Monday, 30 January 2012

I was seven when I was adopted

(c) Maker Mama
Today on the blog we hear from Nicholas, who explains how "the gift of adoption" changed he and his sister's lives for the better.

I was seven - my little sister four - when I was adopted.

Although this is my story, it feels incomplete without her. If fortune played any part in the tale, my age gave me a strange and somewhat sheltered perspective on events. Unlike my older half-siblings, I was too young to fully comprehend what was happening to us all and unlike my little sister, too old perhaps to have suffered too much damage to the earliest years of my childhood, where the family unit – and in particular the maternal bond - is so important. I try not to write on her behalf; she is simply the most valuable person in the world to me.

For all the experiences that I’d like to forget, they are unavoidable and important and make me who I am, in the same way that many hardships do. Through adoption, I’ve been given the chance to make good the bad start that me and my sister had. I’m very fortunate in that regard.

Growing up, I often imagined that certain things could go back to the way they were; in recent years it appears that things – in most cases people - continue to move further apart. It was naive of me to think that some wounds would heal and I’ve come to accept that this is very much part of the process. Relationships were changed forever, slowly drifting apart from the point of impact years before.

We had an abusive Father who I know caused untold damage to many other families besides my own. Pieces of unpleasant memories remain, and I remember sharing the news that I was going away with some members of my birth family. Although it’s a hazy recollection and I still keep in touch with the people who were in that room on that day, it felt like we were saying goodbye to something forever.

I lived with two foster families over two years. Again, they are fairly incomplete memories but fond ones all the same. The first was a busy household shared with many other foster children. We were a tapestry of fragile people that helped to create familiarity for one another. An older lady called Betty looked after us all. Our second family were more traditional – two brothers, a Mum and a Dad, myself and my sister. Things seemed more normal, although any sense insecurity was most likely born of my own growing awareness that things were not right and more changes were on the way.

My journey towards adoption became more vivid when one morning we received a photo album. Inside - a lady with big red hair; a man with long black hair; a cottage with an apple tree in a green and leafy back garden; a black dog and two tabby cats. This would soon become our new life. One day a big red car – also in one of the pictures – arrived and carried us and our things to our new home. We lived in a quiet village, in a small house with a thatched roof. It was idyllic in many ways and helped to create new memories that were strong and good. Things have continued that way despite some difficult moments, a few changes of location and the usual hurdles of life, to this very day.

I owe everything I have to the gift of adoption – I dread to think where many thousands of children would be without it. I will do what I can to promote what I believe is a truly important social tool; it creates family from fear, security from suffering and provides a unique opportunity to give children the right to a promising future.

For more stories from adopted people, please check out 'The Colours In Me' on BAAF's online bookstore.

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