There from the start

Yesterday, our family stood in the doorway and waved goodbye to our children’s social worker, Claire, for the very last time. She had been with them since the beginning of their adoption journey. I hate the term ‘journey’; it’s so very X-factor; but here, for once, it really does seem appropriate. My children have gone on a journey of epic proportions in their relatively short lives, and their social worker has been with them for most of it. She was there when they were taken from traumatic conditions, away from their birth family and put in care. She was there during their time with a foster family, ensuring that they were safe and looked after. She was there when they first met us – their two Dads – a year later; and she was there on monthly visits during our first year as a family together. Two weeks ago the adoption order was granted. We no longer share parental responsibility with the Local Authority; they are now legally ours. No turning back.


As my children waved goodbye to Claire before running off to play, largely unaware of the significance of what had just happened, my body was suddenly overwhelmed by racking sobs. This was the type of sobbing I had first experienced whilst watching Neighbours – when Charlene told Scott she was going away to Brisbane – but I have since later reserved for grief (I was really into Charlene and Scott). It was an emotional overwhelming. Moments before, I’d watched as Claire quietly looked at them, taking them in for once last time. They were merely sitting next to each other on cushions on the floor, laughing as they played video games together. It was, on the surface, entirely unremarkable; and yet, the fact that they were sitting together at all – concentrating, laughing so happily – was remarkable. Claire commented on how transformed they were. Through love, boundaries, playfulness and empathy, they had come such a long way within the space of two years. It was her cue to leave. Her job was done. We now continue that journey together as a family, for the rest of our lives.


It isn’t always easy. On the morning we went to pick them up from the foster carers for the final time, I had hysterics on the motorway: I thought we’d made the worst mistake of our lives, the ‘match’ was all wrong, we really couldn’t do this; or words to that effect peppered with others that are unprintable. I wanted to turn back. The first three months after they moved in were the most challenging of our lives. Everybody said that adopting siblings would be really tough, and we nodded and smiled and said, yes, yes, we understand; and then they arrived and we nodded and cried and said, no, no, WE REALLY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. Another father told me during that time that though he always loves his children, there are times when he doesn’t like them, and that’s OK. I quietly thought, oh dear: I don’t like them; but I really don’t love them either. What do I do with that?


But the love grew.


l have those days when I swear. A lot. In private. When you adopt, there will be days when they push you to your edge of humanity and you feel like the worst parent on planet earth. You will have fleeting thoughts of throwing them out of the nearest window. That’s OK. All parents want to throw their children out of the nearest window at some point in their lives. The good ones are the one that don’t. There will be days when you want to scream, there will be days when you do scream, and there will be days when your children scream whilst wondering why you’re standing in the corner doing deep-breathing in order to try not to scream right back. As I said, it isn’t always easy; but parenting itself isn’t easy, and now we’ve made it through the first year we are encouraged that we must be doing something right because they are thriving. And the love? The love grows and grows….

Which is why there are those other moments: like the one, I had yesterday when I cried, not because of the terror, the anguish or the exasperation of it all, but simply because of the overwhelming love and pride I felt about how far my children had come; and how we are part of that, and how we will continue to be part of that for the rest of our lives together.


No turning back; nor do I want to.

Dan x

Adopting Siblings with Dan Part 1Adopting for the third time with Dan. From zero to siblings…to three!