I try to make my ramblings upbeat and I can assure many aspects of life in Coates Towers is positive. Of late it seems like there’s been a lot of tricky stuff going on for the kids and us. Re reading my posts I wonder if my blog should be titled ‘How not to adopt’ or ‘101 things about adoption you never cared to ask’.
This is our life at the moment and it reflects my belief that to adopt is to embrace sadness at some level. Even in the most successful, harmonious and straightforward adoption* at its heart lies an unavoidable sadness. We live with this tension and it’s varying manifestations in our lives day by day. It's the cup we drink from.
Added to our measure this week was the death of a close family friend. Over the last 8 years she had been an invaluable and unique source of support, insight, information to Mrs C and I and to Flossy and Lotty. Though her death was anticipated it has come as a shock to the children. Their response is complex it’s their first experience of the death of someone close. Predictably we’ve seen some interesting behaviour and grief manifested in many ways. Complex emotions and challenges to their understanding have left them in a fog of dysregulation.
Our friend, Flossy and Lotty’s birth Aunt, came into our lives in unique and unusual circumstances. We insisted on contact with her against the wishes of our Local Authority, and our Fostering Social Worker pled our case to the judge at the placement order hearing** and it was reluctantly granted. Tentatively we built trust and confidence and slowly, very slowly, she became a friend and then family.
We’d see each other weekly, Mrs C would talk and text daily. The two dimensional pantomime villains of our children’s paperwork became real people, lives, hopes, dreams, mistakes, tragedy and wrong decisions. She was a firewall between us and the less safe elements of birth family and an open door to the safe elements.
She broke the news of birth mum’s pregnancy to Mrs C, the imminent birth of Peanut. Mrs C and her agreed that it was best if Peanut came to live with us and 20 months later Peanut did***.
Flossy and Lotty loved their aunty, she was a tangible part of their lives and history that could not be replicated in a life story book or letter. She was an essential part of our lives she was a member of our family. We were blessed to see the pleasure she took in seeing her nieces grow.
All our grief and loss is compounded by our inability to attend the funeral to share our loss with her loved ones. Mrs C was able covertly to attend her bedside in her dying days and thank her for all she had done. This is the end of a special chapter of all our lives.
We feel blessed to have known her, rest in peace J.
*No such thing
***It’s very complicated