National Adoption week has been centered around siblings and while we didn’t adopt siblings Danny does have a half sister who has also been adopted.
Before we adopted Danny we were advised he had a little sister who had already been adopted by another couple and Social services wanted us to ensure the 2 of them would have contact with each other.
I remember the first meeting we had, it was in a in a play centre. Not only was Danny seeing his sister for the first time in 12 months but we were also meeting his little sister and her Mummy and Daddy for the first time too.
Would we get along?
Would they get along?
Was it going to be awkward?
Would it be possible for us to keep up the face to face contact?
I’m pleased to say that it did go well and we meet up a few times a year and have a day out together. We also exchange Birthday and Christmas gifts and Danny takes great pride in picking out a Sister card each time, he makes a fantastic Big Brother. I couldn’t wish for a nicer couple to be the Mummy and Daddy for Danny’s sister.
I can’t stress how important it is to keep up contact with the birth siblings providing the circumstances permit. Danny has never lived with his sister but you can see the genuine love he has in his eyes every time he sees her.
With NAW approaching I thought it would be nice to put a good news story out there. Adoption only seems to feature in the public eye when something has gone wrong or a system has failed.
I’m not saying our life is perfect, however I can say with all my heart that when we have asked for support from our adoption agency they were there to help and I feel like the support they gave us during our adoption journey prepared us well – thank you Families that Last.
Did we have attachment issues during early placement, yes.
Have we had endless meetings with school and professionals to ensure he gets the support he needs, yes.
Do I know people that have had difficulties with adoption, yes.
BUT if I’m honest right now we have the best support in place for Danny. I am sure as he gets older his needs will change and we will encounter difficult times but I don’t feel that my life parenting Danny is any different from any other parents I know.
There are definitely improvements that need to be made for adopted children and adoptive parents so we don’t have to jump through so many hoops for support with health, education, therapy etc. There are delays for the sake of delays sometimes and this isn’t helping anyone.
HOWEVER, Danny has enriched my life in so many ways, I love him so much and cannot imagine my life without him. If I could have seen my life as it is now before we adopted the only thing I would do differently would have been to do it sooner. Danny was in foster care for a couple of years and I wish we could have had those years with him.
If you are considering adoption I would ask you to speak to 2 different types of people, the ones who have lived it and the professionals who can support you. It isn’t for everyone but if you think it could be for you its worth finding out!
Adoptive Mummy xx
It will be years until you read this (if you do at all) but I needed to write this down.
Dear Danny, thank you.
When I was younger (in the olden days) I used to dream about what my family would be like. When I look back on those dreams I realise I not only met them, but in my eyes exceeded all expectations for what a family actually is.
You have brought a light and excitement to my life, given me a purpose and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mum.
I love that when writing birthday cards for family the amount of kisses you give is whatever your age is, I love the cuddles we share everyday and I cherish every moment you say I love you.
I love the fun we have together, I love teaching you new things and I love watching you grow and learn (but I’m secretly searching for a way I can keep you 8 forever).
I love how you still want to hold my hand, I love how you rush to me in the playground everyday after school and I love that you tell me that you missed me even when you were sleeping.
You truly are the best son I could have ever asked for and I promise to love and protect with all my heart forever.
Thank you for being everything we wanted, thank you for being you.
Love you Always,
I remember staring at a profile of this gorgeous little boy with the biggest eyes I had ever seen and picturing what life would be like with him in our family.
When we got to learn more about Danny they told us that he has Global Developmental Delay, that he struggles in all aspects of his life but we didn’t care. We wanted Danny to be part of our lives, part of our family.
We were told of all the uncertainties for Danny, whether he would catch up to his peers, progress through school, live independently etc etc. None of these mattered to us, we already had a connection with him and would fight for him everyday.
He was 5 years old when we first saw his profile but nearly 6 when we got to meet him for the first time. He does struggle with things that some children might learn quickly or find easy but we take things at his pace. He loves sports and is a very active little guy.
The progress he has made in the last 2 1/2 years is OUTSTANDING.
- He has gone from not being able to read to reading Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger to me in 4 days.
- He’s gone from a fear of water to passing his Stage 1 Swimming.
- His writing is fantastic and he gets complimented on it often.
