Round 2

On Monday afternoon hubby and I met with the second agency (or maybe technically the third, third I contacted but second we’ve met face to face) These will be known as S

We spent another 3 hours spilling our lives to another social worker – one who looked like she was barely out of school, I felt old!

I hope it went well but I don’t know, I find I have little confidence after the first one that anything is going to go our way. We should hear next week.

Again the importance of spending time with small people was stressed, this time hubby seemed more open to it. We have already contacted a couple of places about it, hubby though is nervous and doesn’t want to go anywhere on his own. I am happy to go with him but worry the thought of 2 of us will be off putting to anyone we ask to help – given they will already be fully staffed. I don’t want to be in the way and feel bad that it may be seen as using them. I’m beginning to realise though that this is a huge part of the process so I’m sure many places are used to it.

I’ve spent the last couple of days unable to update my blog, I swing between tears and emptiness as the process is even harder than I had anticipated – and we aren’t even properly on the ladder yet.

At one point I wondered if the IVF route might be easier to tackle. I am not convinced though.

At the same time I find myself planning our child’s bedroom and play room. I am fighting every urge to buy everything I see and think our child would like, given we don’t know the age or sex of our child I’ve been seeing a lot!

I know this is a long process and wont be easy and I’m not doing it alone but this week I’ve felt really alone, I feel like a failure as a woman as my husband had to answer questions to a stranger over things he hadn’t given much thought too as he had expected to grow into the role of father in the normal way where we would have the ability to work things out as we went along without all the extra hoops to jump through. I understand the extra checks and questions – these children need safe and stable homes, I’m eager to proved that, I just want the chance to get a foot on the ladder and show we can provide a loving home.

In the meantime I continue to read my growing stash of recommended adiption books – books I proudly showed off to the latest social worker.

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New hope

So things with N and the agency she works for didn’t work out. Hubby and I had become less keen on them recently and in particular after our meeting on 23rd. A couple of days later I had an email that read like a ‘Dear John’ letter that basically said we were not going to be taken forward with them as we had not done what had been asked in February. I still disagree that we were asked to do anything in Feb, it wasn’t until 23rd that she made it clear what she wanted and we had said we would work on it, but the damage was already done before then and we were less and less impressed with them. Hubby got really angry about the email and is still ranting that I in particular had done a lot since February – I have a shelf full of adoption books that I am working my way through about parenting methods, behaviour and from the view point of those who have been through the process – Sally Donovan’s was particularly interesting, I watch YouTube videos on Therapeutic parenting – Christine Moers is my personal favourite, I’ve read article online, signed up to every adoption aid website I can find and make copious notes of things I really don’t want to forget.

But onwards and upwards, we have emailed various adoption agencies that cover our area 9I’m sad enough to have logged them all onto a spread sheet so can see who has replied what and have this morning been reading the information sent by ‘T’

T inspires me, I have a good vibe about them, the information they send out to start with is thorough, it covers questions I hadn’t thought of yet and clearly lays out the entire process, need Hubby to read it all next so we can then decide whether to continue to approach them or wait to hear from some of the other agencies, he isn’t thrilled as they are based 2 hours away from us but I don’t necessarily see that as a negative, they work in partnership with other councils around us which gives a larger area of possibilities and also lessens the chance of in the future accidentally coming face to face with an awkward situation.

I have hope again after feeling deflated for the last couple of weeks.

That didn’t go to plan

I’d planned today to write about the book I read last week by Sally Donovan and to tell you all about our adoption meeting, I had expected to be really excited but as you are about to read it’s didn’t go to plan. And to top it off I’m pretty sure I just stood in tortoise pee – lucky me.

We brought our next meeting forward with the adoption agency we had been speaking to – the one who we saw in Feb and didn’t want to take us any further until we were closer to 6 months until when we hoped to have small people in our home. It didn’t go well. It didn’t go as expected.

It seems in N’s (adoption woman) mind we were sent off in Feb with an instruction to go get experience with children, lots of experience that could have reports written up about it. To hubby and I the email we had was go away and sit in limbo until we are 6 months from where you want to adopt and then we shall talk again. Today it has been made very clear that no time spent with children now means no further progression with the agency N works for. I don’t mind spending time with children, I love it. But when your husband works away during the week its a little difficult to work out what you can do and when, and now its the summer holidays. My husband is not the most outgoing and social so isn’t the most comfortable with doing this and I can’t blame him, those who get pregnant naturally don’t have to go and be assessed spending time with children, I feel bad that he now has to put himself in a situation he wont be most comfortable in to prove that he’s a good guy and will be fine with adopting, its not his fault we cant have kids naturally, the hoops we have to jump through are all my fault. But we will see what we can do.

The meeting mostly revolved around this issue, with a few read some books husband and discuss between you both comments and a ‘we will see where we go from here’

I had foolishly hoped for a ‘let’s sign you up and get the ball properly moving’ conversation so am rather heartbroken with todays meeting, I knew the journey would be hard but at least let us get a foot on the ladder!

