Saturday, 28 December 2013

Our First Family Christmas!!


We have experienced our first family Christmas. It has been special and fun. My husband and I wanted to lay down some family traditions and decided to take aspects from both our childhoods and create some new ones too. 

 The fun began on Christmas Eve when my husband and I got some quiet time together before the madness begun. We sneaked off for a cooked breakfast at a local restaurant. In the evening we all settled down to watch Home Alone with some more yummy food. Once the children had gone to bed, Father Christmas fell down our chimney with a load of presents. Whilst not disturbing Santa we got the children out of bed and peaked through the living room door to watch Santa eating the mince pie with the girl’s presents being placed under the tree. Their faces lit up and it was lovely to watch. 



Christmas morning arrived and hubby and I were up before any of the girls. We had our breakfast and were still waiting for them to wake up. So around 8am we couldn’t take the excitement anymore and had to go and wake them up. They each woke up to a stocking full of presents. Again, watching their faces light up was a precious memory I will store away. It took around two hours to unwrap all their presents, open up their Barbie horses and find batteries for them all. Later on in the day our parents joined us and we shared a wonderful roast with all the trimmings and of course the girls received more presents.

 
Boxing day the business continued, we began the day eating as much chocolate as we could get away with and in the evening we had tea at my mom’s house. Again there were lots of family, presents and food!

During the festive period my thoughts drifted over to the girl’s birth family and how they cope being apart from their children at such an important time of year. It’s not something that is easy to get your head around the range of emotions must be diverse.

I have to say I was really impressed with how polite and well behaved the girls were. They didn’t pull any disgusted faces at any of their presents and remembered their manners when receiving gifts from others. I know that Christmas time can be a difficult time for adopted children and their families. However, I think we have come through the other side in one piece.

All that is left to say is that I hope you all have a Happy New Year, thank you for reading my blog over the last few months and I look forward to blogging about what the New Year brings!

Monday, 16 December 2013

A Christmas Guest Post!


This week I’m posting a special Secret Santa blog exchange guest post from an adoptive mother of a little boy. The Secret Santa exchange was organised by the lovely people at The Adoption Social.  For other great blogs by, From On the Road to Adoption click here: http://www.onroadtoadopt.org.uk

I hope you have a lovely first Christmas with your little boy!

Reflections on Christmas

Christmas this year is going to be very different - the main reason is snoring away on the sofa opposite me. Christmas in many ways is for the children so having our son with us is special as I am sure it was for all adopters that first Christmas after placement. Our little boy is still probably a little too young to really understand what is going on yet, but he is enjoying his Advent Calendar which happens to be gradually creating his own decorated tree and loved helping us decorate the actual tree. Somewhere in the picture below is the ornament he chose on Daddy’s last day off from work after placement. Typically for him it is a car :)



I know for many adoptive parents this can be a hard time of the year as routines go at school and everything starts to become strange. Birth children can get hyper and for adoptive children who can have poor emotional memories of previous Christmases it is hard. Our little boy has had two Christmases with his foster carer where he was loved so we are hopeful for the future. Christmas is a family time but for me it also reminds me of the core of my faith – something I rarely blog about as it is basically part of who I am.

This is a Secret Santa post for another adoption blogger - one who I know has had her share of problems but also has the joy of loving and parenting her children as they deserve to be. As adopters we go into this with the knowledge things are not always easy but also living for and rejoicing in the good times. For me, I hope this first Christmas as a family of three will be one of those good times.

#WASO

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Christmas Surprise!



 My husband and I have received an early, unexpected and pleasant Christmas present.

We didn’t know if it was possible. We certainly did not think we would conceive naturally 8 months into our adoption. To say we were shocked is an understatement.

One of our earliest thoughts, post finding out about the pregnancy, was how is this going to affect the girls so early on into them coming to live with us? How was the Local Authority going to respond, especially after they ask us not to make any significant changes within 2 years of adopting? Fortunately, our Social Workers have understood and although I’m sure we were the talk of the office for a day or two, they have been supportive.

