Gotcha day

The 5th March is our official gotcha day as a family. I used to celebrate a date in July when I first met my first daughter, A, but this time last year my older daughter S officially moved in with us and our little family of three was complete.

It feels like it’s been a lot longer than a year in many ways – I can’t quite believe it has ONLY been a year since she moved in!

A LOT has happened since then, and it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride by any stretch, but my god am I glad she’s my kid.

She is such an incredibly bright, funny, cheerful, TALL 11 year-old, and she has enriched our lives in ways it is hard to describe. I am so proud to call her my daughter.

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Traumatic Thursday

Trigger warning: This is an unpleasant story involving a nasty accident, but we are all ok.

I was walking back home after dropping my younger daughter to school this morning. I was walking down the road and I stopped to talk to my friend on her bike for a few minutes. A bus was coming so my friend moved her bike off the road onto the pavement out of the way while we were chatting, and then shortly after that we said goodbye. She cycled away and I continued walking in the same direction the bus had just gone.

I was looking at my phone but I heard a loud crunch and looked up and saw the bus was turning right onto a side road. Initially thought “what a numpty he’s cut that corner and clipped a car” (I could not see the actual accident from my position as the front of the bus was just out of view round the corner).

I assumed it had hit a car as the crunch was very loud but then someone started screaming so I just ran towards the bus as fast as I could and I shouted to my friend on her bike (who was cycling away in the other direction) to come back and help. I turned the corner and saw a woman right up under the wheel of the bus screaming. I’ve never heard a sound like that before in my life. It wasn’t like the screams in the movies, it was a whole other horrifying sound altogether. I got my phone out and called 999 immediately (I think it was less than 30 seconds from when I heard the crunch to when I started dialling). 

As soon as I got there I was talking to the dispatcher but it was hard to hear because of the screaming, and my friend arrived right behind me so I handed her the phone and told her to talk to the operator and get an ambulance. 

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January Blues (and Reds)

Well Christmas was lovely, and now we are back to school, back to work, back to dealing with Chateau d’Omnishambles and all her leaks and mould and general disaster areas.

January has been an odd month – swinging wildly from huge uplifting moments of happiness to irritable grumpy rage.

Yes, thanks for asking I WILL tell you all about it!

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Communicating with birth families

I thought I would write a blog post on this as it’s quite a big subject and we have had some interesting experiences recently.

So, in the UK, in most adoption cases, direct (in-person) contact with birth parents is usually not allowed once adoption is approved by a judge as a course of action. (Unlike in the US where they have open adoptions – this is usually down to the fact that in the US a lot of women give up their children for adoption at birth voluntarily whereas in the UK most children have been removed from their parents by the state due to neglect or abuse – so the safety and trauma of maintaining contact has to be managed in the best interests of the child).

When a child is first removed from a parent’s care, they continue to have visitation and direct contact visits, supervised via social services in a neutral location until a placement order is made (meaning that child will be put up for adoption). Once this decision has been made by a judge to be in the best interest of the child, a final contact visit with birth parents will be arranged, and the parent (and child if they are old enough) will be told this is the last time they can see each other in person.

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2023 Book Challenge

This year I have set myself the same goal as last year – to read 25 books!

Got a good xmas haul this year so should keep me going for at least a few months!

I was feeling a little underwhelmed by my goal as 25 books doesn’t seem like a lot (I used to be able to read up to 40 books a year before I had kids!) – however my daughter has pointed out that if I include all of the story books I read to my youngest daughter every night at bedtime I am probably reading around 1000 books a year, so that certainly made me feel better!

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Creamy Tomato Pasta sauce

Here’s another recipe for you!

Cost (based on Aldi prices):

  • 2 x red onions – £0.56
  • 4 x red peppers – £1.72
  • 2 x packs of cherry or baby plum tomatoes – £1.54
  • 1 x block of feta – £0.70
  • 1 x packet of basil – £0.52
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Drizzle of balsamic and a teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Total cost: £5.04

Makes 4 x 350g tubs so cost per tub of sauce = £1.26

Equivalent cost of a 350g tub of tomato and marscapone sauce: £1.45

So it’s not massively cheaper to make it yourself BUT it is SO DELICIOUS and it’s mostly vegetables so no nasty hidden sugar and e-numbers in there.

Roughly chop the peppers and remove the seeds, roughly chop the onions into quarters, and peel the garlic. Add it all to a large roasting pan with all the tomatoes and some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast at around 190 degrees for about 30 mins or so until soft and roasted. Add a drizzle of balsamic, a sprinkle of sugar, the chopped basil stalks and the whole block of feta and return to the oven for another 15-20 mins.

Then carefully add the whole lot to a blender along with all the fresh basil leaves and blend until smooth.

Pour into tubs and freeze. Delicious with spaghetti and meatballs, sausage pasta or any other type of pasta. The kids love it and it’s packed with vegetables. All kinds of wins.

2022 Book Challenge

Even though I barely read much of anything last year I still enjoy setting myself a target for reading, so my dad and I are once again embarking on the Popsugar Reading Challenge.

At the moment I am starting with my lovely haul of Christmas books and finding categories to slot them into, but once I’ve read those, will need to have a proper look at the list and try to select some interesting books!

I am determined to read more this year than I managed last year, though I expect I will as I’ll be on adoption leave at some point so will hopefully have a few moments of “me” time to read here and there…

I have started out strong in January, but suspect this will tail off at some point….

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The Christmas Letter 2022

Well I highly enjoyed writing last year’s missive so I thought I would go ahead and do another one!

Let’s see, looking back on 2022, well…

In January we started the year with a glorious sunny walk in the woods, just me and my gorgeous girls on New Year’s Day which was a lovely way to blow away the cobwebs and start fresh and new.

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Paris in December

I recently had my first work trip away since the beginning of 2019, almost 4 years ago.

Back in 2019, I went to Afghanistan in January and then to Ethiopia in March (in fact I was in the middle of a training in Ethiopia when I received an email from my social worker telling me about a potential match with A, who would become my daughter soon afterwards).

Since then I had a kid, then there was a pandemic, then I had another kid, so there hasn’t been much of an opportunity to go anywhere or do anything!

This December, I was asked to go to Paris to deliver a training (technically a training of trainers to train up a new cohort of trainers who can deliver our course worldwide).

It was a really fun trip and I had forgotten just how much I missed delivering training!

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