Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas has been and gone...

I had to laugh when I was talking to my friend this week... she has brought me a gorgeous notepad and pen for Christmas. This is so, (she explained) that when I can't blog something, I can write it down and blog it later... I will put it somewhere obvious so that I can use it so.

Christmas was too busy, and therefore too much fallout. But because most of the time was spent with people he isn't fully confident with we saved fallout for home.

We started by seeing his foster carers; the weekend before Christmas; as always he loved it, they loved it, we all loved it. But he always struggles a little with those visits - but it's so worthwhile doing. Especially as he brought their present little foster girl out of her shell, and they ended up scattering jigsaws, games and toys all over the kitchen floor. They were delighted because they hadn't seen the girl play with such joy before. We spent time talking about them when we got home, reminded boy-o that he is staying with us, that we might visit them, but he's not going back.

The Sunday brought Santa Express with our friends. We go to a lovely quiet Santa Express, and we got seats just behind the engine, which all the boys loved. It was a good afternoon, and we went back to the friends house afterwards and the boys got to play more.

On Christmas Eve we went to a party at a friends house... it's a house that boy-o is familiar with, and we only went because I knew that nobody there would judge us if we left early... as it was he was happy joining in as much as the next youngest child. And everyone there (bar one family) knows us, and knows him, so he was happy being gorgeous.

Christmas day, was in parts magically, and in parts awful. We didn't wake up until 7.30; and he sat on our bed with his stocking and unwrapped presents. We went to Church, and he took a toy to show off, and then refused to do so. We came home opened presents, went to my parents had a meal. Came home and went to bed. Missing out the strops, tantrums, tears, shouting and the rest.

Boxing day we went to M's sisters - which was lovely as he got to play with this cousins. The following day we went for a walk.

We had spent lots of time dealing with an out of control three year old, or possibly dis regulated. He has struggled, and it has been made worse because he's not been well. He's not caught up on all the sleep he needed to, because he's been awake on average 3 hours in the middle of each night. Needless to say - we also haven't caught up on all our sleep.

We have had a lovely time really, lots of family time, lots of good things. And whilst it not been easy, to be honest it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might me.

and now - we sit staring at the end of 2012, there are many posts I should have written - there will be many more that I should write and don't. Hopefully sometime later this week I will write again about the possibilities of 2013 - and there are some. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas is coming...

I'll write more, I optimistically told a friend.

You'll notice I'm failing badly... there are all sorts of excuses I can use; illness, exhaustion, Christmas, too much work, too much volunteering. All are valid - but I'm not sure that's the reason. I seem to blog when I need to get things out of my head, and when we are coping...even if it's only just coping I can leave my blog. This tends to mean that when I blog it is full of angst and anguish. But it's not all like that.

I am making time to blog today, because I am spending the morning with my boy... but he's having a nap. It's Tuesday I should be at work, but it's a consultation day, and my joint form tutor wanted to leave early. I said I was happy to do the later slot, but I wasn't going into work before I dropped boy-o off at nursery. So that is what is happening... which is good because for reasons that I'm not going into right now, I stupidly agreed to work extra days this week! This morning is my time with him.

He's tired at the moment, he's not sleeping well. There is too much happening out of the normal for his comfort. I can see his panic setting in. His teacher at nursery has done her best to accommodate him, but there comes a point when nativity rehearsals have to happen, and they have to happen out of the classroom. He has been thrown by things happening at weekends that don't normally happen...School Christmas Fairs, Village Christmas celebrations. It's all too much for him.

He needs lots of love and cuddles at the moment. We are trying to be therapeutic, we are trying to understand, but it's not easy when we are all tired. It was at the point on Sunday when he didn't want cuddles, didn't want to be carried, didn't want to walk, didn't want to ride on Daddy's shoulders that we gave up and came home, after just 30 mins out in the village.

Every day is a fresh chance, every day starts anew... and everyday starts well.

Some of what we are dealing with is age related. Lots of 3 year old's are tired and not coping. And we do try to assign a lot of the behaviour to this, but at times he gives us a glipse of his bigger worries. And when he does we try to reassure him... at the moment mention a party and he bursts into tears - it's one of his big things, and with so much being different at the moment, he can't deal with the emotions it brings - not that he can tell us that.

Christmas is coming, school holidays are coming, we have visitors staying over night (for the first time in 21months!) I'm dreading all of it - whilst hoping my fears are unfounded. Although we have lots happening in the holidays, we have managed to plan lots of 'us' days where we have nothing to do.

But between all that and now, we have his nativity to get through. We have a Brownie sleepover. We have a fun afternoon planned in the park with some other adoptive families. My old mantra has come back into force... one day at a time, and if not a day, then one hour at a time.

And in the middle of this... we are waiting for a social worker to visit to talk about the possibility of doing it all again!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Imagine you are 27 years old, you asked your girlfriend to marry you and are busy planning your wedding in 5 months time. Imagine that you start feeling a little unwell, and discover some odd lumps. You go to your GP expecting to be told not to be so silly.

Imagine hearing that you have to have some tests, that it might be cancer. Imagine having those tests and finding out you have lymphoma. But you don't worry, because actually, you are young and healthy and the chemotherapy will work - it always does, doesn't it? But you decide to postpone your wedding, because you don't want to get married with no hair.

Imagine a few months down the line, hearing that the chemotherapy hasn't worked. That you have to have another course of chemotherapy - but it's okay because it'll all be over with before your postponed wedding. And then it isn't, and you're not getting better. And the second course of chemotherapy doesn't work.

And the doctors start looking for a bone marrow donor. And talking radiotherapy. And this starts happening at a hospital that is an hour away from your home. And a bone marrow donor is found, but you have an infection when you should be having the transplant, but the bone marrow is taken out of the donor and frozen. You get better from your infection, you have the bone marrow transplant... and it doesn't work.

And the doctors start talking about next. And you still have hope because they do. And then... and then... you get an infection you can't fight. And you go into hospital... and you don't come out. And you are no more.

My friend has lost her fiancee today. He was a good man, a really nice, gentle, happy, positive man. And she was always hopeful, never let him see her upset or worried.

I feel so sorry - and I am so upset. He's story is woven with ours as he found out about the lymphoma in the weeks after boy-o was placed. She was the first person from school to meet boy-o as she called in on her way to the hospital.

And... and.. and... I can't let myself dwell... but we know due to boy-o's birth mother he is at slightly higher than normal risk of leukaemia and lymphoma. And most of the time, we forget and don't worry. But on a day like today, I can't help but worry. Because a precious man has died today.

You will be missed Sam.

Friday, 9 November 2012

What came next: Matching Panel & Introductions

Again - some old writings about our adoption journey. I hope that I am explaining the process so that anyone can understand what we've been through; and what the process is...

In Feb 2011 we went to matching panel; my post from that day simply says 'Hurrah.... we're going to be parents! Now to wait to meet our son...'. Because of some ot the sensitive detail that was discussed in panel, I'm not going to repeat what was said, it's not part of our story, but part of the boy's story..not mine to share.

