Friday, 8 June 2012

And now we are official!

It seems like every post I have apologised for not blogging for aaaaages, but I genuinely do not get onto the computer very frequently these days, and only then to clear down my emails!

The rest of our lives is fun, noisy (quite often smelly) family life with a toddler in the house. This blog title is about us being official, because all those legalities are done now, he has our name, as well as an extra one we gave him for good measure. To be honest, though, we have considered him officially part of our family since he came to us and the little bit of paper has actually had less of an emotional impact than I otherwise thought it might.

We have had some hiccups, attachment related (or perhaps, just toddler related?!), and mostly on my side because I am the one away at work all day. I do find that hard, but just have to remind myself that it is nothing personal. Every so often I get a hug and a kiss and I'll take that as well earned!

We have had very few frustrations with the system in these last few months and I would have to say that pretty much all that we have had are court related. From ridiculous forms with guidance notes that don't match (the clerk subsequently told me that they changed the form but not the guidance notes) to another form that had no relevant option for us to tick so we were told to 'write whatever is relevent in the margin' - genius. Frankly, I am unsurprised that delays often are referred back to the court system because it is clunky and disconnected and just... a bit... vague.

I'm now at the stage where I meet people who haven't seen a toddler just turn up on the scene, who come across me as a mother of two and who don't need to know. That seems to be a little strange and I have to stop myself from leaping into the conversation with a bad case of 'too much information'. In the meantime, everyone who meets our two little men are charmed at their obvious fondness for each other and comment what wonderful brothers they are. That, to me, already sounds like we are getting there and I look forward to our little family growing up together.

I'm not going to pretend that I will blog again any time soon, lets face it I don't have the track record. I hope that perhaps a quick read of an adoption journey may be as much use to people as some of the fantastic, more in-depth, blogs that are out there, and perhaps I will be back with more as we reach the talkative stage! In the meantime, though, you can find me on Twitter @adoptiondiary and now I better go and update my blog description...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Meanwhile, in amongst the toys...

I just looked back at my last post, and our little one had only been with us a week. Now it has almost been two months and I wish I had a blogful of experience to pass on about tips and tricks for attachment, issues and how we dealt with them, and all that. Really, though, taking from our experience with our birth child, it has been no different than dealing with normal toddler stuff. Perhaps that is us being extraordinarily lucky, and we do realise that we have had a child placed with us that has no major underlying issues (although there are still some), but we haven't seen any spectacularly strange behaviour, or bonding problems. We have just had fun being a family, laughing a lot, pulling faces at spectacular nappies and having cuddles. I could go on a bit about the system of professionals that have orbited this little one and how they have missed, or misinterpreted, several things, but we are here now, we can see and we can help. We have our little one and he has us. That is all we wanted and we have been the happiest family this Christmas.

Friday, 4 November 2011

National Adoption Week - what a difference a year makes!

Last week we were in the midst of introductions, thoroughly enjoying it but mentally exhausted and, if I am honest, the fact that National Adoption Week 2011 would begin on the very day that we brought our new little one home almost completely passed me by.

When I did realise (and joked about it a bit with friends), it made me think of the 2010 national adoption week when we were only at the very start of the assessment process and had no clear idea of how long it would take. If you had told me then that I would be grabbing what time I could to write a blog page, leaving other half to deal with a messy lunchtime toddler, then I would have been astounded. Even had we been approved by now, I was expecting to sit for months and months waiting for a match.

I keep going back in my head to last week and the introductions. I was told that the transfer of attachment process (such a serious phrase!) was an almost magical process and it kind of was. Within two short (two hour) meetings, we had little arms reaching up to be picked up and a kind of resigned 'ok then' face when we changed nappies.  Within three days we were going out on solo trips, and four days had us home alone all day. Before the end of the week we all knew we were ready to be home and, frankly, we were all fed up with the driving, including the little one.  I can't tell you that we did anything special, because we didn't. We just hung out together and played.

And here we are, almost a week into placement and it is like we have always had this small person here. We haven't been inundated with check up visits by Social Workers, but they are on the end of the phone.  Thankfully our 8 year old loves his little sibling and is adored in return...

Again, I have shortened what could have been several blog posts into one but, you know, I would rather be playing with the little person in the other room...!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Two months later...

Imagine that title in a Jacques Cousteau voice...

Anyway, where were we?  Ah... that's right. Suddenly plunging headlong into a joint approval/matching panel. I've felt ever so guilty about not blogging. I could have, but suddenly got so superstitious about putting anything out there when I felt it could all go horribly wrong. So that's my excuse and here we are.

After the flurry of emotions on being told about littley, I think we went entirely the other way. Friends would get excited, and tearful, at our news and we were there, almost impassive. Everything we said, we qualified ("well, you know, if we get approved, if it all goes well, still subject to panel, obviously...") and I don't know if we even came across cold. The truth was, though, that we wanted this so much that we didn't want to open ourselves up to the rejection that might, still possibly, be there.

It got harder and harder, though, as we had to sign more bits of paper, see more people, see more details about our little one. We met the carer, sat in the home that littley was living in, and saw photos that made our hearts leap. Before we knew it, in our minds that small person belonged to us and no-one else.

So, when panel came, in the back of my mind I knew it was just a formality, but I still had my heart in my mouth as we entered that room with all those people. I don't know if they genuinely looked stern, but I had already decided they did so that was that. The questions were almost perfunctory, nothing we felt we had any problems with, and before we knew it the chair was offering us her congratulations and I was a bawling wreck. And that was before we had to do it again 5 minutes later for matching. It wasn't a day for mascara.

