GAY COUPLE ADOPTING – THE FIRST YEAR
When our son came home for the first time, we were fortunate enough to have my mom around for a short while. She showed us how to bath our newborn son. How to feed and care for him. How to adapt to the routine he was already in, and most of all, remind us just to love our new family member.
To be honest, our son adapted to his new home and family very easily. The routine he was accustomed to was not interrupted dramatically as Darren and I were able to adapt our lives around what our new son was already accustomed to. We were briefed when we began our journey into parenthood, that with a baby, having a working routine is the KEY to survival! Yep, our lives changed. Our routine had to adapt to our son’s, something that Darren didn’t think he would have to do. For the first 10 days, it was just us three, my mom and our helper. Our social worker had recommended that this time would allow the attachment and bonding process of our son and his new family to be easier, and form more seamlessly as he would not be overstimulated or overwhelmed by his surroundings. So during this period, there were no visitors from other family nor friends. Did I mention that there was also no cologne permitted during this period so that J became aware of Darren and I’s natural scent! Don’t worry you get to shower, just no need to smell like you’re looking to impress your baby, at this stage he was all about being natural.
As we introduced our “newborn” to friends and family (over Skype calls as they all live quite far from us) we learnt that our son wasn’t a fussy child as long as he was fed. He enjoyed the attention from our friends but was quick to demand the arms of his dads. We soon learnt about over stimulating him and the consequences thereof. As we adjusted to our new family life, so too we learnt what worked for our son and for us as a family. At four months while Darren was away on a business trip, our son and I worked on his sleep training. We began on Friday evening, with me literally in tears outside his bedroom door, By Sunday evening he was sleeping through the night. I had to do it when Darren was away, else it would not have worked.
The period I worked from home was both short and long. Time to start working from the office came around way too quickly though. The first few days I missed the routine we had established as a new family. I missed my son! The days seemed to drag and I couldn’t wait to get home to him. By the time I got home, it was almost bedtime for our son. I adored our quality time together and the bedtime routine we had now established.
Then one winter afternoon we encountered our first parenting “curveball”! A little after lunch, he suddenly became super clingy. Although the time for his afternoon nap, he refused to be put down to sleep on his own bed or ours for that matter wanting only to be held by me or else he would start crying. Darren and I had no idea what was going on. A quick call to a person with much more experience in the field of parenthood, my mother, soon revealed that our son was teething. What an incredible feeling to be needed and being seen as the only source of peace for someone. The trust our son had in me at this point to provide him with comfort, had my heart bursting with love. A month or so after we survived our son’s first tooth cutting, he was crawling and at about 9 months he was taking his first steps much to the delight of his two dads. As our son achieved each of his milestones, it felt like we had won the lotto. Pride bursting from our hearts!
Our first year allowed us three to build and develop the bond between us. As our son grew older, so Darren and I settled into our new routine with our son. We survived our first long road trip into Mpumalanga, a South African province near the border with Mozambique, without much issue. We attempted another flight with our son, this time without my mom, and survived it. Our first year as a family felt like an incredible adventure that we were on. One where the three of us were constantly learning from each other as it was all so new for each of as individuals and as a family. The love between us just kept growing stronger.