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Showing posts from 2014

Approval

Two days ago we went to Adoption Panel, and were relieved to have their recommendation for approval - once the decision is ratified by the official agency decision maker, then we will be fully approved adopters!

It's been a tough journey so far, and although I have a feeling that the hard work is really only just about to begin, it's worth a little look back before we move on.

The reason this blog has been so quiet for the last couple of months is because we hit a big stumbling block about 6 weeks ago. Last time I posted we had just been to the final day of the prep groups, which, if you have been reading regularly, you will know were difficult. I thought that we had put all the problems behind us - we'd had the meeting with the social workers, talked through the issues, and I had very carefully kept myself to myself on Day 4 - so as not to be at risk of offending anyone, and so I could feel comfortable in my own self about attending the day with the social workers who had…

Approaching the finish line?

September feels like it's whizzed past really quickly - until I realise that we're not even quite two thirds through it yet! Perhaps more accurate is that we seem to have packed so much in to the last 19 days that it feels like a whole month must have passed. (And maybe that's why I'm currently laid up in bed full of stinking cold...)

In adoption terms, I think we've almost finished the home study now. Fairy has met with our social worker for her session, and husband and I have only got one more session booked in ourselves. We've done day four of the preparation groups, parents have been to the Family and Friends group, and it's all starting to feel very real.

For those who are interested, I got through the last prep group by not speaking. It wasn't so much that I had all these contentious issues that I was afraid to raise (I didn't), but I think that after being left feeling so vulnerable previously I wanted to take back a bit of the control; almos…

Back on track

It's been over a month since my last post, but not much has happened in that time to be honest. We've been away on holiday, which has given us a break from the process - after the prep group experience it was definitely one I needed. I was due to meet with our social worker before we went away, but in the end I felt like I needed a bit of time and space to get my head sorted again.

We had a lovely summer, and saw lots of friends who asked us how the process is going - it was nice to be able to talk about it all in positive terms again, and just focus on the reasons why we're doing it.

We've now entered the home study - the final stage of the assessment process, and as well as having weekly visits from our social worker we also have one final day of prep group to do. I think it's fair to say that I have pretty mixed feelings about all of this at the moment. At my social worker's suggestion, I'm probably going to approach the final prep group as a box-ticking…

Ouch.

Had our feedback meeting with the social workers from the Prep Groups today. I'm really glad to have had the chance to do it before they write the report on us, and not just because if we hadn't it would have ended up a pretty bad one...

Apparently during the group sessions I came over as impatient, distrustful, and undermining.

It's pretty hard to sit across the table from someone and hear them say that about you.

I want to make one thing clear - I completely support the right of anyone to think those things about me. I'm sure that the way I presented myself in the prep groups could have been interpreted as any or all of those things.

However that's *not* how I intended to come across, and if I'd known that's how they were taking me I would definitely have done something about it at the time!

I did feel - and I think I have said in a previous blog post - that as the course progressed there was almost no point in me saying anything, as it didn't feel li…

Confused... and reading lists

Just had another chat with our social worker, who was trying to reassure me that the meeting is nothing to worry about.. but apparently it's not to do with what we wrote on our feedback forms, so it must be something to do with our attitude during the course itself. I'm probably more confused than I started out now, trying to work out whether I was unintentionally rude, or said something I shouldn't have... I feel like a kid who's been called to the headteacher's office and has no idea why!

Anyway.. there's not much point dwelling on it, so in other news I have just started reading a new book, about Reactive Attachment Disorder. It's quite a tough read! It's not a psychology book, and I kind of miss the theory side of things (I always like to understand stuff) but its' not trying to be one - it's about parenting a child with RAD in a way that allows them to form loving attachments and learn appropriate behaviour. It's very practical, and a l…

Prep groups day 3

I just realised that I haven't written up Day 3 of prep groups yet; I was meaning to do it this morning but got distracted in to writing the previous post instead!

Day 3 started off really well - we did a small group exercise where we split in to groups to discuss what we thought a child would understand about adoption at different ages. I really enjoyed that - particularly as my group had 0-4 years, which was a fascinating age to consider. I was surprised how many of us in the group already had children, but it certainly came in useful in this exercise! When we came to sharing with the other groups it was really interesting going through the different ages, and thinking about the different cognitive abilities a child will have, and how they will understand the concept of adoption. It was also interesting to reflect on how, regardless of the age which a child comes to us, we will still have to go through this gradual process to explain adoption to them, as their understanding grow…

Me and my big mouth

I've just had a call from our social worker, who wants to arrange a meeting between husband and I, and the two social workers who led our preparation groups last month. Apparently they feel that our participation in the group wasn't very positive, and they want to talk to us to explore why that might have been before writing their report.

I'm pretty upset about this right now.