We have told the girls that there will be another addition to the family. We were hopeful that they would be happy and excited. However, we knew that pregnancy could throw up all sorts of reminders of their birth mother’s experiences. Worries about how this may affect them, where they would sleep, would we still want them, would we still love them the same? We were relieved when, following breaking the news to them, they were very excited and they made us smile when they asked for a sister. Our eldest daughter asked where the baby would sleep and we reassured the girls that they are very much loved, wanted and that they would not be going anywhere. 




Friday, 22 November 2013

It's not always easy being mum!


I haven’t blogged in the last couple of weeks about our lives as things have been a bit up and down and I think I have lacked the motivation to write anything down.





Our story continues.

At the beginning of last month I wrote a post named ‘I need patience and I need it now.’ I hoped at the time of writing the post, with the advice that I had been given, that I would be better at keeping calm and be able to parent in a more therapeutic and empathic way.

Well, a few weeks on, I can say that I feel no further on. Don’t get me wrong, professionals, family and friends have listened to me, given me advice, supported me and even helped with some aspects of childcare, all of which have been helpful and I am grateful. However, I have found myself making perhaps some progress, feeling that flicker of hope and then feeling as though it has all been snapped away when I feel impatient, frustrated or angry.


Questions such as, ‘why I feel as though I am struggling to bond with my youngest daughter’, ‘why do I have a range of emotions that I never knew a mother could feel’, ‘why can I not always parent in this calm therapeutic way that we are taught’,  ‘do we need to parent in a empathic way or can we parent as our parents taught us’ and ‘why can’t I take time to well and truly relax and recharge’, frustrate me.

It would be lovely to be able to easily shut off, chill out and not over analyse every behaviour and every response. I would like to have faith in my own abilities and to trust that it will all come together with time. I must find a way to stop judging myself and weighing myself up against other people and parents.

I have sought advice from an adoption advice forum and another adopter. Both of which suggested listening and reading some of Bryan Post’s information. I have started to look at his work and again I am beginning to see that there is some hope that I am not alone and it is possible to get through these feelings.

Our Local Authority has been helpful and so far state that they are pleased with how far we have come in a short space of time. The Social Worker seems to have every faith in my/our abilities. So then why do I feel so frustrated and irritated by my own shortcomings? Our Social Worker has arranged for some further in-depth support from an adoption charity. Again, I am hopeful that this will offer me the help that I need to cross the bridge from desperation to hopefulness. 


I wanted to document and share this part of our journey to confront, discuss and lose some of the taboo and shame, which can be associated with ‘not coping’ and feeling as though you are not being a ‘good enough parent’. 

This blog was written for The Adoption Social, this week's theme is 'Stories'. #WASO. 


Monday, 4 November 2013

Fireworks!!


This weekend has been a weekend of firsts. Friday night we took the girls to their first bonfire event. It was lovely to see their excited faces as they were handed a toffee apple and a sparkler each. As they tried to write their names with the bright white sparks it brought back a handful of happy childhood memories.

As we watched the fireworks go up one by one and explode into an array of bright colours the girls jumped up and down in excitement. Our youngest daughter clung on to us at first, as she wasn’t sure if the bangs were a good thing or not. But after some gentle persuasion she relaxed and began to enjoy the show. 



The second experience the girls had was to attend their first wedding. Friends of ours got married yesterday and the two older girls were excited to see the bride in her beautiful dress. They kept asking questions about when the bride would enter and what would happen during the service. Again, it brought back childhood memories of how excited I would get if I saw a bride or a bridal dress and dream of one day that being me.

National Adoption Week 2013 - Could you give a child a home?




This week is National Adoption Week, a chance to raise awareness about adoption and an opportunity for people to ask questions about the process and all that is involved.

I wanted to write this post to encourage anyone thinking about giving a child/ren a home. Adoption teams and Local Authorities at times receive a lot of bad press about how drawn out the adoption process is, how long the wait is for a child, the possibility of a lack of support and the possible endless problems the family may encounter pre and post children arriving.

