Saturday 27 October 2012

The hurricane has landed.

So yesterday was the first day of the rest of our lives together as a family.  Gulp!

We picked up Missy (she will hereafter be known as this on this blog) at 9.30am.  The idea is that the social workers get there a few minutes before us to make sure all ready to go and the foster carers are supposed to have said their goodbyes, so all we need to do is put all Missy's stuff in the car and her, collect paperwork and off we go.  Missy was excited to see us and all set to go.  Unfortunately the foster carer got tearful and opened the car door when Missy was in her car seat, and hugged and kissed her and said "Miss You" etc.  Not the way to do it and it upset Missy who within 10 seconds of us driving away said she wanted to live with the foster carer.  Oh dear.

The journey home was very subdued with minimal chatter and on arrival at home she still had tears so we left the unpacking and the three of us went into the lounge for a family hug, explaining that as her new mummy and daddy we were going to keep her safe and secure from now on and that we had so much to look forward to, all three of us together.  We kept stressing the togetherness and thankfully Missy soon cheered up.

The rest of day was mostly spent playing with lots of giggles from a game she was playing with Daddy although we had two of three times when she said she missed the foster carer.  It's understandable as she spent so long there and they did look after her very well, but it is hard to hear.  I'll be honest and say that a teeny tiny "oh god what have we done" thought went through my head.  That said, the day on the whole was good.  We received a lovely bouquet of flowers from one friend, another popped round with a card and I got a lovely message on FB from another, plus a very helpful text from another friend when I didnt have a clue what to do.

Dinner passed by with no issues and then it was on to bath and bed. I was dreading this time as it was a first for all of us.  But amazingly it all passed by beautifully.  Daddy and I both played at bathtime and Daddy sat on the bed whilst I read the bedtime story.  In five minutes she was out like a light and stayed that way until 7am this morning apart from a brief trip to the loo in the night.  Perfect!

This morning we had cuddles, we had breakfast, we had a wash and got dressed and still all good.  Missy didn't come with many winter clothes though and today was much cooler than of late so we definitely need to take a trip out very soon.

The walk to the park was cut short though as it was so flippin cold.  We did manage to finish our picnic though. So British.

The main issue with Missy is that she is controlling and wants to lead play the whole time.  It's exhausting, I'll admit, but we are very gradually helping her to understand and learn that she doesn't have to be in control the whole time. I'm guessing that in her early life she also did the looking after.  On a few occasions she's wanted to help me do things around the house but I've said "no, that's for mummys to do".  We've said no a few times when we don't agree with what she's doing and once or twice it's ended in brief tears but we've soon moved on. She also needs a huge amount of reassurance.  I guess she got very little at her birth home.  So we played the "round of applause" game at tea which started with me saying we should give Daddy a round of applause for making a fab tea and then led to all of us thinking of lots more 'rounds of applauses" for each of us, with of course lots for Missy.  She loved this game.

Talking of reassurance, the cats are needing lots too.  They're not too impressed at the moment but are gradually getting a little braver.  Poor things, they've had such a quiet life up til now.

So, it's the end of Day 2 and I think we're all beginning to feel a little better about things.  Missy went to bed perfectly (in fact earlier than we said she would have to, it being a Saturday night) and Daddy and I are just looking back on the day.  Daddy just told me that Missy put her arms around his neck this morning and said "Daddy I love you".  Awwwww. Bless.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Dear Daughter ..

Dear Daughter,

Tomorrow two become three and our life together as a family begins.  We have been looking forward to being a family for so long now and now the time has arrived.

Are we excited?  You bet!  Excited at all the things we can do together, the places we can take you, the things we can teach you (and you, us!), the sights we can show you.

Are we scared?  Yes, a bit.  Scared of the unknown.  We hope the past does not affect the future but we'll wait and see.

But in the meantime we are here to keep you so safe and secure, to love you to the end of the world and back and to give you a wonderfully happy childhood, to be here for you whenever you need us, to wrap you up in security and belonging, to reassure you. We are here for you forever.  And, no, you will never have to move again.

Forever and ever.

Lots of love,
Mummy and Daddy

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Irony and Cake

Today is a "rest day" on the introductions plan.  Except we haven't rested much. We had a review meeting with social workers, then went shopping for various DIY and housey things  then home and straight onto the PC to get my accounts done once and for all and sent off to the accountant. When I worked in an office, I was bloody good at paperwork even though I say so myself, all expenses done well before time.  But doing my own at home, that's another story.  Anyway they are done and I feel so much better.

