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.