A week later, we started introductions - and that week was hard. It coinsided with half term, which meant I had nore time that I needed to think and deal on things. However, I seem to have filled it okay, spending time with my friends. What followed was two weeks of closely planned (but intense) time with our son.

We went to the adoption agency offices this morning to plan out the next couple of weeks. We had some formal stuff to go through, and promises of reports and life story book came from boy-o's social worker, but both us and his foster mum wonder whether it will actually happen. We have planned our meetings with boy-o until next Tues. We are having a review meeting next Tues, and then will plan from that point!

Having done that this morning, this afternoon we actually meet our boy. He started off shy, and not at all happy, but gradually he started to come round a bit. After about 20mins, he ended up looking at the book I made whilst sitting on my lap - which I have to say was a truly amazing experience, not having a little boy sitting on my lap, but the fact that this is our little son.

We built towers of stacking cups and knocked them down. He spent time emptying my handbag. He spent time with M, again sitting on his lap looking at the book, but also playing with other toys. We looked at the photo of our dog, and decided that dogs go 'woof'.

Next day
We got to spend more time with boy-o today. We went across this morning, and played for a couple of hours with him. He was more confident today, and although went to foster dad when we went in, he very soon came to see us, and emptied my handbag again.

We've had his toy box emptied all over the floor today, and played with all sorts of things that he has. He also emptied the other little boy's toy box, and climbed in and on. He wants to explore and is full of confidence, but isn't dangerous with it. Having said that, M and I both wonder how long it will be before he ends up at A&E with broken bones.

Next day
We had a morning to ourselves - which we filled with exciting activities such as going to the bank to talk about the mortgage, cleaning the fish tank, as well as doing all the usual fun stuff like walking the dog!

We headed to the foster carers after lunch. I got boy up from his nap, and he didn't protest at all. He was a little jittery, but apparently he's always that way. He came downstairs with me, saw his foster carer, and wanted to sit with her for a minute, but that's all it took before he came to us.

We played the afternoon away, and had a lovely time. When he was told 'no' he burst into a world-ending cry! When his foster mum said 'no' he came to me, when I said 'no' he went to his foster mum!

We stayed through tea and bath. I feed him his tea, which he eat really well. Then he played for a little longer - manic half hour is how his foster carer describes it. Then he had his bath, which we observed, and played with him for a bit in the bath. When he was ready for bed, we left for this evening, because we'd spent a lot of time together, he was tired and we thought he'd settle better for his foster carer.

Next Two Days

Yesterday, we went just after breakfast and stopped through lunch. Boy didn't want to go down for his nap, and therefore we ended up stopping longer. When we arrived he was looking out of the window and waved at us. When we left we got hugs!

Today, we went late afternoon, played, feed him tea, and gave him his bath. We got him ready for bed; although his foster mum put him to bed. He came to us as soon as we arrived, and wouldn't let the other toddler who is being fostered there come anywhere near us. He is starting to realised that we are his, and he is ours.

Sat - we took boy out with his foster mum and other foslings to the soft play centre in the morning... he had loads of fun sliding, and climbing and chasing. Lunch there then walk back with all children in pushchairs for a nap.... After the nap, we stayed, we played we did tea, and put him to bed with foster mum.

Sun - we took boy out for our first solo visit. Ended up at local countryside estate, fed ducks, did some walking, played on swings and slides. We had a picnic; then took him back to his foster carers for lunch.

Mon - was supposed to be a day out.... morning was fine, but after lunch we decided to go for ride in car, as we couldn't go for walk in the area that we were in. Boy slept for about 45 mins, before waking up and throwing up all over the carseat and his clothes. We headed straight back to foster carers - once we'd cleaned him up. He threw up twice more on the way back. We took him in, got him cleaned up. Then he sat quietly for a hour or so, before perking up a little. We don't know if it was car sickness or a virus. He didn't sleep well last night, but was okay today.

Today was busy - we got him up this morning, gave him breakfast, had first social worker visit of the day. Followed this with walk into town for speech therapy (which he is now signed off from). Home, for lunch and nap - during which we had second social worker visit of the day (to arrange rest of intros). Following that we went to a park and played on swings for a little while - but had to get back for nurse to visit to get update on him. Following that, tea, play and bed.

First Visit to home
We spent an hour playing and looking over the house, and then back to the fosterers for lunch and a nap. Boy was a little unsure about our dog, infact on first meeting he screamed!

The following day we went and picked up boy and his foster mum mid morning, and brought them back to our house. We played a bit, fed him lunch, put him to bed for a nap (and held our breaths). He went down with only one re-visit, but there really was a lot of breath holding and sitting on the edge of seats. When we were all convinced he'd gone, M took foster mum home! When boy woke up we walked the dog, played, had tea and gave him a bath, all before taking him back to foster carers.

The next day the foster carers had a party for him, so that their family and friends could say goodbye to him. We have photos - they had a good time. And as it's his birthday this coming week - he got presents.

Yesterday we went to pick him up in the morning, and spent the day at our house. Again we got him ready for bed before taking him back to his foster carers... then today we picked him up for the last time, he's asleep upstairs in his cot right now (it's 7.45pm)!

His foster carers gave us a pile of things yesterday, we have his memory box with all sorts of firsts in it; both from them, his previous foster carers and his birth family. There are all his first birthday cards in there... we will have to get another box to put his adoption cards and his second birthday cards in. I spent time yesterday evening, labelling who gave him what in the box, and who different people are (because I will forget). We got a USB stick full of photos, we've got his first shoes.

We decided we needed to do more than the nice photo frame that we'd brought. So we hunted down a Will.owtree Figure called 'heart of gold' which is a little boy holding a golden heart! We gave them that yesterday evening as well. It meant this morning, we could get in and out fast; we were all nearly in tears, but couldn't let boy see that!

Learning about the boy...

The next instalment in our adoption story, for National Adoption Week 2012. And just to make this clear... this is my and my husband's story, there is information about the boy that I won't be sharing, but that we were told about.

So back in Oct 2010, we very first heard about our boy. But not in detail, just that we had been put forward for a child. The next stage was that his social worker had to read our report...this took a long time. And whilst we expected in that in a week or two we would hear more in the end it took until until December until we met his social worker.

In Mid November we met our social worker this week. She told us about a little boy, she went through his report. He's was a little younger than we had been thinking - 20month. I remember before hearing about him, that we were determined to be hard about it, and think rationally whether he was the correct child for us. However, we went for a walk with our dog when our social worker left and both of us had an amazing feeling, that this was it, he was ours.

We eventually met his social worker in Dec; we talked about him, we asked our questions, she asked hers. She went away, and the next day contacted our social worker to say, that 'yes, she thought we would be suitable parents for this boy'

What followed was a series of meetings...

Foster Carers Jan 2011
We have spent 1hr30 with boy-o's foster parents today, and we got to hear a lot more about him. We still feel very lucky, very blessed and as if this is the child that is meant for us.