Like most things, nothing is perfect. However, our experience has been largely positive. From day one we have been open and honest about who we are and what kind of family we wished to create. Our adoption process was slightly different as we approached the Local Authority about a sibling group of three that we knew were soon to receive their adoption orders. I think that the Local Authority couldn’t believe their luck that a couple matching the children’s identities had approached them to adopt all three children. However, they made us wait and jump through all the same hoops as everyone else has to.

I think a lot of people worry about if they would be accepted, how intrusive the questioning and the background checks will be. Don’t get me wrong, they do ask you questions about every aspect of your life. But my husband and I did not feel as though we were asked anything that was too personal and we built up a good working relationship with our Social Worker before the in-depth questions began. To be honest, I think she was more embarrassed than us.

To anyone thinking of adopting I would urge you to pick up the phone and contact either your Local Authority or a Charity to have that initial chat with a professional. There are a range of organisations out there and it may well be worth contacting a couple of them to find the right organisation for you. There is a list of various agencies on the BAAF website. Each agency’s criteria can vary slightly. I feel it is important to stress that agencies are very open to receiving enquires from a diverse range of people. One of the questions I would ask early on in the process is what the post adoption support consists of. It seems as though every adoptive family needs some form of support or advice and it is important that the agency takes this aspect of the adoption seriously. 



A good starting place would be to contact BAAF  (http://www.baaf.org.uk) or Adoption UK (http://www.adoptionuk.org) they have helplines and a range of information on their websites. There is also a good amount of social media support through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The Adoption Social is a place were adoption blogs are placed on a weekly basis from prospective adopters and adopters of their journeys and every day lives. The community is very supportive and the posts give a good insight into the realities of adopting.

There are some good books out there for people thinking about adopting the three that I would recommend from our journey would be. 

1.     Sally Donovan – No Matter What.
2.     Maria James – An Adoption Journey.
3.     Hedi Argent -  Related by Adoption.

If you wish to contact me to ask me any further questions I will be happy to try and help answer them. You can contact me directly on threediamonds123@gmail.com

I wish you all the best in your journey if you decide that adoption is the right path for you.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Future....


 


I am feeling excited about the future. As I sit here writing this post I can’t help but think about what’s to come both in the near future and over the next few years. For starters we have our first Christmas as a family around the corner and, if we have the time and energy, we will be making this Christmas larger than life for the girls. Hopefully we will get some snow and it will be great to build snowmen together and relive some of my childhood memories.


 
Looking more long term, we have the joy of watching the girls grow, their Celebration Day, their dedication and sharing these special moments with family and friends.



I’m sure there will be some not so fun times too. Like every adopter, we have the possibility that our children will want to leave our family in search of their birth family. There maybe times when we will need to wade through the past in order to help the girls piece together their lives and this potentially could be a painful journey for all of us. However hard this maybe it will be a necessary journey and one that my husband and I need to support and allow to happen.

I hope that in the future our family will grow in size, maybe one or two more children, and perhaps we will have a boy next time round – birth or adopted, we will love them just the same.

One day, I guess, I will have to think about going back to work. This, I must admit, does scare me a little. How will I cope going back into the work environment? How will I juggle work and home life?
 
Whatever the future holds, good or bad, I know that it is all in God’s hands. As hard as it is at times I must trust in his plan and that all things will work together for good. However, right now I need to try and focus on the present. I tend to be one of those people that get carried away with the next dream that I want and I often don’t sit back and enjoy the moment. Another practice I need to learn!

This post was written for the Adoption Social, this weeks theme is ‘The Future’ #WASO.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Let's Dance...






Sometimes it's the little things that make this journey of parenting seem hopeful and worthwhile.

My eldest daughter has been the one who has sat on the sidelines. She has waited to say I love you, waited to call me mummy, waited until we could kiss her or hold her close. She hasn't always wanted to hold our hands or join in with various games or family conversations.

