Last weekend I had the immensely proud honour of taking to the panel at the Adoption UK Conference. For those of you who don’t know, I have worked with Adoption UK for a year now. I have graced their magazine, Adoption Today, twice and I have been advocating for the incredible work they do. You see, as an adoptee who grew up in the 90’s and early 00’s, me and my parents were left to fend for ourselves. There was no Adoption UK, there was no support system in place for me to surround myself with people like me. Instead, I was left to answer my own questions and try to find some sort of normal with my family, without any guidance. It was tricky.
During the panel, I was asked to speak about the person who has helped me the most throughout my journey. I mentioned my mum, of course. You all know how much she is the light of my life – I have made it no secret that she is my biggest inspiration. During my prepared speech, something clicked within me and I just had to share it with the room. As an adopter, a social worker, or even just a friend of an adoptee, you have the chance to be a hero.
As adoptees, we can sometimes feel like we are completely alone in the journey. We often walk through a dark tunnel, unsure of which way to turn as we don’t have any source of light. This is where you come in, You have the opportunity to show us the possible routes, to hold a light as we guide ourselves. I grew up feeling like I didn’t have a role model at times. My adoptive brothers had our dad to call their own, but I never knew who my birth father was. I didn’t want to take away that natural relationship that my brothers shared with dad and at times, I felt like I was getting in the way. My mum, however, was the role model I always needed. She was a hard working career woman, who every day woke up to change lives. She was a social worker until she retired earlier this year and the fact that she was helping other children in similar situations to my own is why I advocate for adoption support today.
I didn’t necessarily need saving, but I definitely needed someone to cling to when the seas became stormy. I needed someone to tell me that it was going to be alright, and to be the ignition that sparked my hopes and dreams. As an adoptee, it can sometimes feel like you are sentenced to a life of a pretend family and a dead end future. We are sometimes tarnished as the ‘kids from care’ who don’t really achieve much with their lives and often end up in a relationship with the wrong side of the law. That was never for me, I have always wanted to fight that stereotype and make sure I didn’t become another statistic for the government to pass around. I might have had a few failed attempts along the way, but my mum has always been that figure in the shiny suit telling me to try again.
I have spoken about this so many times, but adoption can sometimes leave us feeling like we are fending for ourselves. We carry the weight of abandonment issues, the fear of never being loved and the constant thought that we aren’t good enough. For me, all it takes is that one consistent person to calm me down and remind me just how loved I am. I spent the majority of my time on the panel thanking my mum for everything she has done over the years, but I can’t tell you how much I wish there were more people like her in the world being a hero for people like me.
But this goes beyond the scope of being a hero to an adoptee. You have the opportunity to be the hero in anybody’s life. I believe that we are meant to be surrounded by the people we are surrounded by, for one reason or another. Maybe we are meant to share the same part of a story, or maybe we turn up unexpectedly at a moment of need, but either way we have a chance to inspire another human. Whether that’s by showing them how to be strong or giving them hope that anything is possible. The only thing we should never do is turn our backs.
I sometimes think – and I am guilty of it too – that we forget the power we possess as individuals. We have a choice each day to be a hero to somebody. Even if its as small as holding the door open for the dad with the pram, or reaching out to a friend you’ve maybe lost contact with. We all need reasons to keep going sometimes, and there is nothing to say that you can’t be somebody’s reason today.
If you didn’t know, I have been nominated for a UK Blog Award 2019 in the mental health category. It would mean the absolute world to me if you could pop me a vote (it only takes 10 seconds). Thank you for your continued support on this wonderful journey x.
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