Lois and David’s story
We still get people asking us ‘Are you going to tell him that he’s adopted?’ and we tell them we’ve already told him. Before we started the process, we knew that you had to do it early. We have a friend who was adopted and she tells us that she knew she was always adopted, she had a lovely adoptive family, but she always talks about having that missing link.
We have had lots of experience with kids, we are a bit older and we have been ready for children for a long time. We have had many difficulties in our lives, so we can be sympathetic to birth mum; we can relate. We learnt a lot from our childhoods and I think that shapes how you are going to parent. Our childhoods were not ideal, so we want to do it differently and that drives us, a lot.
Birth mum fought to keep Frank right to the end. She attended every meeting, every court hearing. She spoke out fluidly and passionately. She tried her very best and loved him dearly. To us that is the most important message that our son needs to hear.
It is natural to have some ambivalence, towards the birth parents. Nevertheless, you will also need to have empathy for everyone involved. We try to do the best we can and embrace his entire birth family for Frank’s sake. We have the best possible situation because his birth mum is so loving and caring.
The preparation training taught us that the best thing was, to be honest from the start and that the life story book would be our guide. Frank has three life story books which we read to him, one from his foster carer, one from his mum, and one from his social worker and we use them all the time.
We have contact with Frank’s brother around six times a year; it is on the way to David’s sisters so we just drop in as we are passing. It is relaxed. Frank and his brother seem so super connected and thoughtful with each other.
The contact he has with his two sisters, around four times a year, is not as easy. It requires a little more planning and it is all focused around special occasions. We usually have lunch or dinner together and let the kids run around. Frank happily just goes off to play when he is with his sisters. It seems to me that he feels more comfortable when he is with his siblings and does not seem quite as needy.
Once a year we exchange letters with birth mum and we send a few cards, including a birthday card. The birth family is so caring and positive towards us that I feel that there is a lot of love being shared in the contact letters that we exchange. At first, we didn’t know what to write, we didn’t know if we were being too friendly. We felt bad if we wrote about all the nice things we had been doing. I was concerned that I might be a bit overly friendly and I was afraid, that birth mum would keep asking for more and more, but it was right not to be too formal.
We also write to Granny who cares for Frank’s oldest sister and we try hard to make sure that our letter is friendly and age-appropriate, something that she can relate to, simple but thoughtful. We also write to his aunties and cousins. They don’t live too far away, so when he is older and it is appropriate to do so, we hope we can have contact with them.
We know that contact with his birth family will be so important to Frank when he is older and starts asking questions about his life before he came to live with us. Although his mum couldn’t meet his needs she loved him very much. We keep in contact with his birth family so that he does not have to worry about them. He knows that his birth family loves him, but also that we are his forever family now and only want to do what is right for him.