Why.. I Want To Be A Mother

As part of this process I've been forewarned that the Social Worker (SW) is going to want to delve quite deeply into everything there is to know.. my background, family, experiences growing up, relationships, etc. Anything that will give them an idea as to whether I will make a good mother and what kind. That at times it may seem unnecessarily intrusive or even irrelevant..

I know "why" in my head.. but I know as I tell more people my plans and when I finally meet the SW, I am going to need to be as articulate as I can be. I guess the "why" is technically 2 questions... why do I want to start a family and why do I want to adopt.. but to me they're sort of the same answer.. so here goes!

I've already read a number of books and have more on the way, in attempt to gather as much information as possible about what to expect during the process and also guidance around adoptive children, how to help them adapt and settle, etc. and how I can help myself cope with the lasting effects of a potentially traumatic start in the child's life.

But one in particular "What to Expect When You're Adopting" has been great at focusing my mind on 2 very simple questions.. why do I want it and what do I think I have to offer. These 2 questions, though simple in appearance actually require me to think about how I got here and why and how I've coped or not coped, all the mistakes I've made and whether I've learnt from them. My life from 0 - 32 has shaped who I am and the social worker will want to know only this.. am I now and will I remain, good enough to be a single parent to an adoptee.

Firstly and simply.. I always have wanted to be a mother. Even when I was trying to convince people that I wasn't interested, anyone that saw me with other children would know what a lie that was. I am just very good at self-defence.. :-)

When at 21 you're with a man 13 years your senior who has just told you he never wants to have children, it's easier to brush any thoughts of it aside until you're ready to deal with the possible loss of that opportunity forever should you stay with him.

When you're with a man that for years says "we're not ready".. meaning he isn't,  it's easier to pin a smile on and think one day he will be, so let's not think about it till then else the disappointment will be too much.

In my early teens, I helped to look after my two brothers who were about 6 and 2 the last time I lived at home at 16. Practically and emotionally, I felt responsible for them where my parents failed. The youngest (J) had his cot in my room and would spend most nights with me giving in to his crying and letting him clamber in to bed with me. I had to do as much for him practically as a mother would and as a result, felt a mothers love for him.

The gap between me and my other brother (S) meant we clashed a lot around that time. Both "troubled" as a result of our childhood experiences but in different ways and instead of finding comfort in each other we tormented each other and constantly tried to make the other look like the worse child.

When I told my Lovely Aunt, that I was starting down this journey, she remarked that she thought I would have had enough raising children after having to look after J & S but in reality all it did was cement my longing to have the chance to be a proper mother.

That was when I first thought about adoption.. not in a serious focused way, but knowing that I could love a child that was not my own, even as only a teen myself.. knowing that those feelings of wanting to tear the world apart to protect something were real.. I knew adoption was something I would never be put off by if it came to it.

So many experiences in my life have made me want to start a family. Not just to start a family but to be a part of one. I've grown up never really feeling that I was, that I was on the outside looking in and trying to force my way in but never quite making it.

My grandad, though never openly to me, I know was slightly racist and not at all happy with my mothers choice in bed partner at the time - being half Jamaican. I grew up surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins who were all white. My mother and subsequent step-fathers have all been white. As we schlepped around the country, for one bloke after another, I attended schools where you could count on one hand the number of non-Caucasians. Equally I have attended schools where you could count on one hand the number of non-Asian pupils, so either way I've stuck out like a sore thumb. When my mother met my current step-dad (P), S took his surname being only a baby at the time. J and later my sister A, of course had his name. So again I was the odd one out.

When I was 15, we went on a family holiday.. I visited some beautiful countries that I would love to revisit one day, but the whole trip was covered in a black cloud. My (step) grandparents were with us and we visited family they had out there. I remember the first couple we visited.. distant cousins I think, P's mum held up J on the threshold and said "here his is.. this is my grandson.. " with the widest grin on her face and after remembering we were there.. "oh and these are J's (my mother) children". Before the end of the trip, she took a "family" photo of her son, daughter-in-law and the children and somehow I ended up not in. Just behind her looking in on a family that was supposedly my own and feeling like a stranger.

I've never forgotten that trip, not least of all because P and I clashed horribly the whole time and it really was the beginning of the end for our relationship. I swore then that if I was ever be lucky enough to start my own family, I would never, ever, allow my child to feel like an outsider.

I have another brother (one for another post :-) ).. who I have not seen for about 18 years. I do not know where he is, or what he's doing. He is only about 18 months younger than me. Of my friends, 4 of them have children all of which I have seen grow up from birth. I think almost all of my cousins have children. So I have been around "children" my whole life, watching them grow. Watching them torment their parents and siblings. Seeing the best and worst of them. Seeing the best and worst of their parents during the good times and the bad. Watching them bloom. And always I have thought.. "I want my chance."

I want to feel what it's like to have the unconditional love of a child. I want to know what it's like to give it. I want to see a child with a personality I've helped to shape grow into a wonderful person. I want to hear a child's laughter and know I'm part of the reason for it. I want to learn to be strong when my child has just started kicking in the bean tins in the supermarket. I want to teach a child about the world and how not to make the same mistakes or to learn from those they do make. I want to buy school uniforms and marvel at how tall they're grown. To teach them how to be strong and not let people drag you down. I want to struggle with giving in over bed times and not giving in over meal times. I want to know if the naughty step really works. I want to be the rock and anchor for someone for the rest of their life and for my child to know it deep down even when they're screaming at me.
That's "why" I want to be a mother..

And this is "why" I want to adopt.

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