Friday, 25 November 2011

Meeting Birth Family...

Recently we had a chance to meet boy-o's birth mother and her new partner. It was something that I really wanted to do and something that I dreaded at the same time. Am I glad we did it? Yes. Was it as awful as I thought it might be? Yes.

Boy-o has a complicated family history, which I'm not happy going into on here. Enough to say that birth father was considerable older than birth mother. I can't remember if I said, but his birth father died shortly after boy-o was born, he was however in his sixties and had smoked for a long time, and had heart problems because of the smoking. All boy-o's birth family's grandparents are now dead.

I felt sorry for birth mum before we went to the meeting, knowing her history, and I felt even more sorrow for her at the end of the meeting. She has learning difficulties, and therefore it was difficult to think about how the conversation would go.

We did find out some lovely information for boy-o. Things like that his (eldest) brother and sisters love swimming like boy-o does. That brother likes playing football - boy-o loves kicking and throwing balls around.

She didn't choose his name for any other reason than she liked it. That when she first saw him walking at contact, boy-o was running (nothing changes!)

She said that she'd like him to go to Church - we were able to say, that already happens. She'd also like him to learn to swim properly, have opportunities to play football and to go to Scouts. She wants boy-o to know that she's always loved him and always will.

We talked about what she would like to hear about in letters - she said as much as possible. How he is, what he's doing. She asked how she should refer to herself in her letters - our social worker suggested birth mum X.... she wants to make sure she can still call herself mum - which is find, because she is, but at the same time I am his mum. I'm the one he runs to when he doesn't feel secure. She wants to send and receive birthday and Christmas cards - which is fine by me.

She broke down into tears - this is was a big thing for her. She hasn't meet the couple who adopted the twins. She found it as difficult as we did. And I just felt sorry for her.

There was a little more discussed but we didn't really learn anything new, except we have a photo to show that we met. I'm so, so glad that we've met her - and hope that in the future boy-o will want to meet her and try to understand why things happened the way they did. She isn't bad and I can't portray her as such - she's just a desperate women who's had a really awful life.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Adoption in the news...

So adoption is in the headlines again today.... which is possibly as it should be as it's national adoption week. However, yet again, it's not positives but negatives and criticisms. Adoption is too slow... children are waiting too long, league tables, naming and shaming. But no solutions offered.

Cameron has decided that it's awful for children to be waiting for so long in the care system. And has published a league table of % of children placed within a year. However, the way to improve this according to the government is to Name and Shame those councils who are worst performing.... which will probably not improve the system at all! And as one of the so called worst performing councils stated - most of their adoptions are successful... slow but when made they stick!

I haven't got the answers - and yes perhaps it should be a little faster - rather than the average being over 2 and half years in care, perhaps the aim should be to get the average down to less than 2 years. But, more money, more training, would surely be an improvement rather than 'naming and shaming'.

Adoption should be the last the resort for children. Therefore surely it is important that social workers carefully consider plans for children. It would be better for my son, not to be my son. It would be better if he was been brought up by his birth mother if it was at all possible. It isn't, but he would have an easier life in some respects if it was. Adoption should not be plan A, or even plan B. It is not a magic answer, which removes all issues.

Many, many children (in the UK) in the care system are damaged by their birth parents. Adoption doesn't remove that damage - it's their for good. Even my precious boy-o, is damaged as at aged 2 he lost his foster carers, the only parents he really knows.

Spending up adoption, without appropriate checks would possibly lead to more newsworthy stories. To have more adoptions, you need to have more adoptive parents - our agency has about 80 children waiting at the moment....and the parents aren't necessarily there to adopt those children. And yes, there are adoptive parents waiting, but they are waiting for different children.

Our agency did okay in the tables - apparently between 80 & 90% of children are adopted within a year of coming into care. Boy-o is in the other 10-20% - he waited 2 years.

Speeding up adoptions is not easy, or fast, or cheap! And there are no quick fixes - and perhaps David Cameron should recognise this!

Friday, 21 October 2011

look how far we've come...

I wasn't going to post tonight, but I felt a need to. Please look at my previous post for a quick ICLW intro and questions about pushchairs!

This time last year we'd just been approved to adopt. I'm presently typing one handed as our son is curled up on me. He is asleep but if I try to move him, he'll wake up and start crying. He's been to bed but coughed himself awake, and got into a real state. 'Mummy, mummy, mummy' all he would say until he fell asleep on my lap. Dreams do come true!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sibling Meeting

I know I posted about boy-o's siblings a few weeks ago. At the time Emily commented about the fact that she was surprised that the him and his siblings have been split up so much. I think because the children have been removed at different times they have been placed separately... the two oldest children have sadly been removed and put into care, and then returned more than once. The next two girls were put into care at the same time as the older two, but have never been placed back with the birth family. The twins and boy-o were removed at birth.

