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Dog Grooming, Gin & Parenthood through adoption
Four years ago I adopted my son.
I went from “up and coming dog groomer of the year” in the Liz Paul Awards and “Creative dog groomer of the Year” to “mum”. It was a very conscious and deliberate decision and not one I took lightly.
When considering adoption in this country it is worth remembering that your future child may very well come from an uncomfortable background and will carry some of that with them.
I guarantee it’s a background you wish you could take away from them, but you can’t. You have to embrace it, their history becomes your reality and you deal with that every single day.
You will become very knowledgeable about childhood trauma and its effects. You will find yourself speaking in a new language of PACE and therapeutic parenting but there will also be days you don’t feel therapeutic in the slightest.
There are days when every parent feels like they’re speaking to a Neanderthal rather than an actual Homosapien so I don’t believe that we parents through adoption are much different in that regard.
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I think it’s Gin O’clock
I sit here this evening writing this with a gin and tonic beside me and my son upstairs asleep in his room. It’s a room that I decorated with furniture, toys and clothes that I purchased.
He looks bloody angelic when he is asleep and I couldn’t love him more. He is, quite literally, my favourite person in the world. I would move heaven and earth to protect him and that’s just how it should be.
DNA and genetics have absolutely nothing to do with my love for him. He is mine and I am his and that’s all there is to it.
Of course, that’s not all there is to it. It’s just how it feels. He didn’t inherit anything from me on a biological level.
I have to say that DNA doesn’t really matter to me. The capacity to love is what matters and I have that in abundance.
As an animal lover and dog groomer I guess it’s easy to see how love doesn’t need DNA. We’ve all had that dog who is a pain in the arse but we can see it comes from a place of anxiety or fear and we adjust our ways of working with that dog to make things easier. That dog learns to trust us and we love that dog in return.
Kids are like puppies. I’ve made this comparison to social workers before and it’s been met with horror until I’ve explained… so let me explain.
Puppies don’t speak English so we rely on being calm and measured in our approach.
We introduce things slowly and we talk in an even tone, use physical contact to induce trust and we moderate our facial expressions and vocal tone accordingly.
We teach them the right way to behave and the correct way to behave with a massive language barrier purely through intention and visual cues.
Little people are no different and that’s where we, as animal loving people have a huge advantage.
If a puppy is having a massive meltdown with having a collar and lead on, we sit down, we relax and we let the dog figure it out with us there to reassure and offer a comforting and supportive guide.
Kids are like that. Kids from trauma are like that. A new environment is a huge, massive change.
Sit down, relax, talk calmly and let them figure it out with you there as support. It’s not different. Language can be a barrier as much as with puppies as kids and, as groomers, we are used to communicating without language.