The Gift of You

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3 years ago this week, we met our beautiful little girl. I’m really struggling to come to terms with the fact that it’s been 3 years. It feels like a lifetime but also the blink of an eye.

I’ll never forget the feeling as we drove to the foster carer’s house after the final planning meeting. We’d found out about her 2 long months before that and it felt like there’d been endless meetings and hoops to jump through since then. Once we knew about her, I just wanted to meet her and bring her home. Of course, it is never as simple as that.

We had to meet her social worker, foster carer, medical officer and then have planning discussions before matching panel. It was a surreal time. Little Miss on paper was our dream come true. She was 6 months old when we read about her and although there was a lot of uncertainty around her development, she was doing really well.

I found this time extremely frustrating. It was the start of the school holidays when we found out about her which meant it was impossible to get meetings with the right people quickly. There just seemed to be no sense of urgency with anyone except our social worker. We had waited 10 very long months to find out about little Miss, but those last few weeks seemed longer.

All of that melted away when the first day of introductions finally arrived. We opened the back gate to the foster carer’s house to be greeted by the biggest pair of eyes I’ve ever seen. I was terrified that she wouldn’t like us or that we wouldn’t like her. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, my heart melted when her little face lit up when she saw us.

The first visit was only for a couple of hours. Little Miss seemed very much at ease with us straight away. That was mainly because photographs of us were stuck up all over the place. It did make me laugh and broke the ice a bit seeing ourselves plastered all over the house.

Day 2 was a longer visit and we took her out in her pram. She fell asleep and I felt like I was on cloud 9 pushing her around. The foster carer just lived round the corner from my mother-in-law so she had a sneaky peak while little Miss was asleep.

The photograph above was taken on day 3 of introductions. We had her for most of the day, but weren’t allowed to take her home so decided to take her to the park. The photo was taken in the café as little Miss tried to feed daddy her biscuit. My heart almost burst as I watched the 2 of them together. We’d had such a long journey to become parents and there were so many times I didn’t think it was meant to happen for us. Everything made sense though when I saw them together.

The last 3 years have been the best, most difficult, exciting, tiring and amazing years of my life. I feel so lucky that we were chosen to be parents to little Miss. I’m acutely aware though of the loss she has suffered in not being able to grow up with her birth family. There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking about them. I can’t begin to imagine how they must feel not being able to see her grow up.

She is growing into a beautiful, caring, funny, mischievous and clever little girl. I know that she wouldn’t be the bright little girl that she is today if she had been living with her birth family. That isn’t because we’re the best parents in the world. We aren’t by a long shot, but the sad truth is that if little Miss had lived with her birth mum, she wouldn’t have had the opportunities to develop that she needed. One of her big sisters is testament to that. She was with birth mum for a lot of her early years and is struggling massively now because of what she missed out on when she was a baby and toddler.

Adoption has been the most beautiful gift for us. Even on the toughest of days, our daughter makes me smile. Her laugh warms me to my core. I’ll never stop being grateful for having the privilege of being her mum. She lights up our lives in a way I never thought was possible. We didn’t give her the gift of life, life gave us the gift of her.

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