Summer

In spite of everything we managed to have a lovely summer and a good break.

We went camping in Dorset near Studland Bay/Swanage with some friends and had a marvellous time. The kid ADORED camping and we got lucky with some decent weather so we spent most days lounging on the beach and splashing around looking for shells etc.

It was a fab little campsite (called Burnbake) 5 mins from the beach and I would definitely go again!

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The Worst Idea in the World…

So, things are very VERY busy in my life right now.

My second adoption application is in full swing, with paperwork flying around and medicals to be booked and various meetings with social workers and so on (exciting but busy, paperwork-wise).

My house move has been very slow and boring with not much happening for the last 2 months, but looks like it might very suddenly all go go go, so I’ve started collecting boxes and bubble wrap and emptying cupboards and packing boxes etc.

In the midst of both the packing and the adoption, I also need to plan painting and decorating, plastering and carpentry work for the new house, as well as think about carpets and so on.

As if all that wasn’t enough, work has been a bit mental lately as next week we are finally launching the training course I have been working on almost exclusively for the last 13 months and so it’s all a bit busy getting everything final and checked and re-checked and getting all the comms stuff ready to go.

In the midst of all this, we had a bit of a day…

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The Girl

This is another one I can’t post just yet. I’m writing this in early May, but won’t be able to post it for a while, until things have moved along a little bit.

Recently (in late April) we visited my daughter’s foster carers, who we try to see every few months when we can (though due to Covid we haven’t seen them for almost 9 months).

There is a girl there, S, who was with them when my daughter was a baby, and they were always very close, even though she is quite a bit older. She was in foster care with my daughter at the same placement, then she was placed for adoption, but sadly the placement fell through so she went back into foster care. Then she went to live with some extended family for a while, but unfortunately their situation changed and the poor girl has now come back into foster care again.

She’s incredibly sweet, and was so happy to be reunited with my daughter, as they haven’t seen each other since my daughter was placed with me nearly 2 years ago. They played happily together all morning as I chatted to the foster carers. And then a seed of an idea was planted. She already has a close bond with my daughter and she seems like a lovely girl from what little I know of her. Chatting to the foster carer, she is now looking at a long-term foster placement, as kids that old usually aren’t considered for adoption (so sad but nobody wants older kids). So I wondered, given that I’m already looking to expand our little family, why not her?

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40

I recently turned 40, and honestly I couldn’t be happier about it.

I remember turning 30 was a big and scary thing. Actually, it was turning 29 that made me really freak out.

In my teens and twenties I had this idea in my head that there are certain things you are supposed to do at certain times. Like meet the man of your dreams, get married and have children, or have a career. 30 just seems so OLD and MATURE when you are in your twenties!

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2021 Book Challenge

For the 5th year in a row, my dad and I are embarking on the Popsugar reading challenge. It’s been a fairly slow start to the year what with one thing and another, but here’s a few I’ve read so far.

Book 1: The Survivors, by Jane Harper

Category: A book published in 2021

I love this author. Her first book The Dry was AMAZING and has just been made into a movie. I didn’t love Force of Nature, her second book, but her third The Lost Man and this one were both also excellent. They are proper, gripping, page turners. There is almost always a murder or suspected murder and a whodunnit style exploration of a small town and it’s inhabitants, who all seem to have secrets and motives etc. They are quintessentially Australian and the scenery and setting is vividly pictured.

This was technically released in Australia in 2020, but is not released in the UK until later in Jan 2021 so I’m counting it. My friend in Oz sent it to me as a Christmas present so I was able to read it before it’s even released here, and I literally raced through it in 2 days. A strong start to the year! Continue reading

Optical illusion quilt

This quilt is for my brother, who requested this pattern as it reminded him on an old video game we used to play.

It was fun to make, although I scaled it up in size to make it easier (the original cubes were very small and I wanted to make a king-sized quilt so needed to make it slightly easier for myself).

Annoyingly, I made a mathmatical mis-calculation – I scaled up the size of the pieces to cut out but I failed to increase the seam allowance by the same amount, so there have ended up being some holes and it looks a bit messy where they join teogether, but nevermind. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable in the end!

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Red Tape

Even though I have been through the adoption approval process once before, I somehow still thought it would be easier or less slow the second time around.

I first contacted them back in January to re-start the approval process, knowing it would take a few months. Then they asked me to wait until July to start, until my daughter has been with me for 2 years, even though it will still take months to get approved.

Then they contacted me in May to say it was ok to go ahead, so I started it up again, and did another 2-hour interview via Teams.

However they have now decided they want me to wait until I have moved house and my daughter has settled in there before we start.
It’s so frustrating, as it will take around 4 months to get approved, and most of that is red tape and interviews and paperwork, and I literally can’t see ANY reason we couldn’t be doing all that paperwork in the background while I move house.
But instead of feeling annoyed I can only smile politely and say “Yes, sure that’s fine”.

Now that I’ve turned 40, I feel a new sense of urgency, and knowing that I won’t now get approved before Christmas (in all likelihood), and that the matching process could be slow and complicated, it already feels as though I might be 41 before the next child comes along.

I know that once it all happens and the new kid is here, all of this frustration and annoyance at the slow bureaucratic process will disappear, but right now it’s very hard to ignore it!

So I’m trying to focus on the house and getting it all ready and pretend I’m not super annoyed at all the delays….

Parental guilt

No one intends to make you feel bad. Mostly, you make yourself feel bad.

All parents like to brag about their kid’s achievements – I know I do. And it’s hard not to offer advice or suggestions to other parents. Which is why, as a parent, you hear things like this a lot:

“Sam was able to write his name when he was two and a half”

“Amelia could swim by 18 months. You know if you leave it too late it’s just SO much harder to teach them to swim.”

“You’re going to need these phonics books, she won’t be learning enough from nursery so you’ll need to do extra reading with her at home.”

“Isn’t she riding her bike yet? Max could ride his when he was 4.”

“You know you really should be organising playdates for her on the weekends. Socialising and social skills are so important especially after this last year of lockdown.”

“Hasn’t she started swimming lessons yet? You’ll want to get her in soon you know before it’s too late.”

“Hasn’t she potty-trained yet? Clara was out of nappies when she was 2”

“Oh you should try drama classes – my kids just LOVED them. They’re on every Saturday”

“Gosh is she still not sleeping through the night? Kay was sleeping through from 6 weeks”

“You must get her into some dance classes or gymnastics classes – I’m surprised you’ve not done that already, she’s got such natural grace she’d love dancing.”

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The bump in the road…

Well after all the excitement my buyer pulled out….

I was hoping against hope that we could still find a buyer before I lose the other house, but I have no idea, and there is literally nothing I can do about it.

It’s all a bit frustrating after such a fast start (putting my house on the market and then having an offer within 3 days!).

Still, there is nothing much to be done except hope for the best and try to keep the place as tidy as I can manage….

Thankfully after the house went back on the market the interest slowly picked up again, and there were some viewings over the weekend and I got another offer yesterday.

It’s a huge relief so I’m just hoping that nothing else will put a spanner in the works at the moment. Hoping if it all goes well we can still aim to move by late July/early August.

There’s an awful lot of ducks we need to get in a row, but it will all be worth it in the end I’m sure…