Yesterday was a strange day.  It was the longest day so far that Little One would spend at our home.  She seemed a little quiet in the morning and I wasn't on best form either as it was TOTM.  I find it particularly unfair that I can't conceive and yet I still have to endure periods. Alana Morrisette's song "Ironic" springs to mind.

We are so mindful of Little One's past and trauma she may or may not have been through and our parenting is a massive learning curve.  I say curve, it's almost vertical.  Adopters style of parenting is different from foster carers style of parenting as they have strict guidelines to adhere to under the heading 'safe care'.  It must be very confusing for an adopted child to have an overlap of two different styles.  We all cheered up soon and had a day of colouring, hide and seek, lunch, more hide and seek and a visit to the local park before heading back to the foster carers. We'd heard about Littly having food issues. Her birth mum would bring junk to contact meetings and when she moved to the foster carers she was fussy, taking ages to eat food and store it in her mouth.  But lately (it seems mainly since contact meetings have ended) she is so much better with food.  She likes everything and eats well although we have noticed she takes massive mouthfuls and doesn't appear to chew as much as she should so we have started to work on that.  I think she is also getting rather tired of the to-ing and fro-ing as are we. Her memory is incredible, she is very perceptive and nothing passes her by.  She noticed that the social worker who came to visit for 20 mins had had her hair cut (I didn't) and she remembered a song she had sung in school bearing in mind she hasn't been at school for nearly two weeks now.  She sang the song over and over all the way back to the foster carers, asking Mummy and Daddy to choose various fruit and veg she had to sing about :-)

On the way back from dropping her off, Daddy and I stopped for a cuppa at M&S (lovely cake there!) and chatted about how we felt.  I said I still felt it was like we were babysitting and merely looking after a young child.  Of course Rome wasn't built in a day and attachments certainly won't be built in 10 days.  It will be a gradual process on both sides.  Mr asked me if I 'loved her to bits yet'.  Honestly? I don't.  But I will. Daddy agreed. That's not to say we don't think she's gorgeous and lovable and funny, she is.  I have worried though about how to be a mum without the natural chemicals that flow when motherhood by birth occurs.  I look at Daddy and he is a natural.  But then I confer with friends who are birth mums and they have/had the same feelings so then I don't feel so bad.  I did have a little cry last night - I think it's just the tiredness and emotions...but then watched Great British Bake Off and felt much better.  There's something about baking, even just watching it, that I find so therapeutic and I have many lovely memories from childhood that involve baking (I feel a Coffee Walnut Cake and Rock buns coming soon).

So the review meeting went well, no concerns. We had to hand over a letter confirming we would like to proceed with the adoption. Of course the letter confirmed we would.  Hopefully that's the last time we have to visit the local authority's offices.  Unfortunately one of the social workers confirmed our local primary school will not accept Little One as they are full.  Annoying as it's our nearest and the best.  The issue has gone as high as it can in the LA so they are trying another school which was second on our list.

Three sleeps to go and I'm off to do some baking.

Sunday 21 October 2012

A little visitor to our house

On Friday we had a little visitor to our house.  Our new daughter came for a short visit to check out her new abode.

It was just a short visit with the foster carers and a chance to have a look round, check out the cats and her new bedroom.  The cats didn't hang around though so Mr suggested she go find her bedroom and shout when she had found it.  "FOUND IT!", she yelled within ten seconds.  So we went upstairs and had a good look round.  I think she was rather impressed and soon spotted another toy on her bed.  We haven't bought any as she has quite a few anyway at the foster carers but a friend of mine had bought a pink toy back from the States so we put it on the bed for Little One.  She promptly decided to call it Sooty!  We showed her around the rest of the house and then she settled in for a spot of colouring, having found some new pencils on her bookcase, whilst we had a cuppa with the foster carers.  An hour was soon up and as they walked up the drive we heard her say "Have I been good today?".  Bless, she was so good.

More often than not Friday night's are spent in the local Indian and we realised that this was the last Friday night we'd be just the two of us!  So, off to the pub and Indian we went.

Yesterday we had a longer visit.  Foster carer brought her and explained that they were leaving her to play and explore whilst they went shopping.  A brief look of anxiety quickly passed and pens and pencils quickly found.  She remembered exactly where her bedroom and all the colouring stuff was.  After much colouring done, we explored the garden (it's not that big honestly but probably to a 5 year old it is).  Much excitement here as Daddy and Little One picked the last of the strawberries and raspberries, not all of them making it into the bowl of course.  Back inside she decided we were going to have a cuddle on the sofa under the big fleecy I had bought.  Time just flew and we had to take her back to the foster carers.  Another good day, no tears, no tantrums, a few times we said 'no' which passed ok.