The twins were adopted by a couple who have an older adopted daughter. The younger of the twins have some complicated issues which means that they felt unable to adopt boy-o.

I met the twins and their mum a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting experience - in a good way.

Boy-o shares characteristics with both of the boys. Physically he is more like the younger of the two; when J (boy3) smiled at me, it was like looking at boy-o. Their mum said that boy-o very much reminded her of boy3.

J has mild cerebral palsy; and walked on his tiptoes and tripped and is clumsy - much like boy-o. However, their Mum commented that boy-o is a much better walker than J was at the same age. J also has delayed speech; and is still delayed, he doesn't talk much more than boy-o. He had a small head at birth, and although an MRI didn't show anything, he has off days, where he really can't focus. He also chews everything - which boy-o also does!

S is not at all physically like boy-o. But character wise you can see the similarities. S loves water; as does boy-o. They are both extremely active and happy souls.

I did enjoy meeting the twins and their mum. It was fascinating to chat to their mum about them, and also talk about the birth family - we both know the story and don't need to protect our children by hiding information. I'm looking forward to seeing them again sometime soon.

The last part of Emily's question was:
'I wanted to ask you if you are allowed another adoption of kids in care, and if so if you would consider it.'
Absolutely, if it's the right thing for our family. There is a lot of discussion about it in our house - maybe, maybe not. The only thing I can say right now - is not yet!

Monday, 3 October 2011


Our local village pre-school takes children at 2 1/2 years, which seems ridiculously early especially as boy-o has only been with us 6 months. But back in April I put his name down on the waiting list and he started in the middle of September.

He attends 3 mornings a week - which if it seems too many I fully intend to cut back on. But he seems to be loving it - it gives him freedom to run about and mix and socialise with other children. He comes home from pre-school talking about what he's done and who he's played with. This is really positive to me - 7 months ago he was barely talking and really only playing alongside other children - he actually interacts with them now.

There is a secondary bonus - it's getting him used to not been with me 24/7... and as I am going back to work in just over 2 months (ugh!) he's got to get used to this.

He comes home with paintings and stickings and activities that he's done. I can tell that he's not entirely settled because he's obviously flitting from one thing to another - but he's getting there. The staff are lovely and have listened when I have spoken about his anxiousness and separation anxiety... they are spending time with him, getting to know him. I wrote what felt like an essay in his second week, explaining that he will sometimes have unusual reactions to what should be common events - flashbacks!

The first week I left him, he was fine. The second week he wanted me to stay and play with him - he likes it there, but would like it more if I could play with him as well! This morning there were tears again - we'll see, we will see...

I've spoken to our SW about it - she is happy that he is settled enough to go. She knows that I will pull him out if there is any problems. I'm seeing the fact that he is upset when I leave him as a positive - he has a good attachment and likes me to be there with him! We send him with a sticker of him plus me, or him plus M or him plus the dog, so he can see us. I've got a photo laminated and put in his bag which the staff know if he gets unsettled they can pull out.

I hope we've made the right decision... sometimes it feels so mean to leave him there!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


We'd talked about it for a few weeks, but last weekend we put boy-o into a 'big boy's bed', it's been both positive and negative.

When boy-o moved in back in March, he went into a cot as that was what he had slept in at his foster carers. He settled into sleeping into his new room, in his cot. He isn't necessarily the best of sleepers, but once he is asleep he stays asleep (mostly, we are over the nightly night terrors!). However, he is a tall and well built young man, and lifting him in and out of a cot isn't good for our backs!

Last Saturday we took day his cot, and put a very low bed in it's place. Boy-o was present when M was doing this, we were talking about it for the whole day, we got him excited about his new bed. We went for a long walk in the afternoon, and by bedtime he was knackered... we put him to bed and he pretty much went straight to sleep. The same on Sunday.

During the week it's been a bit more hit and miss. Sometimes he's gone straight off, sometimes he hasn't. But we will get there.

We were told he was a good sleeper, but it's come out over the past 8 months that he's not good at getting to sleep. This is something that we have now acknowledged, and we are dealing with. Once asleep he does mostly stay asleep - until 7.30 in the morning. This morning when I went in to him about 8.00 he'd obviously been awake for a bit and got out of bed to get a book - which he proudly showed me on his bed! 'book, book'

The moral - we were worried about it - no need to be, his sleeping is no better and no worse than it was previously. And the report selling him as a good sleeper - wasn't necessarily correct!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Blogging and why it's good for me!

