As I write this we have just become your longest ever home and I look back to see how far you have come, how much you have changed since that day when we first met you. Not only you though, as I have changed too.
The day that I was first called ‘Dad’ will forever be stuck in my mind, how a nervous man walked into a stranger’s home and had his life changed forever. Walking tentatively through the door, we could hear your social worker chatting with your foster carer. You were still eating your lunch, which was taking longer than it usually did. As we glanced round the corner of the kitchen door you spotted us, and in a delighted voice exclaimed “It’s Daddy and Dad!”. In that one small sentence you changed me, you permanently burnt yourself into my brain.
As you have changed me, I think we have changed you. I remember in that first week taking you to the park and pushing you on the swing. I remember that smile of yours, that fake, frozen smile. The one outwardly trying to tell us that you were happy because a grown up was telling you that you were meant to be. I remember recognising that it wasn’t a real smile and stopping what we were doing.
I see you now, being vocal when you don’t like something, using words to show us that you don’t like what we’re doing. Not letting us tell you that you should be enjoying yourself. I see you now, I catch your eye and you smile, a deep happy smile, unprovoked and I return it. Happy that you are able to show that you are happy, grateful that you are comfortable enough to show your real feelings.
In the first few months you were with us I remember the incredible amount of attention you needed. Constantly seeking reassurance in your playing, needing us to boost your confidence in things which you were so capable of doing. I remember your idea of building being a straight line of blocks, never anything more.
I watch you playing now, creating pictures on your drawing board, amazing pictures of animals, planets, trains, houses and all sorts of other things coming straight out of your head. I hear you playing in your room, completely unaware I am listening, shouting and voicing words and animal noises, creating narratives for yourself and for no one else.
I remember being told how you looked at your foster carer like she was mad when she first read you a bedtime story. I look at you now, and am constantly amazed at how you love reading, not just being read to but reading. Even now, at 4 years old, you ask to read to us books which say they are aimed at children aged 5 – 8, and you do so with such little hesitation even on new words.
I do worry about your future, but the more you develop, the more you progress, the more you change for the better, the more that worry lessens. It will never go away, but it is my job as your Dad to worry for you, so hopefully you will not need to worry for yourself.
Thank you for being my son. Thank you for changing me for the better.
All my love,