Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Monday, April 21, 2008

The panel, they say 'YES'

Says it all really, what more do I need to say?
It is a very daunting experience, to be interviewed for the job of adoptive parent, to sit in front of 12 or so people and have them make a completely life-changing decision - or at least sanction that decision.

But they were so positive. They asked how we felt when we saw the video of Theo (I have settled on Theo as a name for him here, it feels right) - and I said that I felt it made everything very real, and also made me want to pick Theo up and cuddle him (which was true). The right answer I think! How would we adapt our lifestyle to involve him in all our outdoor stuff? We told them about the baby carrier for the bike, the baby-rucksack carrier, the paddling pool (for when it gets warmer) the sand pit - we waxed enthusiastic about all the things we have planned. They smiled and made notes. And finally, how would we approach his life story? I spoke from the heart about his loss, and how I felt the need not just to help him understand about the circumstances that he has come from, but also the need to make it OK for him. I know enough now about his birth parents that I truly believe they love him, and would love to bring him up - they are just not in a place to do that. He has suffered such losses already. I do understand loss.

Just at the moment, strange as it may sound, I wouldn't change a thing. This is right, and I feel very peaceful. Not literally - things are quite chaotic what with planning, buying, painting, rushing, explaining. But inside I feel quite profoundly peaceful.

On Thursday we will meet Theo for the first time. At the weekend we will start the process of transferring him from his current foster carers to us. It will take about a week to ten days. We expect to have him home with us at the beginning of May.

PS - forgot to say again how old he is - he is 14 months old. He is just walking. He is really a gorgeous baby - it is getting to be funny that everyone who has had personal contact with him uses the same word - gorgeous.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bad news and good.

Apologies if anyone has been checking here for non-existent updates. Things have moved on, and in some ways I have been so caught up it has been hard to post.

Firstly I have to say, part of the lack of post was because I wanted to blog a poetic, beautiful post about my babycat, Delia, whom I loved SO much, and who was hit and killed by a car last week, while we were on holiday. Not so unusual, I suppose, but we live in a house where maybe 10 -20 cars pass in 24 hours. And both cats vanish at the sound of one, so I can't imagine what happened, but my return from holiday was marked by the saddest, saddest cat burial. My neighbour had found her and wrapped her in a fleece blanket and placed her in a cat basket so we could bury her [and cuddle her lifeless body] on our return. Truly, if tears could have brought her back, she would be here now. Dear Delia. I loved you for your faults, and in spite of them, for your cuddly, soft warm fur, big round eyes, because you could open doors, because you found a place to sleep on top of the wardrobe in our room, because you would eat marmite on toast and sultanas from my fruit cake. I could go on, but I can't without making myself too sad again.

So on to the good news.
I don't have a name for him for here, yet, but he is GORGEOUS. The placement order has been granted (though a day later than planned, which kept stress levels higher than necessary) and we have since met with his sw, who has given us the green light. A four hour meeting (yes, really) but a good result, and we even got to see a video of him, and I have a photo in my bag.

Honestly, for obvious reasons I can't post a picture, but he is smiley, eats like a horse and is into everything. I am already so in love. I worried that I might find bonding hard, but I know I won't. Finally I am allowed to feel this is OK. I am going to be a mummy, really soon.

On 21st April we go to matching panel, and something would have to go seriously wrong at this stage for things to founder now. Then we have a planning meeting later that week, in which we decide the timetable for handing him over to us. Handover is a long-ish process (1-2 weeks) so as to minimise the trauma for him, though of course it will be hard for him. We will meet him for the first time, and have 24 hours to reflect in case we want to change our minds (very fair to build this in, but I don't think we will need it).

After the first meeting the process is: watch, join-in, do. For example we watch him fed, join in feeding him and then feed him ourselves - so that he gets used to the transfer of care-giving. Likewise bathing, putting to bed, getting up, etc etc etc. We do this over the period, gradually taking over each aspect of his daily routine from his foster family. I could write reams about the loss involved in his short life so far, and in those of the people around him, but I am continuing to work that through, and at base I feel sure that the plan for him is truly in his best interests. He was not removed from his birth parents for anything other than his best interests.

I have also struggled with the whole idea of being an older mother, but managed to come to terms with that, to a large extent anyway. I do believe I will be a better mother now than I would have 20 or even 15 years ago. 5 or 10 years ago would have been good, but life doesn't always work out that way, does it?
So. It is really happening.
I am going to be a mummy.
And thank heavens I live in the UK - I get a year off work - OK, 6 months is unpaid, but I will have TIME with my son.

My son. Wow. That's a weird thing to write.