I’m going to admit something here straight off! Although I’m very much in love with my kids, and wouldn’t change how they came to be part of the family, I’m really jealous! I’m hugely, painfully, annoyingly jealous of anyone who has had a birth child! Not because you gave birth to them, not because of them being babies when my two were preschoolers, not because of all the first moments you have with babies! Nope! I’m jealous because of your Mum Tribe!
Finding a Mum Tribe when you adopt is hard!
Lots of my friends have babies and I absolutely adore them! I never once have had a twinge of regret or envy when one of them has phoned me up to let me know they are pregnant. I am so incredibly happy for them each and every time. BUT….I really really really feel jealous about their parenting friends.
Most new mums have this Mum Tribe! The ones who they bond with at the antenatal groups, the ones who they meet up with to compare notes and to celebrate milestones. The ones who are at the baby massage or baby music or baby signing or mum’s and tots groups. In fact I’m pretty sure all new mum’s have a group that have children of the same age that they can compare notes with.
When you adopt, you don’t have a Mum Tribe. In fact, you don’t really have any Tribe! You meet a handful of couples at Preparation Groups (where the Social Workers do their best to terrify you about adopting, persuade you that you do absolutely want to adopt older children, and generally make you feel more incompetent than you know you already are about parenting!). If you are lucky, and I mean really lucky, you might meet one or two people who are on the same wavelength as you which is lovely. However, at this point you don’t have any idea whether you will be adopting children of the same age, and that really is key!
So, there you are, having spent a year preparing for your children, barely knowing what age they will be until 3 months before they come home. They come home. And then it’s just you! No Mum Tribe. In fact, in all possibility, no one who understands what you are going through with children of the age of yours. Yes, you might have friends who have children of the same age, BUT adopting is very different from having birth children.
The challenges are different, the expectations are different, and your feelings are different.
I so wish that I had had a Mum Tribe when my kids came home. A group of people who understood exactly what I was going through. Don’t get me wrong, I have some really lovely friends, all of whom are super supportive and I wouldn’t change them for the world…but…I am really jealous of your Mum Tribes.
Thankfully, a year and a half in, I have been lucky enough to find my own little Tribe. My little Tribe of friends who have adopted similar aged children or who just get it, my own little support group. But oh I wish I had had this Tribe a year and a half ago – it would have made this whole parenting journey just that little bit less daunting!