The trouble with me, is I am virtually incapable of keeping my mouth shut if I feel strongly about something. I can be brutally frank, although I do try to mediate this with politeness wherever possible.

The trouble with other people is that they *don't* do this. They don't tell people if they disagree with them, and they don't expect to be disagreed with either.

When I was training as a teacher, I used to absolutely love being observed. I was still nervous about it, but I used to really enjoy the process of having someone watch my lesson and give me feedback on it, especially if they cou…

Prep groups Day 2

After a slightly shaky start (in my opinion!), I was really pleased that on Day 2 of the Preparation Groups we started to actually get our teeth in to some of the issues. I spoke to a few couples who had found Day 1 quite frustrating - lots of "We'll just mention this thing, but we're not going to talk about it now as we'll cover it later". Well - hurrah! - it's now later :)

We spent quite a bit of today talking about abusive situations, and thinking about the various things which our child may have experienced. We were split in to groups and each given a 'heading' to brainstorm under. When we came to share as a group there was something that I found really interesting; the group who had been brainstorming sexual abuse had written in detail about the (relatively) low level stuff - inappropriate touching, exposure to porn, etc - but had grouped a whole load of stuff together under 'sexual crimes'. Personally, I'm not sure how helpful that w…

Preparation Groups

I've just read my post-before-last, where we had just been given the dates for the Prep groups, and I said I thought the time would fly past - could not have been more right! It's been such a busy month and it was a bit of a shock last weekend to realise that we'd be heading off to Birmingham first thing Monday morning!

I wasn't sure what to expect from the groups, and I was quite nervous as we drove up. I was really surprised to find that there are 13 couples in our group; as someone who is quite used to training adults in a variety of settings this seems like a huge group even to me! It made it quite difficult to get to know many people, which I thought was a shame, although we've got three more days with this group, so hopefully we will get to know the others as we go through the process.

I had high expectations for the Preparation Groups; from everything I've read, or where I've heard people talk about them they are painted as this fantastic, mind-open…

Other People's Opinions

It's taken me a while to write this post; it seems strange after everything I've been through, and everything I've written about (fairly candidly if we're honest!) that this should be the thing I've found hardest to get out.

What happened was this - just over a week ago we had a visit from our social worker. This was particularly exciting because this was our real, actual social worker who is *ours* and will be with us throughout the rest of the process. It really felt like things were starting to move - exciting, scary, and everything in between.

The meeting went well; she seems really lovely, and as well as filling in all the official forms and handing over our next tranche of paperwork she also spent a lot of time just chatting with us about this and that - which was especially nice seeing as this was an evening appointment and she'd probably had a full days work already! I really enjoyed talking to her, and I felt that she was very interested in us as peopl…

It's been a bit quiet around here lately.

Well, it has - in adoption terms anyway!

I've been glad to have a bit of a break from it; time to process all that's happened in the last year, and time for my body to settle down again after the latest operation. I'm still struggling with fitness, and currently having more trouble with my back than I did pre-operation, but I'm plodding on, and trying to keep positive.

In other news, we ran a festival two weeks ago! It went brilliantly, and I managed to be much less involved in the actual day to day management of it than I have been in the past - partly due to having doubled our number of committee members in the last year - which bodes well for pulling back even more once little one comes along. We've started talking about how we're going to manage it - the difficulty is not knowing the timings of things (i.e. might we get a phonecall on the first of April that demands we drop everything immediately??) but I think that will become clearer in the next couple of…

Boot up the backside...?

And another thing.

Since my last miscarriage, TWO (pairs) of my friends - the ones who have been most in my thoughts with their many years of repeated IVF failures - have both told me they are pregnant with twins.

Rational me knows this is a complete coincidence, and nothing at all to do with the two little souls that flew away from me. However rational me would also secretly like to believe that my two little ones sneaked back in to where all the babies wait and gave *their* two little ones a big boot up the backside and told them to get on with it.

I don't know why, but I find it somehow comforting that these two very deserving and loving couples have finally got what they wished for. Romantic me feels like somehow all my pain wasn't wasted, if it meant my friends get to be parents. Rational me knows this is bollocks, and is a bit embarrased about thinking it. Grief is a bit weird like that.

All by myself

I'm having some quiet time alone this evening - Fairy is at her dad's and husband is away working for a couple of days. Of course, being self-employed I spend quite a bit of time in the house by myself, but somehow it feels different.. probably because I'm not looking at the clock every five minutes thinking "I must get this done before they all get home...". I've been thinking I'm due a blog post for quite a while, so I'm taking advantage of this time alone with my thoughts to get them all out and give them a good dusting down.

Although it's been a while since I posted anything, to be honest nothing has really changed. We're due to go on our Adoption Preparation Groups in a couple of months time, so until then we're just twiddling our thumbs.. waiting.