I forgot for a while why I started blogging.... and after a tearful phone call this morning I have remembered. This blog has always been my free therapy... and the need for that hasn't disappeared, no matter how my life has changed. I've hung back on blogging because in the middle of infertility there is nothing worse than stumbling over a blog and finding someone talking about a child. But this is my blog, and I shall write what I need to write here - and I apologise if I upset anyone - but we have adopted, this is now a blog about adoption - and has been for a while. However, that's not to say that infertility is now dead and gone - trust me it isn't, there are little reminders all the time to make me catch my breathe.

There has been a lot on my mind the past couple of weeks, a lot surrounds boy-o, adoption and being an only child, some surrounds my friends - in particular one of my oldest friends, some of it is about family - although how much you want to hear about dementia and the geriatrics in my life is anyone's guess.

I think I need to get back into writing, and when I have done that I shall get back in commenting. I need to remember that this is my space; and I can write what I like about what's going on in my head.

So what prompted all this - the realisation that I hadn't slept well last night because my mind was churning. The consequence was that we took M to work this morning (as he also didn't sleep well) and when I returned I reversed onto the drive as I always do; stopped, but didn't put car into gear or pull the handbrake on enough... my drive slopes... the car slide into the front corner of the house! The house is fine - the car not so! However to my inexpert eye I've just damaged the paint. This means it is cheaper, but it's still money I don't want to spend, especially as the other car also needs some touching up.

I phoned M to let him know; and ended up in tears. And I've been feeling sick all morning. And I need to sleep better... consequently more blogging needs to occur!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

I had to pause and reflect on the difference a week can make! Last week all the news was about how young people (and others) were causing damage in many of our cities (although not our local one!), today I got to see happy and celebrating young people!

I'd made a promise before I started adoption leave that if I possibly could I would go into school for the A level results. I was leaving my year 13 chemistry class, some of whom I'd first met when they were 11; and most of whom I'd taught for 5 years; year 9 through to year 13. It is a real privilege to see them grow from children into young adults, who are setting out into the world, full of hope.

Most of them managed to achieve the grades that they needed to get into the university courses that they wanted to go to. A few didn't get their grades, but most managed to find somewhere to go.

That's what I want for boy-o - not the allure of university, but the chance for him to do what he dreams of, whatever that is. My hope is that he manages those awful teenage years with grace (more than I did anyway) and that he never has to think back and say 'if only...' as just a few of our pupils did today!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Cake Bites....

I quite randomly decided last night that I really wanted to make some Cake pops, but of course there were things I had to do this morning, and none of it involved going anywhere near a shop that sells lollipop sticks.... so I've made Cake Bites today!

M and my sister have sampled and said, 'They are something else' (M) and 'I like that' (sister!). Tomorrow is their big test.... going to my friends with some; I'll need to know how long they last after her boys and husband get home.

I made 4 different flavours...
1. plain with jam and milk chocolate to cover
2. plain, coconut with lemon curd, and white chocolate and citrus sprinkles to cover
3. chocolate, covered with milk chocolate and hundred and thousands
4. chocolate with white chocolate drops, covered with milk chocolate and a snowie on top to identify them

I crumbled up my cakes (okay, this time I brought them, but next time I'll bake), added binding agents, (the plain cake I added buttercream icing and jam or lemon curd - the chocolate ones got buttercream icing and chocolate!). Having done this, I rolled into balls, put into the fridge for 30mins (would do longer next time) and covered!

Sadly no photos of producing them.... but photo of finished product... although not a very clear one! I might try harder next time to get decent photos on the way through, but this really was a trial.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Life is...

Such fine plans... as usual interrupted by life. I am just about keeping up with commenting for ICLW - just need to do an extra days worth today! I have however got 292 posts in my reader to read... sorry if some of those are yours!

Life is trundling on. We've had a visit from the health visitor this week. She has obviously gone away and done some research about adopted children and attachment issues. When she came for boy-o's review meeting she was very keen that we should do this or that. She backed off totally this time, the most controversial thing that she suggested was getting rid of his nap time dummy in a couple of months - to which I responded, 'yes if he's ready'. No comments about time out, the fact he's still in a cot, about potty training! It was a good meeting.

Our social worker came yesterday. She is really pleased and very happy. We didn't have much to talk about, for me it's just knowing that someone will appear and check up on us every couple of weeks. We can now get the paperwork sorted and apply to court to adopt - he's been here 10weeks which is the minimum time. She said that social services would like us to wait until after the next review meeting - which I have no problem with. I said we were going to wait until we got all the paperwork we should have from boy-o's social worker - she thought that was really sensible.

