2021 was pretty busy for our family and, although the major events were all positive (unlike the illnesses, bereavements and collective disappointments of the previous year), it often felt like we were pinwheeling from one thing to another. All events involve change, and some changes were easier for our son H to handle than others. H’s speech development was delayed, so for a long time he was unable to verbally express his worries – and we weren’t always very good at guessing what might be worrying him. He has now caught up speech-wise, and it makes such a difference when we take the time to discuss what’s been planned, as well as what might go wrong, and how we could handle it if it did.

So here are my hopes for 2022.

Be more organised, individually and as a family. I’d love to reduce last-minute stressful scrambles for gloves on schooldays, stop discovering that batteries aren’t charged when we need them and prevent us from running out of vital commodities, such as chocolate biscuits… Being more organised will also help us make sure there’s sufficient time for H to process upcoming events, so that he has a chance to ask questions about them, and then ask questions about the answers to his previous questions, and so on.

Do more learning and make more mistakes. H often won’t try things for fear of getting them wrong, so I’m hoping that modelling learning something I’m not very good at will be helpful for him to see that it’s ok to get things wrong. I plan to try learning the piano again, as my previous experience suggests that learning an instrument is great for not minding about mistakes, and that practice improves performance.

Spend more time with our extended family. I’d love H to get to know his cousins properly, and it would also be great for him to spend more time with his adored and adoring grandparents. He’ll get new audiences for the endless stories he loves to tell, and participants in his games, and we’ll get to watch our parents and our child finding mutual joy in each other.

Reconnect with friends we’ve lost contact with, particularly those who have also adopted children. H is asking questions about his birth family, and I’d like to give him the opportunity to meet others in similar situations to his own, so he can begin to understand what’s unique to him and what’s similar for all adopted children.

Take better advantage of the opportunities offered through Adoption UK’s local group, especially the family-friendly walks and get-togethers. This would give H the chance to meet older adoptees and give him an idea of what life as a big boy might look like. He worries that getting bigger means we expect him to be independent and that we won’t give him the support that he needs or wants, so it will be great to see supportive families with older children.

But the biggest aspiration I have for 2022 is to decide whether we want to apply to adopt again, which is a much harder decision than applying to adopt for the first time. We have a wonderful family dynamic and my partner and I are obviously reluctant to risk spoiling the happiness we have in our little triad. H doesn’t cope well with waiting and disappointment, so it would be very hard on him if we didn’t get matched quickly – or at all. On the other hand, H would definitely benefit from a sibling to play with, another adoptee to share experiences with – now and in the future – and someone to look up to him and to whom he can teach his own hard-won skills.

It might well take the whole of 2022 to make this decision, as it would affect at least three and possibly four people’s futures and happiness. If we do decide to apply, my other aspirations of organisation, change planning and reconnecting with support networks will be more important than ever – so it looks like I’d better get cracking on those…