Trigger Warning: The content of this blog centres on adoption and does mention child abuse, which may affect some readers.
I recently read a quote that was not attributed to anyone in particular which read, “The world may not change if you adopt a child, but for that child their world will change.” We have recently embarked on an incredible adventure with our son, who came to live with us two days before the first lockdown in March 2020. His story is so reflective of so many little ones caught in abuse, neglect and hopelessness. Pre pandemic statistics reveal a difficult picture, in a nutshell, just one quarter successfully make it through to a forever home. Imagine how different this will be in a new emerging landscape and all the issues arising from intensive periods of lockdown.
I remember the first time my husband and I laid our eyes on our son, it felt so surreal coming through on a link via e-mail. We were two days away from being approved as adoptive parents, full of nerves and excitement, as we saw this beautiful little boy staring back at us. Such a cheeky chap with a big smile and golden blonde hair. As we came to find out, there was a truly horrendous story behind this face. One of neglect, abuse and pain. His life was heading on a tumultuous trajectory, so much trauma forming in such a short life. After a difficult meeting, with social workers, hearing the history, we knew this was ‘the one’ we should bring home to safety. This action would not get on the main BBC news, but for this boy, it would hopefully be life changing.
The transitionary period with his foster carers was relatively smooth, they had done such a great job in taking him in during his darkest moments. They were incredible people who had fostered and intervened in many children’s lives. How life changing for them all as individuals. We learnt so much from them as we got to know our son. The link and connection grew strong with each passing day but nothing prepared us for the curveball that March 2020 brought in Covid-19. We were half way through our transition when three weeks to the finish line became two, became a few days to an emergency phone call with our social worker. Lockdown was upon us as a nation and we had to move fast so that we could all be together and move forward. The following day the three of us jumped in the car and drove four hours back to London. We embarked on a journey of deep relationship, during a pandemic, where we formed a bond.
It hasn’t always been easy but it has been powerful to watch one life transforming and growing before our eyes. There are nightmares, tantrums, tears, trauma, laughter, love and hope all mixed together. Who knows what this one child will do when he grows up, how affecting one could affect hundreds more as a result? What would have happened to Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple), Nelson Mandela (Former President of South Africa) and Gerald Ford (Former President of the USA) if someone had not reached out to them, as individuals. Alternatively, I think a key learning has been to realise that if every person reached out to ‘one’ other human being then the world could truly transform. As we think about post lockdown I wonder whether we could keep hold of some of those values that have come alive during this difficult time. Who is my neighbour has been such a key aspect, the one around us matters, can we see them, do we chose to help them? I feel challenged tokeep thinking about the one, every time I look at my son, and how his life is changing.
Nicky is married to Nigel and lives in Woodford with their 4-year-old son. She recently returned from adoption leave and is working part-time in the city of London as a Claims Handler in a Reinsurance Company. Nicky is on the board of trustees for FREEDOM 2 as the secretary. She enjoys spending time with her family and exploring Epping forest which is in walking distance from their house.