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