Adoption and why I don’t regret missing our children’s early developmental milestones

Adoption and why I don’t regret missing our children’s early developmental milestones

I knew that adopting older children meant missing out on some of our children’s early developmental milestones. That didn’t really bother me.  By adopting older children, our kids were already walking, talking, sleeping through the night, and there was no need for nappies.

Back in December, at an expat mums’ Christmas lunch in Paris, I got talking to the mum sitting next to me. We exchanged the usual pleasantries: where we lived before Paris, how long were we were staying in Paris, could we speak French. Then we got talking about our kids.

She asked: “At what age did your children start speaking?”

I was floored. I don’t know.

Then it hit me. How many of our children’s early developmental milestones have I missed? And that got to me.

What have I missed out on? What am I not going to be able to tell my children?

  • I don’t know when they first spoke
  • I don’t know their first words
  • I don’t know when they first got their baby teeth
  • I don’t know when they started rolling over, hauling themselves up on furniture, taking their first steps
  • We never celebrated their first birthday or first Christmas

And when it comes to baby pictures, all I have are two photocopied photos given to me by the children’s social worker.

But you know what? There is no point dwelling on the past. I can’t turn back the clock.

And maybe the older developmental milestones matter more

I can look forward.

We will be around for many more milestones. And over the past five years we have celebrated a lot:

  • Meeting our kids’ for the first time
  • Wonder Boy starting his new primary school
  • Super Girl losing her first baby teeth
  • Wonder Boy growing his first big teeth (he came with very few teeth)
  • Super Girl learning to read
  • Super Girl learning to write – we danced around the kitchen when she wrote her name for the first time!
  • Super Girl learning to ride her big girl bike
  • Super Girl’s very first day at school (I totally blubbed)
  • Super Girl’s reception graduation
  • Both kids learning to swim
  • Both kids school Sports’ Day (I’m the crazy mum cheering wildly, and losing badly in the mums’ egg and spoon race)
  • Wonder Boy learning his times tables to 12
  • Wonder Boy devouring all seven Harry Potter books
  • Wonder Boy thrashing Daddy at chess
  • Wonder Boy and Super Girl learning to ski
  • Both kids learning French
  • Both kids speaking French (fluently)
  • Both kids running rings around me in French
  • Both kids first flight on an airplane
  • Both kids living abroad
  • Adopting our dog

And then, you blink and they are all grown-up

And soon, Wonder Boy will start high school, that brings a huge lump to my throat. This is a HUGE milestone. One milestone I won’t be missing!

Then he’ll become a teenager, transforming into another species, mute, attached to a phone, offering me nothing more than a cursory teenage grunt. I’m not sure I am ready for that, yet.

Cuddle Fairy
Dear Bear and Beany

Brilliant blog posts on


  1. March 13, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    Those early milestones feel big at the time, but you do struggle to remember them and they are not something that you share together. All these lovely milestones you will do at a time where they can enjoy them with you, they will remember them and you will talk about them in years to come. They are memories worth remembering. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Laura – Dear Bear and Beany recently posted…Getting Ready For Conference Season With Aura Print…My Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      March 13, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      Thank you, that really means a lot. Honestly, it didn’t bother me until this mum asked me the question and I was stumped, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head. But the milestones we have celebrated are personal to us, and something we continue to enjoy.

  2. March 12, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    They sounds like pretty awesome milestones to me. Much more important than kids learning to speak, because let’s face it, they all do that. Some of your milestones are much more personal. #sharingthebloglove

    • Tooting Mama
      March 12, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you! That’s just lovely and you are so right, there are so personal to us.

  3. March 11, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    As someone whose child was late to start talking, a wise person once said to me, ‘have you ever been asked as an adult what age you started talking?’ It seems like an important milestone, but in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. The milestones you’ve experienced together I would argue are far more significant – you’ll both always remember them, and it’s things like that first aeroplane flight, and romping through Harry Potter that will stay with them for life. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…The Pregnancy Diaries: Week 26My Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      March 12, 2017 / 8:04 am

      Thank you, thank you thank you! Those things never bothered me, but when this mum came out and asked me when my kids’ started speaking I was floored. But you know what you are right, we have already celebrated so much, and there’s way more to look forward to!

  4. March 9, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    You sound a wonderful mum – you are right, you can’t change the past. I have a teen boy and he is just as you said!! Sorry!! Kaz

  5. March 9, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    It makes so much more sense to look forward to the many milestones you’ll enjoy together, than a handful that you didn’t see. I used to nanny for a little boy who was adopted and I remember his mother making him a baby book, she was finding it difficult to buy one because everything at the time had pages saying “The day we brought you home from the hospital” or they referred to birth or past milestones in some way…so she made her own which she called “Our Coming Together Book” and instead of filling in milestones she made a list of all the things she was looking forward to experiencing with him, I thought it was such a great idea. #Sharingthebloglove xx
    Hayley McLean recently posted…Brilliant Discoveries & Bargains Galore At Lidl!My Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      March 12, 2017 / 8:01 am

      Thank you for your beautiful words, that is so true, I love that idea – it’s great to show your kids what they can look forward to and how wonderful their life will be!

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Thank you!

  6. March 8, 2017 / 11:08 pm

    Wow that’s made me stop and think how grateful I should be for everything I’ve experienced with my son to date. I guess as birth parents we take things for granted and don’t realise that there are things other parents may miss out on for different reasons. But as you’ve said you have so much to look forward to with your children too.

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:51 am

      Thank you! It honestly didn’t bother me until this mum asked that question, and that really brought it home to me. And yes, a whole lot more to look forward to!

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:52 am

      Oh Lyndsey you are so right! Thank you!

  7. March 8, 2017 / 8:03 pm

    This makes me realise that we take so many milestones for granted and I can’t imagine how it feels to not have been around for them. But, as you say, the important thing are the new milestones – they are what matter!
    Tracy recently posted…Greek Yoghurt and Berry Swirl Bundt CakeMy Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:54 am

      That mum posing that question so directly really made me stop and think. But it also made me think about what we have been around for and what we will be around to see! Thank you!

  8. March 8, 2017 / 11:33 am

    I can see why in a way you feel sad about this, but in another way, as the comment above said, you do have milestones, they were just different ones.
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂
    Random Musings recently posted…Blogger Club UK Linky #58My Profile

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Yes, absolutely! Certainly happy to miss changing the first nappy!But it did stump me when I could say when my kids first spoke. But we have so much more to look forward to!

  9. March 8, 2017 / 11:03 am

    Giving children a loving home is far more important than knowing when they first spoke. The memories you are creating as a family ARE the important milestones – they are the ones that matter.

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Yes! You are so right, thank you so much!

  10. March 8, 2017 / 10:17 am

    You have so many milestones like when you found out you were getting them. The first time you bought them home. You are doing a great job. #bloggerclubuk

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Ah yes, that is a momentous milestone one I will never forget! Thank you.

    • Tooting Mama
      March 9, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      You are right, so much more to look forward to, I can’t afford to waste time thinking about what I have missed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: