Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

Finding Dory. Finding the past.

Should I take our adopted kids to see ‘Finding Dory’?

The long awaited sequel to ‘Finding Nemo’ is out.  Our kids, both adopted, are lapping up the barrage of publicity around ‘Finding Dory’, Disney/Pixar’s animated release of choice this Summer Holiday.  They’re excited to see it.  Hooked by the marketing.  The film’s memes are ubiquitous throughout their world.

‘What harm in taking them?’ I thought when planning the Summer holidays. 

Until I saw a message that has itself become a trend on both social media and the message boards of fostering and adoption websites.

Entitled WARNING! Before seeing Finding Dory, all foster/adoptive parents should preview the movie first!’  it goes on to describe the experience of a family who took their adopted son to see the film. 

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Life Stories - Turning Pages

We’ve just celebrated our Family Day.  The day upon which we celebrate our becoming a family.  It coincides with our writing Contact letters to our children’s birth families.

That concentration on the past.  On birth families.  On bringing our children home. On a shared experience of history and rebirth.  Inevitably it leads us all to think about the past.  To consider heritage.

Today, it led to our daughter asking to see her Life Story Book.

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A time for giving

Christmas is coming.

As is close scrutiny of the Argos and Toys R Us catalogues by our children.  They watch the advertisements for toys in-between children's TV shows attentively.  They watch out for the references to the latest, most popular toys in the media.

Their behaviour, and our resigned reaction, is no different to that of so many other families.

It wasn't always that way.

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Meeting Mary

We met Mary in a contact centre.  A Council building used to facilitate meetings between children in care and their birth families.

The room was laid out in the style of a sitting room.  Sofas in bright colours, slightly worn.  Children's toys arranged in boxes against one wall, some strewn around the floor under a coffee table at one end of the room.  The remnants of an earlier meeting.

Anonymous.  Neutral.  And yet poignant.  The children's toys a constant reminder of the reason we were there.

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An Irish Adventure

I started writing about our adoption journey to provide a record of it.  Both for us.  And for our children.  I wanted to chronicle their and our story before those memories lost their intensity or receded into the mists of time altogether.

Unintentional consequences of writing the blog have been wide ranging.  

Developing the discipline needed to write regularly (and sometimes failing miserably at that).  Invitations to write guest pieces.  Invitaitons to write regular columns. 

And an invitation to speak at a conference about adoption in Ireland, organised by University College Cork.

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Why not surrogacy?

I was interviewed last week.  As part of a university research project into fatherhood.

The questioning, as always in these cases, was friendly.  Encouraging.  It also caused me to consider a number of the answers.  Challenged my views.  My perceptions.

That is all quite usual.  Less so were questions about my motivation in becoming a father.  In and of themselves not unusual or out of place, but fascinating nonetheless in the respect that they caused me to contemplate my past actions.  Interrogate the decisions we made.

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The Slog

I came across someone this week in a setting completely unconnected to adoption.  

As is usually the case, our conversation turned to our children and then, inevitably for us, it went on to cover adoption.

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One of the consequences of moving to Australia is a fairly, no very, severe culling of our belongings. 

For example, do we really need to take the files containing bank statements going back to the 1980s that fill our landing bookcases?  Or how about the set of espresso cups and saucers that, after five years of living in our home, remain untouched on the top shelf of a kitchen cupboard?

Questioning whether something has sufficient emotional value to pack it away and take it half way around the world with you is a good test of what you find important.

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Behaving badly

Friends came to visit us recently.  Friends who have just been approved as adopters.  They came to meet the children and to talk, as so many prospective adopters do, about our journey and what they might be able to learn from it.

We talk to many people about adoption.  Some in groups.  Others come to visit us.  They stay for a cup of tea.  Ask what they want to know, what they need to find out.  Then they move on, onwards on their journey, we hope, to a new family as warm and life changing as ours.  

Whilst not anonymous these interactions are usually fleeting.  A rest stop to gather information along the way for those we encounter.  Another tap into our experience for us.

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I've talked a little before about the stories we tell our children at bed time.  I thought I should expand a little on the routine we follow.

Tonight has been no different to most other nights.  We have both spent some considerable time settling the children into bed.  Staying with each until we are sure they have slipped into a settled sleep.

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If you read the more general Blog part of my site you may have seen the news that we are about to move to Australia.

As part of our preparation J spent a week visiting his new workplace.  He wanted to check he would fit with the organisation.  He wanted to ensure its culture matched both his style and values.  

He wanted too to get a feel for the place, to assess whether we would fit in.  Be happy,

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Meet the biological parents

I was asked earlier this week whether I would encourage our children to search for their birth families later in life.

The question was prompted by one of the seeming myriad of television programmes dealing with adoption that appear on our screens at the moment.  This one followed the searches of a number of adoptees, now adults who were looking for their birth families.

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Guest Blog: Why Foster Carers are instrumental to the Adoption process

I've been working on a blog about our interaction with and experience of the Foster Carers who cared for our children prior to their adoption.

Completely coincidentally I was approached by the National Fostering Agency who asked if I would host a guest blog for them about the fostering system.  Foster Carers really are the unsung heroes of the adoption system as far as I am concerned, so you can imagine I was very happy to help.

So here is the first every guess blog on my site.  I'm very proud that it should come from the National Fostering Agency's Layla Grant.

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The Whole Story

When we talk about our children and the work we have done, and continue to do, with them, we often describe our role as having to help our son and daughter not only understand their pasts but also re-interpret and reframe their lives before coming to live with us.

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The Truth

I wrote a post for the US website Those Four Little Words a few months ago, which was published last week.  

Fairly innocuous I thought.  Describing our journey to adoption, our choice as the adopters for our son and in the process a little of his history.

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