I’ve emailed another adoption agency – a council run one this time as opposed to a charity one, as I don’t think Hubby or I are now happy to work with N, we don’t seem to gel and we could have been further along if things had been made clearer back in Feb.

So here we are, a couple of hours later, many tears cried (by me) into hubbys shoulder, some protestations of we shall grow old just the pair of us, (dismissed by the hubby) a joke about surrogacy and feeling a little battered by it all and the many references by N as to the 24/7 barraged of problems our child is guaranteed to have – which yes, I accept whatever circumstance they have come from it will have been worse than rough, but I don’t agree with her assessment that all adopted children are damaged, I went to school with a couple who are now wonderful adults with families of their own and know of several adopted children who have their demons but are not the spawn of Satan – an implication that to me came across strongly and repeatedly. Hubby has updated his parents on today, I’ve given mine a potted text summary and updated you.

My little stash of purchases for our child/children is currently seeming a waste of money, I cant bare to walk into the room they are stashed in and am cursing myself for allowing myself to get just the tiniest bit carried away as a pregnant woman can. Our story is not the same, we do have many hoops to jump through that do seem unfair for something that should be so easy but we shall regroup, suck it up and get on with it – probably not with the first agency though.

BTW – Sally Donovans book – I read it cover to cover within 24 hours, I’ve turned down the corners of pages I want to remember and had felt so heartened and confident about the entire process. I’ve stored the little nuggets of information I’ve learnt from it away in my mind and when I’ve finished giving myself the evening to wallow in my failure as a woman and wife I shall pick myself up, dust myself down and try the next route to our family. Right now though – I’m off to change my socks, clear up the tortoise pee and paint a smile on to have birthday tea with my Dad.

Friday 13th…. hoping that doesn’t come again in a hurry!

So Friday 13th was not a good day for me. Work was busy (I run a transport depot of 15) and in amongst all of that was a webinar I forgot I’d been signed up to on Maternity policy. I thought it may be interesting given the adoption leave I plan to be taking next year, I was mistaken. Apparently adoption will be covered with paternity. Not sure who decided adoption warranted the same session as Paternity rather than maternity – and a session that isn’t planned to happen for at least another 6 months – way to make a woman looking at adoption rather than maternity feel a little worse than she already does about her body not doing the norm!

So I logged into the webinar thinking it would be fine and a lot of the general info would probably apply to adoption leave too. I was so wrong. The start was ok, they ran through the maternity leave entitlements, pay, time off etc. We got about 15 minutes in and then it started to go downhill. I’m not stupid, I knew it was a maternity webinar but I hadn’t expected it to go into quite so much detail on H&S policies surrounding expectant mothers, time off for scans, notification timings of pregnant women informing work etc etc etc. I tried so hard to hold it together but the more I listened to the more it hit me how much I will not be experiencing. On the whole I find this fine – no morning sickness, no stretch marks, no fighting to make clothes fit me, no feeling like a beached whale. But I lost it, I text the hubby to tell him what I was doing and that I wasn’t coping on it and then dropped the phone and legged it to the loo to cry. 5 minutes later I came back to my desk having had a good cry and wiped my eyes, my admin looked at me quizzically as I picked up the phone again to rejoin – I was on mute, it was all HR talking so no one had missed me, and tried again to listen. It didn’t work, I felt the tears coming back. So I spent the next hour with my phone sat on the desk vaguely aware of a voice talking through it and I minimised the internet windows with the slideshow I should have been watching. I’ll sign the training document to say I attended and might fess up to my manager that I was there but not there as it hit me like a tonne of bricks how much I won’t get to experience whilst creating our family. On Friday it hurt, it hurt a lot. But today, its ok, its ok because I may not get that experience of creating a family but I shall have an experience, mine will be one that is harder fought to get to the same place as all of those pregnant women the webinar was about, my emotional scars of the process will be just as valuable as the stretch mark scars of any birth mom.

I’ve got this. Hubby and I have got this. I know this because I know I’m a great Aunt who already loves 2 small people who are not mine, I would throw myself in front of a bus for my nieces if I needed too and I know I shall do the same for my children. I know we have this as whilst I am still a little reluctant to shout from the rooftops that we shall be a family next year because we are adopting to anyone who will listen (I’d like to be a little further into the process than we are) my Hubby doesn’t have that issue and tells everyone – my Uncle he barely knows but we saw Saturday evening – I heard him discussing our house we moved to 3 years ago but my Uncle didn’t know and how we have 2 spare bedrooms that next year won’t be spare because we plan to adopt. This is how I know we’ve got this. We know our experience won’t be the norm and we know it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Bring on the adoption webinar.

