So this week we had to choose our criteria for our future children.
It felt a little bit like going to Subway: I’ll have a six inch Hearty Italian with tuna, NO cheese. Toasted, but with the onion on first, and then peppers and cucumber added after with a little bit of BBQ sauce, and a little bit of mayo. Yum.
When it’s children, it’s not so fun.
Questions like: what is your comfort level with a child who uses sexual behaviour to respond to stress? a child born of an incestuous relationship? a child with experience of physical abuse? a child who has cerebral palsy?
How can we opt to choose an ‘easy’ life, when these children never had the choice?
What if we had a birth child born with Downs Syndrome, or Autism, or a mobility impairment, would we send them back?!
But as we filled in the forms something that the social workers have been saying all along, clicked! The adoption process is not about getting the parents the best children, it’s about finding the best families for the children.
They’re not asking us “what can we get you?” They need us to ask “What can we give you?”
Are we strong enough, equipped enough, able, to provide the love, boundaries and care that these children need? Alongside the therapeutic parenting all adopted children need? Ticking yes, yes, yes because we feel guilty saying no is NOT in the best interests of the child. These children deserve the absolute best love and support. NOT parents who are barely coping just to avoid feelings of guilt.
After a long, hard afternoon we have completed our form ready for the social worker tomorrow. We will hand it in guilt free knowing that we have not asked “what do we want?” but “what do they need?”
Not “can you meet our needs?” but “can we meet yours?”
And then we will carry on waiting, and trusting, that our children are on their way to us.