Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Boring stuff, but I am OK

Haven't heard anything but a deafening silence since the panel decision.

There was some mention of 'a couple of weeks' for our forms to get into circulation. It will be two weeks tomorrow since we got the approval. I am vaguely hoping we will hear something in the next few days, but I am not counting on it. We did receive the confirmation letter, explaining exactly what the approval meant. We are approved for a child 'as young as possible - i.e. 0-3 years, or 2 siblings if both very young. If you read that in a letter, and it is all official, it is very exciting.

But the reality is we don't know if it will happen. There was that little disclaimer at the bottom of the letter, kindly explaining that, of course, there can be no guarantee that a suitable child will be matched with us. It's standard, and I am very hopeful that this WILL happen, but I have to keep my feet on the ground here.

Meanwhile, however, I am feeling more OK about my life - even my present situation - than I can remember.

Work is going shockingly well. I finally fessed up to my manager that I had been approved as an adopter. I was worried about telling her, as it is obvious that I could leave, almost at any time, on pretty short notice. But I had to tell her. Apart from anything else, I needed to ask finally for a proper pay rise, and I couldn't keep the adoption stuff secret while at the same time asking for more money. It didn't seem right. But she was great - really good. First she was clearly genuinely pleased for me that I had been approved - but also completely reassuring that the adoption should have nothing to do with whether or not my pay should go up. Of course, this is true, but the reality is that I am not really in a position to start looking around for different work, even if they refused a pay rise, because I would take a while to qualify for 'maternity' benefits, and I simply can't guarantee anything at the moment. [Adoption benefits appear to be exactly the same as maternity benefits - but the main difference is that at least you can pretty much predict when you are going to give birth - with adoption it could be anytime, and on very short notice. Can't imagine a new employer taking me on with that in the offing].

Anyway, I got my pay rise. Astonishingly I was actually offered me MORE than I had asked for. That's new - I didn't know that could happen! You know how it is, you ask for £3 - £4k and decide that you will create a fuss if they say £1k, but will settle for £2k. I hate these games, but that's the way it works usually. But they are giving me £3k straightaway and another £1.5 from April. (This does suggest to me they have been underpaying me for a while, but nonetheless, very nice thank you, and I am not one to worry about the past too much - I have never starved).

And I spent a nice weekend with my best friend who is struggling with men and work - the usual stuff, and I looked at myself and thought 'You're OK Vivien'.

I'm OK. Just waiting for something that probably will happen. The biggest 'something' of my life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I know I said it was only a formality, but it was still quite nerve-wracking. And I didn't realise how emotional I would feel when they said yes. Suddenly it seemed like a Great. Big. Thing. Which it is, of course.

We arrived just before 10am - the panel appointment was scheduled for 10.15am. KT turned up just after 10 and we sat waiting drinking tea and eating REALLY nice biscuits (ginger and chocolate - R had the chocolate cookies with the white chocolate chunks).

Time passed. The three of us for some reason got to talking about pest infestations - cockroaches, rats and bed bugs. Apparently roaches eat bed bugs - their one redeeming feature. Ugh.

Finally, just before 11am KT was called in. She had already explained she would be first in, alone, and then we would be called. Sure enough, 15 minutes later we went in. Although I knew there would be a lot of people, walking into the room was quite a shock. 12 people sitting round a huge table, all looking at us. Each person introduced themself. Social workers, including the head of the children's services, councillor, educational psychologist, and adopter, a grown-up who had been adopted, minute-taker, doctor - and more. They explained how much they appreciated our application, that they could see how much work we had done to produce it. I indicated KT - she did work hard and produced a really good reflection of us.

They asked us three questions I think: What had we learnt from the adoption classes and the whole process; who would we turn to for help when needed with our adopted child(ren); how did we think we would manage to make changes in our [present] active lifestyle to accommodate child(ren) in our life. It didn't take long, and none of the questions obviously were anything that we hadn't already thought about and discussed, so we handled it all easily. Then there was a brief discussion about the fact that we have stated we would be willing / interested in adopting more than one child. They asked us to wait outside again (with KT again) while they deliberated.

I was slightly freaked. KT was reassuring. "Nothing to worry about at all. They loved you".

