It is a question I ask myself all the time. Why am I writing this? What do I expect to happen if I put these thoughts out into the big wide world?
Certainly the reason why I originally began writing it is not the same as the reason why I am writing it now. My About Us page states:
From August 2013 our government altered the adoption approval process to make it more efficient and therefore speed it up in order to help find permanent homes for the many children in the care system.
This blog is about our experiences right from the outset of the new adoption process and beyond.
Our adoption process concluded in December 2015, so I guess I am now in the ‘beyond’ section.
Initially my intentions were to write about our experiences for other people to read, so that they went into the new process better informed than we were. The process was only 6 months old when we first looked into it, and there was very little information about how it really worked. All we had to go on were the scripted ‘This is how the two stage process works’ talks that we got from a couple of adoption agencies that we spoke to.
But there was a point where my motivation changed.
Everything was going so well up to and including our approval panel. We had heard about the nightmares some people had had with their social workers, but we had no such experience, and I continued documenting how each of our assessment sessions went giving a run down of what we talked about.
After approval panel we started having to deal with more and more social workers, the ones involved in the matching process. It was here that things went awry. It was then that I started to realise that the blog was a resource for us as well. A way of telling our story, to vent our frustrations, to share our experiences with people who have been there before, people who could offer us empathy, support and most importantly advice on how to proceed.
It was at that point my blog style changed. It went from a fairly dry run down of what was going on (with attempted humour), to aiming to show the emotional toll that the adoption process and life whilst in it could have on you. I persevered with it because it not only became a cathartic release of frustrations, but it also garnered the support we needed from those who had experiences that the people in our real life didn’t have.
Without the support of the people who read, commented on and messaged us using the blog we would never have found the courage to challenge the decision that was made to sever our link to our children during the matching process. Challenging that decision got it overturned and the rest is history.
The change of style was not conscious. It was only after I revealed my blog to the adoption agency that I actually realised how important it had been. They attempted to silence it, stating that, despite it being anonymous (other than the few people who knew about it), it was a security risk to our future children. They even claimed that it would upset the children’s foster carer (who also knew about it and is actually the biggest advocate of me writing it even now!). It was the one time I felt real resentment toward our own social worker, she clearly had no clue just how instrumental the blog had been in getting us matched to our children or how important a tool it had been in gaining support from people who had been there before.
I shut my blog down for a while, making all my posts password protected; passwords that only a very few family members and friends had access to, but I continued writing it. I only really started publicly writing again after our Adoption Order paperwork was sent off. I moved my blog to a new web address just in case and removed all trace of it from the old location. If social services still know about it they have never said anything since.
Once our adoption process came to its conclusion with the granting of our Adoption Order, I started wondering what I should write about. I started having to actually think about topics. Moving from “adoption process” to “adoptive parent”.
I wouldn’t say I ever really plan a post, I usually have a subject in mind that has been milling about in my brain, write a title, and then sit down and write. The majority of my posts are written in the space of about half an hour with no real planning unless it’s a difficult post, or I’m not 100% sure of something I want to write about so have to look it up. My most popular posts tend to be the ones I write in a very short space of time.
My motivations for blogging are now threefold.
Firstly, an attempt to create discussion around issues that adopters and children in care face. Blog posts that fall into this category began as me attempting to justify – unnecessarily for sure – why we do certain things differently to other parents, I always try to bring my own experiences into the posts and hope that people can either draw parallels or learn something. How successful I am at that remains to be seen!
Secondly, there is still a slight catharsis in some of what I write. When something annoys me I find it very difficult to let it go – I hold grudges, I lose sleep, I get anxious – the blog has given me an outlet that my brain needs to quiet itself. Annoyingly the stuff that I would really like to write about, certain battles with social services that we have had since our Adoption Order went through I cannot write as they affect more than just our children. If I ever find a way to write about those without exposing anyone then I shall.
Thirdly, I write anecdotes of our lives as a family with a slight adoptive tilt on them. These are all real stories, and I tend to do these because the blog is, for the most part, anonymous. I do not share photos of my children on social media, I never will in order to protect their identities (I am a tad jealous of adopters who are able to do this I have to admit!). Instead, I anonymously tell stories about what they are up to, because I am proud of them.
I will never really know how much impact my blog has on people, if I’m honest I am amazed at how many people actually keep coming back to read it! But if any post does have an impact on someone, or offers advice or support in someone’s time of need then I will have given back to the readers what they have done for us.
So, I guess that is the main reason why I blog now: To attempt to give back to the community what we were given when we needed it most.