This morning we have been to a parent and toddler group for the second time. It was good that I recognised some faces from when we went before (a fortnight ago). And some of the mums actually spoke to me. One grandmother was there and was very interested in the fact that we are adopting boy-o. I spent quite a bit of time talking to her, and as she goes regularly - it's someone that I will be able to talk to ago!

That's what I am finding hard - going to toddler groups and seeing all these mums in their little groups - obviously knowing each other. So that really should be my next challenge - to have a proper conversation with someone that I don't already know at a group! The groups that we go to on Fridays are different - the one at Church is run by my mates and I know a couple of other people there. The alternative one that we go to is one put on by the adoption agency - and all the children are adopted - so the conservations start easier and flow more as you have less to explain!

I'm starting to find a new routine, patterns to life and what we do! It's all starting to feel more normal!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Lucky? Saved?

Myth: People adopt to “save a child.”
I have a personal hate in all this adoption malarkey. The amounts of time we have been told 'what a lucky boy boy-o is'. He isn't lucky, and we haven't saved him!

He isn't lucky, if he was lucky he would have been born to a birth mother who was able to care and love him. If he was lucky, he would be with his birth family, getting to know them, getting to understand their ways. If he was lucky he wouldn't have been removed at birth.

We are not saving him, we haven't rescued him. He was happy in his life in foster care; and I know enough about his foster carers that they would have altered the type of fostering they were doing and would have kept him as a long term foster child if adoptive parents hadn't been found for him. He would have been loved and looked after, even if we hadn't adopted him.

We did not rescue him, decisions were taken about him before he was ever born by a large number of people, not including us. And those decisions were not taken lightly. No-one thinks that removing children from their birth families is actually the best thing. Adoption is never plan A for a looked after child - that's why there are so many damaged children in the care system.

We came to adoption after much heart ache and sorry and grieving. It is (as I've said before) the right thing for us. We didn't do it to save a child, we did it to complete our family. We did do it to have a child - we haven't saved him, he has saved us. He is not lucky, we are, to have such an amazing person enter our lives.

It's National Infertility Awareness Week (in the USA). Resolve have challenged bloggers to bust myths about infertility. There were many I could have chosen about infertility - but I wanted to talk about adoption - and my little pet peeve.

I possibly need to restate what I've said before - adoption is different in the UK. He wasn't given up as a baby, he was removed by social workers, and that decision was made by a whole team of people, who looked at his birth mother, her circumstances and how she had managed previously with her other children. The closest thing to compare with is foster to adopt, however, we although he is technically a looked after child still, we are not fostering him, there is no chance that he will return to his birth family. In about 4/5 months time we will go to court and have it officially confirmed, that he is our child.

For more information about infertility and it's effects - click here
For more information about National Infertility Awareness Week - click here

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

I'm sitting here reflecting on the last six weeks, in actual fact the last eight weeks. I'm writing this as boy-o is sitting eating his lunch. I've given him lots of finger food today - cucumber and carrot sticks, chicken bits, bread sticks, grapes and apple. He seems to be eating most of it, although the carrot isn't going down very well - that's because he's lazy!

I started a post two weeks ago, when he turned two and 1 month... just to list his amazing accomplishments - sadly I didn't manage to finish it. He has developed lots since we have known him. He's gone from having about 20 words to having nearer 50. Yesterday he told the dog to 'sit' - or near enough that we knew what he meant. He also has developed some two word sentences - we quite often get told to 'sit ere' with appropriate pointing. Some of his pronunciation needs to catch up with what he thinks he can do, but he knows how to communicate what he wants clearly enough.

His walking has come on dramatically. When he first came home he was unsteady; but because we like to walk, and we've only got him (not plus another toddler and a baby), he has been walking with us. We take Pepper dog for a walk most days, and although he can't manage the whole walk, and rides on his Daddy's shoulders for some of it, he is walking more and more.

The night terrors are no longer a nightly occurrence. We've had some nights where he has slept all the way through without a wake up, and some nights when he's just been a little disturbed. He does still wake up screaming and shaking some nights, but usually when we have done something different. M and I discuss who is going to go to him when he wakes about 10ish, because we both love sitting and holding him, and comforting him. We never dreamt that the chair that we put in his room would get the use that it is.

He knows that we are Mummy and Daddy. He looks to us for comfort and security. He is happy to be with people that he is starting to get to know, but will still look back and check where we are. When entering a room with people that he doesn't know - he likes to be held by one of us, or alternatively will hide behind our legs.