I still get the sad, sometimes. I spoke to our social worker about it - I'm still not entirely sure if she's going to be 'ours' for the duration, but she seems to be at our …

One day at a time

This is going to be quite a short one, as I've got to go out in ten minutes to pick up Fairy from after school club. I've been bottling up a bit lately though, and it's better if it just comes out...

To be perfectly honest, I still feel a bit sad. In particular, there is a friend of mine - not someone that I know well but someone I have worked with and like very much - who is pregnant, and who told me about it around the time I found out I was pregnant with Fergus. She was always a month or two ahead, but when someone is pregnant at the same time as you it's kind of special. You're both going through the same thing, and it creates a bit of a bond between you.

She's still going through it, of course. She's posting bump pictures on Facebook, looking gorgeous as always, and making plans about pushchairs, cots, and muslin squares. And I'm not. And that makes me quite a lot more sad than I have really admitted yet.

It's not devastating, stay-in-bed-all-d…

I'm feeling a bit better today, thanks for asking.

It's been so long since I did any sort of creative writing that I had completely forgotten the relief it brings when all my jumbled up feelings finally settle in to verses. I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my chest that I didn't even know was there. It's a strange metaphor, that one - used a lot but I don't know that I've ever experienced it as physically as I am today. It's a bit like flu - you think you've had it loads of times, and then you actually get it and realise that all those times you called it flu were merely bad colds.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I'll stand.
I'll be what is needed, do what must be done
I'll go where I'm going with conviction and courage
But let me have tonight
Just tonight
To remember that three children grew inside me
Yet I held only one.

Tomorrow I will sing, smile, and laugh
I'll love the child I have, open my heart to welcome more
Tomorrow I can think of the future.
But tonight is for me
Just me
To remember, to grieve for the dreams
That are scattered and gone.

Dreams of a child, in fact. Dreams of a young girl
Became the dreams of the woman
Who never imagined that of her three children
She would hold only one
Just one
A darling girl, loving and loved
Who longs for the siblings she doesn't know she's lost.

Tomorrow I'll be there. With smiles and cuddles
I'll wave off my daughter out in to the world.
Tomorrow I'll be strong.
But let me have tonight
Just tonight,
To cry for her brother, her sister,
For the two I never held.

Just when you think you're over it...

It's about a year since I unknowingly fell pregnant. It doesn't feel that long - I think because I didn't find out about it until I miscarried in June. It was traumatic at the time, but I have done a lot of coming to terms with it.. or so I thought.

I didn't really do the 'she would have been born around now' thing, as I was busy miscarrying her younger brother at the time. But it suddenly hit me today that she would have been about three months old now, if she had lived.

I'm saying 'she' and 'he' like I even knew the genders. We named them both after they went; wanted to acknowledge their existence I suppose. Some people don't find it helpful to think of a miscarriage as a lost child, but for us it was part of the acceptance. The first baby we called Hope - because no matter what the future held, that was the gift she had given us. The possibility that we might be able to have children of our own. We hadn't decided yet whether or no…

Teacher's pet

As usual, I'm being a complete teacher's pet. We are not going on our Preparation Groups until the end of June, but being a bit impatient to get on with things I asked the agency if there was anything we could do in the meantime, so we've been sent our Home Study Assessment books. Apparently we'd normally get these at the start of the Preparation Groups, to fill in before we begin the home study, so we're working about four months ahead at the moment..! Harks back to days at school where I'd be solving the problem on the board in my head while the teacher was explaining it, and then sat there a bit embarrassed when they told us to get started and I'd already finished...

Anyway, I already adore my book. A sixteen page document filled with questions about me, my family, my life, my relationships, my views on parenting - what's not to love?! Now, I'm not being narcissistic here (honest) but I will take any chance to pick apart and study pieces of my li…

Like a piece of china

The adoption journey is all going well so far, if a little bit slowly. Well, that's not entirely true - it seems to go in fits and starts. When I first made the phone call we got a load of stuff through in the post to read, DVDs to watch, interview with two social workers... and now it's gone a bit quiet!

The interview went very well; the social workers were impressed with how much research and preparation we had done already, which seems funny to me: spontaneous I may be, but I'm not going to dive in head first if I don't already know exactly what I'm letting myself in for!

They have also decided that we need a bit more time to process everything that's happened over the last eight months or so. If I'm completely honest, I can see why they have said that but I do slightly resent the fact that they have taken that decision on our behalf. I have spent two years coming to terms with my inability to bear any more children, and the events of the last few months…

Losses

It seems like I only blog these days when I'm feeling miserable. Understandable that I'm drawn to it, as I've always found it quite theraputic to write my feelings down, but it does give the impression to any reader that I'm permanently unhappy, so I'd just like to take a quick moment to reassure you that that's not the case...!

