By Gail Braznell
I guess there is no definitive answer to this question, but have we given it enough thought? Our adoption experience has been positive, and we have developed a solid secure base for Thomas who is thriving because of our parenting style, we believe.
Just over three years ago we officially became mommies, we knew we wanted to ride that roller coaster again — but now we have Thomas. How will he react? How will we react if we see him hurting? Will we recognise the signs that Thomas is hurting? How can we devote our time equally, not only to the children but for ourselves and each other too?
Thomas is a little invested in a sibling idea already and openly talks about ‘his baby’ One day, he talked about how he’d like to play with a little brother and share his toys. Another day he asked if the baby would be in Eve’s tummy. We explained that our baby would come to us like he did, that we could adopt another special baby, just like we did with him. Needless to say, he was thrilled. Not wanting to get Thomas over excited we don’t mention it again unless he does. But this emphasises how much we talk to Thomas without there being any pressure on him to absorb the information.
We have subtly mentioned he is adopted, we have also read adopted books to him to help sow the seed into his young mind. In your opinion, what we haven’t done enough of, is talk about his birth mummy and daddy. We do however recognise, that we need to prepare Thomas now he is starting to ask questions. In our subconscious mind, I guess we are where we feel, he needs to be at this stage in his journey. But, not only this we are confident our timing is correct and the “birth mummy and daddy mentions” are not too far away.
Involving Thomas in the adoption of another — whether it’s by choosing photos to display around the house, deciding where to put the new babies furniture or which toys we think baby/child might like are just some of the things we may discuss to help him feel included in the process. We are always lead by Thomas in our discussions and half the time we are actually unaware of what we are doing. It’s our natural parenting style, less nature more nurture. In addition, there may be some resentment from Thomas about welcoming a new sibling into the family. This could stir up feelings about his own adoption, but we just do not know yet. What we do know is we are ready and attuned to Thomas and we are here to reassure him that we are his family forever whatever happens.
If we are to be successful as second-time adopters we would also prepare Thomas for the inevitable questions and conversations that could be asked, he will then need a reassuring hand to guide him whilst he thinks about his answers and processes his thoughts.
Our families and friends were thrilled about our first adoption. Some may worry that, since we got the “perfect” child the first time around, we are tempting fate with a second. The preparation and hard work we have done for the first adoption will help us deal with a second child.
We are fully open to the fact that adopting a second time may be harder than the first time, but we hope there are lessons from one situation that we can learn and apply to the next one.
We are well aware that children available for adoption these days have often been removed from parents who have mental health, drug and alcohol problems. Please let us not forget that Thomas was one of these children. As you know, by the time some of these children are removed, they are already damaged by years of neglect and abuse. A second child will more than likely need extra attention, at times so does Thomas. We fully expected to be put through the mill with Thomas. But what helped us, was that we accepted his trauma and recognised his needs, something we are intending to repeat with a second child. Of course, there is no guarantee and we are also fully aware that breakdowns can happen later in life.