Boy was described as placid and easy going. He is however, lively, boisterous and clumsy. He is very caring and will often run up to his foster parents and give them a hug for no other reason than because he wants to. He apparently cries when he doesn't get his own way. He has been known to hold his breathe in annoyance, but his foster mother says she just ignores it and he gives up.

He sounds like a problem solver. He will work something out, and just when his foster parent's think that they have stopped him doing something he will figure out a way around it. Apparently he loves fruit, and they have a fruit bowl in the middle of their table; boy figured out that if he pulled the table cloth he could get to the fruit bowl if he climbed on the chair.

He presently attends Playgroup 3 times a week. He will have a go at anything, and really enjoys being around adults and children. He loves soft play centres, ball pools and slides. He has no real favourite toys, or TV programmes. However, he does have some toys that he will bring with him; which are his. His foster parent's have said that he will bring clothes, toys, his sippy cup and plates and cutlery with him. He has recently had some new shoes fitted, along with some boots.

He is well attached to his foster carers, and doesn't like being left in an unfamiliar situation. However, this could be because he has recently seen two other foster children been moved on, including one that had been in the home since boy-o arrived.

Contact worker
We met yesterday with the contact worker who supervised all boy-o's visits with his birth mother and eldest brother and sister. It was a useful experience, and we got some more photos including some of boy-o with his brother and sister.

The contact supervisor J.P. described boy-o as a lovely little boy, who is lively, mischievous and happy go lucky. She also commented that his brother and sister are nice natured. She doesn't think that boy-o has any attachment to his family, and although he enjoyed the visits, he would have enjoyed them if she'd sat and played with him for the time. He enjoyed being the centre of attention.

JP said that contact had been a happy time, shared within the family. Boy-o's birth mother was proud of his achievements, and his brother and sister were protective over boy-o. For example, when boy-o was learning to walk and kept toppling over his brother would rush over and pick him up. Boy's birth mother was proud when he managed to walk without problems.

Medical Advisor
I didn't blog about this one, because there was a lot of information to take on, and it's part of his story not ours.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Approval Panel

Continuing with the re-running of old posts for National adoption week 2012, these were written in Oct 2009.

 17th Oct
Tomorrow is our big day... approval panel.
We have to wait until 2.45 to met our social worker, who should have some questions for us.
We go into panel at 3.00.

I keep trying to remind myself that if there was any doubt our social worker wouldn't have let us get to panel.

But my mind freezes and I worry...

It'll soon be here, won't it?

 18th Oct
We got a yes... how exciting - although actually it feels like a bit of anti - climax!

We got there at the time we had been told, expecting to be told that they were running late... which they weren't.

We went into a meeting room and spoke with our SWs (both old and new) and discussed the questions that we the panel had put together for us. There was nothing unexpected it was as SW told us it would be.

After 15 mins, the vice-chair (chair of panel was absent) of panel came in and introduced herself to us, and asked us to go into the room where panel was sitting. The first thing that they did was introduced themselves; there was; Vice Chair, Adoption Agency Representative, two Minute Takers, an Adoptive Parent, Local City Councillor, Social Worker, Adoptee, Medical Advisor and one more person whose job I can't remember. Plus us and our two social workers.

The vice chair talked for a bit about what they perceived our strengths to be, and said that the report was a really good report. Then they got onto the scary bit... asking questions - 7 in total... the first two are standard questions.

1. Can you tell us about your experience of working with the Agency so far on your adoption assessment?

2. Can you tell us about the child or children that you can imagine in your family?

3. Could N update panel about how she is doing with regards to her weight? (this was asked by medical advisor, who also explained that my medical condition (PCOS) made this harder than it was far some others)

4. What impact do N and M feel placement of a child will impact upon their voluntary work?

5. Could M help panel understand his journey to adoption and what helped him to feel this would be OK?

6. Could M tell panel more about his particular interest in a boy?

7. What is the thinking about the age range of child M and N are wishing to consider?

We were praised afterwards for being totally honest and our SWs were really pleased with how we had answered the questions. Old SW had a couple of comments to add after we'd given our answers, but they were impressed.

We went out and sat in the post-panel waiting room. We'd just about got ourselves sat down and chatting when the Vice-chair came in and said 'congratulations'. We talked a bit about how well they thought we'd considered the differing aspects of adoption and that the decision was unanimous. She left us to get ready for the next panel, and we spent a little time chatting to our SWs about next.

And next... next is waiting. New SW is coming next week to chat to us, and bringing us some mocked up profiles so that she can see what sort of child we are drawn to. We know that there will be no placement until after x-mas, but we might (if we are lucky) hear about a child sometime in the next couple of months.

How little we knew; we heard the following week that we had been put forward for a boy, that our details had been passed to a boy's social worker. Not just any boy, our boy.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Home Study Visits

This a re-run and cut down version of my home study posts... It'll probably still be too long.

Home Study Visit 1
We've met our social worker... and she seems nice. She arrived early this morning, which I think is a positive sign, I'd hate to have been waiting around for her.

Started off with general chit - chat. We talked about the things that are involved in the home study, and had to dig out passports, driving licences, birth and marriage certificates to show her - luckily we could lay our hands on them straight away.

We talked about how we had found the prep group, and what else we'd like more information about. We talked about the reading that I've been doing and what she suggested a couple more books to look at, Primal Wound and Theraplay, both of which I've looked at, but the library doesn't have and they're not cheap! We discussed the birth mother and the adopted adult (not related) that we met on the prep course and how their stories had impacted us.

We talked about the child/ren that we would like to adopt. She seemed delighted that we didn't necessarily want a tiny baby and the fact that we had rationalised this out. Our argument is that we can't actually have a baby, adoption (from foster care) is different, and therefore we want to acknowledge the difference rather than hide it. We talked about birth families, and that there will always be a child shaped hole in the birth family, and a birth family shaped hole in the child/ren's lives.

Home Study Visit 2
We had another meeting with our social worker this morning. I still think that she is nice and knows her job really well. We spent some time doing general chit-chat and then moved onto our family trees/history.

M started with his and looked at grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins and children of. The idea is that as well as sharing your family tree that we share our memories of the people, and how important they were when growing up and how important they are now. This lets the social worker know about your family life and what things were like growing up for you.

We spoke about his parent's and his sister (and her family) and how they have reacted to the news of us wanting to adopt. We talked about his mum's nervousness about it, but SW seemed really understanding of the difficulties that you can have with potential grandparents. We talked about our nieces and how much we have to do with them.

Home Study Visit 3
In our home study visit today we finished off talking about my family, which took most of the 2 hours!!!! I got to talk about how my parents met, and what it was like growing up with them and my brother and sister. I got to talk about how my brother's issues effected life (ADHD and dyslexic). I got to talk about my relationship with my sister; and how that has effected me over the years.

