Following on from my last post, my exciting news is that Mandie's boyfriend of the last nine years proposed to her last Saturday, complete with ring!
This was not exactly new news as they had both talked to me about getting married at sometime in the future and as they both came from what is referred to as broken homes, they wanted to both feel stable before they signed on the dotted line. And for Mandie, that meant tracing her biological mother.
As my business before going to Spurgeon's college was making wedding dresses, Mandie grew up surrounded by silk, satin, tulle (fine net) and lots of twinkly beads, and at thirty she has waited a long time for her dream dress!
Well that is my news but I'm going to write more about Mandie, so if you wish to know about the trials and tribulations of adoption - read on.
Back in the 1960s, the hot topic was the population explosion, like climate control is today. So before we married we agreed that we would have two children to replace ourselves and then foster and adopt as the fancy took us. Having had two boys, I was still feeling broody and so I fostered new born babies until they were adopted and we also fostered a toddler. As the boys were growing up we wanted to permanently expand our family and so we looked to adopt. By then I had lost the broody feeling so we were quite happy to have an older child but I did want a girl. The boys were ten and nine when Mandie, aged two, came to live with us. It had taken us two years to go through the adoptive process, with lots of interviews and police checks.
As I was often seen around town with different babies, wheeling Mandie around was not unusual but as folk asked about her, I explained that Mandie was adopted, so she grew up with that knowledge.
Her brothers were very good with her and even as teenagers they allowed her into their rooms when their friends were around. When one friend told her that she didn't look like either of her brothers she very proudly told them, "Well of course not, I'm adopted!"
But I found her extremely difficult. Looking back with that wonderful gift of hindsight and a counselling training, I think that she was trying to see how naughty she had to be before this mother would give her away. In recent years we have discussed this and she agrees!
I felt that I had to give Mandie firm boundaries but I just became the bad cop while her Dad became the good cop. And eventually, the gulf between my husband and I became so wide that we separated. Circumstances meant that I did leave her and she stayed with her Dad. But she would often visit me and we started to be able to enjoy each other's company.
From very few GCSEs she has worked her way from being a shop assistant to being an assistant manager in a high street bank and has even been head-hunted within the bank to work at one of their large flagship branches.
Back in her early twenties she started to investigate her background, especially as she was haunted by the knowledge that she had a younger half-brother, but she realized that she wasn't ready. But eighteen months ago she started the journey again and has now met up with her natural mother, the half-brother she knew about and two others. She was welcomed by them all as all the brothers knew that they had an older sister, her Mum had baby photos of them all. Being welcomed by your natural family is very unusual, but Mandie was nearly two when she was given for adoption and I always wondered if at a later date her natural mother regretted it.
Life is full of 'what ifs'!
Mandie's family has grown as she now has two Mums, two adoptive brothers and three half-brothers but still only one Dad as she has no urge to find her biological father.
Mandie and I are now firm friends which is wonderful after all that we have been through, for which I can only give the Lord thanks.