I’ve been officially on my adoption journey for over a year now – not counting the years of thinking about it before I officially picked up the phone for the first time – and I’ve been blogging about it on and off since January.
It has just struck me: that’s quite a long time. So what’s the last year or so been like, viewed through my Pedalling Solo lens?
Firstly, an overview:
I have had some really great experiences, and made some amazing new friends. I have also had some times when I have had to dig deep. I have learned much, read more (and forgotten half of it already of course), and accumulated rather an extensive library to turn to in the future – if I ever have time to read in my future world. I know there are fundamentals in me that have not changed at all – and other things about me that have developed hugely. (For example, while I had come across the concept of attachment theory before I didn’t really know much about it, and definitely didn’t have the no doubt tedious capacity to link it into some otherwise normal conversation on what seems to be a daily basis!) I have had experiences that left my mind boggled (attending the Exchange Day trade fair marketplace springs to mind), and experiences that have moved me such that I have subtly had to wipe away tears (viewing one of the DVDs on our preparation training being a notable occasion).
It is rare, I suspect, that anyone’s adoption journey feels entirely smooth. I know compared to many I have so far been relatively lucky, yet my travel through this adoption territory has still been erratic, going in fits and starts with times when I have seemed to shoot ahead, and times when the graffiti on that week or month’s stop has begun to seem rather monotonous.
Perhaps in sympathy with this, I have also been an inconsistent blogger – inspired one month then quiet the next, constantly struggling between the desire to tell a story and share anecdotes, the need to be considered and thoughtful, and my aim to retain my anonymity as much as possible in case I want to carry on blogging in the future. Despite this, I believe overall I have portrayed my adoption journey fairly.
Sometimes of course this means I have been a bit repetitive – one of my very earliest posts was entitled “The waiting game“, and then in the summer I wrote another longer, rather more analytical piece on “The Adoption Wait“. Mind you, maybe that’s hardly surprising – one of the reasons the journey is so erratic is because waiting is a *huge* part of being a prospective adopter for most of us, so perhaps it’s a good reflection of reality!
My status as a singly has periodically taken centre stage. In “The Single Potential Adopters Gang” I raised a glass to my fellow Twitter travellers in the singly compartment at that time; while “The Ricochet” acknowledged some of the really hard, self-analytical, complex internal dilemmas my decision to adopt as singly was going to present me with not just during preparation but (hopefully) on into the reality of daily parenting.
Linking up to #WASO has sometimes inspired me to put finger to keyboard on subjects that I suspect I may otherwise never have written about in such detail: I am sure the theme of “Forever” was aimed at established adopters and their children already on the journey, but for me it was an opportunity to ponder on the emotional and psychological depths of what forever means for both me and for a child, with our very different perspectives – and how slippery an idea it is, if we are honest, hard to truly grasp and never staying the same. As with a number of posts I have written – another good example would be yet another attempt to get my head around the strange way in which time passes on a journey like this in “Time: a strange creature indeed” – writing about the process of learning, becoming approved and then going through matching has also helped me think about how my experiences link into my parenting future as well.
On a lighter note there are some aspects of oneself that don’t seem to change regardless of context: I enjoy taking photos (though I haven’t mastered the anonymity/photograph challenge at all!) but I rarely feel the need to be in them, so when I needed a photo for my profile the challenge was on for someone who is Very firmly #NotTheSelfieGeneration!
The process of matching I have found difficult – perhaps this is why I have returned to it again and again. Back in April, alongside an update on Stage 2, I was already thinking ahead to the tribulations of matching before I’d even gone to panel, and then in October I ended up writing not one but two posts on matching (largely to avoid total overload in one post!), with thoughts on both the practical and the emotional challenges matching presents.
Matching has also been a theme not only in several of my reports back as correspondent from the prospective adopter frontline (especially the joys of the Activity Day or the Exchange Day) but also throughout many of my storytelling posts, such as this broad look at Stage 2 from June, or at the beginning of November the tale of my personal encounter with not only matching but also unmatching.
Finally, I cannot leave this round-up without mentioning some of the other recurring actors in this blog.
Firstly I have been lucky to have had not one but two really good (if very different) Social Workers (even if I have been known to lack in keeping up my part of the game by forgetting the biscuits!) I have tried hard to give credit where due, recognising that part of a Social Worker’s job is to challenge as well as support – so doing their jobs well can involve telling me things that make me think! I continue to owe them my thanks.
Even more important actors though are my amazing family and friends. My Mum has been a key actor in quite a few of the set pieces as well as a constant presence – including being there at my Approval Panel of course! Similarly my brothers and sisters (and their partners) are so important to me, and will be to my future child, and again I can’t imagine doing this without them. Some of my off-piste wanders down runs adjacent to my main adoption course have also been about people who are important to me too – recently My Father was much in my mind, while way back at the beginning of the year I had some very upsetting news about an amazing young man who had been part of my journey before I even started to consider adopting .. so I shared some of His story too. And throughout my journey I have been accompanied by my online and offline companions, friends old and new, amazing people I have “met” but never met through Twitter, and comrades who I may see but occasionally but who still know me inside and out. Again and again – too often to reference – I have referred to them. Any of you reading this now – you know who you are, and thank you!
I think that’s enough for now.
With this post I will have blogged every day in November (yep, #NaBloPoMo I am done, thank you for your inspiration!). It seems appropriate to end my month-long blogging drive with this look backwards. In December I imagine I will take a step back, but I have enjoyed the compulsion to push myself, to think, to learn, to analyse. I have enjoyed the discipline too of the writing itself, and of producing something every day – even if sometimes when I have left it late in the evening the pull of my pillow, calling me away from the screen has been strong! And I have enjoyed the fact that I have ended up, for the sake of a topic, making myself think through and explore issues I might otherwise have ignored (obviously as well as posting about tomatoes, Twitter, YNAB and blogging itself along the way!).
Thank you to all of you who have dropped in over the last year or just during this month. Please do return.
I look forward to sharing more of my adoption journey with you.