We were told in our prep training that adopters can’t just be good parents they have to be great parents. We’ve put it in a lot of effort with Danny, having countless meetings in school being his advocate and ensuring he gets everything he needs and that we are supporting at home. We do this because he is our son and we will do anything for him. We’ve always said we don’t care if he isn’t the highest achiever as long as he tries his best and he does that everyday.
My husband and I work well as a team and instead of being fearful of the uncertainties we embraced it and I’m so proud of Danny everyday, he has already achieved so much and we know this will continue.
Danny, I love you always and forever x
Pretty much from the moment we saw Danny’s profile at the Exploring Adoption Event we were attached. We loved this little guy and couldn’t wait for him to feel the same way about us.
It came very easily for Daddy and Danny to build a bond. Sadly, I had to work very, very hard to build an attachment to him. Luckily I was the one who took longer Adoption Leave which gave me the opportunity to bond while Daddy was at work. Probably because Danny’s female foster carer was the disciplinarian, he immediately saw me as the ‘not so fun stranger who was going to tell him off’. In reality, although Daddy is the sportier one of the two of us, I think I win the award for ‘Most Fun’ (not that Danny knew this at the time).
The first thing I tried was tickling. He repeatedly pulled his t-shirt up when he was playing in the garden so I said to him if I saw his tummy 2 times he was going to get tickled! I thought this would be a way of getting close to him but if he didn’t want it he just didn’t have to mess with his t-shirt. As it turned out, he loved it. Tickling became a special game that the two of us played throughout introductions (the period when a child moves from his or her foster carers to adopters).
Another thing I did during introductions was the bath time routine. This was a great opportunity to combine fun and close contact in a way he was perfectly happy with. I remember the first bath time I did with his foster carer when she told him to clean his teeth and he said “Mummy can do it”. I nearly cried. This was the first time he’d initiated contact and it was a sign of trust. A bathtime game that lasted a long time after introductions was to play with his 3 toy boats. At first we used them to re-enact the latest episode of Fireman Sam. But this soon changed to talking about our days through the boats – which was really lovely.
For the first few weeks he would always favour Daddy for most things and I took my opportunities when it was just us. Luckily the summer holidays arrived after two months of placement. This was the time I began to teach him how to read and we worked on his writing. We also went for long walks together. Precious time alone when we would hold hands. I think that, as he started to see all the progress he was making, the realisation that I was 100% on team Danny sunk in. He understood how much I cared for him and that he was with us forever.
I’m not going to lie and say that this process was easy because I did struggle initially. But, when this happened, I’d just take a moment to think what I was asking of the little guy. I wanted his trust, his love, his affection and he didn’t know me. I was grateful for the connection he’d made with my husband and knew that with patience and perseverance I would have that with him eventually.
Three years down the line we now have a strong connection. I love how excited he is to see me after school and the giant hug I get every day in the playground.
This was written for and published by First4Adoption – Thank you for the opportunity
Well with everything going on in the world 2016 doesn’t seem like it’s been the best year.
On a personal level many of you on twitter will know I’ve not been in great health the past few months with various things suggested from the doctor.. Hiatus Hernia, Stomach Ulcer, Coeliac Disease.. Turns out it was Stress.. Stress mainly caused by worrying about what I cannot control so I’ve decided to focus more on the positives than the negative..
These are 5 of our successes for 2016, in no particular order…
• Danny passing his Stage 1 swimming class
• Getting agreement from both the Head Teacher and Local Authority that Danny can remain in the year below for his entire education
• Joining Cubs and getting stuck in
• Having his first overnight stay away which was a success
• Making great progress at school have having excellent reports from his teachers.
Well done my little man, I am so proud of you each and every day. I love you x
As it is National Adoption Week I thought I would share my Top 5 moments about being Danny’s Mummy…
The enthusiasm I am greeted with in the school playground at home time
The way he says Mummmmmmmyyyyy when we are doing silly things together
The fun we have playing board games as a family instead of staring at the box (which normally seems to have Sky sports news on it these days!)
Playing ‘I’ve got no teeth’ when out walking and get those awkward looks but we don’t care, we are too busy laughing!
How much progress he’s made in every way, so very proud of him
I love you Danny, more than you will ever know, thank you for these moments xx