A few administrative hoops to jump through yet but I can safely say he is settled and content and charming the birds from the trees at every turn. No one leaves my home without that warm fuzzy feeling as if touched by an angel in the form or a small person in tiny socks!
Suffice it to say its been a long year but the road to our future is a shining gleaming path of golden light and our little smiley and contented baby boy is all I dreamed he would be.
To say his Sister is smitten doesn’t cover it . There is of course much more of this journey to document and I will tell you more as and when my new manic lifestyle allows…please be patient with me but rest assured this journey is as entertaining as my own…
Thanks in advance for being patient with me!
Much love and Happy Easter
Black Sheep x
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