Since becoming a mum I have had a few weird conversations with friends who praise me for adopting Split Pea, for being so altruistic and kind. I am? How lucky she is to have been saved by me and given a new and better start in life. OK thanks. That I am a wonderful human being, for adopting a stranger’s child, somebody else’s child, a child in care. FFS…Really?! Apparently I am so lovely and kind for taking Split Pea into my life that I have taken to checking if indeed there is a halo hovering above my head which in theory should be so large, getting myself through doorways would need careful planning. These are good people and the praise is meant well so I accept graciously and wonder if they realise Split Pea was not ‘obtained’ from the local rescue home for strays. (I was even asked if I had changed my mind or keeping her) Then these conversations usually end with: But I could never adopt myself! To which my silent reply is always: I agree. You should not adopt child, a puppy maybe but a hurting child I think not. Then I get the unsolicited excuses including: It wouldn’t be same as having my own child, how they would want a child who looks like them and has the family nose. To which my silent rely is: No definitely don’t adopt! Then I get the awkward apology for not wanting to adopt. My silent reply is: Err… I didn’t ask you too! About half of my friends, male and female, are single, working, independent and many are unhappy about it. Some are resigned to not meeting the special one to spend the rest of their lives with, others are on the verge of a breakdown at the prospect. Not all want children but I feel most have the qualities to be great adoptive parents yet I have never told them that or suggested to any of them to consider adoption as I don’t feel it’s something you can decide to do lightly. I believe the idea has to start from them and grow into a want so great that fears of what others think, the prospect of uncertain finances and never dating again fade away and being a parent to a vulnerable child is your only goal. From friends comments I have realised there are many people who do not have the ability to love or even like a child who is not genetically related to them, I am eternally thankful that I do. I have child less friends who long for a child but are convinced they could not love an adopted child because that child didn’t grow within them, I am grateful that I can. I am so lucky to be able to look at Split Pea and know I love her and would give everything I have to keep her safe, despite us not sharing DNA, most people wait a life time to feel that way about somebody. Ok, turns out my somebody is no Brad Pitt look alike but I’m not fourteen years old, with teenage dreams anymore. While some of my friends enter midlife holding on to that teenage dream/angst I feel lucky that I have moved on enough, to allow this little girl to come and enrich my life. I have found I have had to clarify that I didn’t adopt because I was single, lonely, desperate for a child, desperate for a partner to have a child with, afraid of being alone in the future or wanted to be like Madonna, Angelina or Sandra B. I adopted because I was the happiest I had been in a long time, and willing to share that, I wanted to give unconditionally love as a mother and adopting a child who needed that, made clear sense to me. Whether that child returned love was not a major concern at the time, I just felt ready after years of thinking about and finding reasons not to, to finally go to the presentation evening and I have never looked back. I didn’t look around me either to see or worry or ask what others thought, my mind was made up, I knew it was why I had reached that point in my life and gone through the previous years of personal strife to know it was what I wanted to do. That Split Pea came to ME! is the greatest luck I have had in life and nothing can surpass that, her presence has made me un-expectantly content despite the ups and downs we’ve had so far. Somehow we have found each other and as far as I’m concerned I’ve stuck gold, won the Euro and Strictly Come Dancing all at once! Two years on, among the ‘old’ friends one still sees my adoption as me giving up on a previous life somehow (career, wine bars and dating are on the back burner but I’m fine with that) while another friend has been ‘inspired’ to adopt but like me it was something she had long thought about as well as experienced adoption within her own family. Reasons for choosing adoption as a single person are varied and many, and among adopters I’ve met, rightly private. There are no desperate or last chance choices here, I doubt we’d have made it through the home study if that was the case. Whatever the reason we adopt I feel it’s not to be overly lauded or ever pitied, in many ways it’s a gift of new life to all family and friends involved. They say it takes a village to raise a child so just help us celebrate and enjoy before the teen years hit!