"You'd better sit down Claire - I've got some news!"
These were the words that would change our lives forever...
Sheila (Our Family Placement Worker) had phoned me to say my husband Paul and myself had finally been matched after a 2.5 year journey through the adoption process. We had been matched with a 7.5 month old baby girl called *Grace.
She had been relinquished as a baby at Birth and had lived with her wonderful Foster Carers since she was three days old. Her Scottish heritage and my Scottish heritage had secured the match in our favour. Finally after three months of waiting, anticipating, planning and decorating, hurricane Grace arrived! She is truly our greatest joy! She has big blue eyes and a very cheeky smile! She's a little daredevil who is friendly and sociable... She can be headstong and stubborn (I put it down to the terrible two's) but she is always very thoughtful, loving and kind.
We may not have been there to see the first tooth come through, but we very poignantly watched her take her first steps from her Foster Mum's arms into Paul's arms during our introduction period. Her Foster Carers have been a constant source of support and friendship to us and we are indebted to them. We remain in contact and they have become close friends. They will be able to tell Grace so much that we cannot as she gets older, they are a bridge to her earliest memories.
It has been a rollercoaster ride throughout our adoption journey. The elation at becoming approved adopters soon deflates with the realisation that the wait for a match will probably be a long one. The waiting for news was the worst experience of the whole process. It felt like being in an unbearable tunnel with no light forthcoming... Then you finally get the news you have longed for and you are sent soaring high again!
I won't lie - it was very hard the first few months of becoming an adoptive parent - I'm sure giving birth to a child must throw up a few similar emotions. It was a major learning curve but not with a newborn baby that constantly sleeps and drinks milk, but with a little person who is nearly walking, talking (and teething in our case). It tests your relationship with your partner, your family (and maybe friends in some instances).
We have had (and still are having) problems with sleeping and separation anxiety. Grace remains very clingy, possessive and maybe a little controlling towards me. Saying that she has started nursery now and loves it, and she's settled very well and has lots of friends!
Would I have it any other way? No! Of course not... We are blessed to have her with us. She is a joy to be around, very funny and makes everyone smile. She is very clever with an excellent memory for a two year old. She is bright and happy and so sweet. Every time she says " I love you Mummy!" she melts my heart...
This week is National Adoption week. Every child deserves to have a family. When Grace arrived we finally became a family and I love it. I am so lucky to be her Mum and we are lucky to be given the chance to parent our wonderful, marvellous and precious Daughter. I hope these words and this blog may sway people to consider adoption if they are interested. .. Just attend an Adoption open evening or ask for more information - you have nothing to lose!
*Grace is not her real name - I have changed it for security issues.