This month my youngest child turns 1.5 years old. It felt like just yesterday that we received THE call. Our birth mother, whom was placing her child in our arms for adoption through the foster care system, was in labour. I remember calling my mom and shouting "it’s time!", waiting for her to come to our house to watch our older two children, also adopted from the foster care system, so we can get to the hospital.
Like every other new parent, we quickly realized that this was new territory for us. Questions about our child’s health and her birth mom’s well-being were our top priority. Then came the more practical questions like how do you change a newborn diaper, is she crying too much, am I holding her ok? You see our older two children were adopted at an older age, 3 and 16 months, so babies and their care was so foreign to us. I was scared I wouldn’t know how to comfort her, that I wasn’t feeding her enough, that she wasn’t sleeping through the night. I was even more scared about how my older children would adjust.
As soon as I felt I started to get a grasp on things, my parental leave was done. We had a 9 month old baby and two older children just getting use to changes for our family, and again more changes to come as I had to go back to work. Trying to find daycare for a 9 month old proved to be an extremely difficult task! Because our oldest child has special needs, we knew in our hearts that 9 months simply wasn’t enough time. The adjustment, trauma and bonding time didn’t stop at 9 months, and we needed more time. We made the very hard decision that I would stay home to try and regain some sort of order back in our home. The sacrifices that we had to make in order to have me at home until our baby was older were extremely difficult.
It was during this time that it became difficult to try and understand why the Government gives extra time for mother who have children by biological means more time for their bodies to heal, when the minds of our children need that if not more.
I ask anyone reading this to please support families like ours who deserve equal time with their children!