I think it takes a special sort of person to adopt children (I never realised this until I adopted my own), it’s a difficult route to take at the best of times but sometimes I feel I am just not the right person for the job. I am tetchy, irritable, fed up and stressed out.
I don’t want things thrown at me by a two year old because I have gently removed my best shoes from his grasp. The shoes he was trying to saw in two with a wooden jigsaw board. OK, so he wouldn’t actually have achieved sawing my shoes in half but they would have looked pretty knackered by the time he had finished
I don’t want my new leather settee crashed into repeatedly with a mickey mouse ride-on. I’m fed up of the stair gates and the ripped wallpaper that I dare not replace yet because Boy has still not grown out of the destructive phase. I am fed up of being a nag, ‘Girl why is your unworn pink jacket on the floor again? The one I put on a hanger only yesterday because it had been dumped on the floor of your wardrobe?’.
I am fed up of ironing and fighting a losing battle with the housework and keeping Boy amused at the same time (which I rarely achieve). I would like to be able to play with my son and he not throw a wobbly because he is so independent that he won’t let me help him with anything, I’m all for him exploring things and leading the play but if I can see he is getting cross with something because he can’t figure it out for himself then I would actually like to be able to help. I would like a day without the word No shouted every five minutes and a hand raised in the stop sign in total defiance. I would like to be not worrying about development, speech and eating issues. I would like my kids to be a bit more consistent about what they will or will not eat (OK I am probably asking a bit too much here).
I would like to be able to ask either of my children to help with something without them fighting over who is going to do it or stubbornly refusing, we are only talking about small things like opening the door for the dog. Actually shall I tell you how that goes?
Dog: ‘WOOF, WOOF, WOOF’. (Dog is scraping the back door impatiently, legs crossed because like Girl he always waits until he is desperate for a wee)
Me: ‘Boy, would you like to open the back door for the dog?’
Boy: ’NO.’ (Always shouted)
Me: ‘OK then. Girl, could you please open the back door for the dog’.
Girl: ‘OK mummy’.
Boy: (looks up in alarm because he does actually like doing things for the dog and Girl is suddenly getting all the attention) ‘NO, NO, NO!’
A tussle then ensues and a race to the door with the kids pushing and fighting all the way.
Dog: Alarmed by the stampede running towards him goes and hides quivering under the dining room table until the kids are brought under control.
Me: (cross by now) ‘Right, both of you sit down, I’ll do it myself’. This involves five minutes of tussling with and trying to coax the dog back towards the door because I know if I don’t as soon as I sit down he will start barking to be let out again.
It’s unrelenting. Some days I can just cope with it and get on with it. Some days, like today I just can’t. I feel like a sulky teenager. I want calmness, I want my own way in my own house. I want tidiness. These things just don’t come with kids, it’s not part of the package.
I had a really lovely text this evening, a close friend announced that she is pregnant and with twins no-less! I am genuinely happy for her, she didn’t know whether she would be able to have children due to some complications when she was younger and I know that even now there could be complications.
I immediately texted her back and told her congratulations, made a lttle joke and then promptly burst into tears. I can’t tell you how surprised I was at my reaction. I mean we have come to terms with not bearing our own children, have been there and got the t-shirt, social services can attest to this! I went into the relationship with the Hubster at the tender age of seventeen understanding that it would never be a reality for us, that if we wanted a family it would be complicated and here we are eighteen years later with two lovely children and I would not change a thing for the world, so why do I feel so sad?
When you start on the adoption route you need to be clear about how you feel about not having children of your own, you need to be not trying for a family and you need to have mourned your loss (I’m not sure I ever mourned the loss of not having children just accepted it as the hand that was dealt us and got on with life).
I have said to anyone that will listen that I don’t want any more children, I think what I really mean is that I don’t want to go through another adoption. I don’t know how to do this post without sounding bitter, that is not my intention because believe it or not I am not bitter, our adoptions have been amazing but I don’t think I am strong enough to go through another. I actually would like another child, we always wanted a big(ish) family but I know that to have more children means more stress, more traumatised children, more worrying and I just can’t do it to myself or to the kids we already have.
So I think that’s why I am sad and getting a touch of the green-eyed monster, I have come to the realisation that perhaps I am ’mourning’ the end of our family making, I’m not sure I am ready to accept that we won’t be having any more children yet.
I have to repeat the words ‘don’t take it personally’ to myself all weekend like a mantra but it’s so hard not to take things to heart or believe my own advice and after a particularly tough and emotional weekend (which I will tell you about later this week) the words are still ringing in my head this morning.
My son and I have a particularly good relationship, or that is we have a good relationship until the rest of the family come home and then it just seems to fall to pieces and what started as a few minor incidences is turning into a standard, consistent behaviour and I feel like it’s breaking my heart into little pieces.
All week while Girl is at school and the Hubster is at work Boy and I have a lot of fun. He has such a lovely, cheerful, fun personality; he loves to be close, playing, laughing and giggling, cuddling and tickling and he loves nothing more than helping mummy with the housework but when the family starts to come together at the end of the day the personality rapidly disappears.
The Hubster rarely sees the special Boy that I know that he is, he sees a grumpy, demanding, wilful little boy who will fight against everything. In the evenings and at weekends my little boy will not let me do anything for him without kicking or screaming or shouting for daddy, he will not make eye contact with me and he does not want me to play with him, tickle him or help him. He does not eat, he throws things in temper, he deliberately causes mischief for attention, he craves daddies attention but on his own terms.
I remember at two Girl being a little like this (though sort of different), the minute the Hubster came through the door that would be it, it was all daddy, daddy, daddy but our adoption was difficult right from the start because of her experiences in foster care and it was easier to accept that she needed her daddy at the end of the day. Now, although we have some difficult times Girl and I have a really good relationship, she is actually a bit of a mummy’s girl and after the really tough start we had I never thought I would say that!
The difference that worries me is that Girl could be a little monkey all day and just continue with the testing behaviour into the evening. However, with Boy the change in behaviour is so pronounced that it is causing me real anxiety and I have come to dread weekends because I just cannot be a mummy to my little boy, not for want of trying, he just won’t let me.
I’m finding this post particularly hard to write as I just feel so low. I know enough, have read enough books to know that it’s not personal, I know that in time Boy will get past his current difficulties, after all two is a difficult age for any child and it’s less than a year since he left foster care so he must still have some pretty traumatic memories of life-changing events but I feel like I am wishing time away, I live for the end of the weekend so we can get back into mid-week routine, I watch the clock ticking round to bedtime because I find the constant rejection hard to bear, the negative behaviour, the not eating, the screaming and wilfulness, the hitting and kicking, the battle for attention between the kids.
I don’t know how to end this post, I feel like I have a million thoughts still to write down but have run out of words. It really does help to write things down, even from this outpouring I can see one massive positive, jumping out of the page at me and that positive is Girl. Despite everything she and we have been through we are getting there, we have lived and learned and that gives me massive hope for Boy. Now, how long till bedtime?