It was an overcast afternoon on Tuesday 16th April 1991 when Michael Cocks entered into the world. He weighed in at 9lbs 6oz, a healthy and hungry baby, named after his grandfather. Not long after his emergence, he was whisked away from his mother into an adjacent room. It would be 22 years until I saw her again.
My name’s David, and I’m adopted.
Two weeks passed, my parents walked in, and my beautifully plain life started. After not being able to have children themselves, they made the decision to adopt, taking in Laura in 1986 and myself a few years later. They gave me a new set of names, but Michael still remains nestled in the middle. My 5-year-old sister joined them to pick me up and after examining the room of babies on the ward, decided that the near ten-pound behemoth wasn’t for her. 'I don’t want that one,' she said. 'Can we have a different one?' Luckily they didn’t have a choice and I went home with the best people in the world.
I’ve always known I was adopted. My parents never kept that from me. Even though I may not have understood it, I knew. As a young child, both my sister and I had a book; I Am Adopted by Susan Lapsley. I couldn’t tell you the contents, but I can tell you that it was perfect for us both. A message of belonging, not abandonment, that’s held true and resonated with me throughout my life. How could I possibly feel unloved when these strangers took me in and gave me everything I could ever need and much much more? A family. It’s what we were, what we are and what we always will be.
There’s a whole part here that I’m going to leave out, and that’s the bulk of my life. It has been as uneventful as any other and that is a testament to my parents. A stunning river of calm that has made me feel like the luckiest kid in the world and an absolute bore to read about. I love it and I love them.
The next defining moment in my adoption happened on a clear evening on 20th May 2013 as I drove to London for my first real job interview. Having found her bio-mum a few years previously, Laura often asked when I was going to try and find mine. I answered truthfully; 'I’m not that fussed to be honest.' And I really wasn’t. I’d thought many times about what my mother looked like, what she was like and if she was like me. But nothing burned heavily enough to act on it. I didn’t need another mother.
As I got in to bed that night, her question hung over me, drenched in intrigue more than anything. I got on my computer and typed in my mother’s name. I’d done this before, maybe 2 years prior. A name had sat there on an electoral role that fit all too well. I had stared at it the first time, wondering all those same things. Did she remember me? Did she celebrate my birthday? Does she wonder where I am? As I typed, that same name reappeared as it had done so those years ago. I jumped down the rabbit hole. 2 hours later, I was sat staring at the email address for the woman who I’d left 22 years previously.
Meeting someone for the first time is nerve-wracking. Meeting your birth mother is a panic inducing. The gut feeling of wanting my mum seemed funnily fitting. I rounded the corner to see the woman that had given birth to me. I smiled. She looked like me. 'I’d recognise that face anywhere,' she said calmly. We hugged. She was shaking like a leaf. I didn’t know what to feel. There’s no pre-programmed emotion for that situation. I just felt numb. We sat down and stared at each other for a few seconds, taking one another in. Six hours and two coffees later, we’d scratched the surface of each other's lives.
I now have a whole new branch to my family, including a little 8 year old half sister. My life has changed for the better, but in a way, it hasn’t changed at all. Home is still home, my mum and dad are my mum and dad and everything I knew growing up is still the same. I’m a product of my environment, one of a loving home and one of loving parents that would give anything to make sure I am safe and happy. They are the foundations of my life.
This week is National Adoption Week. I’m an extraordinarily lucky case, having been placed with a family at birth that have loved and cared for me endlessly. Others aren’t so lucky. Often children are put up for adoption much later in life. These are the ones that need the most love and care and the ones that are overlooked so often. This year’s theme is “Too Old At 4?”. The simple answer is no. No child of 4 should be without someone who loves them unconditionally. If you are in a position where adoption is an option for you, I implore you to consider. You may just be saving a child’s life. For more information, visit first4adoption.org.uk/nationaladoptionweek/.
If you have any questions about my life as an adopted child, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll do my best to tell you everything you want to know.