Today we had a longer day with our new daughter and picked her up at 10am.  Again, much giggles, laughing, colouring and today we played hide and seek and made biscuits!  Amazingly the kitchen was no messier than when it's just me in there! As far as food is concerned, she eats anything.  Hurrah!!  And LOVES FRUIT!! Double Hurrah!!  I think having her here is going to make us healthier again.  After I finished IVF I kinda let myself have a month off from eating healthily ...except the month off extended to a year and a half off.  Oops.  I've eaten more fruit this weekend than in the last month.  Today we had lunch together which went well.  Cheese on toast, satsuma and petit filous. Yum.  We had another cuddle nap on the sofa and she declared that when she comes to live here we should have a nap each day.  I second that.  Whilst she refers to us as mummy and daddy to others she mostly still calls us our first names to our face but also declared that when she moves in she will call us mummy and daddy :-))   Roll on moving in day!

I am actually in awe of my new daughter.  At her age, yet with a stable secure childhood, I was actually extremely shy and clung to my parents if we went out. I really don't think I could have coped with all the trauma, lack of stability and change that she's going through.  Bless her.

In her words, five sleeps to go.

Friday 19 October 2012

Meeting our new daughter

"You can have a hug because you're beautiful".  That's what my new daughter said to me  :-)))

We met her last Friday 12th but, I'll be honest, I've been so tired each day that I haven't turned on the computer since Thursday 11th.  I'd read and heard from other adopters that Introductions are draining and so we haven't organised anything else at all during these two weeks; I knew there would be a huge mix of emotions but hadn't reckoned for the tiredness!   But I guess concentrating on colouring for 3 hours a day is hard work.

So, I just want to turn the clock back to last Friday and recount our first meeting.

We left home earlier than we needed but didn't want to be late so we ended up sitting in the car down the road for half an hour.  But then 10am came.  We met our Family Finding Social Worker outside the foster carer's and nervously walked up to the front door. I was so nervous so can't imagine how Little One felt. Inside, the social worker took us into the lounge and introduced us to Little One.  My first impression was 'she's gorgeous'.  A few minutes later Mr leant over to me and whispered "she's gorgeous".   She was a little shy to begin with but that didn't last long and she was happy to come over to us.  We watched the DVD we had prepared, about four times and she pointed out things she liked. I'd taken a little toy with us, which had appeared in the DVD and book and she quickly spotted it in my handbag with a big beaming smile.  She then showed us the book we'd made and showed us her bedroom. We had our picture taken, the three of us and by then 50 minutes had gone by so quickly and it was time to leave.  We both got hugs goodbye which I didn't expect and my eyes nearly watered. Wow!  That little girl was my new daughter.

Since that first meeting we've been over to the foster carer's each day, increasing the time a little each visit. We've done lots of colouring (lots!), we've done jigsaws, played hairdressers, we've done our nails and eyeshadow (even Mr had some eyeshadow put on).  Not sure I'd have got make up for a 5 year old but I understand why she's got it.  We've done more colouring and had lunch together and more colouring.  We've taken lots of photos, that includes Little One who is loving the camera and taking photos of us. The foster carer has been great, the idea being she is around in the house but not joining in with us.  After first lovely new daughter would regularly go to show or tell foster carer about what we'd done which was to be expected.  She knows foster carer is safe ground but over the days this returning to her has lessened.  She has looked forward to us coming and wants to play straight away.  One of the day this week Mr was definitely the favourite and got lots of attention - I'm very happy with this actually because a) she isn't used to having a daddy and b) with daddy working she won't see him as much so needs to bond before he goes back to work. Daddy makes a good daddy I think.  We've also been for a walk, once with foster carer and once without. Without was absolutely fine and we all had a great time.

Foster carer has been great and we've got on so well which I'm really happy about.  How Little One is now and her behaviour, emotions etc is all credit to the FC.

Introductions are continuing, more to come.

Monday 8 October 2012

Last Minute dot com

Nothing like leaving things til the last minute.  For any prospective adopters reading this, I recommend getting everything in order at least a month before your introductions.

