We booked off four days from work, two days in two consecutive weeks and like most other people, we were excited that our journey into adoption had begun, but apprehensive about meeting other people.
The groups had a variety of prospective adopters, and I was surprised that a lot of them already had children. It would seem that one child isn’t enough for some people; amazing how like minded people are so different.
I can’t remember the whole content of the four days, however, four things will remain with me forever.
The intense subject matter
I don’t know what you do for a living, but going back to work after four days of brain overload made my day-to-day life seem positively trivial. I work in the publishing industry… sort of … and after this course, I found a new respect for what constitutes a situation where I should get stressed – and where I shouldn’t. Learning about the horrors of what some children go through was ‘enlightening’. My outlook on life – my life, changed.
Italy Vs. Holland
A poem was read out to us during groups, which, whilst I cannot recite word for word, illustrated the journey that many people have been on; are going on.
The poem talks about holidaying in Italy. Preparing, packing, going to the airport, and expecting to land in sunny southern Europe. Instead when the airplane wheels squeek on the tarmac, you are actually in Holland.
The idea of Holland as a holiday destination is not a bad one, it’s just not Italy. You are suprised, unprepared, and initially disappointed. You will miss not being by Lake Como.
It is your two weeks of the year, there is no way to get to Italy, your one and only choice is to stay in Amsterdam. As the holiday goes on, you realise Amsterdam has a lot to offer, and you can start to enjoy it for what it is.
This may not mean anything to you, but it is a superb metaphor for what my wife and I are experiencing. Life can change your journey, it is up to you to choose to enjoy it.
Adoption is about the child
I can, and do, wax lyrical about my hard luck. Infertility is about me. IVF is about me – my wife really. Adoption is about the child.
One thing that really struck me from groups was an exercise where we had to close our eyes and picture ourselves as a four year old.
It is incredibly difficult to explain to a child who has spent their entire life, albeit a short one, moving from pillar to post. When a child finally moves in with us, as adopted parents we will be overjoyed, but the child? The child will be scared, lonely, and probably looking over their shoulder for the social worker to take them away again.
Two new friends
At the adoption groups, we met two people, who since have become dear friends. Like us, they have experienced infertility (amongst other challenges), and so when I talk about the pain of not having your own children, they know what I am talking about. They have lived it.
Many of my friends, without whom I would be lost, have been massively supportive over the last four years, but few can feel what I have felt. Our new friends from the adoption groups have felt it, and so we naturally bonded and a long friendship was borne out of adversity.
The adoption groups were hard work. I didn’t realise it at the time, but when you reflect, you realise what you have taken on board, and it can really knock the wind out of you. However, from our adoption groups we came away with a different perspective, a great deal of new information, and wonderful new friends.
I would call that a success.