Catching up 2: Adoption: Is it happy ever after?

This blog post originally appeared on http://www.alcoates.co.uk/2015/05/adoption-is-it-happy-ever-after.html in last May. Mr. C aka the flesh and brain behind Misadventures of An Adoptive Father has asked me for a guest post on his widely successful site, which I considered a great honour.

Now, almost a year later, hubby and I are approved adopters and if all goes well we will have a Matching Panel in a couple of weeks. I feel the time is right to dip my proverbial pen into the ink and start my own blog.

Let me start by saying we are neither naive nor ignorant about the harsh reality of adoption; the ‘trying to raise somebody else’s child’ bits; the ‘trying to make the most of a less-than-ideal situation’ bits; the ‘trying to correct, re-train and manage damage control constantly’ bits… I do get it!

I appreciate the best intentions of adoption trainings where they only try to prepare you for the worst, while they tell you to ‘feel free to hope for the best’, but their knowing smile and sad face speaks louder and we both know better… or do I, really?

We are still waiting to be approved. In the meantime we take part in regular trainings like all adopters do. Recently the topics turned darker with titles like ‘Managing challenging behaviour and the use of restraint’ or ‘Attachment problems and Trauma management’ and these to reinforce this growing feeling inside me that we have signed up for 20+ stormy years with only occasional sunny minutes that are few and far in between.

We were encouraged to join online and offline support groups, subscribe to adoption related magazines, read books, socialise with adopters, hear their stories, follow blogs of funny/experienced/honest/REAL DEAL adopters who have seen it all and willing to share their stories…etc. We jumped onto the bandwagon eagerly realising that we have soooo much to learn! Now my social media feeds, my inbox, my post box is full of stories, full of how-to-avoid articles, and I do get one message loud and clear:

There are no happy ever afters! Ever!
It is well worth it, sure,
rewarding even,
occasionally fun,
sometimes OK,
but never happy, or
not for long anyway!

Happy Adoption Stock Photo

At the moment I am feeling overwhelmed with all the negativity that I read on Twitter/Facebook/online forums, all that I hear when I ask adopters direct questions or just listen to their ranting about ‘another terrible weekend’, ‘another epic fail’, ‘another bruise’, ‘another fight’… Suddenly I understand abbreviations like CPV (if you know this, well, I am truly sorry; if you don’t, be happy!) all too well.

Even the stock photos of happy people (the ones that are used in adoption advertisements) were condemned as ‘giving false hope and not showing the real side of adoption’. Another person told me once I adopt a child they will become invisible and can never be seen on photos ever again!

I do understand where all these comments come from. I understand that it is hard, that it can be painful. What I don’t understand is where the happy endings hide??? I refuse to believe there are none! I, for one, am tired of reading only about complaints, challenges and bad days and long for a more balanced representation of this crazy calling.

I am being encouraged ONLY by friends who are not part of the Adoption Triangle; those who don’t have first-hand experience; those who only know somebody who knows somebody who is involved in adoption and sadly I am beginning to believe that their positivism is rooted in blissful ignorance. But even so, they try to do the right thing by lifting my spirit up, bringing my vision back to the positive direction, help me to focus on the bright side and most importantly: don’t crush my hopes and dreams!

So, on behalf of every person who contemplates adoption:

I BEG YOU, ADOPTERS

Please please please post the happy memories too! Encourage prospective adopters with positive messages!

And share happy endings!

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