Undercover Adoption

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Adoption is our family’s big secret. It’s not because we’re embarrassed about it (far from it, I am very proud of what my children have achieved); no, we don’t tell people very often because it’s our children’s story to tell. My husband and I want the children to have the choice of who knows what about their past, and, at the moment, the children are too young to decide. So, we say nothing (most of the time) because you can always tell someone later but you can’t untell them. The problem is that ‘most of the time’. It isn’t only the children’s story; it’s my story and my husband’s story too. Obviously, there are the big moments of revelation. Publishing a book entitled ‘Living with Infertility’ gave a pretty big hint.

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There are little moments too. When one of the children casually mentioned the pets that their foster carers had, I desperately wanted to shout to every passing playground mum ‘I am a good mum, I took them out of care, I didn’t put them into care!’ That, I think, is the nub. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a bad mum (not that I think everyone whose children go into care is a bad mum, just that I worry that’s what people will think of me). When the children do things – which I obviously don’t want to specify! – that seem to me to be signs of early trauma, I desperately want to shout ‘it wasn’t me! I never hurt them!’ Then there’s the impact on me. I haven’t been a mum for as long as most people assume. When my children were born, I was still working and had no idea that they existed. So, I am less experienced than most (maybe even all) the mums of my children’s friends. I have massive gaps in my knowledge of my children’s early days and medical history. I frequently find myself watching for signs of Adoption-Related-Problems. When I’m worried about my children (and, come on, all parents worry), I always wonder: is this a child thing, or is this an adopted child thing? Then there’s the other mummy. My children think about their birth mother sometimes. We talk about her sometimes. I think about her a lot. I think of my children as a sacred trust at times; she (sort of) gave them into my keeping; I have duty to her. Other times I resent the scars she gave to my children. Other times I feel guilty about the wonderful moments (learning to ride a bike, first trip abroad, eating ice creams by the sea, and so many more) that I get to share with these children, and she doesn’t. To understand who I am now, you have to know about the adoption. Which is why, even though I worry that it isn’t the best thing for my children, sometimes I tell my friends about it. One day the children will be older and I’ll be able to talk to them about all this, and I won’t have to guess what they might want. But, until then, deciding who to tell our secret to will be something that worries me and induces incredible guilt and panic. But, in a way, that’s OK. Guilt and panic are two of the things that make me a mum, just like all the other mums! I’m not so different, after all!

Sleeping through the storm

There’s a storm outside. The rain is hammering on the windows and the wind is rattling the trees. But my children are snugly asleep in their beds upstairs and my husband and I are comfy on the sofa. I love being warm and safe inside, while the storm batters the walls and roof.

It’s the contrast, I think: the sound of the storm reminds me how dry and comfortable I am. I love the feeling of being safe and protected together that I get when we are all in the family car driving through ugly weather.

Remember that passage about Jesus sleeping through a storm? Mark 4:35&c Jesus calms the storm

I wonder if the disciples had another option. Instead of panicking and waking Jesus, could they have settled down, curled up, and slept next to Him?

A friend of mine called me the other day to offload about work. She told me her dilemma and said ‘I couldn’t sleep last night, I was tossing and turning’. How often that happens to us: worry robs us of sleep.

For the disciples, of course, the storm was of short duration. They woke Christ and He commanded the storm to cease. I don’t think that always happens. Many of life’s storms last many nights. And if the storm isn’t going to be over quickly, we need to be able to sleep while it rages.

So, let the troubles toss and the world turn; when night falls, I will curl up in my little boat, next to Christ, and sleep through the storm.

In peace I will lie down and sleep. For You, O Lord, keep me safe.

Making Time to Write!

Presumably this is a pretty common problem.
There is only so much time in the day, and there are so many more important things to do! When there’s laundry to be done, dinner to be made, and you can’t see the carpet for books and weird bits of plastic that the children leave in their wake, writing seems rather self-indulgent.
Is it acceptable to put your children in front of a film on TV so that you can get an hour’s writing done?
Currently, I have one writing day a week. That’s one day when I don’t do housework, but instead I use every spare minute to write. Then I have a notebook in the bathroom (because that’s the only room I am ever alone in!) and I write in there every day, even if all I can manage is five minutes.
Proverbs 31:15-18 http://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2031:15-18&version=NIV
The Proverbs passage about the wonderful wife describes a woman who not only takes care of her family, but also manages her own business. My writing is my vineyard. I have to make time to tend it, and there is no need to feel guilty about that.
Arguably the passage also suggests that I could make more time by getting up earlier. But when I got up early this morning that only created enough extra time to take the children to the park on the way to school. Which was, I suppose, a success of sorts.