On a side note before I start, I'm also going to flag up the weekly adoption shout out scheme I have just come across
15th Feb 2103
24 hours after hearing the news from the LA that they will train us as prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and I'm still catching myself smiling happily just because the journey has finally started. The reality is finally starting to sink in a bit though, in a way that it hadn't before yesterday.
Reality 1 - I'm going to be a Dad. It's something I've always wanted and over the last few months its something I've had to start working hard towards but suddenly it seems daunting. its no longer just a vague 'I'm going to be a Dad at some point' to 'I'm going to be a Dad at some point in the near future'. All the thoughts that my male friends are telling me are starting to surface , "Am I going to be able to cook food you'll want to eat?", "Will I master the art of putting clothing on a wriggling child?" "Will we have a good relationship?", "How much will you moan when I try to get you to come walking with me?", "Are you going to want to watch cricket matches with me without saying 'Dad, can we go yet? I'm bored' all day?", "How am I going to pay for all the things you need and some of the things you want?", "Will you understand that there is a difference between those two categories?", "Will I be a good role model?" - basically "Will I cope?". In my heart I'm sure I will, but that doesn't stop the doubts.
Reality 2 - I'm going to be a Dad at some point in the near future - that sentence has a vagueness than birth parents don't really have to face. If things go quickly and smoothly, you could be with us in 6 months time. Alternatively, I could still be wondering when you are going to turn up in a years time. I got an email from the local theatre advertising the Christmas panto - I was thinking of taking K. and L. but I don't know if you'll need a ticket or not yet. There's even an outside chance you might be here to watch Hampshire win the t20 championship for the 3rd time in 4 years!
Reality 3 - The chances are you are already out there somewhere, maybe with your birth family, maybe with foster carers or some other situation. I don't know what you are going through right now but I hope that you are safe and looked after, that someone is taking care of you properly. I hope for all that, but I know that the reality could well be different. At best you are probably with foster carers, well-fed, properly clothed, a warm bed, toys to play with, getting the medical care you need and the attention you deserve. At worst....at worst the odds are that you weren't getting all of that. I know that bad things happen to people who don't deserve it, for all sorts of reasons. Hearing stories about neglect, abuse and all the other horrific things that are out there is hard enough when it happens to a stranger. You aren't a stranger, you are my child. And to make things worse, there's nothing I can do to protect you right now. That makes me angry and furious in a way that I've never felt before. It sounds silly - getting angry and furious over something that may not even be happening, feeling it is personal when I know nothing about who you are yet. It certainly sounds irrational, but then when has parental love and concern ever been rational?
Reality 4 - At this stage your mum and I know nothing about you - What's your name? Are you male or female? How old are you? What colour are your eyes and hair? What's your favourite colour/toy/food? and a thousand other similar questions. Every prospective parent is just as ignorant at the start, but I find it a bit bizarre to think that there are people out there who do know these things.
It seems wrong to end a letter with 'I love you' when you don't know the first thing about the recipient, but it seems just as wrong to write a letter to my child and not say it. How about this as a compromise?
I will love you,