Monday, 28 October 2013

memory box -grandparent fun

Having been off the blog for the three months since placement (thinking regularly that I"d like to do it again, but never managing, I've had many memory box moments that have slipped by).

But here's my most recent.  Three months in, the littles have met my parents four times now.  last week they were able to come and stay in a B&B nearby, and we went together on a long train journey into Birmingham to see the Julia Donaldson Exhibition.

The moments when they met the Gruffalo are priceless but photos I can't share - however, this moment of a little boy looking up at his grandpa and laughing is one I will treasure.

I'm sure for many of us the journey to adoption means we have children later than some - and this means I am particularly thankful that these four people are able to build the relationship they are slowly building over skype and with visits - and I hope it will build some memories that they will keep - I know I will

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

memory box

No time to post yet, and still letting emotions settle about our first day meeting our lovely two new soon-to-be children today.

But wanted to post this little memory that I will always treasure - of a little girl only 18 months old, sitting on the grass in that squat with your nappy out way that they have, staring at me with a frown for 15 minutes while I gibbered like a nana.

And then, suddenly, that little girl said 'flower' and pointed, and spent the next 20 minutes picking flowers with me and taking them to her daddy. (I stuffed them into my bag for a memory - and as you can see they got pretty squashed!)

by the end of the visit the little girl was in fits of tickle-induced giggles, and crying for us not to leave - whilst I'm sure there will be lots of trials ahead, I'll treasure such a wonderful first meeting for her, and her wonderful older brother - who caused lots of memories, just no photographs that wouldn't identify him

Just in case he reads it in years to come, my best memory was when he jumped into my arms to say goodbye, kissed me on the nose and burst into fits of giggles!

day two tomorrow - bring it on!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

starting in earnest....

tomorrow we meet our childrens' Foster Carer......

I've looked at all the forums, and I know that there are tonnes of questions I should ask her....but in reality I don't know what I don't know, and I feel a little unsure of what we'll talk about!

We have read so much about our little ones, and I'm sure later in the week when we get to meet them, we'll be asking her things every day that occur to us - but I don't have a clue what tomorrow will be like.

My main question is really (if I'm totally honest with myself) "will we be good enough"  She has worked so hard for many months for our little two - and I want her to think her work has been for something and that she's done the right thing and that her work will pay off.

My hubby keeps saying that her opinion isn't the most important thing, and that we've been approved - and she will either like us or not....

But still its a long old night ahead of us...

Friday, 5 July 2013

pets......well don't get me started!

I am in the wonderful warm limbo between matching panel and intros - a long sunny weekend ahead and on Monday we meet FCs, and next week our children.

You know how mums who have given birth talk about forgetting the pain of delivery once the baby arrives?  Well, I think one of the things that will fade when the littles are here, is the memory of the hassle we had the weeks before panel over our dogs.

we have three very soppy dogs.  Our LA counts 3 dogs as a pack, and therefore they were assessed by the official dog warden (who spends his usual days removing status dogs from high rise flats, so was a little bewildered sitting in a country cottage with spaniels snoozing on their sofa!)

so - all went well with that, all the paperwork went in and approval was a doddle.  Our SW is nervous of dogs, so she asked us to do a gradual introduction to the dogs so that she'd get more confident and also learn how we'd introduce children to the dogs.  We did a little document for panel, with pictures of children with dogs and information about how we manage that, how the house has separate areas etc etc.

so all was fine, approval panel went really smoothly - and there was a lovely load of feedback from the panel.  The link meetings all fine, dogs were well behaved and out in their utility area at the back of the house, none of the SWs asked about them.  

6 weeks went by

then 2 weeks before matching panel questions started coming about the dogs and how much work they might be with little children, what would we do if the children didn't take to them etc.  Our SW prefers to talk about these things face to face so it felt ike a big deal to be asked for meetings or to pop into the office and have long conversations etc.  It seems as if one of the other SWs is anxious about dogs herself and that may be having an effect.

Anyway - having done loads of conversations, and explaining that we understood  how to ease people including children into meeting our dogs - they are bouncy when people first arrive - but are wonderful with kids.

on the weekend before panel we talked about how we were approved, and if we didn't get the OK for these children that we are so excited about, we'd take a holiday and then try again....and we'd come to terms with it - we were really getting ready for a no.

