1. We are pixellated out of existence
Want to use Facebook? You can’t. Photograph going into the local paper? Stop. Want to write and blog about adoption? You will have to create a clever alter-ego, cover your tracks, worry worry worry about being tracked down.
2. We are embarrassing
We are not able to take part in perfectly normal conversations. ‘My little Billy spilt yoghurt down himself today and then said ‘bum’ to me, just like that, well I couldn’t believe it,’ is a common enough type of playground opener. When normal in your home is dinner on the floor followed by ‘f*** off, I hate you, you’re not my real mother’ there is a lack of common ground. And sharing experiences like this at social occasions is like throwing down a sack of tumbleweed. Awkward does not even begin to describe it. So we smile and learn to keep quiet.
3. We have ‘naughty’ children
Our children make friends with the one child in the school that all other parents warn their children against. This makes our child socially off-limits. This makes us socially off-limits too. Our children will behave differently, they will struggle with relationships. Our children will not get invited to parties. You will have to witness the public giving out of the invitations, in the playground as you watch your child ‘putting on a brave face’. The playground becomes a horrible horrible place to be, you dread it every day.
4. We are crazy
We all know that early neglect and abuse produces damaged children, don’t we? No it seems that many teachers do not know this. It seems that many doctors do not know this. They express surprise when we seek help in managing our damaged children. They tell us that our children are now in a loving home and should be alright by now. They blame us, we who have chosen to parent the abused. They are the all-powerful. We are the delusional, the attention-seeking, drama queens, the lots of us. We are fobbed off with ritalin and antidepressants for f*** sake! We are silenced.
5. The adoption fiction
There are not enough adopters. We are asked to help promote adoption. Suddenly adoption is on the tele, in the newspapers, on the internet. But hang on, what is all this kitch guff about angels being born in my heart, people look starry-eyed into the camera ‘my angels’ they gasp, ‘my family has been completed’. Have they been medicated? But their story is fluffy lovely and palatable. Don’t tell the truth, people might not like it.
6. We are tired
That hollow-eyed exhaustion, that punch bag brain feeling with which we are familiar is not a great social asset. We turn down social invitations, if we ‘make an effort’ and go out we sit in silent oblivion or drink too much and become embarrassing.
We attend meetings at school, trying to lobby for better support for our children, zombie-eyed, confirming the pre-conceptions that we are woolly brained, making a fuss. We need maximum confidence when we are knackered and alone.