As part of preparation for adopting we looked to ‘practice’ parenthood by babysitting and looking after our friends children.
This can prove difficult for some people, if they are unable to get hold of any willing participants. My wife and I were graced with an enormous amount of good fortune in this respect.
Before we started groups, we had the great pleasure of getting to know two young boys who live just around the corner. In the interest of security I will call them G and H.
Our friend, who is a long term friend of my wife, has shown us the kind of support that you can only dream of, she has allowed us to look after G and H regularly for extensive periods of time. She has gone out of her way to help us out.
Even today, I don’t think she realises how much she, her husband and her two boys have helped us on the path to adoption. Without them, I would still be trying to remove a nappy with some kitchen tongs, and would think that Macca Pacca was some kind of racial slur.
Not only have they let us develop our parental skills, but they have reinforced the reasons that we are doing all of this in the first place.
I am not a fan of people being called ‘Uncle this’ and ‘Auntie that’ if they are not genuinely related, but these boys do refer to us as Uncle and Auntie and I am delighted to make an exception – they are more than just the children of friends.
So let me introduce you.
G is the eldest, and at the time of our groups (January 2011) was just turning three. He is incredibly bright, curious, playful, and rambunctious. He is a blue-eyed boy, and his energy levels have ensured that after a weekend of looking after him, I have no trouble finding slumber on the Sunday night.
H is doe-eyed, and the personification of cute, as this photo proves. He is younger and at groups was around 20 months. Quieter than G, and seemingly very thoughtful; I have often caught him gazing into the distance and wondered what thoughts are going on behind his eyes.
Over the next few weeks and months I will intertwine my experience with these boys into the adoption story, they are after all, a very significant part of it, and they deserve credit for all they have done.
These two don’t know it yet, but they will have played a key role in my wife and I becoming parents, and when we do, they will be suitably rewarded.