However little by little she has let us in.

Sometimes when no one else is around we dance like two nutters. One of our favorites is to dance to 'Everything is Gonna be Alright' by Bob Marley. On some occasions she lifts her arms up to me and as I scoop her up we glide up and down the room as though we were professional ball room dancers; twirling as I swing her round and round.

These moments are precious, it's in these moments that I can feel the love and bond growing between us.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

At a Loss....


When I saw that this weeks theme on the Adoption Social was loss I wasn’t sure what to write or from whose perspective I should write it from, the girls or mine. So I decided to just start putting down some thoughts and see where it lead.

I guess I haven’t experienced much loss in my life, I feel that I have been fortunate. I think the biggest personal loss I have had to face to date has been coming to terms with the possibility of not having birth children. I thought becoming an adoptive parent would take away the desire to experience a newborn. I feel that the loss has healed over significantly, however, at times there is a pull in my stomach when faced with pregnancies and newborns. I wonder with time if this pain will heal or whether it will always be something that lures its head from time to time.

 My girls at 6, 5 & 2 have experienced more loss than I have, and will probably ever do, in my life. I can’t imagine at such a young age being taken away from my birth family, placed with loving foster carers for a couple of years and then moved again, in the process losing not only loved ones but friends, toys and the familiarity and comfort the little things bring.


Being so young, the girls don’t talk about their losses a great deal, and when they do it doesn’t reach any major depths. I can honestly say that as the girls grow I want us all be able to talk openly about their previous lives, the happy memories and the sad losses.   I want to be able to provide support and understanding as the girls ride out their emotions as they question, ponder, analyse and reflect over their early lives.



Whether I will be that support they need, time will tell. But my hope is that I will be able to help the girls come to terms with the losses they have experienced.  








This post was written for the Adoption Social, this weeks theme is loss #WASO. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Keep your Sweetness




 The other week we were driving to school when my eldest daughter pulled out some phrases from her pocket. She read them out to her sisters and I before saying that she wanted to give me one to keep. It read ‘Keep your sweetness’

It was one of those moments when you sit back, pause and reflect upon your behaviour and wonder how others view you. I folded up the piece of paper and placed it into my pocket, determined to remind myself to stay sweet.


I asked my daughter where she got the phrases. She replied that her teacher keeps a jar in the classroom full of various sentences and her pupils can come and take one at any time of the day.

I couldn’t help but think what a lovely idea that was. I love that as well as teaching the kids educational things they are teaching them the importance of loving and caring for ourselves and others. 

This post was written for The Adoption Social #Memory Box. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I need patience and I need it NOW!!!







Whilst caring for nephews, nieces and other people’s children I have always thought of myself as a patient person, that I could ride out any tantrum with ease. Whilst being assessed to adopt I thought I would be a patient, nurturing, understanding and, dare I say it, a near perfect mom. As we knew our girls before they were placed with us for adoption, I would at times watch them and think how perfect they were, so cute, so pretty, playing nicely and well mannered. I can recall saying to our assessing social worker that the girls were angels.

Now I am their mommy, I still believe they are angels and they are beautiful inside and out. However, their behaviour can be questionable and I do not always understand it – is their challenging behaviour due to their past or are they just being kids… or is it both?!

 However, what I have been more taken back by is my reaction to some of their behaviour. I am not always the calm, patient and understanding parent that I thought and hoped I would be. I can find myself overreacting to some behaviours. I find it hard when my girls don’t listen and I have learnt that I like to be in control and when I’m not I feel I need to make my point louder (yes I have shouted at my children on occasions.) Then the guilt has kicked in. How could I shout and get frustrated with my beautiful children who have been through so much already. I worry that shouting and picking the wrong battles only reminds them of where they have come from.

I am the type of person that is constantly reflecting and analysing. Whenever I am going through a challenge I need to reach out, I want to speak to others who have been through the same situations to seek help, support and advice. The support I have received has arrived from various directions. Family and friends have spoken about their experiences. They have reassured me that my feelings are normal and that every parent reaches their limits.

