Two years ago I left a comment under an article about adoption on the website of the online Social Work magazine Community Care. I can’t remember what angle the article took but it must have bugged me because I rarely leave comments under articles.
In response to my comment came an email from the Children’s Editor of Community Care, Camilla Pemberton, asking if I might be interested in writing a guest blog piece for her. At the time I was trying, unsuccessfully to find a publisher for a book I was writing. Flattered and with nothing to lose, I wrote a short piece and Camilla published it.
Many blog pieces and a publishing contract later I found myself stood in front of 500 people in the ballroom at The London Hilton on Monday evening, collecting an award for Business Columnist of the Year from the British Society of Magazine Editors. It was an out of body experience to a Katy Perry soundtrack. I vaguely remember racing to the stage in a blur of bright lights, music and shock and being handed something by Diane Kenwood, the editor of Woman’s Weekly and the comedian Andy Parsons. Just to get the evening further into perspective, the award presented after mine was won by Caitlin Moran.
I returned to my seat and Camilla and I drank champagne and cocktails into the night and revelled in our unlikely success.
Twenty four hours later, after a queasy and long train journey home I was suddenly back in my real life, dealing with the fallout from two children who don’t manage a night of my absence well. It is understandable but not pretty, and devilishly difficult to respond correctly to when burdened with one of the best/worst hangovers I’ve ever had. (The gin hangover is in my experience something quite different from the others.)
I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to Camilla and Ruth and the rest of the Community Care team for publishing my articles and to the British Society of Magazine Editors for reading and liking my sometimes difficult and raw pieces, which don’t always conform to what we think we know about children, adoption and trauma. Although it isn’t possible for me to write under my own name the roar is all mine. And on Monday night, under the glitter of the crystal chandeliers, I realised that my roar has been heard. It was the night of my life.
Because i wasn’t cared for as a baby i find school difficult,lessons a lot harder and friendships harder to form. The first day back at school is always the hardest because I’m used to relaxing and talking non-stop, I find R.S the hardest because we have to learn about the things I don’t believe in. I don’t believe god looks after children otherwise i wouldn’t be writing this and had to experience what i did, It could have been worse but I’m still affected by it. I was abused for 2 years but not as bad as the other children who were there longer i feel really sorry for what they are experiencing it must be really hard.
I find friendships difficult because i don’t know what to talk about. Other boys talk about violent games which i am not allowed because it makes me more aggressive towards other people. I have played them before in front of my mum and she saw the slitting of throats and we got rid of it and my aggression improved. I try to keep up with the latest football scores but i find it boring to watch. Because i missed playing when i was younger Im just catching up and play instead of watching football like everyone else. It makes me calm when i play and i play in my room where no one can disturb me.
It makes me feel different and get special treatment at school which i don’t like having but i do like being different in a way because I’m not like everyone else.
It feels strange being with a adoptive family as they’re not your blood mum and dad.
Im glad I’m one on the lucky ones to have survived!
I get angry with Radio channels and posters (in my RS room) saying that ‘Neglected and abused children are more likely to commit crimes’ Which is in a way discriminatory. It isn’t our fault we were abused and neglected we had no choice as we were babies and couldn’t fight back. I will NEVER meet my birth mum or dad because i would lash out and get in trouble.
When i was abused i got a scar on my face and my teeth bent when a metal pole was forced into my mouth all i can remember was there was a lot of blood. I now get teased for all sorts the names are wild like ‘rabbit’ ‘beaver’ loads more!
Having a bad past has made my life hell as I’m teased.
I feel stronger everyday of speaking out about me being adopted, in my second primary school i bring in my birth story book and told everyone i was adopted then the teasing stopped but we were about to leave for secondary school. I have a favourite T.A which i cannot name for privacy which understands everything and i can go to her with my problems most of the time.
In the future i dream of becoming a police man to help other people with problems. The life at home is amazing because comparing it against my birth home it is amazing, my mum is a special breed as she is funny and odd some times as i write she is sat next to me making and elastic band ball and my dad is funny as well but but can we grumpy when he has had a bad day at work so we give him love
This week is about finding homes for children who are ‘hard to place’, which i don’t like because children who have been abused and neglected deserve to have safe and amazing families like mine.
As an adopter of two ‘harder to place’ children I would love to write, during National Adoption Week, about love hearts and happy endings but the truth is less marketable than that. Parenting our children, loving them, has been the hardest, most brilliant, scariest, most wonderful thing I have ever done in my life. If you think you may be up to the challenge of adopting children from local authority care then please make the first step and contact the adoption information gateway First4Adoption, or your local adoption charity or authority for information.
Parenting children who have suffered neglect and abuse is utterly life-changing. Here are 35 things that I’ve done as a result of adopting our brilliant children:
Become a mother
Met lots of very nice social workers
Learnt about brain development
Really understood what empathy is
Loved a cat called Ron
Been a school governor
Lost my temper over a broken biro
Been brave, taken risks
Met some really groovy people
Stumbled upon a writing career
Written a book, ‘No Matter What’
Been shortlisted for an award
Hugged a hoodie
Watched a Barbie film
Got really scared
Got things into perspective
Changed my views; on parenting, on education, on lots of things