Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Preparation Course: One Step Closer!



I shouted down the stairs to my husband, ‘Do you know where the letter is with the details on for the course tomorrow.’ ‘No’, came back the reply. So the search began. The house was turned upside down. I could not believe that I had been so silly, to have misplaced such an important letter. I thought I knew where the course was due to take place and most meetings start at 9:45am, following coffee and registration 15 minutes prior. So there was nothing we could do other than turn up and hope I was right. Well it turns out I wasn’t right about the venue. After making contact with someone in the adoption team, we eventually made it to the right venue with 10 minutes to spare – phew!

Walking into the training room, I felt a mixture of excitement and nervous. What would everyone be like? Would people be friendly? Would the course be informative? Would we enjoy it? What impression would the Social Workers have of us? While all these thoughts were going through my head, I was excited to be completing the course, as this was another big and necessary step closer to us becoming parents.

During the training course we touched on various subjects, including abuse, attachment, identity, contact and the various types of support available. There was plenty of paperwork, discussions and group work.  During the end of the course, adopters came and spoke to us about their experiences parenting adopted children. This exercise was both helpful and interesting, especially as an adopter of 3 came and spoke to us and shared her everyday reality. 



However, what I found to be invaluable was some of the relationships I formed whilst on the course. We all seemed to gel well from the beginning, however what seemed to cement it all, was a group activity. We were asked to bring in an item to describe ourselves, one that said something about us. I’m an emotional person at the best of times, but oh my goodness I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling. As members of the group shared their stories, I felt the lump forming in the back of my throat. As I looked around the room, others too were trying to hide their tears. That was it. I was gone! As I tried to explain why I had brought with me a baking book, I couldn’t help but cry. Due to my embarrassment, through tears and half a smile, I remember explaining that I wasn’t crying over my cupcake book, but over what other people had shared.

Once we had finished the activity, and due to the high level of emotion in the room, the Social Workers announced that it was time for a break. I think nearly all the women headed for the toilets in search of some loo roll! 



Once we had dabbed our eyes, we decided that a group hug right there and then in the middle of the toilet was required. I am still in touch with most of the group and some of us have met up since. It is great to support one another through our adoptions. I believe that as a group we shared something quite personal and unique on that day, something that would be virtually impossible to re-create.

Friday, 19 July 2013

My First Experience of the Summer Holidays as a Mummy!



 The holidays are fast approaching, 6 days to be exact! 

This will be my first experience of being a mom during the 6 weeks holiday. I feel a mixture of emotions. One half of me feels excited to spend this time with the girls to allow the bonding process to deepen.

The other part of me is thinking:

1.     How am I going to keep three young children occupied every day, all day, for 6 whole weeks?
2.     How am I going to keep calm, sane and my sense of humour intact?!


The girls are excited about the prospect of no school or nursery and (hopefully) plenty of fun. They have asked a couple of questions about what we will be doing during the break and I am sure these questions will only increase the closer we get.

I’ve got a few activities penciled into the calendar. Baking, plenty of trips to nanny and granddad’s house, cutting and gluing, parties, play dates and swimming lessons. However, I’m sure this list will be done and dusted all within the first week of the holidays.

What I am really looking forward to is taking the girls away for the first time. We are not going to do anything too grand. We have heeded the advice of our Social Worker and are planning a few days away by the coast. I am praying for hot weather so we will be able to build sandcastles, eat sandwiches (probably with sand in them) and paddle in the warm sea. Whilst acknowledging that a change in routine and familiarity can bring disruption and insecurity. I’m hopeful that during our time away we will create happy memories and we will use this opportunity as a time to bond and relax. 



So for those out there that have experienced parenting through the 6 weeks, advice on how to keep sane and keep the children entertained would be gladly welcomed.



  

This post has been written for the #WASO at The Adoption Social. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Assessment Process - The Beginning!

As we sat in the car waiting nervously outside the Local Authority’s office my husband and I took deep breaths, prayed and rehearsed how we hoped the conversation would go. We had a meeting with the Head of the Adoption Team to discuss our interest in adopting three siblings.

Walking out of the office and back to the car we couldn’t be happier, I almost felt like I was floating! The manager was interested in our enquiry, and us as potential adopters, for the sibling group of three. The manager invited us onto the next information evening. It was only a week away!

Arriving at the information evening, I couldn’t help but look at the other attendees and wondered how they had arrived at their decision to adopt. I continued to ponder whether or not they would be on the same preparation course as us and would we even be given the same panel date. Would any of these people become our friends or our support through this exciting but nerve-racking experience? 



On the 12th July 2012, we had our Initial Assessment. I can remember both my husband and I feeling apprehensive, the desire to make a good impression was overwhelming. We took the dog for a walk in the morning and I told my hubby that we needed to buy some posh biscuits to help make us appear homely and welcoming. I needn’t have bothered as all she had was a glass of water and refrained from eating the biscuits (I later found out that she was pregnant and she probably couldn’t stomach anything other than water). The meeting seemed to go well and she said she would let us know her thoughts after she had had time to write up her notes. A week or two went by and we hadn’t received any feedback so my husband called the team. We were told everything was fine and they would be sending out an application form and a social worker had been allocated and would be in touch shortly. 

