It’s now been 2 years since the children came home with us. Two years of learning how to be a family unit. Two years of figuring out how to do this parenting lark! We’ve had so many successes over the last 24 months. Little Sir has moved from barely being able to talk to being able to explain the pollination of flowers. Little Miss has progressed from not being able to recognise one letter to reading Dr Seuss books fluently and even getting the rhyme and humour. So many things we are proud of.
I wish we had done things differently when we first adopted. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, and I guess nowhere is it more poignant when it comes to parenting. There are so many things I look back on with regret – which is total madness as I can’t change any of it – but I wish I’d known more! So, here are some things I wish I’d done differently!
- I wish I’d realised how very young they were. We met Little Sir when he was just 2. Admittedly he was turning 3 only a week later, but still. He was 2! I look at 2 year olds now and see how tiny they are. But, somehow we saw him, and probably treated him, as though he were older. In all honesty I think we were lulled into a false sense of security by the Foster Carer (through no fault of theirs!). They told us he didn’t need to use a buggy – hadn’t used one for months. They told us he was fully toilet trained. We listened. I wish we hadn’t. Or rather, I wish we had recognised that he might regress. I wish we hadn’t become frustrated with him when he had many many accidents. I wish we had bought a buggy – even if it were a just in case buggy. I wish we’d let him be a baby just a little bit longer!
- I wish I’d spent more time on self care. Sounds a bit odd, I know, but looking back, I was exhausted. Certainly in the first months when Paul was at work and it was just me and the kids, I didn’t realise how hard I was finding it. Or rather, I didn’t want to admit it. He would walk in the door at 5pm and I’d walk out of it – not able to parent any longer. It was so so hard. I wish I’d recognised this, hadn’t beaten myself up about it, and had done more self care. The kids needed me to be on the best form, and I definitely was only giving 50% for quite a lot of the first few months.
- I wish I’d kept them home for longer. Both children went to Nursery and School when they had been home for 8 weeks. 8 weeks is not even close to enough time to help us bond. Little Sir was only there for 3 hours a day so we did, thankfully, have loads of time together, but I really missed out on time with Little Miss. It takes such a long time to bond with older children, and it’s taken us so much longer because she was at school so quickly. I wish I’d taken the time to spend with them rather then following convention and sending them to school.
- I wish I’d chilled out a bit more. On the first weeks of them coming home, we were quite regularly up and dressed by 7am in the morning. Boy did that make for a LONG day. Looking at our holidays and weekends now, the children are rarely up and dressed by 10am. But I had no idea what I was doing. It seems odd to me now that I was asking how to entertain a 3 and 5 year old. I wish I’d just let them be – let them figure out their own rhythms. We would have all been so much happier.
- I wish I’d asked for help. I was so determined to do it all by myself – and the social workers had made it so clear that we weren’t to introduce new people to the children too quickly. So our little world was just me and them. It was such a big mistake. I needed my support network. I needed to call on family and friends to help out – but I was so aware of the ‘rules’ that I didn’t think about what was best for my little family.
I guess, I wish now that I could go back and do it all again. I’d do it so very differently this time round. I guess that’s the thing with hindsight – it’s easier to correct the mistakes after the fact. I’m pretty sure that, in 2 years time, I’ll look back at these moments and find things I wish I’d done differently too. But at least now I can look at where we have come from, I can see how much we have grown as a family and I know that, regardless of what we did wrong, I know we did it all because of wanting to do the best by the children. So in that respect, I feel that we did OK. It’s just…if we do go back and adopt again..I’ll definitely do it differently! At least, I hope I will!
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