The adoption story
To refresh your busy minds I am a mother of three. My first two arrived in the boring old fashion. A few groans and caught by myself both times in a pool in our living room.
Conventional yes, but still equally the most momentous days of my life. The third and equally moving day was loading two tired kids in the car at 4am and driving to the airport. My partner had headed to the other side of the world two weeks earlier to sign some papers and ease a very scared and anxious mind of one little boy who was to be our son. But that's Chapter 2. That's a story I am still unravelling myself.
Prologue. Ten years ago a beautiful big-eyed little boy was born. He never new his real daddy, he was raised by his mother in trying conditions and experienced more heartache and darkness than most children can imagine. At three-years-old he was first taken into care by social services; he moved from foster home to foster home. At five-years-old he found home and experienced love with an amazing foster mother, but she would never be a permanent home and at seven he went up for public adoption and became a ward of the state.
Meanwhile on the other side of the world while 8 months pregnant I opened an email that would leave my jaw on the ground for weeks and spin our lives around. Raine’s birth mother had relinquished her rights and finally declared the birth father. My partner. It was a no brainer, I would fight for this child as every child should be fought for and I would bring him home.
Chapter 1. Where does one start when trying to claim their long lost child? I contacted the Ministry of Child Family Department overseas and in NZ. 'It's not going to be easy' they told me 'It's going to cost a lot of money', 'he has special needs' and 'it will change your lives'. Were they trying to put us off? This was all I got for six months. I plagued them with emails and answer machine messages that were ignored and finally a Pre-adoption application form fell at our feet. We swiftly filled it out overnight and sent it back. More emails from me 'have you recieved it?' 'Are we eligible?' Still nothing… Months passed and we received a request for DNA in the post. Yes! This has to be good! But hold on, we have now been granted phone and Skype access with Raine. With tears stained cheeks we say hello to the most beautiful child. He has my children's eyes and complexion. They move the same way.
It's an uncanny thing to experience. As we watch in awe and arrange another day to play Lego via Skype later that week it is blaringly obvious that we have fallen in love with this child and we still have not received paternal DNA confirmation. Have we imagined the likeness? Our minds start to reel with "what ifs?" What if the small bag of marijuana my partner got caught with in his late teens or the overdue tax bill sets this child's fate? Raine is clinging on to the hope and calling us Mum and Dad already yet so much is still working against us. It’s terrifying what we all pose to lose. We talk at night when the kids are in bed and vow that regardless of anything else we will fight for Raine and we won't give up! We open our home to CYFS NZ and under go the routine home studies. They sit with our kids alone and ask them questions, the ask our long term plans and question our intentions. We hold our breath.
Two years later, almost to the day, we get the call. Tickets were to be booked. We were going to be a family of five! Let the Champagne corks fly! Do we all go and spend the first few weeks of our new life together traumatised by 20 hour flights and flipped time zones or did one parent go and the other kept routines at home? It was not a decision taken lightly. My partner needed to go; on some spiritual level he needed it to be him. I will admit I felt robbed after years of putting in the hard slog but I stood back and let it happen. Raine is a gift. The process did not sink this humble one income family. They made zero exceptions for us considering his paternal link, we had to fill out every form and tick every box that any stranger would have done. It was long and hard but we did it. It's attainable and it's amazing. I am so thankful. Yes I have to wait until its quiet after a hard day of not yelling (it's my new resolution to have a yell free home) to really appreciate it all. Every day is a learning experience. I've never been a mum to a 10 year old boy before, let alone one with ADHD and a broken heart but we are getting there and most importantly we are together. He is the perfect fit, just nutty and loud enough to puzzle piece his way into our family.
Oh and did I mention were expecting? On Monday a bouncy eight-week-old Boxer puppy arrives… Oh yes we like it loud and crazy alright!
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