Story 3: The Adoptive Mum
When J, a MICE planner, first met her future daughter, C, at six weeks old, she was moved by her smiling face and calm cheerfulness. J was just dating her husband, H who works in IT, and C, was his niece. C’s biological mother was young and inexperienced, with little means of looking after the baby herself. So, J and H often took the little one along with them on their dates.
After 18 months of babysitting her on their dates, it was a natural decision for both J and H to decide to adopt C. The process took slightly over a year and they completed the paperwork when she was three. Today C is 13 years old and has legally been their daughter for 10 years.
J has not yet shared C’s beginnings with her as she is now in her adolescence. However, she strongly believes that C has a right to know. Her biggest hopes are that C would have the maturity to accept the truth and understand J and H’s decision to adopt her was done purely out of love.
Here is J’s story:
I met C at a family gathering when I was dating H, my then boyfriend and now husband. His sister is C’s biological Mum who was young and inexperienced. Although she was only six weeks old, C was one of the easiest babies I have ever met. She never fussed about anything and I did not hear her cry a lot. She also smiled a lot whenever anyone carried her. It was easy to fall in love with a baby like that.
When H and I decided to get married in 2010, we spoke about the possibility of adopting C. By then, dating was not just me and him but me, him and C! We had already forged a strong bond with her and the talk of adopting C was because we loved her. We wanted to give her a chance to grow up in a complete family and a healthy environment.I am thankful for H because it was during those heart-to-heart talks that we understood each other better. We made sure we were both committed to each other and the decision we were about to make. Parenting is a lifetime commitment. I’m glad we also shared the same belief that it didn’t matter whether we were parents to our own biological child or an adopted one.
Once we established that understanding, we sat both our families down and told them our decision to adopt C. We weren’t even sure if C’s biological mother was willing to let us to adopt C. There is still a social stigma about adoption, and we wanted our families to understand where we were coming from.
Thankfully, our decision was met with positive response, and we received everyone’s blessing – including C’s biological mother. Our other relatives and friends welcomed the idea and were supportive of our decision.
The adoption process took about a year to 14 months. H and I had to get married, then have the legal paperwork to start the adoption process. We attended interviews, counselling sessions, got our home study report done before we received the court order that the process had been completed and approved. It was smooth and in fact, we weren’t too anxious as we were already living as a family. We felt that the paperwork was a formality.
As of this year, I’ve officially been C’s adoptive mother for 10 years! The bond I share with her is unique and special. I’m grateful for her because she gave me a chance to be a Mum to her. Being there for her in her growing years and watching achieve those milestones is irreplaceable. I knew I was officially a Mum when she handed me a Mother’s Day gift she had made in preschool and yelled “Mummy!”.
Being a parent made me realise that a parent’s love is unconditional, forgiving and selfless. It is a journey of self-discovery too as I’ve found that I learnt to love someone else as my own. I get angry when she misbehaves, I get worried if she is not eating well and I feel proud whenever C excels in things she does. H and I love C as our own and there has never been a moment when we thought we made the wrong decision.
While every parenting journey has its ups and downs, I feel there is no difference between the challenges an adoptive parent has versus those of biological parents. We experience the same parenting issues at the different stages of our children’s lives. I think we just learn how to be better parents at these various stages.
My biggest challenge at the moment is parenting a 13-year-old teenager. She expresses her feelings through strong outbursts and has emotional moments. I know she is just growing up and this will pass with time and space for her growth.
We have not shared C’s beginnings with us as the timing is not right. Whether she’ll be receptive or not, remains to be seen. However, I believe she has a right to know why we chose to adopt her so we could provide her the right environment to grow up and have proper guidance. My hopes are for her to grow up healthy, happy and be a person who takes pride in everything she does. Ultimately, I hope she will always be willing to open her heart to others, just as we opened our hearts to her.