He has had some proper two year old tantrums. 'I want to do this, but you won't let me'. Unfortunately for us, his cry is no different to any other time. We stick to our guns, no you can't have that, but generally I will sit and cuddle him, and comfort him. 'I know you are cross because we won't let you do... but we can't because...' or 'I'm sorry that you feel so cross and sad about...'. Empathy, empathy, empathy - for everything in this house.

We continue to make mistakes, back up, have a think and re-evaluate. M and I were saying only yesterday that we still have time to sort these problems out. The last eight weeks has been unbelievable hard on all of us, but M and I expected that. It's also brought us more joy and delight than we can possibly explain.

Does it take the pain of IF away? How can it, those lessons are deeply ingrained on my heart. But my heart is big and growing each day - I can be happy and sad. I can still feel the pain and regret that there are things I will never experience, see and have. But the process of getting to know boy-o isn't second best, it isn't a replacement, it's just a joy and a delight of it's very own. I know that we made the right decision for us - stopping treatments, before we were permanently broken and pursuing adoption. I know that boy-o is the child that was destined for us; we are so incredibly lucky and blessed - and I shall forever have that blessing.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Thank you for all your comments on my last post, I feel like things have improved over this week. Although we had an hour awake last night, it was mostly between 10 & 11 o'clock, so although I went to sleep late, at least my night wasn't very disturbed. We keep on hugging the boy, and telling him that it's okay. And we'll continue like this.

I am feeling better than I was earlier in the week as well.... although I fully expect it to unravel again. I was helped by having my Social worker validate how I was feeling, trapped and isolated. How when she had her first child she spent 6 months working towards getting her life back. And whilst I don't feel that I am missing my previous life too much at the moment; it was good to hear. She also asked how I felt about boy-o's social worker and could I talk to her, when I pulled a face, she arranged another visit next week. She spent about 45mins talking to me and playing with boy-o.

I got a text from a follow adoptive mum, someone that we met on our preparation course. She'd told me that the second day that her DH went back to work she was in tears. That made me feel better, because although I hadn't cried, I was wondering whether I could actually cope.

I had a visit from a friend on Thursday morning. We were out when she came, so she walked to meet us. We then took boy-o to the park and played on the swings and the slide. We then finally came home, and played outside in the back garden. All this meant that boy-o was relaxed by the time she left. She also has lots of experience of young boys, and therefore was able to say - 'it's okay, don't you remember when...'

I've felt like I've coped better these past couple of days.... I really do. It might have helped M had done a couple of late nights so that I could get more sleep. It's the weekend now, we are both here for the next two days. We'll see how we do next week.

Monday, 14 March 2011

So much for updating daily... totally failed! However I endured the wait for the first visit, and boy-o, M and his foster parents arrived. We spent an hour playing and looking over the house, and then back to the fosterers for lunch and a nap. Boy-o was a little unsure about our dog, infact on first meeting he screamed!

The following day we went and picked up boy-o 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-o 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 got the last of his belongings.

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-o see that!

I can't begin at the moment to explain how I feel about finally reaching this point that our boy is upstairs asleep... I will pause and reflect in a day or two. But for the minute - he's home, he's home, and we are all happy.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


M's gone to pick up boy-o and his foster parents, I've been left here so the house isn't empty when they arrive. But I hate sitting and doing nothing, but I can't start anything. I'm slowly going mad....

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Sat - we took boy-o 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-o 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-o 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.

Safe to say - we are knackered and now need to sleep! But we are falling in love with the boy!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Introductions day 4 & 5

Gosh - not sure what happened yesterday, and I've got a pile of ironing to do this evening, so it's only a short update.

Yesterday, we went just after breakfast and stopped through lunch. Boy-o 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.

More tomorrow or sunday - got to iron, might not have time next week!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Part 3

Today we did day 3 of our 15 or so days of introductions (no Emily, don't think I said it before!)

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-o 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 - very 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.

Another, really, really lovely time, learning more about him!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

day 2 of intros

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 calm 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.

We got to stay and watch him have lunch, which vanished quickly, and how his foster mum puts him down for a nap - very matter of fact with no fuss!

Tomorrow we get to go and get him up from his nap, and then spend time with him in the afternoon. Officially we should leave just after tea, but seeing how things are going at the moment, we may end up been there later.

We both think that he is a cracking little boy, with a huge character. And I can't wait until we get him home now. Getting so very real and we are getting so very excited.

Monday, 28 February 2011

meeting boy-o...

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. Because the foster mum has other children, one of whom is having an operation next Wed, 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 boy-o. 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'.

When we left boy-o said 'Good bye' and 'see you'. And it's nice to know that in the morning, we will spend more time with him.

