Lockdown – Life as a new adoptive parent
During our COVID 19 adoption experience, we often referenced the simile “we are treading water”. We had been advised that the trick to surviving transition, placement, the new routines is to ‘keep going’ and we must admit, it is true, you must persist in ‘treading water’. There are the overwhelming moments when a wave of decisions consumes you, or a whirlpool of social worker zoom calls, or a raised voice will sometimes make you doubt your ability but, you keep kicking and paddling your way through and eventually, your head comes above the water and you begin to enjoy the swim! You survive (and enjoy) placement, you jump out of the pool and now it’s time to dive back and embark on the next one… social distancing, no park playgrounds, and no soft play centres! We could continue to persist with the simile of staying afloat however, we will aim to make this slightly more informative and less metaphorical by breaking down our experiences and advice into four areas.
Firstly, be organised! By organised, I don’t necessarily mean you have to buy a variety of nappies, toys, and child proofing equipment (although, we do highly recommend), we mean be organised in considering what your first few months will exist of and allow time to plan towards this. Consider what is going to be expected of you: what will you be asked to report on, discuss, what will your new routine look like, what will your rules look like, what will your house itself look like? Can you create a routine for yourself and if you have a partner, for you both? We found that selecting one day a week to organise ourselves, meant that we did not have to dedicate every evening to getting ready for the next day! Find a routine or plan that works for you.
Secondly, keep learning and developing. As parents, you will agree with us when we say that in life, we never stop learning, this is not exclusive to our children, and it most certainly applies to us too! Make yourself a coffee, grab some sugary sweets, take a pad, pen and pastel highlighters and absorb advice from experienced adopters! Instagram and your support network are invaluable. If an opportunity for training or a webinar arises whether it’s virtual, social worker chat or a separate institution, we highly recommend you take the time to keep learning and developing.
Our penultimate piece of advice is to know when to ask for help. The transition from your training to your placement may feel incredibly daunting. Suddenly, there is more accountability and responsibility and you may feel like there is still so much to learn. Please, feel assured when we say that from the conversations we have had with numerous different parents that feeling will never entirely leave you. But, hang on to that feeling, it’s what should remind you that this is the choice for you, it shows just how much parenting matters and how much you care! Keep calm, be confident and be open to advice and you will flourish.
Finally, embrace and enjoy your new role as parents! It is one of the most rewarding jobs and no day will be the same. Embrace the chaos of your children, the crazy COVID pandemic and long days, dedicate yourself to creating imaginative and original ways of play and development and enjoy your children’s input! Our placement has definitely taken a different direction than was expected due to the world-wide pandemic but, we are so pleased that we are able to bond with our children, embark on new activities, potty training, and to watch our fantastic children make incredible progress.
To conclude, be organised, keep learning, step outside of the parent role and reflect, ask for help and embrace the journey. Put the arm bands back on and prepare to dive in to the best journey of your life.
Eddie and Aurelio @fortunatedads #instagram