We also started talking about education - which will be picked up next week. M and I have very different stories when it comes to schooling. I went to lots of primary schools, a fee paying secondary school followed by a state secondary school. Michael went to 3 schools - a first, a middle and an upper school. All within walking distance of his home - in fact all within walking distance of our home - although the first and middle school are now primary schools!

Home Study Visit 4
In today's visit we talked about our education, finishing off from last week. And then we talked about employment; what jobs we had, why we'd done different jobs. And we talked generally about the future, what we planned to do when a child/ren are placed with us, and how we would cope financially. We also started to talk about how we might cope emotionally.

 Home Study Visit 5
Today's meeting went well, but it turned into the the one I was dreading. We started off with talents, interests and personality. We talked about our relationship, how we met (car crash!), how we got together, how we deal with stress, decision making etc. And then we turned to our route to adoption!

We spent a long while talking about infertility and how that has effected us and how we dealt with it. We talked about the fact that M is aware that sometimes i need him to listen to me rant not be a man and 'fix it'. We talked about what our options were, and why we decided against them. We spent time talking about the emotional impact of the IVF/ICSI cycles. We talked about miscarriage and what an awful time it was. Several things were mentioned and I was struggling with answering questions and the whole 7 years has turned my memory to mush.

Home Study Visit 6
When the social worker visited last, we looked mostly at our support network (our Ecomap). We spent a lot of time talking about who would give us what support, emotional, physical, and care. We spent time talking about friends, who we would phone and wouldn't say 'well you wanted to adopt' but instead say helpful things. We talked about which friends we would be happy to meet with a child who may be disruptive. We talked a lot about who would bolster us up, and who wouldn't understand.

We talked about therapeutic parenting. We talked again about our hopes and fears - it's telling that more of our fears are focused on the process now. She also had a look around our house.

This week it's individual visits, and referee visits. M has had his visit, as has our first referee - who described me as a stick of rock with 'mother' written all the way through. I think I'm grateful.

Home Study Visit 7

Today we spoke about what we found out when we visited the adopters, and what we thought about that. We then went onto what is possibly the worst thing so far, although we were expected it. We looked at some children's profiles and discussed what different terms meant. We started to think about what we could cope with.

She has left us with some more profiles to study, an old copy of Be my Parent and some information about children that she has worked for. Next week we will look in detail at the list of issues that we can deal with, or not, or deal with in a limited way - i.e. we would need more information about that issue before taking a decision about a child. It's a horrid thing to have to do - but we have to be realistic.

I haven't recorded anything about that last visit - but it was purely about discussing what we could and couldn't deal with... with some explanation from us and some from our SW. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Preparation Course

This is taken from a series of posts that I wrote as we went through our preperation course in Feb 2010. The course was 5 sessions - 2 evening and 3 full days over the course of two weeks.

Adoption Preparation Course (Part 1)

We turned up to be met by 3 social workers, usually it would only be 2 but one is attending for the experience as she is new to the agency. There are 9 of us on the course - 4 couples (including us) and 1 single women. The single women has a birth child as does one of the couples. I think the other 2 couples are like us - without any birth children. We have been told that we will have the opportunity to learn more about our paths to adoption on Friday.

When we started - following the usual speech about fire escapes, toilets, drinks, and general other stuff - we had to find out 4 facts about someone else, and introduce them to the group. I was paired with another teacher, we talked about teaching; our schools; where we live; his birth son. I was then able to introduce him to the rest of the group - although we did get side tracked from the job talking about teaching...

Once everyone had introduced someone else we watched a video about the process of adoption. It was a department of health video, which is about 8 years old. It showed a cross section of people, and they talked about their experience of the process. The preparation course, the home study (and their social workers), approval panel and then matching. I think the key thing I picked up from this - which was more reinforcement than anything else was the fact that your social worker gets to really know you, all the things that you don't normally talk about - you will have to discuss.

We talked as a group about our hopes and fears about adoption. It was reassuring that we all had similar fears - about the process, about the issues an adopted child might have, attachment to an adopted child, but equally similar hopes - to feel complete as a family and learn how to be a 'good enough' parent. M commented that he feels less isolated with worries now.

We discussed the importance of names; how different people got their names; why names mean so much; the fact that often a name is the only thing that an adopted child may get from their birth family and how our names make us individual.

We talked about why children need adopting... not going to repeat that list here at the moment!

We finished with a questionnaire - with lots of facts and figures. In some respects M and I knew enough - but there were things that I didn't know. Things like how many children waiting for adoption are part of sibling groups (55% in the UK).

Preparation course (part 2)

A full day today, which was a little more over whelming, and I need some time to think and reflect! For the moment - what was talked about...

The Adoption Circle. We talked about how the birth parents, child and adoptive parents are interlinked. We talked about the losses and gains involved in adoption. We looked at those life-long losses for everybody involved. And the fact that there are few (if any) gains for the birth parents in adoption.

After a break we settled down to listen to one of the social workers tell us the story of a family that he was involved with for 10 years. He represented each person in the story with plastic figures - and there was a table full by the time he had finished.

This afternoon we had a birth mother come and speak to us. She was amazing, her story was really emotionally, and she was honest and open.

We finished up the day by looking at letterbox contact letters. We broke into three groups and each group was assigned a person (birth parent, child, adoptive parent) and we had to think about what we would want to receive and what we would write. I was in the birth parent group - which was really hard, it was hard to think what to write, we knew what we wanted to hear, but what to actually write. I understand now how hard birth parents find the task!

Prep Course - Part 3

Another full day today, and one full of emotional and negativity.

This morning we had a social worker speak to us about attachment, she is also an adoptive parent, and because of her difficulties she decided she needed to know more about the issue of attachment.

We started off looking at a wall of needs, and how if some of the top bricks are missing a person can cope, but if the needs of an infant are not met how it's impossible to build a proper wall. I think this link - adoption UK the Wall shows it really well.

We looked at the circle of need - how most children have a need, protest, the need is met and then they relax. We talked about how some children have a need, protest, nothing happens, so they protest more and eventually give up - or may have response given in anger. How this can result in a negative view of the world - I am not okay, adults are not okay and the world is not okay.

We discussed the effects of poor attachment, we talked about avoidant, ambivalent and disorganised children. We talked about what we as adoptive parents we can start to do about it to help children. We briefly touched on the need for children to possibly regress and about theraplay and other types of therapy. The importance of trying to get those early missing bricks in place.

This afternoon was about abuse. The different types, what that actually means (examples) and the effects of abuse. The long term effects.

We also had a visit from a foster carer. She talked about the children that she has fostered - both the good and bad. She described how as a family they become attached to foster children, but when she hears that a child has a 'forever family' she starts to detach. She talked about how she prepares a child for adoption. How she takes photo and photo and collects everything to pass on to a child's forever family. How excited she feels when she hears that a child has a new permanent home.

Prep course part 4

Our day started by looking at our support networks - we were given large pieces of paper, and asked to do a diagram of our support networks, including family and friends, but using the thickness of lines to signify the amount of support that would be given. It was an interesting start to the process, although it will need refining and sorting! We were warned that we won't get the support from some people that we think we will, and that others will be added to the mix.