I can't explain how happy I feel right now, and I know that I will grow to love this character, who does everything at one speed (fast) and wants to explore and investigate.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

a week gone...

I meant to update daily this past week.... I failed. But I've had a good week, seeing friends, and sharing time with them!

Tuesday involved a meal out with some dear friends from Church. They have seen me through some tough times and tears. Equally I have seen some of them through tough times!

Wednesday involved... having my feet nibbled by fish with two amazing friends. We met, we had our feet done, we had coffee, we went shopping (briefly) and we still had things to say.... and I talk to these two people regularly.
Thursday was a running around day; went to drop work off at school, and having my hair done.

Friday was spent with another selection of friends - my infertile friends, except looking at us soon, you wouldn't know that. 2 of them now have two children, and the other one has one... and soon so will I. I was spoilt, loved and looked after, plus given some lovely things for boy-o.

I've had some moments of shear panic this week. What if I can't do this, what if everything goes wrong? What if I've forgotten something major. This evening having cleaned my house, fitted the car seat, and produced a book for boy-o introducing our house, I'm calm. There is nothing I can do now, this is it. Tomorrow we meet our son!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

More details about Panel...

So yesterday saw me in a state of high nervousness. I spent the morning doing mundane, boring jobs but kept very busy. Eventually though, time passed and we went to panel.

We started off in a meeting room going through the questions and discussing with our SW, his SW and his foster mum. As our SW had a bad back, she wasn't sure she would make it and had phoned earlier in the day and spoken to her manager, who'd apparently said that panel were more than happy with the match (unusual info to have before hand). Eventually we were collected slightly late but still. We went in to see some faces that we recognised from our previous panel, which helped because we knew how some of these minds worked. We spent about 30 mins being introduced and asked questions. We showed the pictures we had prepared for boy-o, and his foster mum showed photos that she had with her of him (sadly no more photos for us!).

When we finished we headed out to the waiting area, and within a couple of mins the chair of panel followed us out to say 'congratulations, we think it's a really good match, and there are some really good reasons (which she listed but I can't remember) for it to go ahead'. And that was that.... we are going to be parents. We had to wait for our matching certificates, which allows for me to have time off and get adoption pay, but it was done, soon enough!

So the questions
What attracted you to boy-o? We talked about how we felt drawn to him when we read about him, and how everyone that we've spoken to who knows him as encourage that feeling. That he's lively, and boisterous and that it sounded like a child we could deal with. We also spoke about that gut response to him when we read his report.... I didn't say and perhaps I should have that we were ready to say no, simply because he was the first child we were given details on.

Could panel have an update with regard to boy-o's health, development and attachment? His foster mum and social worker took this one, and described his development as normal, his attachment as good (I'm waiting on this one) and his health as everything that we have been told about. Chesty when he has a cold, susceptible to infections if he cuts himself and having speech difficulties.

What did the adopters take from their meeting the with medical advisor with regard to boy-o's various health issues and uncertainties? We responded with information that we had been given, the fact that we knew before we agreed to the link that there were risks to his health, but that is all they are, risks.

How will boy-o be helped to be introduced to our dog? We talked about the fact that our dog is used to children, that although she is bouncy, she will go to her bed when told. We talked about the fact we are going to get her puppy crate out again, so that she has somewhere she feels secure.

Will we be keeping boy-o's first name? Yes, our social worker did raise the issue about the unusual nature of his name and what we had talked about in regards to that in the future. Everyone was happy with what was said, so that is positive!

How will we manage the fact that boy-o is not yet talking to help him through introductions? His foster carer actually answered this one and pointed out that although he is having difficulties with speech his understanding and communication abilities are fantastic.

Question about older siblings...

Is it planned that the adopters will meet members of the birth family? How do we feel about this? How does boy-o's birth mum feel about it? We'd discussed this at length, and feel that it would be positive for boy-o and his birthmum that this meeting happens. We also discussed meeting the two siblings that have been adopted, if their parents are happy for this. It was also mentioned meeting other birth siblings, particularly the two older ones who have been at contact with boy-o. And although yesterday was the first time this was mentioned, we agreed that it sounded like a sensible idea for boy-o and for his birth siblings.

How will the adopters help boy-o to understand his difficult life story? We answered slowly and over time. We will have a life-story book from his social worker (although I half way expect to a) have to chase this up and b) to have to re-write it anyway!). His social worker also had some input on this.

Question about older siblings...