So there we were, panel had said yes. This big build up, the big barrier between us and our child was down, they were ours. Well no, hang on, they were ours when some supreme being had agreed and signed a bit of paper. In about two weeks...   Wha...?

I did know this, I knew I knew this, but that was still the worst two weeks of the whole process. We had comments such as 'well they almost never disagree with the panel' which obviously made me think that sometimes they DO, and what if they did with us...?  I still refused to tell friends that didn't already know until we had that bit of paper, so it gained almost more importance than panel.  When it finally came, I have never felt such relief.

Once we started to tell our wider friends group, I suddenly found a whole host of people who were either adopted themselves (three of them, who knew?) or had family who had adopted, or even people who had family who had children removed. Apart from this there were the friends who were clearly in awe of the situation and who are genuinely interested in the mechanics and real details of the process. I fear I have become quite the 'expert'. I also fear I have found another soapbox topic...

Which brings me to this week. This week we met our little one for the very first time. That moment when we arrived and a little face peered around the door frame will stay with me forever and every difficult moment of this last year or so vanished.

May I point out at this point that I do appreciate that having done this in a year or so might not make it sound very difficult to some people...

I now feel bad that I have condensed what probably should have been at least two or three or more blog entries into one - maybe I should have given more detail about the panel or about the introduction planning. But, a bit like the birth of our older child, we spent all those classes in the lead up to the birth worrying about the birth and not what came after. When you finally realise that what comes after is more marvellous than anyone could describe, then the pain of the process before suddenly pales into insignificance.

Thats a bit grandiose. Sorry.

Anyway, I will write more about the introductions because this process genuinely fascinates me. But that's for another blog. For the moment we are very, very close to our happy ever after ending!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

And... whoosh.. it happens.

Last time I posted, we were in homestudy. We are still in homestudy. We thought we were in homestudy for a little while longer, then were prepared to reach panel some time later this year. We anticipated a little wait to be matched, but not too long, we keep being told how many children are waiting. Realistically, then, we were looking at introductions in the new year/spring.

At times, in the back of my mind, I even thought this was probably optimistic, as we are only now a little over a year since starting on this process. I thought we probably still had a lot more homestudy to do - exercises to work through, etc.

So, we are slightly surprised/taken aback/gobsmacked/amazed/thrilled that we are, apparently, now only weeks away from panel date. Even more jaw-dropping to us is that we had the extraordinary news that there is a real little person out there with an imaginary label on them saying 'Ours'. They want this little one to be with us as soon as possible (dammit, I want them with us as soon as possible) but we obviously have to go through the appropriate steps.

So here I am, one part of me waiting for it all to go horribly wrong and for something to get in the way, or for someone to say, 'Actually we decided you weren't quite the right family after all...'. The other part of me (after having some serious words with that other part and telling her not to be so defeatist) has already started to mentally catalogue all the toddler equipment and clothes we still have in storage. In fact, that part of me is already watching a pushchair on ebay, for shame...

Being slightly superstitious though, I'm not going to blog about this little one in detail just yet. I don't want to jinx anything.

On reflection, all these feelings aren't too different from the fears and worries and highs and excitement of being pregnant, as much as I can recall that. I remember wondering what I was going to think of our baby when I met him, what he was going to look like - and he wasn't anything like my expectations in the end! I should learn my lesson there.

Here we go, then. Off to panel. I will report... at some point...!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Oh, how we talked... and talked... and talked.

Finally. We started homestudy.

I'm not sure I can post in great detail about what the first session was like because we hit the 'massively personal' stuff square on. Oddly, though, far from feeling invaded, we relished the chance to talk and analyse, to reflect and project.

I don't know if ever two people seemed happier, talking about life the world and everything, it was totally self indulgent and very enjoyable.  I wasn't really expecting this! I was expecting angst and constant checking of how a traumatised child would be a world away from any of our experiences. In actual fact, we started to see that our experiences could actually help.

We were expecting more structure, perhaps, more of a checklist. What we got was a very, very, long chat over cups of tea. But, do you know?, I think that probably provided our SW with a far better picture of us, our personalities, our limitations, our experience.

I imagine the tough stuff is still to come, probably accompanied by tears! At least 10 more sessions, we think, probably more. But at least we are under way. I did a little happy dance about that.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A post about nothing

Because, nothing is what is happening! Still waiting for our homestudy dates although I hear tell that some of our peers from prep groups may have theirs... (pulls out 'hopeful face number 46')

In the meantime I have been reading, tweeting and reading some more. We have been getting the books out of the library as we didn't want to spend too much money on unecessary books and I had the intention of reviewing some of them on here. Trouble is, they go back to the library, we read more books, then I get muddled as to what was in which!  Lets say I will never make a satisfactory book reviewer...

We have also been telling a few people as we go along the way and they have all been very lovely so far!  We are also seeing friends who we told a while ago and the all start the conversation the same way 'So... how's the adoption thing going?' to which we inevitably answer 'slowly...'

Anyway, two months after prep groups here we sit. Fortunately we have plenty to be doing with a boisterous 8 year old in the house so we are not left to stew. Thankfully we are still very positive!

So, thats all about nothing from me. Here is hoping I get to blog about something more concrete soon.