Monday, 1 November 2010

Failed IVF leads to a heart warming story of adoption

As part of National Adoption Week we will be sharing adoption stories every day, starting with Ros and her husband Garry, who adopted a two year old boy. Ros shares with us the highs and lows of adoption and parenthood.

Ten years ago, after three failed attempts at IVF, we asked ourselves if we could love a child that wasn’t our own. We knew the climate for adoption had changed – it was no longer a case of newborn babies being relinquished by young mothers. Many of the children up for adoption are older, with troubled family histories. So we thought long and hard about it and, in the end, decided that we could.

For the next year we investigated adoption agencies and talked to social workers. We attended workshops in overheated rooms with name tags and flip charts, taking part in embarrassing role play between coffee and biscuits. We heard difficult, painful, stories about how some children came into care. Undaunted, we signed on with a voluntary agency and spent the next six months being asked deeply personal questions by our social worker for the home study. I didn’t mind, in fact I quite enjoyed it. It made us realise how committed we were.

After we were approved by an adoption panel we were thrown into limbo. It was a strange, occasionally distressing time. We were sent details of children whose life stories gave me a glimpse of a cruel, hellish world. Others just didn’t feel right and it felt awful turning them down. Friends around us began to have children and our vision of becoming parents seemed to be slipping away.

Then, in March 2004, our social worker rang with details of a little boy. We’d found our son. We were sent a photograph – he was wearing pyjamas and a huge grin, his hands clenched in excitement. We’d say ‘Hello’ to his picture every morning.

After being approved by the matching panel, we spent an introductory week with him in the small coastal town where he’d lived with his foster carers since birth. It was a surreal experience. He was an early riser, so we’d be round there by 6am, barely awake. When we took him out for the day I felt as if we’d kidnapped him: we were in charge of a child that wasn’t ours, and didn’t quite know what to do with him.

He was funny, bright and easy-going but by the end of the week I was gripped by fear. I felt as if I was about to do a parachute jump but couldn’t throw myself from a plane. In a tearful conversation with our social worker I was reassured that it was a perfectly normal reaction and that I’d get through it. In many ways adoption is like an arranged marriage. You don’t instantly love the child you’ve been matched with. You have to wait for love to come.

He came to live with us the week before his 2nd birthday. The first few months were exhilarating and exhausting. My overriding feeling was one of inadequacy – I didn’t have a clue. I winged it, and hoped no one noticed. It didn’t help that for the first six weeks he called us both Garry (my husband’s name), which he’d call out loudly in swing parks.

But slowly we fell in love and six years on and he is at the heart of our life. There may be challenging times ahead – he’ll have to come to terms with his history and what has happened to him – but hopefully we’re giving him the confidence and understanding to deal with it. I can’t remember life before him and I can’t imagine life without him.


Anonymous said...

Lovely story. As an adopted baby myself I can only salute those people who adopt and give the precious gift of a loving and stable home.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely story. I hope that your lives continue to provide many moments of happiness and that a true family you will all become.


Nicola said...

A lovely story and a little differnt to ours as I did fall in love instantly with our four year old , now a seven year old with many difficulties to overcome but moving onwards and upwards every year he is with us. We're just starting out on adoption no 2... we just cant get enough of it x

Anonymous said...

a very true reflection of the process and not unfamiliar to me - we adopted 2 brothers 4 years ago - the rollercoaster of parenting but with added emotional complications!!! Life is great and I would do it again.

Anonymous said...

I read this with tears in my eyes. Although the writer has not spelled it out, it comes across that she and her husband Garry put tremendous work into the relationship with their adopted son and are reaping the rewards of this. I wish them all lots of happiness in the future...

christina and robert said...

we know all the family, and met the darling boy from the very beginning - he has always been a delightful and endearing child. we have great admiration for Garry and Ros, who has created a perfect family life for themselves and for a child that may have otherwise never been part of a family.

jabroon piece said...

IVF success are really inadequate. Most partners are surprised when they at first listen to this news. Even the top range for pregnancy is still not quite fifty-fifty.

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