Recently I have been doing what this blog title suggests and indulging in ‘Adoption Reflections’. Now I’d like to continue Jah’s story.
To re-cap where we were with Jah’s situation.
- He was now five years old.
- We were all waiting for an adoption order to be granted.
- An alternative barrister had been lined up to present his case
- Amazingly, his birth mother had been located.
She had turned up at a hospital giving birth to her third child. As the birth was by Caesarian section, Jah’s birth mother had to stay in the hospital for a while and a hospital social worker had spoken to her at length about the advantage of her giving her consent to the adoption. The really good news was that she was going to agree to this. Sadly, we heard that this new baby was suffering from foetal alcohol syndrome and was born with learning difficulties. The social worker was trying to enable the mother to look after him. The alternative would be for him to go directly to a foster home. This would then be the third child she would have given up to the care of others. (Jah was her first-born. The second son had been adopted by a couple who took him to live in the United States.)
Jah was due to start school in September. He longed to have the same surname as the rest of the family, but we tried to make light of this and said that things would soon work out.
At last the day dawned when Jah could start school. He set out confidently.
After he had been at school for a couple of weeks, all parents had an interview with his teacher. She was very experienced and due to retire soon. To our surprise she said that Jah was quite a slow learner, although she did have confidence that he would get there in the end.
This did not sound at all like the bright, lively child we knew. We knew that he did have some strange learning blocks but we thought it was more to do with a lack of confidence. The teacher agreed. I asked whether they had any books that showed children that looked like him. They had none at all, so we suggested some that the school could use. (Reminder. This was c. 1981 and long before people had given much thought to representing diversity in books.
As I have mentioned earlier, books are still not representative enough. But they were even WORSE then!).
Jah soon made friends at school and was often invited round to other children’s houses. He grew in confidence. Things began to move on the legal front and we were told that there would be a hearing at the High Court – the Royal Courts of Justice – some time in November.
By mid-October we began to talk to Jah about the adoption day, because we had always been given to understand that he would accompany us.
We all waited anxiously for a date to attend the Court.