Adoption breakdown is a phrase that is batted around the adoption community in hushed tones.
When I've heard of adoptions breaking down I've alway thought of the bravery of the adopters to make that call and say,
'I can't do this any longer'.
As adoptive parents we have slogged through the process of approval, dancing to the right tune and jumping through the hoops. Proving again and again that we will make good parents that we have the right stuff.
So, for whatever reason, to then say actually, this can't go on, I can't do this...................
Well, I just thought that it took courage.
At various times I've questioned my capacity to parent, usually precipitated by Flossy. But while my focus was there a slow, quiet fracture was developing with Gracie.
Perhaps, more accurately the fracture was being revealed as it had always been there. But who knows and I'm resisting the temptation to re visit the ins and outs of the last 14 years.
It seems inappropriate to spill out the gory details of all that has happened for the interweb to pick through.
But I can tell you how I feel & what I think.
(The ever vocal Mrs C has her own story to tell, so I'll not presume to reflect her thoughts here.)
As a family we have lived and breathed adoption from the moment we decided to apply. We heard of breakdowns on our prep course, anecdotally through friends of friends who knew someone. Sitting on a panel, we received updates and notifications of occasional breakdowns. The Narey Report in 2011 quantified adoption breakdowns, shedding some interesting light on the figures and facts.
However, considering my own situation I am reluctant to use the phrase 'Adoption Breakdown'. As Gracie is not quite 18 the perhaps she will be included in these figures but I feel that they only tell part of the story.
But the day came and we could not continue. No shouting or screaming but we were no longer able to parent her. It was very clear Gracie no longer could tolerate being parented.
I made that call and said 'we cannot and are unwilling to continue as we are'. It didn't feel brave, it felt like betrayal, like defeat, like relief.
Thankfully, Mrs C and I are of one voice and mind but we react differently with tears, doubt, disbelief, anger and worry. I'm sure emotions that every parent has felt for a child that has cut ties and walked their own path.
The wheels where set in motion, a Social Worker visited, foster carer identified, plans made and Gracie moved out.
When her Social Worker rang to say she was coming to collect her that day I sobbed.
Now, I'm not sure why I did as I'm spitting feathers now. But there is a dull ache in my heart that I can't quite resolve.
I find I have sat in every seat at the adoption table as my child is now in care.
We continue to love Gracie but there has been a breakdown, not an adoption breakdown, if you know what I mean. We're still mum, dad and daughter. Things are civil but not right.
We are fortunate that we have have several good friends that have walked a similar path and offer wise and sage counsel.
No funny story, no witty anecdote, just thought I'd let you know.