We got a yes.......and no mention of the dogs - even when I asked if there were any issues, there weren't.  So my little tip for the day is....

if you have social workers asking lots of questions up to a panel, and they seem really concerned about one thing - but also your social worker is saying 'don't worry this issues isn't something that will stop approval' and 'I feel really positive about this panel' - LISTEN TO THEM!

(would have saved me a very stressy final week!)

So - by this time next week our children will have met 'their doggies'......

Friday, 28 June 2013

Parenting Advice

In three week's time I'll be a full time Mum of two.

Throughout this whole process I've had lots of peoples' comments, advice and thoughts and as the advice becomes an overwhelming torrent, I have started to reflect on the different 'flavours'....

There are an ovverwhelming majority whose information is phrased in a really negative way.  Now, don't get me wrong, we expect to be exhausted, and baffled, stressed and overwhelmed  and we know that having two children with trauma in their little lives is not an easy thing to take on.

But we're mostly surrounded by people with birth families - and their phrases are so miserable"

- enjoy this holiday, you'll never enjoy one again
- I never get any time for myself
- you won't know what's hit you
- they sap your will

Then there are those phrased as a knowing joke between existing parents a kind of 'little do they know' thing

The phrase most used is 'your lives will change' - usually in a dour tone, with a rolled eye.....of course our lives will change......thats the WHOLE POINT!  How would we have gone through this process for something that would make no difference!

We aren't party animals, we love our life, but we want to be parents.  The thing that these people don't understand is that their comments don't make us think differently about the journey that we are embarking on - they make us wonder why they ever embarked on it - they sound so bitter!

I'm also interested in my own reaction to advice.  Some people go into advice about parenting itself.  Like 'oh your daughter is too old for a mobile on her cot'.  Well, the cot came with the mobile, we have learnt a lot about doing things as if children were younger to help them attach, and if when she gets here she likes it, she can have it till she's 21 for all I care!

Or 'you'll need a people carrier' - well, if I went and upgraded my little car to a people carrier, that would mean several less months of adoption leave.  My priority is to stay home with my children as long as possible - so I won't  be changing car.  Yes, a truck would be simpler - but since when is simpler best for everyone.

I feel quite self-conscious at the thought of people seeing me 'mothering' for the first time - and therefore I get prematurely defensive about some very well meaning and positive suggestions.  Some are just not understanding the differences about adoption - and I understand that.

But what I do wonder is - what makes people think I am asking for their advice?  If I needed it I have plenty of people to ask - but I don't know what I need yet - I'm pretty used to changing nappies etc and dealing with young children - what I havent experienced is all of it, all of the time - one thing is for sure though - those people who have offered unsolicited advice will not be the people that I will ask!
Every now and then there are wonderful comments from the few people who talk about joy and magic, and for those I'm so grateful.

One of my best friends gave me a simple response when I talked about how people talked all about what we were giving up, rather than what we'd gain.  She says you are giving up only two things.
What are they?

"A hot cup of tea, and  a private poo"

Thursday, 27 June 2013

special moments....

moments are special each time we get closer to our family.

But since we've had the matching panel decision, little things mean a lot. I'm the permanently dewy-eyed one, the one spending time online reading about things.

My hubby is into mindful acceptance, letting it happen etc. So the moments of emotion for him I find even more touching. He has little moments of waves of realisation and is so excited about being a Daddy.

Realise now I've written that that it will sound as if I did this in some weird prodding attempt to make him emotional - it wasn't that manipulative I promise.  

I put a little picture of our soon to be Son & Daughter in the little window in my purse.  And I popped one in the window of his wallet.  His moist eyes when he found it and came to say thank you this morning were very touching.

(by the way, this isn't my purse its just one I'd like to have if I could justify spending more on a purse than will ever be in it!)

Monday, 24 June 2013

for the Adoption Social Memory Box.

On the day we are finally approved as a 'match' with our little children, wanted to share something - since we haven't met them yet, the thing that has moved me most is this little letter.  It was written by my friend's son Charlie - when he decided to donate his pedal tractor to our soon to be little boy (age 2).      Its hard to see on the scan, but charlie has even done a picture at the bottom with my little boy and his sister sitting in the trailer - just like Charlie did with his sister.

A letter for the scrapbook to show how welcomed they will be, not just by family x

Memory Box