Thursday, 28 June 2018

Cup of sadness

I often feel like I'm the guardian of my children's stories. Complicated, painful and wonderful stories that make perfect sense to some and no sense to others, stories that twist and turn their way to my door. The stories have characters that are good, characters that are bad and predominantly characters that are complicated.

Mostly it's been easy to share the story, as they say 'if you can remember being told you were adopted then it's too late'. Stories have flowed naturally and easily from the photos on the wall and the names in the books. We've all shared the stories of our jigsaw life and little ears find comfort, safety and value in the 'firsts'.

First time we met, first thing we said, first trip and so on..................

From the outset there have been parts of these stories that are hard to contemplate and consider. Hard for me as an adult but immeasurably hard when they are woven into the biological links, genetic bonds and tendrils of identity. There have been some tough conversations and if I focus on me for a sentence, some conversations that I never wanted to have and left shadows.

This guardian role hangs heavy, so easy to slip, so easy to say too soon or too late. We peel back the layers of the same story. We make sense of the same events with a four year old, then a six, nine, thirteen and sixteen year old. Gently we peel back the nuance as these little people grow and begin to understand, 'could not' keep you safe becomes 'did not', becomes 'would not' keep you safe. It's a cup of heartache we return to again and again.

Then our phone rings and though the back channels that we've built and fostered with birth family and we discover the story has moved on again. The cup of sadness has been topped up to overflowing.

The layers of complexity grow, I call my closest friends and they've no words or wisdom they just know. They help me hold the cup for a little while before I ask my children to drink from it again.  

Again, I blog in vague broad strokes. Take from it what you will.


  1. “Could not, did not, would not”... yes, searching for the gentlest but still truthful words to provide the context of a life.

  2. Good words. Our AD12 is asking for more info. More than what's in the life story book. Treading carefully.

  3. Thank you. As an adoptee and adopter you have put into words that deep struggle that I have not been able to express so well. This is what it means to be an adopter, this is what is at the core of adoption.

    1. Thank you for commenting, just saying what I see.

  4. I remember that phone call just a vividly as Harlows phone call mabye that’s why I hate my phone so much anyways .. my dad was driving to work a job he hated and only took out of boredom because retirement wasn’t all trips and vacations when my mom wasn’t retired yet. sad