Tuesday, 27 November 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will be missed Sam.

Friday, 9 November 2012

What came next: Matching Panel & Introductions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Two Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning about the boy...

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

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

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

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

What followed was a series of meetings...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Approval Panel

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

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

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

But my mind freezes and I worry...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Home Study Visits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Study Visit 7

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

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

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

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Preparation Course

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

Adoption Preparation Course (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparation course (part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

Prep Course - Part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prep course part 4

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

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

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

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

Part 5...

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 5 November 2012

Tentatively stepping forward

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

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

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

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

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

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