We went back in, maybe 10 minutes later. Lots of smiles and how much a pleasure it has been meeting you, and we are pleased to say we have all agreed to approve your application.

That was it. Approved. I welled up. They passed me a tissue. We parted, all smiles.

KT, true to form, still had another sheet of paper that we had not signed, so we retired to a small room to sign that before leaving, and she explained what would happen next. I wasn't really able to concentrate on what she was saying. She will be in touch if she finds a child that looks like a match, that much I know. She thinks it should happen within 6 months, but she can't say for sure. But I really wasn't with it. I thanked her and hugged her (first hug).

We are over a major hurdle. The great and the good are all agreed. We can become adopters. Blimey.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Breaking the news to everyone

Today I went to a race. (Not to race myself. One post I have not been able to write is how I have recently been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis in my left hip. It is as yet very minor and doesn't interfere with normal activity, but I have been advised to stop my running. I hate that. Running has sometimes been my key to sanity - and also is what mainly keeps my weight under control. But when the choice seems to be between stopping running and running the risk of being seriously lame . . . I watch old people and the way they move, it terrifies me. The slowness is pain, and suddenly I know I have to look after my joints and find an alternative to running.)

Anyway, back to the race. I bumped into a bunch of people that I haven't seen for ages, since I stopped running, but whom I know fairly well. I knew many of them before I met R, and some were an important part of my life at one time. Things have moved on, but I want to tell them about Monday, about the panel, and that soon I may have a child in a pushchair to bring, next time I come to watch them race . . . that we are going to ADOPT, that I am proud and glad, and what it has been like and all that STUFF. I just don't know how to bring the subject around to "oh, by the way, R and I are planning to adopt". I don't know what's so hard about it, but it really doesn't get into conversation so easily.

I am having a really weepy evening. Maybe just trying to clear out some of these worries. Last night I went through the last 8 months or so of bank statements, trying to figure out how we will manage on just R's income. I so want to be a stay-at-home-mum. I think it's important for kids, but especially for an adopted kid who will need so much help and confirmation of his/her worth. I need to be there.

And what about me? How does the bonding work for me? I know mothers have trouble sometimes even bonding with birth children (which I find extraordinary) but will I bond?

And will it be a boy or a girl? When I picture the future I keep slipping into seeing a girl, without meaning to, and yet I think I may be better with a boy. I don't think the gender of this child will really matter.

Oh, is it possible at all that the hormone crash I should have had at the last much glossed-over miscarriage is hitting me now?

And how the hell did I get to be 44 and have no children?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

All signed and sealed . . .

We have now had our last meeting with KT, who was sadly asked by her superior to rephrase the quote that was in my last post. I am pleased to report, however, that the following EXCELLENT sentence has survived to final draft:

"Although Vivien describes R as muscular I would describe him as slim (though I have never seen him with his shirt off)"

Isn't that great? And on so many levels!

I have visions of the entire panel undressing my husband with their eyes as we walk in (on Monday 15th).

Also, it is SO good to know that on the occasion when KT and R met without me that there was nothing untoward went on (or does she just protest too much?)

And you have to wonder, don't you, whether someone who writes a comment like that has some kind of secret yearning for my husband! She must have thought about it after all!

Ah well, who can blame her? Certainly not me.

I know the panel on the 15th is really just a formality - if there were any problems with our application to adopt we would most certainly have been alerted by now. So this process is reaching a critical point. And how do you think I feel?

Excited? Nervous? Impatient to move on?

No, not me.

I am suddenly concerned that I might miss work when I give it up and that the whole thing might be one huge mistake. Suddenly I realise that time on my own at home in the complete quiet is something I love. I don't know if I will love being at home with a young child who may be doing everything in his/her power to sabotage our relationship. I am worried I am too old. I am worried I won't have the energy. I will be snappy and irritable mother instead of a patient and loving one.

My bucket of confidence appears to have a leak.

A bit of me knows this is what I want, but I just keep seeing the flipside. The thing is, when you are pregnant you can't actually stop the train (well, of course you can, but you know what I mean) - with this, with adoption, in theory I could. But I won't so I'll only ever have myself to blame if it is a nightmare.

Oh yes - and the other side (the third side to this odd coin) is this fear I keep returning to that they will never find us a match. That I am simply not meant to be a mother.

Well - hope that cheered you all up!