We then had a talk from an adoptive parent. They adopted 2 girls, one aged 20 months and one aged 5 1/2 years. This happened 3 years ago. She talked about the different characters that her girls are, and how hard sometimes it is to judge what behaviours are happening due to adoption. She told us about the issues that they have had, and what problems they have encountered.

In the afternoon we talked about identify - and how important it is. We did two exercises linked to it, but one was a lot more effective than the other. We were asked for memories, from whenever, and whatever. One social worker wrote them all on the board, and whilst someone was speaking the other social worker, ripped them down, and ripped the paper and screwed it up. It was then impossible to smooth out. This was then related to the fact that adopted children will have memories, and that we won't be able to smooth them all out, but how important it is to stay in contact (no matter how little) with the birth family, so we can ask questions. Our memories are built with help of our families, saying 'do you remember when?' adopted children won't have that about their early life.

We also listened to a post adoption support worker, who told us about all the work that our agency do after adoption. Things like a stay and play group for adopted children and parents only. Things like offering phone support. Putting people in contact with CAHMS and other support.

Part 5...

We had a talk from an adoptee. She is 23 now, and was totally honest with us. She said that her mum and dad are her mum and dad - she has met her birth mum, and her birth siblings, but the people who brought her up, are her parents.

She described the problems that she had at school with anger, and not being able to trust. She says she still finds it difficult to trust.

She contacted her birth mum when she was 18. She says that she was too young, but even if she'd been told to wait, she wouldn't have. She seems to have a lot of anger towards her birth mum - that she wasn't able to sort her life out in order to keep her. That even now her mum is lying about why she was taken into care. That she would have nothing to do with her birth mum apart from she wants a relationship with her siblings.

She says that her parents were fantastic. That there is nothing that she wishes they had done differently. That she always knew she was adopted, and that her parents were always totally honest with her (in an age appropriate way). That her parents were there for her, and supported her no matter what. In fact, that was her top tip: be honest and be there!

Hearing her story was really really interesting. She was absolutely positive about adoption - even though there were things that she has done wrong, it's not because of the adoption.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Tentatively stepping forward

Originally posted in June 2009 - after our attendance at the adoption agency information evening.

I wonder if sometime in the future whether Wednesday 17th June 2009 will be forgotten or whether it is a date that M and I will remember forever.

We went to the local adoption agency information evening (we went before in Nov) and had a good long chat to adoptive parents who have been through the process. We also had a good talk to a social worker (SW), and came away with a registration form to fill in. Not to think about filling in, but to actually fill in.

We talked through the process with the SW and M got to understand more about the process - I've already done quite a bit of research. But we also got to ask questions and have an informal talk. The SW filled in a basic form, who we are, why we want to adopt, what sort of child/children we want to adopt, and what experience we have of children.

We've both always imagined having 2 children - I don't think we would have 3 because I am a middle child of 3, and I have severe middle child tendencies that it has taken me years to come to terms with. But we talked about adopting a sibling group (or should that be pair). We talked about learning difficulties - to which I said it would depend on the child and situation. And we talked about 'not babies'.

We went to the pub on the way home, to sit and reflect. And M said perhaps we should consider adopting a 3 or 4 year old, because we aren't getting 'our' baby, and this won't replace 'our' baby, but we will build our family. And the more I turn the thought over in my head, the more it makes sense. I don't know if I can explain it any better than 'it feels right' to be talking about adopting a child not a baby.

Friday, 20 July 2012

a letter...

Dear Judgemental Parent, 
I am really glad that your child is perfect. I know that your child would never have a tantrum anywhere at anytime. I also know that your child will do exactly what you tell them when you ask them first.

I know that your wonderful offspring would never throw anything, hit anything, or break anything. I know that your child is always well dressed in clean clothes. I know that you spend your time reading books with them, and helping them to understand the world around them. I know that your child can count to 10 - possibly in a different language, I know that your child can identify what colour something is, I know that your child can dress themselves, never has accidents whilst wearing big boy pants, and is now nappy free at night.

I would like to congratulate you on your amazing parenting skills.

Oh - I'd also like to congratulate you on having a child that has never seen the other side of life, and doesn't know that bad things can and do happen.

Because whilst you look at my boy with your judgemental eyes and see all the things he is and shouldn't be, all the things he can't do, but should be able to, all the things he does do that he shouldn't. I look at my boy and see how far he has come...I look with amazement at what he has overcome and what he has dealt with. And I see my boy with his smile and happiness, and I am proud.

Yes, he isn't perfect. No, he can't do those things that your child can. Yes, he will still throw a tantrum. But he has overcome some powerful stuff that I hope your child never has to deal with in their childhood.

My boy has lost two sets of parents - his birth parents and his foster parents.
My boy has moved at the age of two, to a completely different life, with new people and new expectations.
My boy didn't walk outside the house until he was 2
My boy was pre-verbal at 2
My boy met his parents at aged 2
My boy is still learning what it means to be in a family - forever

You stand there and shake your head at my boy; I stand and watch in wonder. And I am proud of him and how far he has come.

I know that he will get there and be an amazing young man in a few years time. He has dealt with more than most people deal with in their adult lifes - and I hope he continues to deal with the fall out with grace and wonder not bitterness.

Yes, I look at him with eyes full of love; but he deserves that. I know he's not perfect, but I know that he is perfect for us.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

signs of improvement...

I wrote a long blog post the other day and saved it to drafts to think about... well I've thought about it and decided to leave it where it is! I would only follow up with this, I will be removing a few posts over the next few weeks, I have reasons, many and varied for it, but I will be doing a clear up!

This week has been been busy and frantic; and at the same time boy-o seems to have relaxed some more - that will of course have blown it. When M picked him up from his childminder's on Tue boy-o said he was tired...he had a little tea and then agreed to go to bed without any fuss. By 6.15 he was asleep - no arguments or tantrums about it.

Yesterday I picked him up from the childminders (he has tea there on a Wed) and we came home talking about his friends; he was able to tell me some names, and when I suggested others he thought about it and said 'sometimes' 'no' and 'yes' to what I was saying. We played outside with bubbles when we got home, and spent some time kicking a ball around. He was a complete delight to be with.

This morning, he was a happy and jolly and kept coming for cuddles whilst I was doing jobs, then going back to play. He didn't need to be entertained for the entire time.

Small signs of progress - but signs never the less!

Monday, 25 June 2012


I went a couple of weeks ago to a wonderful evening to introduce me to the world of Theraplay; although to be fair our first social worker did tell us about it, and had see still been our social worker when boy-o was placed she'd have done some with us. I really enjoyed the evening, not just because it was nice to be with adoptive parents who are becoming friends but because the information was useful.

Theraplay for those not versed in adoption theory is a 'method of enhancing attachment, engagement, self esteem and trust in others'. The goal is to help the relationship between adult and child so it is secure, attuned and joyful.