I got impatient

Good news! I got impatient at the wait until we could email the adoption agency again so decided to email them anyway! The social worker is coming out in 2 weeks time to see us and hopefully start the ball rolling. And just in case she doesn’t start the ballon rolling officially we contacted another adoption agency and have started talking to them too. Next year is THE year – with one adoption agency or another, this time next year there should be a small person or 2 in our home.

The second agency was actually quite interesting to talk to, she talked more about Foster to adopt and made me look at it a way I hadn’t before. I’d been so worried that we would go that route, fall in love with a small person and then loose them that I had al;most written off that idea. But there has to be a high percentage of belief that the child will be put into the adoption system before they go that path. The woman explained the advantage of them ‘foster’ side and I have to say I’m liking it. I’ve already been wondering how I would tackle the ‘what’s my birth mum like’ questions as I dont believe we would know much about the birth parents, the ‘advantage’ of foster to adopt is you normally meet the parents, they have supervised visits. I like the idea of being able to tell my children that I met their birth parents and could see what they have inherited from them – be it a beautiful smile or something else. To be able to tell my children something about their time together sounds good. I may not be able to plug many gaps for my child/children but I’d like to be able to grab any chance no matter how small to give them something – even though I’m sure it will break my heart in the process. I hope the birth mother would see it the same sort of way, a small chink of relief to know who is looking after their baby.

I must confess I’ve been shopping for small people. I haven’t bought much, its a little difficult when you aren’t going the conventional ways so dont know what age your family will be when its complete. But I like to think I’ve made a couple of purchases that will be ok. The most important is an adoption book – one that I can document all the firsts in like you would in a baby book but it also covers from now until adoption, so its a record our children can keep to see how loved they were before they even joined us. I also bought a wooden stacking animal game and a little bag you put letters to Father Christmas in, both are gender neutral and can be grown into or used straight away.

Roll on 23rd July, I have a good feeling about the social worker visit, fingers crossed she brings the paperwork to officially declare our interest and start the visits/training/assessments

Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day today, I’m cooking lunch for 9 as has become the new tradition in our house for both Mother’s day and Father’s Day. My dad will have myself and my 2 brothers, my father in law will have his son and his daughter will FaceTime later, my brother will have his daughters, my husband will have no one. I don’t think this bothers him though, he doesn’t think about Father’s Day the way I do, I doubt he’s thought about how Father’s Day will change for him from next year. I have. I think about how Mother’s Day will change too, I think about the future filled with handmade ‘gifts’ that I can’t wait to display/wear with pride.

My fridge is full of food for today but my heart is a little empty, there’s a space where our child/children should be but it’s ok, I know that space shouldn’t be there for much longer.

I’ve been toying with emailing the adoption agency early, bring us closer to our children sooner, it can’t hurt, the worst they can say is no.

I found myself on eBay yesterday looking at outdoor play sets, sand pits and Wendy houses, as I watered our garden I was mentally placing the climbing frame etc and imagining running around after our small people. I considered starting to stock up on Lego so my Husband and our child/children can build it together, he works away for a few days a week, I thought it might be nice for them to build a piece together each weekend, it doesn’t have to be big, just something for our children to look forward to, something they know Daddy is coming home to help them with.

I digress – Father’s Day. A day for dads, the men in our lives who we can rely on no matter what, who will always have our back and be there for us. Who has my child’s back currently? I hope someone has, I hope there is a foster dad out there currently who has my baby’s back and is doing all those things my Husband and I can’t do for them yet but I promise we soon will be doing. That man has my heart today too alongside my Dad and father in law. To that man – thank you for keeping my baby safe.

This morning I saw you

This morning I saw her, well I thought I did and I can’t shake the feeling. By her I mean our future daughter. I was perusing facebook as I do when I wake up and a post popped up from one of the adoption pages I follow. They have been posting a lot lately – or maybe I am just more aware lately, I don’t know. Anyway, in my area there are 8% more children this year than last year in need of a forever home. That wasn’t this mornings post – that was yesterday. This morning a picture of the most beautiful baby girl filled my iPhone screen, her name is Thea. She is learning to eat solid foods, so far her favourite thing to eat is fruit – and peoples fingers. My heart leaped, she has the most beautiful big blue eyes, I could so easily see her as our daughter, I’m pretty sure as I saw the photo my mind shouted ‘thats my daughter’ and now I’m crying as I write this as I know she won’t be my daughter as our process has barely started. By the time we are approved and ready to adopt she will be gone – she deserves to be gone, she deserves her forever home now and not to wait until it could be here with us, but I can’t help crying. Something about her has hit me like a tonne of bricks – I’m sure there will be others who hit me like a tonne of bricks but she is the first, and my heart so desperately wants to call that gorgeous child with the swimming pool eyes my daughter. I screenshot her and sent her to my husband but he didn’t quite get it – to him there was no internal voice screaming that’s my daughter.

Counting down the days until I can kickstart our adoption journey again – it’s 9 weeks and 1 day until I can send the ‘hello, we are still here and eager to pick up’ email.