Thursday, 21 January 2016

Over My Shoulder

Back in the early days when we were young and the Big Three were the only three we looked differently on the world. There were parts of the city we wouldn't go as a family, even when we were in the city centre there were times when for no reason I would start to feel uneasy, watched, conspicuous.

Surely among the thousands of people that we would pass someone must recognise the children, someone from their old life. We've all had the experience of being on holiday and bumping into someone we know, a mutual friend or an old neighbour. So surely someone would recognise us it seemed inevitable.

Once we were in our home town and all of us hand in hand going swimming and as we walked into the centre Birth Mam walked out of the door. She wasn't, it was someone who looked like her but for a split second we thought it was. Our world froze for a second,  the children oblivious, but Paula and I shocked.

The edges of our family have blurred and the line between adoptive and birth family is ragged and in part dissolving. I found out today that we had been seen. Sat in a city centre restaurant two years after the Big Three joined us my children's aunt and grandmother had watched as we sat and played out the usual family scene. They watched not malevolently but frozen transfixed by the sight of their children. Observers of this scene unable or unwilling to act or intervene so close.
But then leaving and letting the scene play on.

Speaking to the aunt last night she was sure I knew and I saw, I can't recall.
I don't look over my shoulder anymore.


8 comments:

  1. Powerful stuff, as always.

    By contrast, as the parent of an internationally adopted,'abandoned' (wrong word, parents had no choice)at birth, when we took her back to her home country, she spent a lot of the time saying things like, "Do you think my birth mother looks like that woman there?" and "We could have walked past my birth mother and I wouldn't even know."

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    1. It must have been a strange situation though wonderful experience.

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  2. We have definitely seen OB's birth mum out and about - she lives very locally with her family. I guess part of me would be ok with the scenario you describe here, but I still have hope that OB's first face-to-face contact with his birth mum will be on his own terms, and not a result of running into her at the local soft play centre (where we no longer go!).

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  3. We found it hard in the early days. With the girls being non white in rural NE we knew that both us and mam would always be recognised. Not worried as we were told by family that we that there was zero chance of trouble.

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  4. For the adoptee's sake it is good to overcome the reunion/contact fears while they are young.

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    1. From the outset we ensured that with positive regard and sharing of information the door would be open for contact and my children could make that decision.

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  5. My son was seen by BM 11 months after he was placed with us at a play centre. He was seen again after 3 years of placement when she moved 0.1 miles away from our house (unintentionally). He was with other family each time he was seen but both nearly sent me over the edge. Sadly it also nearly sent her over the edge too and she moved away almost immediately. We've moved now, to somewhere she has no connection to and it feels like I can finally relax now.

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  6. That all sound incredibly stressful for all of you. We still live close but for us the issues are kind of gone and we know where to avoid, we think.

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