The SW who was leading the session pointed out that even a child that was removed at birth and has had minimum moves, they still have a different experience to birth children that have always lived with mum and dad. That they have lost an inherent belief that they will be where they are forever. Theraplay helps by working on structure (and encouraging safety and regulation), engagement (connection and attunement), nurture (regulation and worthiness), and challenge (competence & confidence along with supporting exploration). For more information have a look at their website...theraplay institute

We watched a video of a SW working on some theraplay activities with her son. It was useful to see some of the ideas in practise. We did some of the activities. We had a discussion about some of the practicalities. Thankfully the SW leading the session knows boy-o so when I said 'what about when he won't sit still to do this or that' and she referred me to some of the more active activities.

My plan is to try to do some theraplay activities during the long holiday... it's only 4 weeks away now. I'm going to do some planning and collect some equipment and practise with M! The idea is that the adult leads, and that it's relatively fast paced for a short time. The plan is that if it seems to be helping I might contact the SW's and ask for someone to come and do a session with us to make sure that there isn't anything I haven't missed.

In an aside I spoke to boy-o's key worker at pre-school this morning in an attempt to gather information in preparation for the visit I have booked to speak to next year's nursery class teacher. She can't believe how much he has come on in some aspects, social and communication are amazing to look at. However, he doesn't recognise numbers, colours, or shapes (I knew that!). They also commented on his concentration... he's just too nosey. Which of course makes me wonder about hyper-vigilance; does he need to know where everyone else for safety. They also raised several over issues; which I knew about... can't be helped it's who he. The big question mark I have is over how he will do in a new environment, and how long it will take him to settle. I can't imagine until he's happy and confident in the nursery class he'll do very well at school...but that is the point of making the change now, not in 12 months when he starts school. He can have a year getting used to it.

He will be okay, he's a happy, jolly and social child. It doesn't matter that he can't do what someone else of his age can, it's only someone else's idea of where he should be. He is doing amazingly well... he's progressing in all areas, and in the right manner. He'll get there, and if he doesn't, so what, he's our boy and we love him.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


So I still haven't managed to blog about my evening learning about Theraplay, or the results of our holiday... but I need to blog today's happenings before I forget detail. The others should hopefully follow.

We spent the afternoon with two of boy-o's brothers; the ones that we have met before. They are twins who are about 14months older than boy-o. We met at a soft play place, where they were able to play and their Mum and I were able to talk. I have a photo of their meeting this time, which last time I was so nervous I didn't... I also have Mum's mobile number stored on my phone, so we can connect easier.

Their Mum and I were both shocked at how much like the elder twin, boy-o is. In looks, character and abilities. There was one moment where the three of them were in a dark corner, and a loud noise emerged... we couldn't see who it was; whether it was twin S or boy-o. Apparently boy-o and twin S are both noisy and make similar noises. They are both active, and jump around a lot. They actually look more alike than the twins do - although twin S is a little taller.

They don't have gorgeous curly hair, like my boy - and they are blond, boy-o isn't. They have blue eyes - boy-o doesn't. But you line them up and you can see that they are closely related! All three of them wear glasses - although twin J's eye's aren't as bad as the other two.

Boy-o came home and chattered about them, we told them in the holiday we will go to the park. Boy-o has decided he will take his big ball and play with twin J. He's going to go on the slide with twin S! He has it planned.

It was lovely to see them and their Mum, it was lovely to chat over some things. It was nice to be able to share about birth mum and our meeting with her, as their mum wasn't given the opportunity. We talked for a couple of hours, and the boys played, with each other and not. I couldn't see boy-o at one point and twin J went off to find him, and brought him back. It was a lovely moment, just like when we said good bye, I got a hug from twin J!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Tired Mummy....

I don't think I've ever felt this tired after a holiday before. I've lots to blog about, but very little enthusiasm... which is a little like what I said about exercise earlier on today!

Holiday was great and horrific. Not even in equal measure. To the people at work who've asked and said 'you'll have had a lovely time' I've just nodded and said yes. It was lovely. It was. But I was so relieved when I was talking to an adoptive mum last night and I said we'd gone away and she says 'how are you, how bad was it?' I'm so blessed to have people who get it in my life.

We had a wonderful time, we went to the beach and built sandcastles, and went in the sea. We went to an amazing adventure playground, which boy-o loved. We saw my Great Aunt and Uncle - boy-o even managed to get to sit on their tractor. I was still in shock that 5+ years after last visiting them we managed to find their somewhat obscure street (in the middle of no-where 5 miles to here, 4 miles to there). We did walks, we did playing, and we did no sleeping, regression in behaviour and high levels of stress and anxiety!

We know he would find it hard - why wouldn't he, somewhere strange? What sort of questions does it rise in his head?

And to back it worse, we came home on Saturday and spent all day Sunday either at Church or at friend's house as her youngest was baptised. And no pre-school this week. No return to routine. Can you guess how this week is going. We went to same friend's for eat up lunch on Monday, and she commented, he's not settled at the minute - and I just laughed. Luckily she is a friend that gets it - and works with small children.

M and I are trying some new ideas. Some things that seem to be working. Some that don't. Tonight's tantrum was superb.... I needed to leave at 6.15 to get were I was going on time.... we started to get him ready for bed about 5.50, so all M had to do was give him some milk and supper. I left at 6.40... after 30 mins of listening to boy-o scream. We did get him to calm down before I left... I was late. Who cares?

We will get there, or not and we will readjust our expectations.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Excited and nervous...

I'm heading into the next week with some worries...

We are taking boy-o away, last year we went to stay with my parents, but we are going to stay in a chalet this year. It'll be interesting to see how he takes it. I keep selling the idea of the seaside, and the beach, and sand... the boy loves sand.

I'm not taking my computer! I am taking my phone, but no Internet access means no point taking my computer. I may use mobile Internet on occasion to check email etc, but no real Internet for a week... disconnected or what!

See you on the other side of our holiday!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Family Fun

A bad, bad morning, because M needed some new t-shirts so we had to go shopping, the boy-o was not happy. We had a lot of 'no want to' and 'no shopping, play'; and when I offered that he could go to bed instead, he said 'go to bed' (bother) I started to walk him upstairs, at which point he said...'no, go shopping'. However, it was the quickest trip we could make.

I'd intended to give him a small nap (which he has mostly grown out of) but we were up late this morning, we didn't actually have time before the park. We had lunch, then set off to the park early; mostly because I wanted to find the ducks to feed; with the going out of date bread (wouldn't normally bother me, but it was going mouldy).

We wandered around the park, and eventually went to the play area where we had arranged to meet. And other people came - mostly people that we know from the play-and-stay but other people came. We had a lovely couple of hours playing... the big kids and some dads went to play cricket; the littlies played in the sand, on the slide, and on the swings. We had ice-creams. We played with footballs and tennis balls. And we talked; and shared our subtly different parenting issues.

