When we first started telling people we were going to adopt, there seemed to be a number of stock responses. There were those who waxed lyrical about how lucky our children would be, how we were doing something beautiful and magical. Then there were those who went the opposite way – the “oh, haven’t you got anyone who could just give you some sperm” response. Then there were (seemingly fewer) people who just accepted it and let us get on with it all.
Then we went to adoption training, and we were the only same sex couple there. The only couple who didn’t have long and sad stories about failed attempts at conceiving naturally, as conceiving naturally was never an option for us due to the lack of ingredients! Adoption was a choice we made after weighing up all of our options. There’s a film called If These Walls Could Talk 2, and it looks at three gay female relationships at different points in time, and in one of the sections, I think the early 2000s, Ellen Degeneres says to her partner – I’m saying partner, as “wife” wasn’t an option back then, just ten short years ago – as they’re trying to get pregnant with donated sperm, that it makes her sad as “imagine if we could make a baby just through our love for each other”. That bit always struck a chord with me, especially with all of the planning, and appointments, and interviews and such we went through to become parents. I’ve heard women say that you lose your dignity when you get pregnant, with the number of doctors and examinations and such, not to mention the birth. What I found with adoption really is that you expose yourself in another way. Every failed relationship, every thought, every small thing that makes you YOU, good and bad, is laid out bare for a social worker to decide whether you’re good enough, or kind enough, or patient enough to give a child a home, and love them, and make all of the same mistakes that parents throughout the land are making! And then to top it off, they write it all down on paper and let a bunch of other people read it, and they all have to agree that you’re worthy.
The thing is, actually our boys aren’t lucky. Lucky children are the ones who are born and treated well from the very beginning, whose parents know how to look after them and see the beauty in them even when they’re screaming the house down at 3am for the fourth night in a row! I was a lucky child, I don’t know, even at my advancing age, fear like my children do. I don’t know loss like they do, or confusion. Any experience I have of those things, there was always somebody nearby who I knew loved me unconditionally, who wanted to understand. Even when I was a horrible teenager, which was something that I really excelled at – ask my mum!
Edit: Reading this before I posted it, Mrs S reminded me of a couple of things. She said: “They (social services) knew everything about us! The first time our social worker met us she looked at our online banking. They even asked if our pet rabbit was known to the police!”
I guess what I’m saying really is that Mrs S and I are no more wonderful than anyone else navigating their way through bringing children up. I mean, sure, in my opinion she is a more wonderful person, that’s why I married her, but I realise that’s a subjective opinion! (I also think my children are the most beautiful ones in the whole world, and my knitting is pretty decent – we have to think nice things about ourselves and our lives don’t we, otherwise why bother!) We start every day with the best intentions, to be as good as we can be. We don’t always get it right, we don’t manage therapeutic parenting all the time, we get frustrated, and cross, but we keep trying. I think that’s really what makes a good parent; someone who keeps on going regardless of what is thrown at them – literally as well as figuratively! Recently it was a shoe. It hit me in the face. Mrs S would like Marvin to take up cricket!
What’s on the needles?
I’m finishing a blanket for a beautiful little girl who I got snuggles with last weekend. It’s to replace a lost – and since found – blanket that her grandma made, and there was no pattern, just a photograph. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out, and despite the original turning up, it will still go to the same little lady as I don’t think you can ever have enough snuggly blankets! The left side of the picture is the original blanket, the right side is my copy.