I have read several books aimed at adoptive parents. Sally Donvan’s book ‘No Matter What’ was helpful as parts of the book reminded me of our experiences and as a result I did not feel so alone. I am also making my way through Dr. Amber Elliot’s book ‘Why Can’t my Child Behave?’. Her book has helped me understand that I must maintain my empathy for my children and to take a look over their past to remind myself of what they have been through. The book also reminded me that I must care for myself if I want to be able to care for my family.


Our post adoption support worker is also working with us to help put a plan together in order to parent in an empathetic way and to move away from ‘reward-punishment’ techniques. The social network of adopters has been a good source of support. Reading other people’s blogs has been helpful, but also speaking to another mother who adopted three children two years ago has helped me. She shared with me with her experiences of parenting, how she had coped with the highs and lows and again reassured me that parenting is a journey, none of us are perfect and we must go through the questioning and analysis of ourselves if we are to become better people and parents.

I am still learning and I am determined to take each day at a time, to stop putting so much pressure on myself and to make time for relaxation. I have placed empathic responses to everyday situations that arise on our fridge, so in those moments when the kids are sulking, crying or throwing tantrums I don’t have to think of a response, it has already been written out. I have re-read our girls’ history and will pull out the paperwork every so often to refresh my mind of what they have been through and to keep the empathic responses at the forefront of my mind. My husband and I have undergone some Theraplay training to help with some of the everyday situations we find ourselves in and the girls love the fun and attention these games bring.

I hope this post will help others if they find themselves in a similar situation. I would also welcome other parent’s thoughts on this subject if you are struggling or have 
struggled and have found a way through.

Thank to those who have and are continuing to support us – you know who you are and I am truly grateful.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Support Poem

Acrostic Poem written for this weeks #WASO. This weeks theme is Support.







 Secret thoughts of not being good enough,
Understanding needed, not sure where to turn.
Parenting not easy, tired and confused,
Positive, prayful, hopeful I remain.
Offers of help came from all around,
Relaxation, research, determined I must move on.
Time is a healer, so much I have learned. Here's to the future, one day at a time.


Friday, 13 September 2013

And Relax....


This blog is written for the #WASO, this weeks theme is relaxation.



Relaxation is not something that comes easily to me. I often find myself feeling guilty if I turn on the T.V. in the day and/or sit down for five minutes with a cuppa. However, with three children now being my full time job, I am realising that I need to find the time to chill.

It was my birthday recently and my oldest friend very kindly presented me with a gift bag full of goodies! She knows me well, I thought, as I unwrapped a pamper kit to help me unwind after a stressful day. So now once a week (at least), I am trying to get some well deserved ‘me time!’ This involves lighting a candle and sinking into a warm bath with a good book, chocolate and a glass of wine.


I also find baking helps me to relax and I get satisfaction out of sharing what I have cooked with others and hopefully seeing them enjoy it (this can be a bit hit and miss).

My children and husband are all better at relaxing than me. When they are feeling tired, they stop! My hubby enjoys watching and playing basketball and is addicted to iPhone games – I won’t name them all!

My kids love snuggling up in a fluffy blanket and sticking on a film or climbing onto our laps for a cuddle. When they are tired they go to sleep (sometimes dragging their feet, but the point is they go).

I think I could learn a lot from my family. The need to relax is so important. I know I am not at my best when I am tired so from now on I need to focus on carving out ‘me time’ and taking the time out of our busy schedule to just … relax!!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

First week in the Big Brother House!

Day One in the Big Brother House: 

The day had arrived. We were due to pick our little ones up at 9:30am! Feeling anxious we drove to the foster carer's house. On arrival the girls were excited. They loaded their little suitcases into the car and carried out various gifts and items. Waving goodbye to the foster family I could see tears, our eldest daughter quieter now, the reality setting in. Once back home the mood was somber, we were all tired and thoughtful. My husband took our eldest daughter to the shops to spend some time with her whilst I played with the younger two. The day full of ups and downs passed in a whirlwind.

