As adoptive parents we develop, shall we say, a slight paranoia about how others view us. Going to enough children’s parties without a child to accompany me, has entrenched a sense of distrust of others and their judgment of me.
Perhaps I should be less sensitive, but I get the feeling that adoptive parents across the land are in the same boat.
Instead of proudly parading the earth with our brand new family, we sit in the corner obsessed with others looking at us like something is out of place. We wonder if they know that this child is not the fruit of our own loins.
This suspicion is compounded when the parental invites start coming in. Suddenly we are on the radar, our peers with children, who only friend request us on facebook to boost their own popularity suddenly become interested in ‘spending time’ with us.
I have to be clear on this – we have had some genuine invites, from genuine people, one even borne out of blogging, but I am not talking about these.
I am talking about the fringe friends who, if they really wanted to, could spend time with us, but for whatever reason simply don’t bother. Now we have a child suddenly and our facebook messenger mysteriously comes alive.
One such invitation drew out a temper in me:
Come out to dinner
You can get a baby sitter
Get a f**king baby sitter?
Four years we have been sat here, perfectly able to go out for a dinner – why for the love of God, do we appeal suddenly to you as good company now?
Adoptive parents have additional challenges
It can be frustrating for us adopters, we are told to stay inside and shield our adoptive children from the outside world – and for good reason. However, watching the wee fella bounce up and down and question our own parental responsibility can quickly become tiresome.
I may be jumping to conclusions to tar all adoptive parents with this brush. Perhaps my own fear of fatherhood is taking its toll, but why are we now so appealing?
Is it because we are parents, not just adoptive parents, but … well just… parents? The topic of conversation is often tilted in favour to the parties who have children. Certainly as a childless couple we were constantly hearing about other people’s kids – and quite rightly so.
I mean… I am only a few weeks into fatherhood, and even in my local co-op I seem to start all conversations with a slightly arrogant
Yes I am a parent, no I don’t want any stamps
Yes my son is very loud and shrill, bless him. Isn’t it great!
Maybe, on reflection, I should cut these deep strike inviters some slack. Perhaps they know all too well that their only inspiration behind conversation is their own children, and now they feel more comfortable mixing with the likes of us?
I suspect my need to look over my shoulder is my own way of adjusting. Adoptive parenting however, has a different set of rules. Behaviour, tantrums, sleeping and eating patterns are all analysed to the nth degree. Gaps in their lives cannot always be plugged, and questions cannot always be answered. My paranoia will have to be overcome.
So are are we just parents? No, we will always be adoptive parents, but that is what we have signed up for, right? Would we have it any other way?