Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How we brought him home

Right up until really close to it actually taking place I was unsure about timescales and the actual nuts and bolts of what they call 'transferring' a child, so I thought it might be of interest to record it here. Also, of course, for me looking back at how I felt, I wanted to blog on various days during the transfer, but found myself exhausted or simply out of time in the day.
We initially had a meeting during which the timetable was put together with the following members of Social Services:
Head Honcho of Children's Services
Our SW, KT (whom I love more and more - she has become such a fantastic support)
Theo's SW (a young woman in her mid 20s)
SW for Theo's foster mother.
Also present at the meeting were me and R, and Theo's foster mother - I will call her Andrea.

The plan that emerged . . .

Thursday April 24
9.00am: R and I to Andrea's house to meet Theo. We stay about an hour and a half. 2 SWs also present for this first meeting.

Friday April 25
A day's 'grace' in case we decide after all this that we don't feel a connexion with Theo, and want to pull out.

Saturday April 26
1.30pm: R and I to Andrea's house staying until about 4pm, Theo's tea time.

Sunday April 27
8am: R and I to Andrea's house to participate in Theo's morning routine. Give him breakfast and lunch and leave shortly after midday.
4pm: Return to give Theo tea and spend the rest of the afternoon there until about 6pm.

Monday April 28
9.00am - Me to Andrea's and go out together (me Andrea and Theo - plus her 2-yr-old foster daughter) in my car on a shopping trip to the supermarket.
12.00pm - Return to Andrea's for lunch, meeting R there. Me and R spend the afternoon at Andrea's house playing with Theo, while Andrea is absent from the house and takes foster daughter for a walk. Give Theo tea at 4pm and leave.
(At this point I started to have a problem with the process that, stupidly I had simply not forseen. I HATED leaving him - especially when I felt that we were beginning to form a bond, and knew that Andrea would be out with him at various places where he was handed around for cuddles with anybody. And nightimes I would wake up and MISS him being there. Monday was the low-point for me - the process seemed so flawed, Theo chose to run to Andrea on one occasion when he bumped his head and hurt himself. I know it was silly, but I was hurt. I phoned KT, who was superb and told me how everything I was experiencing was normal. She also made it clear that there were certain aspects of the week which, in her view, were not being best handled. It helped me to know she understood and very much agreed with the main issues I had.)

Tuesday April 29
7.30am: Me to Andrea's to do 'morning routine', joined at 9.00am by R. R and I take Theo out together (we went to a little playground with swings and a climbing frame, which he LOVED) and then gave him lunch (prepared in advance, and we took him into Starbucks - which was a riot!)
1.00pm: We collect Andrea from her home so that she can accompany Theo on his first trip to our house. He spends about an hour and a half at our house, exploring and playing with a few familiar toys. We all return to Andrea's for Theo's tea at 4pm.

Wednesday April 30
8.30am: R and I to Andrea's, pick up Theo to spend the day at our house, returning him for 4pm.

Thursday May 1
10.30 / 11.00 am: R and I collect Theo from Andrea's returning him around 6.30 / 7pm for us to bath him and put him to bed. (This was traumatic, as he had had quite a stimulating and exciting day with us and did NOT want to go to bed! Hence tears - both mine and his!)

Friday May 2
"Move Day" R and I to collect Theo and take him home. KT present. "Handover to be kept short". It took about 45 minutes, and Andrea's teenage children had taken the morning off school to be there, so emotions were higher than they really should have been, but we took him home.

That was the nuts and bolts of it, anyway.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A different reason to cry

My little boy has just fallen asleep in his cot at last - it's taken well over an hour, and tears from him and tears from me.
As planned, we spent nearly a week of "introductions" until the big day on Friday when we brought him home, with it gradually dawning on us that not only was he about to spend the night with us, he was actually about to spend the next 16+ years with us.
I worried that in his new surroundings he may not sleep well. We brought the mattress and bedding, unwashed, from his foster home and put it in his cot here. We followed his evening routine to the letter, though of course his bath was our bath, not his usual, his surroundings entirely different. He had had plenty of time to play here, to eat here, to explore; he'd had naps here and seemed relaxed and 'at home' - but of course sleeping overnight was going to be the biggie.
We congratulated ourselves on an uneventful first night. I sang him to sleep as he lay on my tummy, his head on my chest. It was like a dream. He slept, just stirring with a whimper every hour or so. Because I sleep lightly I got up to check every time, covered him again with his blanket, but he didn't wake up till morning.
Second night, same thing.
Last night, I don't know quite what happened but he just seemed unable to relax physically. He showed every sign of wanting to sleep, he yawned, rubbed his eyes, but even when he did fall asleep he would waken himself by crying loudly in his sleep, still in my arms. Eventually he fell asleep in R's arms, we put him in his cot and he slept unusually peacefully all night.
Tonight, hoping to avoid the pattern from last night, R offered to put him down. Nope, Theo apparently just kept coming to the top stair gate and calling 'mama' until R gave up. So I tried. Pretty much everything.
I sang to him.
I rocked him.
I talked to him.
I undressed him and me and rocked him skin-to-skin.
I put him in his cot and stayed with him.
I put him in his cot and left him, though he cried. (Not recommended. This is the bit that made me cry. I cannot listen to a baby crying for me, when I could go to him. How do people do this?)
Eventually I put him in his cot and spoke firmly to him as he tried to play 'boo' with me, using his topsheet. I said "Goodnight, darling, see you in the morning" and left the room.
(He is so gorgeous). He fell asleep that time. But I feel that I don't know what I am doing.

R has 2 weeks paternity, and doesn't go back to work until 19 May, but I wonder what it will be like when he does go back. I am so tired.

He is, however, in spite of the above, the easiest, loveliest, most adorable child you could imagine.
He smiles and giggles and (mostly) eats anything. He dances to any music that comes on the radio, he looks like an angel. He is SO bright and learns so quickly.
We laugh that we fed him asparagus risotto.
He came to us with a collection of ghastly plastic toys with batteries, flashing lights and american accents (no offence, but we don't live in America). We are introducing him to nice middle-class wooden toys, and giving him loads of one-to-one.
Sometimes we play him classical music. He hears Pink Floyd and David Bowie. (Kooks - great song for our situation - look up the lyrics on google!)

I think I am doing this all wrong. I think I am trying too hard, and wearing us both out.

Please don't tell me to leave him to cry on his own in a room. I can't bear to think I would do that. I didn't wait all this time to become a mother to leave a baby to cry with no comfort and no love.

Very disjointed post.
I am in love with this child, he is completely incredible, he is more beautiful and clever and adorable than I would ever have imagined. But it is not a bed of roses. Who knew? (!)

Silly me.