Today's reflective mood came via sympathy for a colleague who has just lost his mum - he volunteers for me on the festival I run, and his admirable juggling of festival responsibilities at a time of great family sadness reminds me of the position I was in nearly two years ago when I lost my darling Granny three weeks before the first festival. I doubt there is a single day that goes past when I don't think of her. She never met my husband; she'll never get to meet the rest of my children.

Aside from my mum, Granny was probably the single most influential person in my life. She was such a caring, kind, and generous person, an…

A quiet sort of Saturday

It's Saturday morning. (It's not, it's actually afternoon but I haven't got up yet, so that counts as still morning.) Fairy is at her dad's, husband has gone out to get his haircut. I'm at home with a big pile of admin that I'm supposed to be doing but Just Can't Be Bothered With.

I can't quite work out if I'm coming or going at the moment. I've got two major things happening alongside each other - starting the adoption process and preparing to go in to surgery for a sterilisation. Really they should work quite nicely together, but at the moment it doesn't seem like it.

I'm not sure if it's just because I'm nervous about the actual process of surgery, or whether there's still some grieving to be done over it all. Except I do know really, and there is. Even after all this time I still find it difficult to get my head around the fact that I really want to have more biological children, but I don't want to go through pre…

Emergency chocolate

It is the most amazing feeling when you're very hormonal and debating leaving early for the school run in order to nip to the shops for some chocolate *and have time to eat it* before good manners and example setting forces you to share - only to discover some you bought before Christmas and put away in the cupboard! Result!

I've often wondered if there's an actual *thing* about hormones and chocolate. I'm sure if I could be bothered to google I'd find lots, but then I might find something saying there isn't a thing, and then I'd have no excuse...

My hormones are rampant at the moment. I'm hoping it's just my body trying to find it's way back to normality again and it will all settle back down.. fingers crossed. I'm managing to face the world for short periods of time, and for the rest of it there's a comfy sofa and a blanket - all part of the 'being kind to myself' initiative. It's times like this I'm very glad I work fr…

Patience, tolerance, and understanding

We started to tell people about the adoption yesterday - more people, I mean, as our close friends and family have all known for a while. The reaction to it has been great, but also quite thought-provoking.

Firstly I've been amazed by the people who've said what a lovely thing it is to do, and how they have respect for us for doing it.  They're not wrong, of course, but I hadn't expected that reaction; it's not like we're being completely selfless here. In fact, I'd go as far to say that we will get as much out of the experience as the child will..! I suppose my concern here is that I don't want this to become something it's not - it's not some big altruistic journey, it's us wanting a bigger family. It just so happens we're doing it by giving a home to a child who needs one, but the end result is no different.

The second thought-provoking reaction came from a very well-meaning (but possibly ill-informed) friend of Husband's, via fac…

Whhheeeeeeeee!!

OK, I'm a bit excited ;)

I just made the phonecall which is the first step on the road to us adopting a child :) In a funny sort of way this last miscarriage seems to have been just what I needed to finish off the biological-children chapter of my life. I am so grateful for the moments that it gave me, and so ready to take the next step and give a home to a child who needs one.

I feel like my life has been preparing me for this - from temping with the Child Protection team in the Police before my teacher training, falling in to working with Special Needs, mentoring vulnerable children, teaching Music to homeless people, studying and teaching developmental psychology - and attachment in particular - right down to my love of Supernanny and down-on-my-knees worship of Dr Tanya Byron (who remembers House of Tiny Tearaways?!).

In all those other jobs I felt frustrated because the help I could offer was restricted - by working hours, by professionalism, by red tape... I can't count …

Too much, too soon.

All things considered I've been feeling pretty well after the op - I was up and about within a few days, and although I was quite tired was managing to rest for a fair part of each day. However I've fallen in to the trap of thinking I'm much better than I am. As soon as Fairy went back to school I dived head first in to the work that has been mounting up since November, stressing about how far behind I was and working well in to the evening. Of course stressing about work meant I wasn't sleeping well, and being tired meant I wasn't finding it easy to work, which unsurprisingly made me even more stressed out. Doh.

So today I'm in bed. I'm even hoping to sleep a bit, if I can switch off (or at least muffle) the incessant nagging inside my head.

Emotions

I'm finding it hard to manage my emotions at the moment. For the first couple of days after the op it was sheer relief that it was all over; with the anaesthetic still coursing through my system I think I was a bit too dopey to think about anything else.

Now I feel like it's all just hit me.

I can explain to myself what's going on - my body has been through a traumatic experience, and I'm having to contend with fluctuating hormones (something I've never managed very well) as my body tries to balance itself out again now it's finally noticed that I'm not actually pregnant.

Knowing why doesn't really help though. I still want to curl up in a ball under the duvet.