Meeting my newest and oldest daughter (officially)

So, I wrote a while ago that I was planning to adopt again, and all the incredibly slow and boring red tape that goes with it. Since then I have moved house to Chateau d’Omnishambles to have more space etc and be ready for the next child.

I also wrote about the specific girl who I really want to adopt. Well things are FINALLY moving forward and starting to happen!

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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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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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White Fragility

So, recently in one of my many facebook groups, a storm blew up and it has made me think long and hard about a few things that I wanted to unpick.

It was a group for single adopters (made up of around 95% white women) and someone had posted about racism in relation to their child. It was a white woman, who was shocked to discover how many of her friends and family had racist views and made derogatory comments since she adopted a mixed-race child. She commented that perhaps they had always been like that and she had never noticed, but now that she was aware of it and needing to stand up for her child, she was losing so many friends to racism.

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When one of your worst fears comes true…

Well we have certainly had an eventful time of it lately!

I was of course jinxing myself in my earlier post when I said we had cracked the sleeping thing. It always gets me – we’ll have 2 weeks of sleeping through and I think we’ve done it, then suddenly night after night she’s creeping up into my bed at 1am, 4am, 5am etc.

I’ve discovered that the only way to handle it is to be consistent. Even if it’s 5.30am and only an hour or so to go before we get up, SHE doesn’t know that, she can’t tell time, and therefore she needs to learn the principle of staying in her bed until the sun on her alarm clock comes up no matter what. It’s hard to be consistent as some nights I’m so deeply asleep I barely register her getting into bed with me!

However on Sunday morning, when she crept in a 4.30am I got up to take her back downstairs to her bed. We had the usual “NO I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP IN MY BED I WANT TO SLEEP IN MAMA’S BED” mini-scream, so I picked her up in one arm, held on to the bannister with the other hand and headed downstairs.

Until about 2/3 of the way down the stairs when I slipped and fell down the stairs, with my daughter in my arms. Continue reading

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…

Ever noticed how white our Christmases are? No I don’t mean the weather.
2020 has been quite a year – Covid aside, it has also been a year where a lot of us have woken up to the inequality and racism embedded in our societies. The Black Lives Matter movement has grown and gained momentum, and reflecting back I have personally been on a journey this year to try and understand more about systemic racism, structural racism and white privilege, and how it all fits together.
Reading books like Invisible Women, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, Girl, Woman, Other, Parenting in Transracial Adoption, and a number of other books, I’ve been slowly starting to  understand more about what White Privilege is and why most of us aren’t all that aware of it.
It embarrasses me that only this year, at 39, have I looked around at Christmas and wondered why Santa is white, why all the angels are white, why there appears to be no diversity at all at Christmas time in the images depicted.

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Mama Bears & Bin Drinks

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Let’s see, what have we been up to? Frankly not a lot, what with winter and lockdown and so on. 

I have FINALLY cracked the sleep thing and she’s got the hang of sleeping in her own bed all night, and staying there until the sun clock comes up (I really shouldn’t say such things out loud, it always jinxes it…). And I’ve installed some amazing toddler toilet seats and got some steps so I no longer have to deal with the potty most of the time, which is nice, having slightly less of someone else’s shit to dispose of…

Our mornings are in a pretty good routine now, and are punctuated by the calm, repetitive nature of CBeebies… Continue reading