My phone rang during the coffee break at a seminar I was presenting.

I still have the scrap of pink paper containing those scribbled, fateful notes: “Girl, almost five years old.  Feisty, screams a lot, communication issues, charismatic, likes grapes, unidentified triggers, early trauma, same foster carers for four years, one sibling in foster care, North West England, when can we see you?”

I already knew enough.

Two months later she stood – tiny – on my doormat; delivered unceremoniously alongside three heartbreaking black bin bags full of stuff.

There was no honeymoon period.  The screaming began even before the social workers and foster carers had left. Our lives were in an instant irrevocably changed.

“CHT, we are not in Kansas anymore.”

Neither of us where prepared.  Neither of us really knew what had truly happened, or what lay in store.  But somehow we both knew right from the off that we were deep in this – together.  Whatever we had to throw at each other, we would somehow find a way to unravel the mess, make it as right as it can be, and move forward.

So, who are we?

CHT: born into unimaginable DV after being brain damaged through drinking and drugs while in utero.  Spent two years undergoing repeat attempts at repatriation, and then somehow got lost in the care system for three whole years.

Mumdrah: first started talking adoption at age 14. Not that I ‘didn’t’ want to have ‘my own’ kids, it’s just that I ‘did’ want to ‘scoop up someone who had been through the wringer’; for me this was option one.

It’s you and me now, kid.

Almost six years later (early 2013) and finally starting this website, I look back in amazement.  Nothing prepares you for this journey; nothing.  And I still can’t quite believe these words describe my – our – story; our battles, triumphs and victories.

We’ve had to reach down inside to find the skills to see this through: patience, resolve, self-love, forgiveness, curiosity, trust.  We’ve had to take on whole new personas – and invent new ones: Lion Tamer, Lioness, Negotiator, Researcher, Peacemaker, Bodyguard, Interpreter, Psychic, Therapist, Punch Bag, Shape Shifter, Battle Commander…

In addition, as if the initial upheaval, loss and change were not enough, since living together we have discovered that CHT has: an attachment disorder, been excluded from renewed contact with her mother, another sister, brain damage from ARND, become an auntie, had to move schools again, and lost her mother to suspected suicide.

Quite a ride.

For now, our adoption story pauses momentarily here, but we are still hanging onto our hats because we are: in the process of re-etablishing contact with Birth Father, on the cusp of transitioning to secondary school, and teetering on the brink of puberty.  Like Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree, our worlds and priorities constantly shift and change.  The loss and change never ends, it just twists and turns and throws up new surprises, as well as the same surprises at different levels of maturity and reflection.

We just get better at anticipating it, navigating it.

Adoption is an adventure like no other.  It challenges and stretches you, breaks you and bonds you.  The harder it becomes, the more we are equipped to explore the worlds opened up to us.  The one thing I can be sure of is that with CHT in my life, nothing will ever be dull.

For all your questions – of which there will be many (never enough, in my experience) – use the search function as I have tried to tag my posts.  And email me, follow on Twiter, or use the comment box; both me, CHT and this blog are here to help.

We can never have enough help where adoption is concerned.


28 thoughts on “OUR STORY:

  1. #jediadopters indeed; although today i feel a little more like Darth Maul than the friendly Obi Wan.

    Sharing our experiences does validate them. It can be a lonely road with little understanding. The more stories are told, the better it will be for future adoptions fighting their way through the maze! With love Mumdrah x

  2. Thanks you all. Writing and sharing my experiences is long overdue. So much change needed – in the adoption and FASD worlds. I hope I contribute a little through my corner of the internet – with the help of you all!

  3. Just jumped over from the Open Adoption Blogger page. What a neat story. Your blog sounds like it’s going to be a fun ride! I’ve been a fost-adopt social worker in the US for several years; it’ll be interesting to hear how it’s different in the UK.

  4. Wow. Much respect and admiration. A friend of mine has recently adopted – a wonderful, and challenging, thing to do. The world needs more people like you and her. I look forward to reading your posts x

  5. Another amazing post! :-) my mum was a foster parent for a long time and I grew up being sad for some of these children and the hurt they came with and the emotional damage that had been done.

  6. My parents long term fostered (he was never available to adopt) my brother. He is my brother, though not by birth, and he has a birth sister as well as myself and my two other birth sisters. He is amazingly important to me and my family.

    So I am speaking from that experience when I say; You are doing an amazing thing – I know that you know that but you should be told repeatedly. Thank you!

  7. What an amazing, heart-wrenching story. I love that you thought even at the age of 14 that you wanted to ‘rescue’ someone through adoption – obviously a vocation. I cannot imagine how tough it can be, I have 2 girls of similar age and they are hard work at the best of times, CHT has obviously gone through things that no child should ever have to experience :(

  8. Over from #PoCoLo. A big WOW from me too. You are an amazing person. Hope the path gets less bumpy for you, not that you come across as complaining about any of it – which is also Wow.

    • Oh my! If I can do justice to at least part of the story I am happy. Thank you for your praise; I’m blushing.
      So glad to have you beside us on the adventure. Mx

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. Wonderfully written. Very moving story. Such resonance.
    I agree with much that has been said above – you are quite a writer! And very inspiring!

  10. Feel free to list our website under your support organisations on your list. We support lots of adopters and foster carers, have lots of resources for children affected by FASD, as well as run support groups across the UK.
    All best wishes, Julia

  11. My two adopted children have been my life for the last 14 years. Whatever pain and joy I missed out on in giving birth has been substituted a thousand-fold with the challenges my husband and I have faced over the years.

    Likewise for the children, that they experienced terrible loss and insecurity in their early years which will shape their future despite our unceasing love and commitment to their needs. Never mind our careers – we were both highly qualified professionals but our true vocation and purpose in life is to make our children happy and give them the foundations for a happy long-term future.

    But despite our best motives and the many years of love and hard work this may not be enough. Any new adopter should be aware that early disruptive experiences can affect a child to adulthood, no matter how fantastic an upbringing they have subsequently. The most important thing is to provide a loving, stable home and hopefully a chance to make a fresh start..

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