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.


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.