I’ve always wanted to have a family, and always assumed I’d pop out a couple of sproggers in the conventional way. Then a few years ago this desire to have a family became really strong, and it felt like the right time to crack on with it.
Surprisingly though, I started to develop a strong desire to adopt, rather than to have birth children. The more I researched and prayed about adoption, the more certain I became that it was the way we should grow our family.
My Christian faith definitely motivated me to do this, and it felt like it fit with who I am and what I feel is important in life. If you know me well, you’ll know how often people compare me to Mother Teresa. (Or am I thinking of the Vicar of Dibley?) Anyway, that’s nun of your business (sorry not sorry).
Good old Mother T said this: ‘Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted are the most terrible poverty.’ The bible says that: ‘What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). This is not the stuffy list of rules and regulations people often think of when they hear ‘religion’, but really practical love in action stuff that makes a difference to other people’s lives – often to those who have no-one else in the world to care for them.
I didn’t feel any sense of religious obligation to adopt, but my heart was full of excitement at the prospect of giving an unwanted child a forever family. (Must get my nun outfit dry cleaned – I was doing this regularly but then got out of the habit!!).
I’ve known real love and stability in my life, and very much felt like I wanted to offer that to a child without it. I felt much more excited about adopting than I did about carrying and giving birth to a child. (Or am I kidding myself and I’m really just too posh to push??!!)
I worried at first that people would think I was weird or abnormal for feeling this way, but I chose not to focus on this, and did what I felt was right – and what I wanted to do. Plus, a biological child may inherit all of my husband’s irritating habits, along with my massive snout and addiction to Kit Kat chunkys. (Currently on day 20 of Lent which this year involves no cake, chocolate or sweets – approach with extreme caution is all I’ll say!)
I also knew from the start that I wanted to adopt a child with Down Syndrome – to parent a child who was unwanted because of their perceived ‘disability.’ I believe that people are so valuable and equal in worth, regardless of things like how many chromosomes they have. Our daughter totally rocks her extra chromosome and she brings so much joy and love to so many people’s lives.
I realise it’s very special to conceive, carry, and birth a child – it’s an amazing thing that women’s bodies are designed to do. I also know I’d be the worst pregnant woman ever – there’d be no blooming, I’d be a bloomin’ nightmare!
I’d argue that adoption is just as special as having biological children. It’s not the right route for everyone, but for some it is. When I look at my daughter I honestly have no regrets – I wouldn’t change a thing about our route to parenthood (apart from maybe shaving a year off the process!). She feels like ‘ours’ in every way. We are convinced we couldn’t love her any more even if we had conceived and carried her.
I’m writing this in a coffee shop with her asleep on my left shoulder, her head in the patch of milky sick I now have on every jumper I own. I am overwhelmed by how much me and her daddy love her.
Krish Kandiah, who runs an amazing organisation called ‘Home for Good,’ says: ‘There are more ways to be family than genetic connections. Love trumps biology.’ I can now say from experience that this is so true!
In honesty, the adoption journey has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever faced – it is emotionally costly, often discouraging, and there are periods of waiting you think will never end. I think I’m quite a strong person, but have to admit I feel like I’ve been wazzed up in a blender on an emotional level. But the children who are waiting are so worth it. Our daughter is so worth every form (and there are so many forms!), every medical, every social worker visit, every panel, every training session and every month that goes by in the process where nothing seems to be happening.
She enhances our lives in so many ways………
I love how she wakes up jabbering and full of joy and smiles every morning (the polar opposite to my grumpy self).
I love how at such a young age she has her daddy wrapped round her little finger when I’ve tried for 11 years and not succeeded.
I love her cheeky eyes and her smile so full of mischief – we are partners in crime for sure.
I love how when she’s in a mood she sticks her bottom lip out really far and squawks loudly for attention. (It never works for me but fair play to her for trying).
I love that the first time she laughed was when I was singing ‘Dead Ringer for Love’ by Meatloaf to her (chooon!)
I love how she looks like she could be an extra on TOWIE with an orange tan on her face caused by blended carrot.
I love how she stares at me intensely in the eyes and flares her nostrils when she’s having a poo (not saying who she takes after on that point).
I love the funny noises she makes and how we try to decide if she sounds more like a seagull or a trolley with a squeaky wheel.
I love her warm and toasty head which is like a little jacket spud out of the oven.
I love that we’ve had the privilege of adopting her and welcoming her into our family forever.
I love her extra chromosome and I wouldn’t change her for the world.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog!
Kate (aka Mother T) xx