With the girls safely tucked up in bed my husband and I sat on the floor and cried. Would it always be like this we asked ourselves? Would the tiredness pass, would we find our feet, would we ever feel like a family?

The enormity of what we had taken on hit us like a speed train. I tried to reassure myself and my husband that how and what we were feeling would pass and we just needed to get into a routine. Feeling the pressure I knew I wouldn't be able to support my husband through his feelings as much as I wanted to. We needed to speak to someone who had been in our shoes, we needed support. 


Day Two in the Big Brother House: 

More tears, more tiredness and to top it all off I felt ill. My husband went upstairs to phone Adoption UK. I prayed and hoped that they would be able to say something to him that would make it all okay. The woman on the end of the phone was very helpful. She advised us that our feelings were normal and that we must give it time. Her advice was that we needed to do whatever we thought was best to get through the first few days and weeks and if that meant getting other people involved sooner rather than later to support us, then so be it. She also arranged for out buddy support (phone support from an adopter who has adopted under similar circumstances to you) to be brought forward.  We needed more than meals and housework completed, we needed an extra pair of hands.

We made the call to my husband's parents and explained some of how we were feeling. They were more than happy to support us and met us at a local park. In the back of our minds we knew that our Social Workers may frown upon us allowing the girls to meet family members so early on, but we knew that if we didn't reach out we may break. It was a relief to get out of the house and to have additional support for a couple of hours.

I phoned my mom at work as I had not yet spoke to her since the girls had moved in. She was at work and when I phoned I could hear in her voice that she was excited to hear how it was all going. I couldn't hold the tears back any longer. I sobbed down the phone to her that it was not how we had imagined it, that we were struggling to hold it all together and to top it off I was beginning to run a temperature. I could hear my mom moving away from her colleagues, who were eagerly wanting to know how it was going, to give us some privacy. My mom was very supportive and encouraging, she said all the right things.

Ending the call I climbed into bed, I needed to rest, I was run down.

Day Three and Four in the Big Brother House:

Things are becoming a bit better, we have been getting some practical support from grandparents and have tried to get out of the house as much as possible. Our buddy support got in touch, our agency's support worker and Social Worker have also touched base with us to provide emotional support. Everyone appears to be singing from the same hymn sheet and is telling us that the first few weeks are the hardest and that things will get easier.

Day Five in the Big Brother House: 

Woke up feeling dreadful. Crawling around the house I attempted, along with my husband, to care for the children. We had planned to meet my parents today, a day that I had literally dreamt of, and I felt ill - typical! Arriving at my parents house I forced out a smile as I introduced the girls. I sat curled up on the sofa as my parents played with the girls. My husband went for a lie down and once he had woke up, I also sneaked off for a sleep. The tiredness was overwhelming.

Day Six and Seven in the Big Brother House:

The girls have been testing boundaries this week - all completely normal and to be expected, still it was difficult to cope with emotionally when we were so tired and overwhelmed. We phoned the foster carer to get some advice and to clarify a few points around behaviour and mealtimes.

The girls are mentioning the foster carer in their conversations and are getting upset as they are missing her. It is hard to watch them feeling sad, I can't imagine being removed from someone I love, a home I am settled in and told I am to now live with a new family. I sat down with the two eldest to write letters to the carer, they were excited to do this and loved posting their letters to her.

Reflection:

Writing this post and reflecting back over the early days I cannot believe how much pressure we put ourselves under to have it all together and to try and resolve our feelings and emotions so quickly. Looking back it makes complete sense that we were tired, emotionally wrung-out and stressed. I wish we had given ourselves a break and had not expected so much. 

Reading this you may think that we asked grandparents to be involved too quickly. Maybe you are right, but at the time we needed the support of our nearest and dearest and dread to think what it would have been like with little or no support. I know adopting is different to having birth children, however if someone has given birth to triplets they are not expected to go the first few weeks alone and I think it is too much to ask a couple who are adopting three children in one go to go at it alone. I am truly thankful for the support we were offered by everyone at this time and the ongoing support from family and our agency - Thank you!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Let the Introductions Begin!

