ADOPTION IS… A MOSAIC
Written by Jon who lives in Wales with his wife and daughter. They are currently in the process of finalizing their adoption. Read more about his journey on his blog Hand in Hand.
I was born in Israel, but ever since my dad took me on a trip to London, my dream was always to live in the UK. When I met the woman who became my wife, we decided together that at some point we will make the move. Then, in 2013, I finally got the job offer that allowed us to do it.
Why did we choose adoption?
My wife suffers from lupus, and doctors told us that if she got pregnant, it would create a host of health issues for her and the baby. So after considering our options, we decided to go for adoption. And since my wife’s condition prevents her from picking up a baby, it had to be a child who could stand up on its own.
In 2017 we approached a local charity that assesses prospective adopters, approves them and then matches them with children. After going through a 3-day training on adoption and trauma, we were assigned a social worker who did our home study.
Our social worker linked us to a new project spearheaded by our agency. It was aimed at finding families for children classed as “hardest to place” in the UK. “Hardest to place” means children over three years old, sibling groups and children with special needs. The project is called “Adopting Together,” and it’s focused on supporting both the adopters and the child(ren) during their first year together as a family.
While we were doing our home study, the agency provided us with invaluable training about attachment theory, the impacts of early trauma and how to view adoption through a child’s perspective.
Adoption is not a ‘happy ever after,” but a process of healing
Listening to the stories on ADOPTION NOW and other adoption podcasts provided amazing insights from people who were doing it. It truly drilled home the fact that adoption is not a “happy ever after,” but a process of healing that is never-ending.
In May 2018 we were finally approved to adopt a child aged 3-6 years. A month later we were invited to a profiling event where approved adopters meet social workers and foster families to discuss children. Our social worker sadly couldn’t attend, but she highlighted one special girl who she said she thought would be a good match for us.
We spent about an hour and a half just sitting and talking to our daughter’s social worker and foster family. Throughout the process, I heard adopters on ADOPTION NOW, and other places say that when you hear about your child, “you just know.” At the time, I didn’t understand how you can know.
But that day I understood.
About five minutes in, my wife and I just looked at each other and knew this was our daughter.
It took until late fall before our amazing 7-year-old super girl came home, and we knew that she was coming with a past. She’d spent a significant amount of time with her birth family and then lived a very long time with her foster family. She had a lot going against her in the first few years of her life. Luckily she hit the jackpot with the most amazing foster family who showed her that she could be loved.
By the time she met us, she already had an identity that she formed over those first turbulent years.
She is a feisty, fiery warrior, but she’s also a fragile princess. She has her catchphrases and mannerisms that we fell in love with.
She also had defenses that she had built up from years of not being looked after as well as she should have been. And from being in limbo for an extended period of time.
When she moved in with us, part of the beautiful mosaic that is her personality and identity was already in place.
We faced the joyous and challenging task of uncovering all the different pieces of it, of getting to know her and what had made her the girl she is now.
The first few weeks were like walking in pitch darkness, trying to feel our way forward with our hands. We hit some walls, and we stumbled on some bumps in the road. But the more we uncovered, the more we fell in love with all the bits that make up the mosaic that is my daughter.