My Son's Hair

Unable to get an appointment with our usual hairdresser recently, I decided to walk OB down to the local barber for the first ever time . . . for both of us. It's not as though I have had any call to visit a barber before now!

The Haircut has been one of the things in our shared life together that has probably been more of a saga than I'd like. He has never been comfortable in the hairdresser's chair. He doesn't like the attention on him, or the sound of the scissors snipping away, or the clippers buzzing around his ears, and we have had many tears and beseeching cries over the years. It is the patience and gentle approach of our hairdresser, recommended to me by a friend, that has brought us to a stage where he will now sit quietly (silently) and still until the deed is done and he gets his little bag of sweets.

OB's first haircut was not long after his first birthday. We were managing a lengthy transition back to his birth mum and in the very last week of the process, when I was only taking him for three 2-hour respite sessions, she asked me to take him for a haircut.

There was no time for an appointment so I had to take him to a drop-in place I didn't know very well. Birth mum had been vague as to style - "not too short" was the only instruction she gave me. At the time, his hair was really quite long, with baby curls, and I had little idea what to say to the hairdresser when she asked me what I wanted, so I just asked her to tidy it up a bit.

OB wasn't keen on the whole thing. He cried a lot and squirmed. The hairdresser asked me to hold his head still, which I was very unhappy about. The end result was . . . well . . . not good! I bagged up a lock of his first haircut to give to his birth mum and, a few days later I said goodbye to him, as I thought, for good.

It was a few weeks later when I got the phone call asking me if I would accept him back. Two social workers brought him to my house later that afternoon and I remember looking out of the window as they parked the car. I had been on tenterhooks since the call.

As they lifted OB out of the car, I got quite a shock. His baby hair was completely gone. It had been cut - no, shaved - short. I couldn't believe how different he looked. He was suddenly a proper toddler, and no longer a wispy-haired baby.

I didn't take him for another cut for a very long time, and I have never had his hair that short again. In fact, if anything, OB's hair has a tendency to be just a little bit too long, especially when I get a bit lax in making our next appointment in a timely fashion. I love his full, thick hair, and the way it bobs about when he runs. So I was pretty devastated when the barber took out his clippers the other week, and did large portions of it with a number 4!

Lots of people have commented on how smart and grown up he looks, and I have agreed heartily with them in OB's hearing, but the truth is, although I'm getting used to it now, I didn't like it at all. It reminded me way too much of how he looked when he came back to me all those years ago.

And it's not because I didn't like the cut his birth mum got for him, and it's not because I have any bad feeling towards her for doing it differently to how I wouldn't have done it. It's because he was such a traumatised poor wee mite when I got him back that when I look back at photos of him around that time and I see his little pale, thin face and his shorn hair, and the look in his eyes, all I can think is that I never want my son to look that way again.

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO) theme over on the The Adoption Social this week has been 'Finding Inspiration'. The inspiration for this post came from a discussion about hair cut stories with some Twitter buddies! :-)

If you enjoyed this, and are looking for more blogs about adoption from all perspectives, you'll find plenty at The Adoption Social.


  1. Ahhh but look in his eyes now. Cx

    1. You're right - the haircut may be similar but everything else has changed.


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