Walking around the house my husband and I tried to put on straight faces while we recorded the rooms of the house, the dog and our garden. Along with our welcome book (photos of our family and home) we handed over the DVD to the foster carer. The DVD and welcome book was to be shown to our new little family prior to introductions beginning.



The foster carer kindly phoned us after the girls had gone to bed and shared that the DVD and welcome book had gone down well. Our middle daughter looked at our picture and gave her foster carer a look that said, 'I know these people.'  Our youngest daughter kept asking the carer to re-wind the DVD so she could keep looking at her Peppa Pig bedroom. Our eldest daughter was quieter, her thoughts unknown.








The Preparation work complete, we were ready to meet our girls.


The big day had arrived. Today we could go and see the girls and be introduced as mommy and daddy. It felt surreal, exciting and nerve wracking. I imagined the girls wanting cuddles and asking us to play with them straight away. After all, we had met before and we had played together.

When we arrived the girls were no where to be seen. A Social Worker who we hadn't met before sat opposite us and asked us lots of questions, some we had already answered 100's of times. Slowly, the girls crept into the living room, they ran big semi-circles in front of us, looking and giggling as they came and went. We decided to make it into a game of peek-a-boo and slowly the girls began to come up to us.

Over the course of the next 10 days we took the girls to the park, ate with them, completed the same jigsaw over and over again, dressed them, bathed them and spent the days doing lots of fun activities.
There was more!


One of the funniest challenges we faced during the introduction period was the amount of clothes and toys we needed to find a home for. I couldn't believe how many pair of shoes my girls had at their young age!

From day one of introductions my youngest two daughters called me mommy and my heart felt overwhelmed when my middle daughter first looked up to me and said 'Mommy, I love you'.

Our eldest daughter took to her daddy straight away, calling him Daddy and wanting his attention. She didn't however call me by my first name or Mommy until the fifth day. I knew in my logical brain that this was perfectly normal and this wasn't about me. I needed to give her time and trust that she would open up to me eventually. However. the emotional side of me desperately wanted needed my oldest daughter to reach out to me and call me Mommy. Our Social Worker was on hand to help me make sense of her behaviour and commented that older siblings often connect with the male due to the younger siblings needing the female figure. This made sense to us and helped me to not take her behaviour personally.

The introduction period was tense, tiring and certainly overwhelming. My husband was ill for the first half and literally dragged himself through the time we spent together. Once home we would collapse into a heap wondering if life would continue to be this chaotic. Before we had time to put ourselves back together we were getting ready to see the girls again. The realisation that we were about to take on three little ones and our lives would never be the same was starting to hit home.

Introductions over, review meeting complete and everyone happy that the introductions were positive. The next step was for the girls to come home.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A toast to celebrate!



Surrounded by our family and closest friends we popped open a bottle of champagne and toasted panel’s decision to match us with the children we longed for.






 My husband and I wanted to mark the occasion, as a couple, as a family, we wanted to share this moment and to celebrate. We decided to do an alternative to a baby shower and hold an ‘adoption party’.

 
We shared a picture of our daughters, it was such a proud moment. We were given presents and cards for our new family and we were touched by people’s kindness, generosity and warmth.

I am glad we took this opportunity to share what was happening in our lives, a time for fun, laughter, to pause and be thankful.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

To be or not to be ... Part 2!

Not being able to contain our excitement any longer we bought and built the white wooden beds for our soon-to-be daughters. A Peppa Pig toy was bought for us by my father in-law and sat proudly on the top bunk, waiting to be owned and loved. Walking past the bedroom door made my stomach flip each time. I couldn't wait to walk past and see my little girls all tucked up, warm and safe.




Yes, we were the mad couple that decided to start buying items before the girls were officially matched with us. We preferred to think of it as being positive, a quiet confidence, a trust that God's plan was coming together. 






