Monday, 12 March 2012

10 reasons to adopt that social workers don't want to hear you say

Obviously we want to have a child because of the joy it brings and stuf, but there are reasons you might think of that you probably wouldn't actually want to tell a social worker

1: I want a child so I can justify getting a dog

2: I'm doing it so I get shit loads of karma Nectar points. After this I'm sure to come back as something really cool like a dolphin and be a good half way along the route to Nirvana (if you're into that stuff)

3: Someone's got to look after me when I'm old and decrepit

4: An adoptive child might be more attractive than my own and may get sort of lucrative child modelling contract. It sounds cruel, but with some of the thinking of our current government and some of the ideas floating around the Republican candidates in the US, any of whom who could be leader of the "free" world, it's got to be better than making them clean chimneys.

5: Lurking round Toys R Us, playing with toys I want and not looking like a paedophile*

6: I can't be arsed to demolish the child's play house we have in our garden

7: It's going to force me to curb my potty mouth around the house

8: I eventually get someone to do chores round the house. After a few short years I need never pick up a lawnmower again

9: Hot chocolate at bedtime, seeing 3D Pixar films, getting all sorts of stupid kids cable channels, cartoons and sweets. Lots and lots of sweets. Real sweets like sherbet lemons, Kola Kubes, and Matlow's finest like Swizzles, Refreshers and Drumsticks. Not sure what the kid's going to have, mind

10: Christmas, Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Easter, birthdays. Actually, sod it, since one of the things we have to be is how sensitive to multiculturalism we are as a family, we'll also celebrate Eid, Divali, Hannukah, Chinese New Year, St George's, Patrick's, David's and Andrew's Days American Independence Day, Singapore National Day and May Day. Basically, any excuse to eat shit loads, give presents and have a good time.

*The "P" word is definitely one that I think will set off alarm bells in social worker's heads, whatever the context

Monday, 5 March 2012

Wanted on voyage?

As the adoption process trundles on, it's difficult not to find it's become the whole focus of your life. Before we started there was just us, two adults doing what we do: going to the pub at the drop of a hat; going on holidays with lots of travelling between destinations and doing things like spending three hours in art galleries; going to fitness weekends and going out to restaurants whenever we felt like it. Now, though, the changes that the adoption will bring start to become more tangible. The thing is, we are aware of it and still can't wait. I have daydreams of taking Paddington on holiday to places with great beaches or to theme parks or to where they have places like great zoos and other attractions that are child orientated. I would be thrilled to give them the chance to try all sorts of foods, and trying to instill in them the genuine wonder at the world in nature and the people and cultures of the world that I feel.

Now, I know there are a lot of similarities to getting a child the usual way, and that every prospective parent has the same hopes and fears, but there is a major difference. Paddington is already out there, biding for his or her time until their new "forever mummy and daddy" brings them home. They already have their own personality and their own likes and dislikes. We might not be able to get them used to things like foods that we enjoy or (God forbid) they wouldn't like travelling by plane, say, for long trips. Our own biological child would have the same genes as we do and you wonder if that means they would have had the same tastes. On the other hand, where does nature stop and nurture take over? How much will we imprint our own lifestyles or (for want of a better word) culture on the new little member of our family? How much will we even want to? As I said, Paddington has his or her own developing personality which makes them unique and not a little clone of either of us and it's always going to be difficult to tread the fine line between giving them the opportunities and all the support and encouragement they need to be who they can be and over-egging the pudding or, more aptly, overbearing the Paddington, by being pushy and expecting too much. It looks like we've got a lot of playing things by ear and plenty of trial and error over the next few years