While we waited for our preparation course dates and for our Assessing Social Worker to contact us, I can remember the constant emotional rollercoaster I was experiencing. The questions playing round and round in my mind; how long would our assessment take? How would our Social Worker view us? Would they view us suitable to care for three children? How would we feel if we couldn’t adopt the siblings? I had to learn to give my thoughts to God on a daily basis so they were not able to consume me and place pressure on my loving, but laid back and ‘go with the flow’, husband. 




As we had approached the Local Authority to adopt a sibling group of three who matched our ethnicity they were keen to begin our assessment. To them we were like gold dust, a rare find! Rightly or wrongly, this resulted in our assessment starting just prior to the preparation course.

There was a mixture of nerves, apprehension and excitement as we were about to embark on the main part of the assessment process. We clung to the hope that our Social Worker would like us and there would be no hiccups along the way.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Lady Behind the Diamonds!


This month it will be our third wedding anniversary. It will be our first night away since the girls were placed. Needless to say we are very excited about the prospect of having a conversation without being interrupted and being able to eat a meal without repeating the words, ‘can you be quiet and finish your dinner please!’

It has been suggested that I tell you all a little about my background and myself, so for those of you that don’t know me, here we go. 



I grew up in a Christian family of four. I have a younger sister. Growing up, my sister and I would have the odd fight and disagreement, however, now we are close, and it is wonderful to see our children playing nicely (most of the time) together. My parents are happily married and have provided much support and love over the years.

Looking back over my childhood I can see the pattern emerging of always wanting to care for other people. For years I wanted to follow in my Nan’s and my mom’s footsteps and become a nurse. However, when it was time to decide on my career choice, I opted to become a social worker! I loved my training and I am still passionate about helping people, one of the reasons I believe I wanted to adopt. 



I met my husband online on a dating website. I love to see peoples’ faces when I tell them how we met. There always seems to be this awkward moment when people try and find an appropriate response. Usually people say something like, ‘Oh I know someone else that met online, it works for some, but I wouldn’t fancy it.’ Or, ‘Oh how interesting, it’s quite common now.’  Either way it makes me smile.

I always say that life always seems better when my hubby is by my side. He is definitely my rock, the one that keeps me sane and grounded during times of stress (which is working out to be most days at the moment).

Those of you that know me know that I love to eat!! Chinese and Chocolate are my favourite and don’t forget the glass of wine! When I get some free time I enjoy swimming, relaxing with family and friends, walking the dog and I guess I better add blogging to my hobbies list now.

Anyway, that is a little bit about me and what makes me, me!  

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Decision to Adopt.

 
As I sat in the hospital waiting area I felt sick, on edge and scared. I kept looking around at the other patients wondering what their stories were. The desire to talk to some of the other couples was strong, were they experiencing the heartache, desperation and frustrations that we were? Today was the day that we were due to see the consultant. My husband and I prayed that we had reached the point where no further tests would be needed and we could begin treatment. I kept trying to give my thoughts to God. He is in control, I kept saying to myself, again and again!



I can recall the consultant being laid back whilst chatting through our options. Part of me liked the laid back and confident approach, it made me feel hopeful. On the other hand I wanted to leap out of my chair, grab him and tell him how important this was to me and it wasn’t a matter to take lightly.


As we left the hospital I couldn’t be happier. I had it. I was holding it in my hands. I kept looking at it, the prescription for frontline fertility treatment. These were the tablets that were going to make it all happen. I was sure of it. It would only be a couple of weeks before we would finally see a positive pregnancy test. We had agreed that my husband would collect the prescription the next day and I was so excited to get the treatment underway.



Ten days later my world fell apart. As I sat in the doctor’s office he informed me that the treatment did not appear to have been effective. Again I recall his laid back approach, did he not understand that it was meant to be my turn now? This was meant to have worked? I was sure God would want me to be a mommy and to be one soon!  Needless to say I cried and cried all day long.



Hubby, friends and family all supported me and over the next few days I put myself back together again. However, the soul searching began again. Did we really want to put ourselves through further tests and treatments? Could I put my husband and I through all that again?



I admire couples that pursue fertility options and I have friends that I am currently, and will continue to, support through this choice and I wholeheartedly pray that God will answer their prayers. However, for us what was important was that we became parents and it did not matter to us how that happened. So after much discussion and prayer we decided that for us the right direction to proceed in would be to apply to adopt.



My husband and I knew of three little girls who were about to be placed on an adoption order. We had discussed about the possibility of approaching the Local Authority to adopt them, but now that dream, that possibility, was a reality we wanted to pursue. Our hearts were set and all that we could do for now was hand over our dream to God and, yet again, wait.