A couple of weeks following panel we got the call that we had been waiting for since being approved. Our Social Worker had arranged for us to officially meet the girls allocated worker along with the family finder, to discuss the possible adoption in detail. Feeling a mixture of emotions, my husband and I shared why we thought we would be a good match for the children and answered numerous questions including how we would cope with three children all moving in at once and how we would cope with three teenage girls?! Everyone seemed happy with our responses and at the end of the meeting the girls worker let her excitement slip as she believed that we were a good match. I can remember feeling so pleased and relieved. The family finder, however, was not going to share her initial thoughts with us and appeared happy to make us wait just a little longer.



A few days later our Social Worker phoned to say that everyone felt as though we were a good match and that they wanted to proceed with the formalities. To say we were happy would have been an understatement. After meeting with numerous people involved in the girls lives, and reading and signing various pieces of paperwork, we were still confident that we wanted to move forward with the adoption.



As the date for our matching panel arrived I couldn't help but feel as though this was it, the final major hurdle, the final tick in the box before we could begin introductions and start life as a family. The nerves and excitement twisted and turned through my stomach. The anxiety was based around panel not agreeing that we were capable of parenting three children. Finally. after a long wait and a couple of strangely phrased questions, it was agreed that we could be approved for the girls.


We had done it!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

To be or not to be?!


Trying not to burn my fingers I bounce my tea bag up and down in my paper cup, whilst a mixture of nerves and excitement swirl around my stomach.
‘Do you think they will approve us for a sibling group of three?’ I ask my hubby who is deconstructing his chicken burger. He nods and says, ‘I hope so.’


Whilst I am quietly confident we will be approved, I’m not so confident as to whether the panel members will think we are capable, suitable or experienced enough for three. Panel day has arrived and we are trying settle our nerves before walking in front of a bunch of strangers who will make one of the biggest decisions of our lives. 

We were kept waiting in a side room whilst we could hear muffled voices in the next room deciding other people’s fates. The nerves were growing and growing, what was taking them so long? I think our Social Worker was aware of the tensions as she tried to distract me by talking about food (a subject we often found ourselves talking about) to help occupy my mind and keep me calm.

Eventually, we were greeted by the Chair and the Adoption manager who reminded us of the itinerary before we were lead into the large, serious looking, boardroom. I could feel my legs wobbling like jelly as I tried to focus on which chair I should sit on and trying hard not to fall over and look stupid in front of all these strangers. I can recall panel members introducing themselves and feeling calmer once I knew that previous adopters were on the panel. They knew what it was like to sit in those lonely two chairs and would, therefore, hopefully go easy on us. Questions were asked from various directions and I remember feeling as though hubby and I had answered in the best way we could. We were then excused and again my legs were quivering, as I had to make my way back out of the room without tripping over.

Sitting back in the small side room our Social Worker reassured us that our answers were thought through and we had done just fine. It was then time to re-face the panel and to hear the verdict. It felt like we were on trial, all eyes on us. Once back inside the serious looking board room the Chair did not beat around the bush and came straight out with, ‘We have all agreed that you should be approved’, I let out a little relief sigh, but we were still waiting on the criteria. She continued ‘…for a sibling group of three…’ another sigh but bigger this time. The room chuckled in support, as they must have been able to see the relief on our faces. Finally, the Chair said ‘good luck, you’re going to need it.’ And again everyone laughed.

Our Social Worker took us to another side room and congratulated us. We couldn’t believe we had done it. Hubby gave me a massive hug and tears welled in my eyes. Our Social Worker then asked if we would like to meet the Social Worker for the children we hoped to be matched with. We excitedly said yes! We felt fortunate to be able to sit down for five minutes and talk with her. We were asked a few questions and told they would be in touch, congratulated again and then we left.

Driving home we felt so happy, our dream of becoming parents to these three children was coming together. These were our two blue lines. We excitedly called close family and friends who were eagerly awaiting our call to share the good news.