Wednesday 29 October 2014

Railway child

Lotty saw me across the crowded rail station, shouted ‘Daaaadddyyyy’ at the top of her voice and sprinted across the expansive arrivals hall.
Six feet before she reached me she left the ground and propelled herself into my waiting arms that enclosed around her into a spinning embrace.

Not a heart that witnessed this reunion could remain unmoved. The scene from the railway children loomed large.

I confess to being slightly overwhelmed at such a demonstration, a little lump was felt in my throat.
Lotty hadn’t seen me since breakfast that day.

For Lotty I occupy a space in her heart that only a father can, right then I was fantastic.

Reflecting on each of my children I see that I occupy a different place on the spectrum of parenting for each of them. It’s not static, it shifts and moves to accommodate, age, circumstance, emotions, reaction etc. At times I’m a father at times a commandant. I’m guessing that to be true for most parents.

But for my children this spectrum has a few places on it that go beyond ‘normal’. Their age, pre-care and foster care experiences have all influenced their expectations of dads and consequently of me. Their Internal Working Model and attachment strategies colliding with their idea of who I am and what I represent. Sometimes I’m perceived as the cause of all their woes, historic and present. I place myself as the rock that their pain, hate and anger crashes against before it reaches shore. I become the personification of all that they want to fight against.

But so what? There was no contract with my children, they gave no opinion on who they wanted to be their parents or even if they wanted parents. They didn’t get to read my Prospective Adopter Report or ask me how I was going to meet their specific needs. They were passed from pillar to post at the mercy of circumstance, parents, police, Social Workers, solicitors, barristers and judges.

Sometimes my children find it hard to be sons and daughters.

But I am always their Dad, regardless of how they see me I am their Dad.


  1. And what a rock you clearly are for all your children, crashing waves withstanding. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you. Though other opinions of my parenting capacity are available.

  2. Al- Just a quick comment to say I've really enjoyed reading your blog. My husband and I have two small bio kids but we are very interested in adoption for the future. I recently saw the old documentary you did when researching adoption online and found your blog after a google search as we are also Christians and I was interested to see if there was an update on your family anywhere. Congratulations on your three new additions and thanks for being so honest on your blog, a lot of adoption blogs seem to paint a rose tinted view! Nicola.

  3. Hi Nicola, that's really encouraging. Often people come to adoption for many reasons and I hope that one day it will be right for your family.
    Thanks for the comment and I hope you continue to enjoy.

  4. "Sometimes my children find it hard to be sons and daughters"

    Thank you, thank you for that reminder - much needed on a difficult day.

  5. Much admiration for you on this day of days.

  6. Lovely post, thanks for sharing. That lump in the throat - I love that for you and your Lotty

    1. The girl is a tonic.
      Thanks for the comment.

  7. Thanks for reminding me of what I'm trying to do - be a Mum, no matter what. And sometimes there's a LOT of matter...

  8. Well put, a lot of matter.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    PS. It's Mam by the way. #Northernlad