The Things We Miss

My previous post was a re-blog of a fellow adopter listing what he thought were the top 10 pro’s and con’s to adopting. One which got me thinking was this:

You will miss the early important bonding period and some important milestones in your children’s lives

Even if a child is adopted from birth there are things the adoptive parents will miss out on, usually the actual birth for one, but the longer the child is in care the more that will be missed.

We will never know what our eldest son’s first word was. We don’t know which was his first tooth, nor when it came through. We don’t know when he first started to crawl nor when he took his first step. We don’t know if he was bottle or breast fed as a baby, we have an idea, but will likely never know for sure. All these things that parents bringing up their biological children know with absolute certainly, we will never know about our eldest son.

We know more about our youngest son. We know he was slow to rollover and to start crawling, but once he did he was lightning fast. That quickly progressed into walking and we were there to witness his first independent step. We know that his first recognisable word said in context was the name of our dog. We weren’t there for his first tooth, but we know which one it was due to the diligence of his foster carer at the time documenting all she could.

Other things which biological parents would know we don’t. We don’t know why our children have the names they have, we may be able to find that out if their birth parents engage properly in the letterbox contact we have all signed up to. That is something we will definitely be asking, but we don’t hold out much hope. I know why I’m called the name I have, I know who picked it and although that’s not something that is overly important to me, not knowing is something that would set our children apart from others, and is a common question that we are asked.

But if I’m honest? None of what we don’t know really matters all that much, not at the moment. Instead we concentrate on those things we do know, the things we can and have witnessed. We can see the progress our children make, the healing of the damage their early life may have left them with. We create new milestones that may be smaller than the first step, but are unique to us.

We have a long road ahead of us, and the healing will probably never be complete, but our smaller milestones allow us to see that healing in action. Whether it’s seeing the child who couldn’t walk without tripping over his own feet due to physical impairment run all the way around a sports field with his Nanny, not falling once, or the child who had a question mark over his early development meet all his key targets; we see progress every day.

We take pride in the things that they show us they can do, and in their absolutely incredible resilience. They continue to amaze and surpass every limitation we were led to believe they might have. They show us that regardless of the start we have that anything is possible.

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