Bathroom.  Yes, still working on it.  Just had a 24 hour paint-fest (am I the only person who manages to get as much paint on them as on the walls?).  The fitter overran by a week!  Looks lovely though - well, it will when all is finished.

Accounts - erm ....

We had to do a DVD and book introducing ourselves to our new daughter.  Well, much hilarity. How on earth do TV people stop themselves from giggling.  I couldn't even get as far as hello without falling about, tears streaming.  Honestly, you'd think we were producing an epic film rather than a 2 minute DVD.  We managed it in the end though although no awards will be given for lighting direction.  I decided at the very last minute I didn't like the plain book I'd bought in which to stick our photos, so I headed out to Boots and Tescos and then the local craft shop where luckily, with 5 mins to closing, they had the perfect scrap book.  I quite enjoyed doing it actually, sticking, putting captions by our photos, and it's given me some ideas on what we can do with Little One.

I've shown the photo of our daughter to-be to a few people now, including our neighbour this morning.  "Oh my word!" they say, open-mouthed.  "Doesn't she look like you!!?", they say in amazement.  Yep, she does. This is what grabbed our very first attention before finding out about her.  It's uncanny really.  We've also told a few people her name, which for obvious reasons I won't mention on this blog.  At first it felt 'odd' using her name and referring to the spare bedroom as "[name]'s bedroom" but it's become much easier this week since Matching Panel.

Technically, I'm now on Adoption Leave.  I had my last client last week.  I say Adoption Leave - nothing formal though, just me deciding when to stop seeing clients.  It's not like I'm getting any maternity pay or adoption pay or adoption allowance.  Oh no, self-employed adopters get zilcho, nothing, zero.  My local benefits office didn't know anything about adoption pay and my  local MP's response was taken straight off the website.  I just hope this is one of the issues the Government looks at when looking at the whole issue of adoption.  I suspect it won't be but I'm quite sure it will put other people off from adopting if they won't be in a good financial position to do so.  Luckily we've got some savings that will tide us over til I go back to work. But we shouldn't have to dig into savings.  Why am I any different from someone who is employed and who adopts or gives birth, or someone self-employed who gives birth?  Frustrating.

Right, hopefully the undercoat is dry by now so it's back to the painting.

Four days til we meet her.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Dear Daughter ...

Dear Daughter,

We really cannot wait to meet you next week.  It's so real now, we have some photos of you around the house and now call the front spare bedroom your bedroom.

I hope you like shopping though. Grandma and I love shopping and can't wait to help you choose some lovely new bedding and some winter clothes.

Lots of love

Nearly Mummy & Nearly Daddy


Monday 1 October 2012

It's a YES!!

It was Matching Panel today.  This is where a panel of people decide whether the little one with whom we have been linked will be officially matched to us.  And she is!

We weren't nervous at all; we felt it was just a formality as all plans have already pretty much been put in place.  The panel is made up of a Chairman, medical adviser, administrator and four others including and adopter and an adoptee. I can see why some people would be very nervous though, particularly in the grand surroundings of County Hall, sitting in front of a panel of strangers who know everything there is to know about you.  We had practiced some of the answers to questions we felt might come up and gave what we felt were good answers to the others.  Two of the questions I could sense were particularly aimed at me due to my interest in all things holistic and organic but they were fine.  I think we were in there no more than 10 mins.  Our social worker, the family finding social worker, little one's social worker and another senior practitioner from the adoption team went in first for about 20 minutes to put forward our case and after we came out they spent another few minutes deliberating before the Chair came out and offered us his congratulations.  The decision was unanimous.

Full steam ahead now.

But no chance to celebrate just yet as, guess what, more bathroom stuff to organise so off we went to the local DIY stores to choose vinyl and paint.  Lovely.  Fitter is still here, tiler is here today.  Based on this and when we had our kitchen done, I'd say 60 Minute Makeover on TV is telling porkies.

Then we had another school to look round.  We were pleasantly surprised by this school but it's still not our first choice and although the Head was very frank with us about where the school is now and where she wants it to be, we still want to go ahead with the first choice. And considering it's a church school, I was surprised to hear that not many parents actually attend church. Plus this school today is twice as far as the first choice school.  The social workers are putting the case forward for our first choice school and hopefully we'll hear something by the end of the week.

I'm going to go through the introductions plan this evening and plan what we can do when our daughter comes to our house during the second week of intros.  I've bought some pens and pencils already, might investigate Play Doh and think of some very easy things we can cook.

Introductions starts in 11 days.


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