Category The first years

A white child who is of average height

When I told my son J that he had a little sister, and what her name was, the baby girl in question was already a few months old. Seven year old J looked at me saucer-eyed, and with his mouth wide open. “But how do you know all that?” he asked me. At the point […]

A letter for Edward Timpson MP

I’ve been waiting for the last two weeks for my personal letter of thanks from Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson. I first heard about his thank you letter on Facebook and Twitter during National Adoption Week. There’d been a big announcement: “Adoptive parents across the country have received a personal letter of thanks from […]

And what happens if….? How my family stepped up to a challenge

Before my social worker would put me forward for approval as a single adopter, she wanted me to ask my sister and brother-in-law whether they would commit to bringing up my future child if anything ever happened to me. That wasn’t an easy conversation for me to initiate. Camilla and Lloyd had both worked for […]

Dear Judge MacGregor

  Dear Judge MacGregor My mum thought it would be nice to write to you to tell you how I feel about being adopted. To be honest I don’t know how I feel because it doesn’t make much of a difference. I last saw V when I was 3 and I don’t remember her. I […]

But wouldn’t you rather have a baby?

“But wouldn’t you rather have a baby?”. I took a deep breath. I was on the phone to one of three local primary schools, explaining that I was in the process of being approved to adopt, and asking if I could come in and visit so that I was well prepared when the time came […]

Rugby 24, Football 1

To be fair, J’s foster carers had done their best. They loved their football, and he came to me, aged six and three quarters, bearing an England duvet cover and several well worn branded football shirts and pairs of trainers. During the fortnight we spent getting to know each other before J moved in, they’d […]

I love you. I love you. I love you.

This rather surly and uncommunicative young man is a far cry from the hyped seven year old who set out with me for three weeks in Croatia all those years ago. The eyes are the same, though his lashes and eyebrows have darkened and coarsened with puberty. Step to his side, and the streak of […]

A stitch in time, Part II

It was nine months into the placement and the cracks were beginning to show. J had started his new school and was half way through Year 2. That was the year his teacher said he was ‘fizzing with anxiety’ and I was so immersed in it, I’m not sure I entirely understood what she meant. […]

Forever and forever

Prompted by The Boy’s Behaviour‘s touching post on the same subject, I asked my son J what the word Forever meant to him. “I don’t know what you mean Mum. I’m tired for God’s sake”. I should have stopped there, but I was tired too, and prepared to take a risk for a shortcut to […]

The great outdoors

From upstairs, I can hear my neighbour’s 12 year old son swearing: F__k you! What the f__k! Bitch! It is 11 on a warm Saturday morning, and the windows are open. Fifteen year old J is here near me in the flat, on his computer, playing Realm of the Mad God, and killing unicorns in […]

Let your subconscious do the talking

When he first moved in, and for quite some time after, J talked to himself. In fact it sometimes felt as if he talked to everyone, indiscriminately, constantly, exhaustingly. He didn’t know when to stop. Even in his dreams, he muttered and shouted. It was anxiety of course. Luckily, that anxious chatter often made him […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

I formally adopted my son J in January 2009 when he was 10. These photos were taken in court, when the legal processes were already complete, and we were invited in to mark the judgement. J had been living as my son for more than three years, but it was still an occasion full of […]

In the Name of Her Majesty

There didn’t seem to be any rush to get J his first passport. That was partly because I knew it was important to keep our lives simple during those early months with me, and avoid doing anything that might unsettle him, foreign travel included. I had also learned that it wasn’t entirely straightforward getting a […]

Pasta stars and orange potato

Today J is at home with a bug. He has fever, diarrhoea, and a sore head, and has spent all morning sleeping. In the old days, he would have struggled out of bed no matter what, to snuggle up in his duvet in front of the Jungle Book. But times change, and for my teenage […]

A map and a hammer, and a brave new world

After quick hugs with his foster carers (“no long goodbyes please”, they’d said), I strapped J into the back of the car and handed him the map. During the preceding two weeks, I had been going backwards and forwards from home to theirs while J and I got to know each other, and as we […]