What do you notice?

It was three years last week when our children moved in with us. Those three years have been a real roller coaster of emotions but one thing is sure – it takes time to adapt to this adoption journey for all concerned. When I think of our children – how they have moved around and now have been with us longer than anywhere else, but they still show signs of being unsure that they will stay. For our extended families who have taken our children into our family so well. And for us of course – for me I still feel like a new Mum. It’s a very weird experience adoption – to think that I’ve been a Mum for three years but my eldest is 10 years old is very strange! So what of this journey then……how do we adapt to this surreal way of parenting?

Guiltymum

Well for me it takes a lot of noticing – the times when I am aware of the differences between parenting birth children and adopted children. When you are not aware of the differences it can feel very isolating and you can feel like a neurotic parent. There is something different about parenting adopted children – however much you may want it to be the same, and for their lives before you to have not happened – it has.  It takes time and lots of help for children to be able to process what has happened to them in their lives. And for you as an adoptive parent.  It is not the same as giving birth to children. We have taken on a great challenge and opportunity to help children who desperately need help.

Also noticing that this journey of parenting IS surreal. There are many times when I have to laugh at the situations that happen in our home. When our children amaze us again by their ability to adapt and to take on our traits. Sometimes it feels that they do have our genes – but of course they don’t. They do however learn from us – for good and bad! They watch us constantly to see how we handle things, how we adapt and react to things. I guess it must be very confusing as they have had many sets of rules and ways of doing things, that it’s difficult to know what is expected and acceptable here!

Another way to adapt for me has been to make some good connections and friends within the adoption community. We all need lots of support on different levels and as good as family and friends may be sometimes they can not understand the pressures of parenting adopted children. Other adoptive parents do!  It doesn’t take much but it’s great to be able to talk to others and for our kids to meet with other children they can relate to – where we all don’t have to explain or apologise for anything – we can just accept each other and support each other.

The final way to adapt is to realise that this is a journey and that it all takes time to adapt and grow. We can be in a rush to get somewhere and miss the scenery along the way. When I feel that I am losing my mind I just take a step back and consider where I am on this journey, do I need to take a break and re-focus, do I need to just keep going or do I need to take a different direction? Each part of the journey is important and we can learn from every moment.

So three years on and I am beginning to feel like a Mum, I am certainly used to the name now as “Mum, Mum, Muuuum”  I hear many times each day! A sound I am happy to hear some days and other days not so. But here’s to the next three years on this wonderful journey.

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