I can't tell you other people's stories, but there were some told. One couple who came are in the middle of their second introductions. Others have issues with schools - terrifyingly horrid issues, others have family issues. It was good to share. I was able to admit to my concerns about boy-o going to nursery school in Sept and whether he will be ready. I also mentioned that I spoke to my boy's brother's mother earlier in the week - that's not something you can readily do with other mummy friends!

We enjoyed ourselves, we talked about future plans - because parks are fine for summer, but not so good in winter. We talked about what people wanted. We gathered as parents of 'different' children and talked about where we are; and listened. It is something that is needed, both for us as parents and for the older children who don't meet other adopted children very often.

We had issues because boy-o was tired and hot. But others understood; because they get that emotionally he's not the same age as he appears. Issues as in, I will tantrum and roar and lay on the floor and cry unless you change your mind and let me do what I want! He's 3, acts as a 2 year old and looks like a 4 year old - I'm getting used to funny looks, however today there were no funny looks, just a bit of sympathy.

Other people enjoyed it and have said they will come next time - and hopefully this is the start of something that we need and will continue.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Old problem revisited.

So after an ill week last week, with boy-o been with either myself or M all week; today he went back to the childminders.

There were tears this morning before he was dropped off. There were tears when he was picked up - and 2 1/2 hours into tonights sleep, there has been shaking and screaming already. Ever think I shouldn't have gone back to work.

I can explain it, I can understand it, but I can't help him. I wish I could. I'm thinking of ordering a photo-pillow case, so that he has our image with him at all night.

I wish that I could reassure him, that although we have to leave him, we will always come back. He is with us for good... Last night I read our 'Owl Babies' book - with the key message, Mummys always come back. Tonight we had 'We belong together'. And he knows - but I come back again to the 'does he understand what it means?'

Nothing more we can do for the moment, except give him what he needs, reassurance!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Ill boy...

What a week...
Boy-o has been ill and properly so since last Sunday! It's taken until today for him to be able to stay awake for more than an hour at a time. This is the first time he's been properly ill since he came to us 14 months ago - so it had to happen sometime.

Last Sunday we went for a walk with our friends, 4 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs... it's the right ratio trust me. Boy-o had been a bit off in the morning, but we thought he'd be okay - and actually he was for most of the walk, then suddenly he went flat - M carried him for the last bit. We went to friends house for cake - which initially boy-o didn't want - should have been a clue. He did have some of my cake in the end.

We left them, and came home. Got in, sat on sofa at which he was promptly sick all over me. I love vomit... it makes me gag. We cleaned him up - gave him toast for tea, and put him to bed and thought nothing of it, as we thought tiredness and our old friend car sickness had come to visit.

When he woke up on Monday, he had a raging temperature which I struggled to get down for any length of time, all day Monday. He was less active than normal, but did start off trying to play as normal. However it was clear as the day went on that he wasn't well. Tuesday, he went to the Dr, who said he has a virus (we'd figured that out) but nothing serious. He spent Tues, Wed and Thurs sitting on our laps, cuddling and sleeping. He'd wake up for about 30mins, then drift off back to sleep. I spent most of Tues afternoon catching vomit on my hands - lovely not. On Thurs we managed an hour awake, and finally starting to eat again. Today - Friday - he managed a more normal day - although we spent some time cuddling and sitting, he did manage to walk for about 20mins on the moor.

I am glad he is getting better - this week he has worried us. But it has been wonderful to sit and cuddle and be able to look after him - building stronger attachments is good, but I wouldn't want him ill for anything. My poor, poor boy. I'm hoping tomorrow that he'll be back to 90%, and that come Monday we'll be back fitting fit.

Monday, 30 April 2012

in the planning...

This week looks like it could be a little busy; today has been! Not that I mind - it's all good stuff or work!

I'm very excited about two things... one is a little project that I am in the process of setting up - sorting out the finer details. The other thing, my parents are moving from where they presently live 7 hours away to somewhere that I can walk to in about 30mins! I'm very excited and happy about both these things....

My little project - except it's not mine, it's a joint venture, is the setting up of a weekend group for adoptive children and their parents. I had a meeting today with another adoptive mum (who I admire no end) and we talked possibilities; and by the end of the hour we realised that we were both very passionate about similar things. We'd also planned the first 3 meet ups! It's a trial, it needs more work, but for the moment we have somewhere to start!

We both have jobs to do to organise it; we both have roles to play in this happening. But it is something that I need and my boy needs so much, that I am convinced that I will find time to squeeze it in. After all - I'm not getting much sleep at the minute anyway!

That's it for now - I still have lessons to plan for this week. I still have a million things on my to-do like; I may have added more today; but it feels good to have a plan!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

adoption support thoughts....

There are so many partially written blog posts - so much that I planned on sharing; parties, night terrors, Easter, hope, days out, potty training - but they haven't been finished and they may never be. I need to get back to this properly as the outlet for my head - this thought occurred to me at 3 o'clock this morning when I was awake again as I have been more often than not this week, not because boy-o is waking but because my head is whirring.

I am incredibly grateful that the LA that we adopted through recognises the support that adopters need and provides an outlet for it. Before I went back to work boy-o and I regularly went to the adoption playgroup; sadly it's on a day that I work, but they do hold them through school holidays, so this past week we went. And there are many things that I love about that group of parents.

Today that support continued because we went to the birthday party of a little boy that we know - who belongs to that group and I spent a long time talking to another adoptive mother who was there. Who understood why I blanched when someone said 'boy-o is really good, he doesn't cry when he falls over' - no because he spends his life falling over - which isn't normal, however to be fair is probably to do with his size than he is adopted. We talked about the night terrors and the fact it means that there is something deep sited in his head that we need to get to grips with; it's not one of those things. We commiserated about the people who say 'he'll be okay' because it's possible - that they won't.

I can't explain how much I value the support those adoptive parents give me, and how much I feel I am able to give them. It is a sharing experience - and as I commented to M on the way home - at the moment we haven't got much experience yet but it will come. And before any tells me off for borrowing trouble I shall repeat an important adoption related fact often quoted in UK adoption circles 1/3 of adoptive placements will have some problems, 1/3 will have significant problems, 1/3 will have severe problems. There must be some adoptive families who sail through will no problems, but they are so small in number that they aren't included in the figures. I hope and pray we land in the 1/3 with some problems.

Why am I turning this over in my mind... because it was suggested at the adoption playgroup on Fri that perhaps we should have a regular weekend meeting where we can get together and share and families can get to know each other even after the children are at school. I feel called to do something about this; it feels massively important to me - and so I shall continue to dwell.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Birthday madness....

It was boy-o's birthday last week - we had a lovely day; lots of presents, happy people and cake. But we didn't have a party - which is a little controversial amongst some of the Mums that I socialise with... we didn't have a party for a really good reason - but we did spend the afternoon with people that we all love - even boy-o loves them.

Last year just before he came home to us his foster carers had a party - both a goodbye and an early birthday party rolled into one. Included in this was lots of presents for him. And I don't mind, I think his foster carers are fab; but it has left us with a little problem.

