With Jack-Jack's upcoming adoption always in the forefront of my mind, I've noticed that I've recently stopped trying to help Jack-Jack progress. Almost unconsciously, I've taken a step back from actively teaching him and encouraging him to practise new skills (numbers, animal noises, body parts, signs etc.), as it would be so nice for his new parents to teach him these things and share in his achievements. His walking is coming on in leaps and bounds, but I've caught myself thinking "not yet!" as I'm imagining how much his new parents would love to hold out their arms and have him wobble and totter into them, as he's been doing with us. It might sound silly as you don't want to hold them back, but I've heard of foster carers holding off on weaning, moving from bottles to beakers, potty training etc. to allow the adoptive family to go through that milestone with their child.
I sat down to make a plan for how we're going to pass on all the photographs and other memories we have saved for him, and in doing so went through all the notes we've made each day on Jack-Jack's progress, outings and behaviour. It made me realise how many of Jack-Jack's "firsts" we've been there for - first food, the first time he sat up by himself, starting to crawl, the first time he babbled, the first time he pulled himself to a stand, his first steps, first visit to the dentist, first holiday, first shoes, first haircut, first birthday... We were so excited about each one, celebrated it, documented it with photos and video, and talked about it with pride to family and friends. Now when I look back, although he will have the photos we took, it seems so desperately unfair that neither his birth family nor his adoptive family were there for these special moments in his first fifteen months, and I do feel disappointed for his adopters that it's taken so long to get to this point. Adoption was mentioned as the mostly likely outcome for him when he was placed with us, and we've known this specific family was on the radar from that point too. It's almost like the courts forget that you can't put a young child's life on hold whilst you wait for decisions to be made and meetings to be held, however much you might want to.