So it’s National Adoption Awareness Week and I’m proud to say I’m an Adoptive Mum.
Although you can drop the adoptive and I’ll happily just be a proud mum.
Our children came to us through adoption and we feel forever grateful that we get to parent them – always aware of the loss of their biological parents in not being able to parent them and the loss they suffered in not having their birth parents in their lives.
The gratitude is present every day (OK, so some days it can be a bit of a struggle), yet every day we’re just busy being ‘normal’ parents, with ‘normal’ kids who just happen to be adopted.
Regular readers know our story and may remember that time I shared the letter I wrote (with love) to our daughter’s birthmother as a Mamamia article, and copped some nasty criticism from ‘trolls’ who were anti-adoption.
So I shut up most of the time – I share the happiness adoption has brought our family, bemoan the guilt I still sometimes feel and don’t get into the politics – except in this post I wrote much more eloquently two years ago for National Adoption Awareness Week.
Things have gotten worse.
The number of children adopted in Australia is at an all-time low. With a 76% decline over the last 25 years, only 317 children from Australia and overseas were adopted in 2013/2014.
There are now more than 15,000 children in ‘permanent’ foster care who could benefit from adoption. And the system needs to change to give them that opportunity. They only get one childhood.
Adopt-change – the organization backed by Deborah-Lee Furness (and Hugh Jackman of course) has released new research into attitudes towards adoption – and people, overwhelmingly, feel positive about it.
And the campaign this year puts the spotlight on the Aussie children who are missing out on a loving, permanent family and home by inviting people to show their support – posting a photo or video of them reading a bed-time story to their child with the hashtags #15000stories and #adoptchange, in recognition of those thousands of children who don’t have someone to read them a bedtime story.
There’s also a petition you can sign if you agree the system is broken and needs fixing – the Prime Minister has committed to reform.
And in other news – the annual dance concert is over (written with equal parts pride and relief) – but I have to put on my proud Mum hat to congratulate our Miss Yin. Being adopted, her amazing talent clearly doesn’t come from me (had she not been adopted I’m guessing she wouldn’t have had much dance talent at all!). So I reckon I get to brag with impunity, safe in the knowledge that there’s no sense of self-congratulations or reflected, vicarious glory. No awards this time (I may have mentioned she won the ballet award last year and most promising junior the year before, so I guess it was someone else’s turn). But there was plenty of fun and some great dancing – not to mention the startling realisation that our little ‘showgirl’ is growing up.
All boasts aside, I’m not one of those Dance Moms and I really don’t have much of a competitive streak or any overblown ambition. I’m not impressed that Miss Yin loves the dreadful TV series, but I must remember our little girl is growing up and she gets to choose what she loves.
I don’t know what her dance future holds, but I suspect that just like our adoption journey it’s going to be an exciting ride – and I know for sure I’ll always be a proud Mum. Full stop.