Boy-o seems to associate presents with moving on; parties more so. At Christmas we managed to space things out, so it wasn't a big day, just a day with presents and some family visitors. At the start of January he was baptised and we had a celebration of that and his adoption - this brought about 4 weeks of interrupted nights - waking up screaming and shouting.

His birthday has had the same response, but not as extreme. I've not had an uninterrupted nights sleep since.... he has cried 'stay with mummy, stay with daddy' repeatedly. He has woken up screaming and shaking. The nights when I've been at work during the day are worst... we had a review day last Wed; and he'd woken up about 15times in the night - I had to spend the day talking to parents with virtually no sleep!

He knows we love him, he knows when we ask him that he is staying with us 'ever' (forever). But I don't think he understands... and I don't know how to help him understand. His behaviour has been worse - lack of sleep perhaps -and my patience has been thin - definitely lack of sleep. I've got to the point that I want him to be ill, so I don't have to take him to the childminders and I don't have to go to work. How mad is that? and I want him to catch the bug that's going round so we can have it. He needs some time with us, and it's only another week until we have 2 weeks together.

Obviously I don't want him ill, but I want to help him get past this. He has issues with been left and although he loves preschool, and his childminders; at the moment he will cry for extra kisses and cuddles. I can't not leave him when he starts as that seems like a slippery slope - but I do hate it.

Another bridge to cross - more work needed on reassurance.

We will get there.... I am confident. In the future we will have birthdays and parties and all sorts of such jolliness; but I need to help him deal with this now - and I don't know how!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

a year...

what an amazing year!

This time last year we were running around in a blind panic trying to make sure that we had thought of everything.

This time last year we were so happy (still are) thinking about bringing boy-o home the next year.

This time last year we had no idea of what life was going to be

This time last year we had hopes and dreams

This year - my boy is fast asleep in his bed

This year we are happy thinking about the joy that is boy-o

This year we know what life with boy-o is like (tiring a lot of the time)

This year we know that having a son was everything that we dreamt of and more besides.

I wouldn't change it. It has been horrid and difficult and amazing and wonderful.

It is better than we hoped and worse than we dreaded

He is our son. He is absolutely our boy. Even when he is in the middle of his worst strop I wouldn't change it. I adore that boy; and this evening when I put him to bed and I got an extra cuddle and he told me he loved me - just because; I realised that he is more than I could ever have expected.

Happy one year to us. Happy one year as a mummy, daddy and son. Roll on the next year - and the ones after that.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A year

What a difference a year makes.... I can't believe that it's a year since we went and had that scary matching panel. I can't believe that a year ago we were told that we could be boy-o's parents. I can't believe that this time last year we were planning, and tidying and getting ready like mad.

I can't get my head around the fact it's a year. That this time last year we still hadn't met our boy, although the planning was happening. I can't believe that it's only a year. I can't imagine life without him. We are blessed beyond measure with our little man.

When M brought him home from the childminders this afternoon, he ran into the kitchen were I was getting tea; and gave me a huge hug. He smiled and talked through tea. He was only sad that I said no drawing because it was bedtime. I do mostly love my job, but I miss my boy and wish I could be with him more.

In other news - it's ICLW! Welcome if it's your first time here, or you are not a regular reader. I'm nh, I am a mother, a wife, and a science teacher. Last year M and I adopted our son, who will very soon be 3. I live on the outskirts of a Yorkshire city, with countryside 10mins in one direction and city 10minutes in the other.

Feel free to have a look around. I've travelled a difficult path to get to the point where I can call myself a mum. We went through years of infertility and grief before deciding to adopt. Those dark times lurk and linger in spaces in my soul; they aren't forgotten, just put aside in the rush of everyday life.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Feb half term

Half term week has been and a blaze of happy times, friends and a lack of sleep. Tomorrow would indicate a return to work - except I don't work Mondays.

This time last year... is a little phrase that has rattled around my head this past week. Last Feb half term (which was actually a week later) we had matching panel, we got a yes, and we madly organised for a week, before meeting our boy.

This year... I've spent quality and happy time with my boy. Well, mostly happy, but neither of us has been 100% well, if he's slept alright I've been up coughing. If I've been on for a good night's sleep, he's been awake. Last night might actually have broken our previous record, but about 3 o'clock this morning, M & I gave up counting. It wasn't a good night!

But highlights of the last week, seeing our friends with their new puppy, and walking with them all. Meeting up with another friend and her 3 year old twins, having a glorious walk and watching the boys interact. Having my friend with her daughter her for lunch and playing with boy-o. Getting to go to the adoption play group; and seeing my friends there, chatting and catching up.

We've had some good times and bad times with boy-o this week. He's very two at the minute; and with being off colour, we've had plenty of tantrums. Proper two year old tantrums. Proper do-your-head in tantrums. Lots of crying and screaming when he can't have his way. I keep hoping that a magic switch will appear when he turns 3.... however, having seen my friends 3 year old twins, it's possible that doesn't happen.

But this too will pass, I'm not complaining as such, just diarising. He is a happy, young man with a whole lot of personality.

Monday, 6 February 2012


February has been a funny month for the last few years - and as I prepare to face this week, knowing that it's the anniversary of my worst miscarriage; but equally knowing that the end of the month will bring about the anniversary of meeting our boy...I feel strange. I want to cry about what might have been, but that takes away from the joy of my boy.

Nothing takes away from what might have been, and time doesn't heal, it just helps you find ways to deal with it. Those babies were precious, as were all the others, but it is this miscarriage that I remember more than any other. Knowing that 5 years ago, I had hope of an entirely different ending to our story.

And yet... I can't imagine any other outcome. I love my boy, I can't think of how I could have loved a birth child more. He is our child, and whilst I wish for him that he had been able to have been brought up by his birth family; I'm glad he's ours.

And yet...I wonder what might have been, who those children would have grown to be. Whether they'd be tall and skinny like M, or shorter and chubbier like me. Would they have liked what we like, would we have cherished their joy of the world, of being outside. Would we have a girl who liked doing craft like me. Would we have a boy who wants to explore how the world works like M. Who would those children have been.

And yet... we are blessed beyond measure. Our boy, is such a boy. He loves being outside and will just run around with the joy of it. He is not afraid of anything (except us leaving him). He finds joy in each new day and each new experience. Everywhere he goes people smile, because he smiles. He is making me grow, because with him I have to be a better person.

And yet... sometimes when I am with my friends with the children born in the month before ours would have been, I wonder. Would their children be good friends with ours. Would they be experiencing everything new with them.

And yet... boy-o loves those children. If you ask him who his friends are... two out of the three (the ones he sees most often) are mentioned...always. Other friends vary, but he loves spending time with those children. He plays so well with them. Perhaps if they had been closer in age it would have been different.

And time passes. The pain becomes easier to absorb. The knowledge of our boy is great, and the shadows are fading. As those potential children become older... I lose sight of them more often. They become more ghost like... a presence rather than actual beings. But I can't forget them totally, they will always be there, waiting in the shadows.