When you’re going through the adoption process, even just the starting bit where you’re just thinking about it, it’s easy to forget about everyone else it might affect. It’s not a bad thing, you’re going through so many emotions yourself it’s understandable. And in all honesty, until it’s actually happening and you’re living and breathing the parenting life, you don’t really know how it will affect them. As I’ve said before, my family and friends are a great support network for me, and I’m forever grateful to them for that. When I first thought about adopting I rang my Mum and asked her how she’d feel about it. She told me as long as I was happy she was happy. I remember telling two of my best friends and I can still see their faces now. We were driving back from watching my friends band play (back in the day when I could go out at the drop of a hat) and my sister casually said “have you told them what you’re going to do?” “Oh yeah, I’m going to adopt a baby” I said. There was stunned silence followed by a lot of “are you joking?” “This is a joke right?” “Are you serious?” and so on. I can imagine hearing it must have been strange, but once I’d explained, they knew I was doing it for the right reasons, they were just concerned for me because they love me. It was hard for a lot of people to understand why I’ve done what I’ve done, and hopefully by writing this blog it makes more sense. I’ve heard through friends about people that have said they think I’m mad, or don’t agree with what I’ve done, and that’s fine, I don’t lose any sleep over it, it’s their opinion. I didn’t do this for other people’s approval, I did this for me.
My friends have had to get used to the new life I live, the fact I can’t just go out whenever I want, that nights out have to be planned well in advance so babysitters can be arranged, that if I visit their house I now come with a two year old that will probably break something or interrupt our conversation every 30 seconds. I FaceTime friends not for a chat, but to get them to persuade Rae to get in the bath or get her pyjamas on (as she will do this for everyone else but me at the minute). When me, my sister and niece all got a stomach bug before Christmas my friend had to come and get Rae to take her to nursery and pick her back up again because I was too ill to leave the house. Another friend looked after Rae so I could go and get my nails done. These are the things that make me so thankful for the friends that I have, who without them I would struggle so much.
I’ve said before how close I am to my sister and niece so they were two people that the adoption was going to affect dramatically. My niece, who is now 7, was the baby of the family so I did worry about whether there would be any jealousy or resentment from her. With her being only 6 at the time of Rae coming to live with me I worried she wouldn’t understand how this baby had suddenly come in to her life and she’d have to share the attention she got. As it turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about. She has so much patience with Rae and tells me daily how much she loves her. Recently my Dad asked her what she would wish for if she had just one wish. Her answer was “I’d wish for more Rae’s because I love her so much”. Rae doesn’t talk as much as other two year olds so she’s very physical when she’s trying to get her point across. When she gets excited and is running around with my niece she sometimes grabs her hair, or might throw a toy at her that she wants to play with. She’s not doing it maliciously, it’s just her way of communicating at the minute and my niece deals with it so well. She knows she doesn’t mean to hurt her and tells her calmly that we don’t pull hair or throw toys and gets her to say sorry before they carry on playing. I read my “A day in the life of” blog posts to my niece recently and she was belly laughing at them because she knows exactly what Rae is like. She asked me if she could write her own blog post (and has since asked me over and over if I’ve posted it and how many likes she’s got!) so here it is, in all her own words (I have put a few commas in there just so it’s easier to read!)
When Rae first joined our family I felt very excited and happy because she looked very, very cute and her cheeks looked big and chubby. Rae is sometimes cheeky and naughty or happy and good. When she is cheeky and naughty she pulls your hair, grabs you and bites you, but when she is happy and good she doesn’t do any of them and she’s kind and gentle and gives people cuddles. Rae loves nursery and has a lot of friends there and they are nice. I love Rae even though she came out of someone else’s tummy instead of my Aunties. In fact I love Rae the most in my family.
Recently my Aunty was telling me how she’d been talking to her friends about adoption and she said “I told them that as a family it was the best thing we’ve ever done” which made me realise that even though I’ve done this alone, with the family and friends that I have, I’ll never actually be alone.