How would I manage if she were to come across any of boy-o's siblings in future through her school? (asked by the women who deals with the agencies looked after children at my school) And I was able to confidently say, with our social worker nodding her head, that we'd talked about this when boy-o was first talked about. That there is a real possibility for some of his siblings, but that the head is compassionate and understanding and I may be able to avoid teaching them, and if not... we'll we'd talk it as it came!

Monday, 21 February 2011


Hurrah.... we're going to be parents! Now to wait to meet our son...
More details tomorrow!


I nearly didn't sign up for ICLW (go on click over to Mel's if you've no idea, I'll wait) this month. And then yesterday I was thinking, but I've a whole week of waiting to get through, perhaps I'd better.... today is the big decision day, the day that we go to panel. I'm excited (a little) and nervous (a lot) but in 4 hours time we should know the outcome.

What, I hear you ask, am I going on about.... here in the UK the adoption process is different to the US. The boy who hopefully will be our son, is presently living with foster parents, and has been for many, many months. If we get the go ahead today, all the talking and listening that we have been doing over the past couple of months will become real.... and next week we'll meet our boy-o.

I'm nh, and I teach science at high school - except I don't because if today goes well, I'm on adoption leave for the next 'x' months.... 'x' is still to be determined, and I don't have to say when I am going back to work until 8 weeks before I want to start back. I can have up to a year off, but we'll have to see how finances go. I've been married to M for a long time now, we started trying for our family nearly 9 years ago. We've been through IVF and ICSI, miscarriages and no results, and pain, grief and despair. And today we might finally be able to start talking about our family of 3!

If you are a first time visitor - welcome, have a look around. Most of the past few months have been adoption talk; but there are odd other bits in there. I'm off to find new blogs...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

leaving work... part 2

Sorry - this is long and is mostly for my memories....

The last couple of days have been bizarre. I walked into walk yesterday feeling more than a little odd. And I left feeling full of hope for the future. Thursday was saying goodbye to some very special people that I have taught for a long time. People that I watched grow in height and character from being 11 years old and nervous at starting school to truly wonderful (mostly) young adults who are ready to continue their journey on. It happens every few years that you get to teach the same children over and over again.

I taught some of these children on that horrid Friday afternoon when I started to miscarry and yet felt that I had to stay at school. I taught them through the bleakness and despair that followed, and continued to follow. But through the hope as well. They don't know that, of course, but I do. But they do know that we are adopting a little boy - they were the first students at school to know, and they were lovely about it. They are deeply upset for themselves, but so happy for me. They baked a cake, got a card which they all signed, two of them wouldn't leave my classroom yesterday, I had flowers and hugs from them. And even though I don't teach them on a Friday, they all passed through my room at least once.

Friday was strange. It started with my boss having a dig at me over going out for a meal with friends - not the whole department. I have to say the day ended at the pub - with the same friends! Friday is assembly day for my form, so there we went. My other boss (year head); came up and asked me if the pupils knew why I was leaving to which I responded that my form did... a little into the assembly after his usual weekly spiel he said 'it's a sad day today, because we have to say goodbye to Mrs ....' He spoke about the fact I was adopting a little boy, and how pleased he was for me. He then called me forward and I received a bunch of flowers which another head of year gave to me, along with threatening to sing or give me a full on snog! My year head then preceded to give an assembly about heroes and finished with the challenge to the pupils to figure out who the heroes were in the world, celebrities or people who do special things like adopt little boys. I could have cried at that point.

My first lesson was a non-contact and I spent a lot of time moving things from my classroom. I was visited by some of the year 13's, with a bunch of flowers. At break time I was given another bunch of flowers, this time from the science staff, along with a speech about how I will be missed. My year 12's presented me with a card, hugs and chocolates. My year 11's turned up with cake. And at the end of the day, the people I teach chemistry with gave me another bunch of flowers. All sorts of teachers and assistants passed through my classroom, and some came baring gifts and cards. Some just to say 'good luck'.

At the end of the day, I went to the pub for a few quiet drinks with some friends. But lots of people turned up to wish me well. I eventually left after many hugs but no tears; and came home feeling very odd. It's strange to think that I won't be going back to teach at the school for a long time. And that everyone is so happy for me. When I got home, I re-read my cards, and I cried. Because the words that have been written are so lovely and caring and cherishing. These people are the reason that I've stuck it out for so long at that school.

My life is about to change, in a way that I've dreamt of for so long. And it's good to know that so many people have my back.

Friday, 18 February 2011

leaving work...

I've left work today, to start my adoption leave (I hope and pray). So many good wishes, and so many hugs. I kept thinking I was going to burst into tears - but I did hold it together until I got home, and re-read some of the cards. Some of these people have supported me for many years and watched me cry many, many tears.

