My last post was really hard to write so it’s taken a few days before I was ready to come back and continue.
Every so often when it all gets too much, I have to distance myself from this reality to refocus myself with getting on with my day to day responsibilities. I can become trapped by the pain until it consumes me. Sometimes it’s easier than others to distance myself. By reliving my story in my last post, I made it particularly difficult for myself this time.
People say that time is the best healer…. In some cases, this is true. Not with Adoption though. With every day that passes, the pain and loss is still as bad as it was the day before. Sometimes it’s more painful. Sometimes it’s tolerable. I’m afraid tolerable is as good as it gets though. It leaves you with scars…. Scars that will affect you every day until you die.
How has it affected me on a daily basis?
I have spoken about Lauren and Caitlin previously so I will focus on how I think Adoption has affected their lives.
As I have already said, Lauren was a poorly child from a young age. I remember sitting in a room in intensive care, watching her fight for every breath and wondering if this was my karma for not keeping Abi. My rational mind now says that was ridiculous thinking. But when you think that you might lose your child, rational is one thing that seems to leave you.
I became terrified of leaving her because I was scared something would happen to her. She started nursery and she would cry and cry and cry when I left her. I know now, that this is normal and I’m sure that lots of parents will relate to that feeling of utter heartache as you walk down the school drive wondering if your child is happy or if they are still crying. Lots of Mum’s would say it was worse for them than it was for the child.
Lauren settled into nursery and went through years one and two quite settled. However, she missed lots of school because of numerous admissions to hospital. Sometimes she’d miss a few days, sometimes she’d miss weeks. My trust in the schools ability to look after her diminished and I took the decision to de register her from school and take responsibility for her education.
I’m sure I could have found a less drastic solution for dealing with the worry but she was my little girl, and if I couldn’t trust people to look after her, then she should stay with me. She didn’t have sleepovers with friends, and she was always with me. I knew she was safe this way.
Shortly after Lauren was taken out of school, I de registered Caitlin too. I had my babies with me 24/7 and life was perfect. We met with other home educating families and we socialised with friends but my children were never out of my sight. We slept together, we woke up together, we went by our days together, we relaxed in the evening together and then we all went to bed together. We were never apart. I refused to go out with friends as I wouldn’t leave the girls with anybody and by the time I took my girls out of school, my marriage had completely broken down beyond repair.
Will had a breakdown after losing his Nan suddenly and after we got into trouble with debts. He went from being a regular every day Dad, to a frightened man who couldn’t leave the house. Eight years later, and he is still trapped in four walls, day in, day out. He doesn’t leave the house. He lives with his Grandpa and is completely dependent on him. He has a community mental health team look after him and they believe that everything just got too much for him. He carried so much guilt from letting Abi go, that he kept bottled up, that combined with the loss of his Nan just tipped him over the edge. He has no quality of life. Every day is exactly the same. He sees the girls, but too much noise is a big struggle for him, and with Caitlin’s autism, she can be just too much for his senses to cope with.
Lauren is now eleven and has just decided that she wants to start school. She’s just finishing her fourth week at secondary school and has fitted in really well. She is on target academically so I am reassured that keeping her at home for all that time didn’t impact on her education. Caitlin is still at home with me full time.
I believe now that by living with the guilt of letting Abi go, I left myself with an overpowering separation anxiety. One that has consumed me and prevented me from letting my girls live normal lives like their friends have. The guilt has also destroyed Wills life.
Does life go on? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes it just doesn’t work like that.