This is another one I can’t post just yet. I’m writing this in early May, but won’t be able to post it for a while, until things have moved along a little bit.
Recently (in late April) we visited my daughter’s foster carers, who we try to see every few months when we can (though due to Covid we haven’t seen them for almost 9 months).
There is a girl there, S, who was with them when my daughter was a baby, and they were always very close, even though she is quite a bit older. She was in foster care with my daughter at the same placement, then she was placed for adoption, but sadly the placement fell through so she went back into foster care. Then she went to live with some extended family for a while, but unfortunately their situation changed and the poor girl has now come back into foster care again.
She’s incredibly sweet, and was so happy to be reunited with my daughter, as they haven’t seen each other since my daughter was placed with me nearly 2 years ago. They played happily together all morning as I chatted to the foster carers. And then a seed of an idea was planted. She already has a close bond with my daughter and she seems like a lovely girl from what little I know of her. Chatting to the foster carer, she is now looking at a long-term foster placement, as kids that old usually aren’t considered for adoption (so sad but nobody wants older kids). So I wondered, given that I’m already looking to expand our little family, why not her?
Obviously there are a lot of factors to consider. I haven’t previously considered an older child, and frankly I don’t even know if they would let me adopt a child that much older than my daughter (my daughter is 3.5 and this girl has just turned 10). Older children typically have more complex emotional needs and some have been through significant trauma. In her case, she has already had 2 supposedly permanent solutions fall through so building trust might be an issue. There are lots of things that could go wrong (but then that’s true of any child I adopted, or birth children too for that matter, I know lots of people who are struggling to manage their birth children’s behaviour too!).
On the other hand, she is a known entity, I’ve met her and liked her straight away, and she adores my daughter (and my daugher couldn’t stop talking about her when we got home too). In some ways she was already acting as big sister even before I met my daughter. Something about this just feels right and I can’t stop thinking about her.
It’s a big mental U-turn to go from thinking about cots and nappies and teething to thinking about secondary schools and how to bond with a 10-year old, but there are upsides too. I won’t need to do potty-training again, or (hopefully) be up too much in the night, and I won’t need to pay for nursery so can divert my savings to other things for her, like a bike or a new bed or swimming lessons etc. One of my closest friends asked me if I would miss the baby part, having another little one to snuggle etc, but honestly? Not really. I am glad I got to have all those experiences with my daughter, the bottles of milk and footsie pyjamas, and snuggles and first words, and I’ll be sad that I missed out on the first 10 years of S’s life, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to do all the baby stuff again – I had a chance to experience that, and this just feels right to me.
It would be very odd to add the newest member of our family and have her be older than my niece and nephew, and it would be an adjustment all round, but I feel like I can manage it, and my family and friends have always supported me in my choices, so I think me and my incredible village are all up to the challenge!
Of course this is all hypothetical at this point – I still have to get re-approved, and a panel would have to decide if this could work. For S, after two failed placements, another failure would be catastrophic for her, so we would have to be SURE that this time it would really work, no matter what.
And yet there is a seed, a little tiny seed that has been planted, and I feel in my bones this could work, it feels right, and I am hoping quietly that it all works out, though it’s far too early to get my hopes up…
…..So I wrote that post back in early May, after we first saw her at the foster carer’s house. Since then I have had multiple conversations with various social workers, and spent a lot of time thinking about it, and made plans to see her again to try and get to know her better. But as of this moment, I have decided that I really want to pursue this as an option. As I mentioned above, there are still plenty of hurdles, and I still need to get re-approved etc, but I have made the decision that I really want to try and see if we can make this work.