Chapter 22 » 22.64
Parents and children
Pressures on parents
‘Write about the joys, traumas, challenges, insights or revelations of being a Quaker parent’ said the letter in The Friend. Well, I’ve seen all those in the last sixteen years. Joy was there on becoming an adoptive parent, trauma on discovering our daughter’s severe medical condition. The challenge came when adopting again and the revelations when knowing that sometimes we just could not cope.
Learning how to be an effective parent goes on and on, a learning which for me has been very revealing and given me insights into those parts of me which I did not care to discover. My experience has not been an easy one, but yet I feel very privileged to have been allowed to bring up someone else’s children…
How should I have reacted when feeling angry, frustrated and physically exhausted? Those elements of gentleness, compassion and understanding which I want to apply have flown out of the window. No wonder I had times of great guilt feelings. Entrusted with the care of children not born to you gives a heightened sense of responsibility and the feeling that you must ‘get it right’, while always being more conscious of the approval of others. Adoption need not always bring difficulties and can be and is a wonderful experience. I feel very close to my children, perhaps closer than some parents feel to their natural children. I have tried to give them a sense of warmth and belonging, a feeling that they are loved and respected. They both know about their adoptions and if and when the time comes when they wish to know more than we can tell them about their backgrounds, I hope we shall be able to help and support them. Our extended family has always been totally supportive of our children, which has helped them to ‘belong’ through their growing years. Over the years too, we have come to see that the Meeting supported us like an extended family, propping us up in times of need and being available with advice and care.
Juliet Batten, 1994