More tomorrow, today I'm going to look at the 4 bunches of flowers that I've been given, along with lots of bits for boy-o!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

an evening out...

I'm sitting here shortly before midnight on a Thursday evening with tears running down my face. Not because something bad has happened - oh no, because the unbelievable seems to be about to happen.

Earlier on this evening, as I sat chatting to Michael it suddenly occurred to me, that this evening, something amazing was happening. This evening I have been out with some colleagues from work - my friends - and we have celebrated that I am leaving work in just over a week!

I'm actually starting to believe that this will happen. That after 8 1/2 years I will actually be a Mum and M will become Dad.

I've celebrated and relaxed with some of the people who have supported me over the last few years - and some newer friends. I've celebrated with people who have stood where I have, and have had the same outcomes and have had relationships split up. I've celebrated with younger people who are still to commit to relationships. But they were all happy for us, and I have had an enjoyable evening, and spent time with some lovely people.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Another meeting...

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.

J.P. met boy-o's dad once, and supervised one contact meeting between them before his birth father died. She couldn't comment any more on him.

J.P. says that birth mother is really likable and has her own difficulties and has been taken advantage of in her life. J.P. thinks that birth mother loves and cares about her children but she herself is vulnerable and emotionally unready to cope with children. However she was good at changing boy-o's nappies, feeding him bottles and giving him baths when he was a young baby. Initially contact was 5 times a week, but that was reduced to 3 times a week, and then once a week. The reasons for the reduction was because birth mother has some illness and was unable to go to contact. There was a suggestion that not all the illness was genuine.

Birth mother's new husband has been to contact as well, and has been described as good with children. Both birth mother and husband have been easy for JP to work with; they haven't caused any problems. JP did say that she thinks birth mother has moved on with her life.

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.

-They spent time laughing over boy-o's healthy appetite and the fact that he will eat anything.
-Boy-o at one point bit his sister's shoulder, she was more upset that her brother had bitten her than actually physically hurt. It was something that was referred to on more than one occasion during contact.
-Boy-o broke JP and birth mother's necklaces when he was attracted to the shiny jewellery - that might be a lesson for me to learn!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Meeting boy-o's foster parents...

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-o 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 (sounds like he's entering the terrible twos). 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-o figured out that if he pulled the table cloth he could get to the fruit bowl if he climbed on the chair.

He is usually a happy chap, but can get fractious when hungry. He eats virtually anything, although isn't so keen on porridge or rice pudding.

He is a climber; and loves going upstairs but isn't so keen on walking down them properly. We think that perhaps we will be getting 2 stair gates one for the top and one for the bottom of the stairs.

He doesn't have much wrong medically. He can get chesty after a cold, but in this house with two asthmatics we can deal with that. He is tongue tied which is possibly the reason that his speech isn't as clear as it should be. He develops and grows in spurts and then has a break, it's not a gradual development. He is up to date with his vaccinations. He has been known to get infections when he has cuts in his fingers, but foster mum doesn't believe in putting anything on cuts or covering them with a plaster - we may change that if he's going to get infections.

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.

His foster parent's will obviously miss him when he moves, they describe him as 'a little cracker'. His foster father said that they'd said that if no suitable adopters could be found, they would have adopted him. This worried me slightly, until our Social worker phoned after we got home and said that they couldn't have adopted him as they live too close to where his mum lives, as well as being too old.

Our social workers view point is that he is well attached, and therefore as long as his foster parent's give him permission to trust us, there should be no problems with him moving. Panel is fixed for 21st Feb, and we are to meet boy-o on 28th Feb, slightly over 6 weeks to go.

We did come home and look around and think what we needed to do and move!

Monday, 3 January 2011


I wish I had something inspirational to post in my first post of 2011; but apparently inspiration has left me...

We've spent the time since getting back from my parents just being together and trying to sort bits out. I now have a chest of drawers nearly full of clothes for a little boy. My cousin and my friend have been very generous; and whilst I need to check sizes on some of them; my drawers are nearly full! We've also been given more toys.

Back to work tomorrow, for 7 weeks; and then hopefully my adoption leave starts. 7 weeks today we will know whether boy-o will be our son or not. 7 weeks today a group of people will decide our future. In the meanwhile we have to meet boy-o's foster parents and the medical advisor. Those two appointments are fixed. We also hope that to meet boy-o's mum's social worker and the agency contact supervisor.

We have a list of things that we need to do; things that we ought to do; and things that we'd like to do. Next weekend we start working through the list. But we also know that there are some things that we can't sort out until after we've met his foster parents.

I hope that your hopes and dreams are fulfilled in 2011! I hope that ours will be too.