Cloth-Bum-Mums

When does the “mum” thing kick in? I was reflecting today that we are just about 6 weeks in, and I am still not sure I feel like a proper mum – I still feel a bit like I’m pretending or playing at it. I  guess it hasn’t really sunk in properly yet. I’ve had plenty of mum moments, such as:

  • accidentally giggling while trying to tell her off sternly (because she made such a funny face while doing something naughty),
  • poo explosions and wet sheets,
  • plenty of cuddles and snuggles and giggles,
  • pins and needles where she is sleeping on my arm and I can’t move or I’ll wake her up,

but I’m still not sure I really feel like a proper mum yet. I have no idea when your fundamental sense of self and identity shifts from “ordinary person” to “mother”, but I guess it takes time for that. Presumably it’s the same for birth mums (quite a few friends commented to me that they couldn’t believe the hospital just let them go home after the birth and suddenly be totally responsible for another human – most said it was terrifying!).

They say that with adoption, it can take time to love your child, and you shouldn’t expect it to happen overnight. I can’t say exactly when the love part seeped in, but I know that I have adored her from the first magical day that she put her tiny hand in mine, and every day I feel more and more strongly about her. Love and adoration that seems to get stronger and stronger each day. Every smile and giggle and funny face makes me just melt, each time I realise I am learning what her facial expressions and noises mean, when I suddenly realised I can interpret her body language to know how she is feeling, those feelings get a little stronger. I guess that’s what bonding is in a nutshell. Learning all about one another, feeling each other out, getting used to one another’s rhythms and patterns and love growing stronger and stronger each day. Continue reading

Our first month together

So far, it’s been an interesting ride into motherhood.

The first week was amazing – packed full of new memories and new things, and she behaved and slept well – a dream child. However a lot of that was fear. Most people have either a fight, flight or freeze response to fear, and when you are so little you can’t really fight or run, so you tend to freeze. Make yourself very small and very quiet and hope nobody notices you.

So I had an inkling that our first perfect week together might be a little bit of a honeymoon period, which indeed it was. Continue reading

The Mum Hour

A friend of mine, who writes a fab parenting blog called Plus the Dog, asked me if I would do a guest blog about being a first-time parent. She is especially interested in the similarities between our respective parenting journeys, even though she hasn’t adopted, many aspects of our journeys to parenthood have been very similar, as she noted in her own blog about it recently.

So I drafted a little post about my first two weeks as a parent, and you can read all about it here.

Hocus Pocus

A little aside – for those of you who rolled your eyes at my post The Ring, this will REALLY send you over the edge.

I’ve been going back over my adoption posts, and realised that I started my adoption journey, taking my very first step (the pre-approval interview) in the last week of October 2017. A couple of weeks later, just around the time that the social worker called to say I was approved to go ahead and could officially start my application to become an adopter (i.e. I could start Stage 1), my daughter was born.

I didn’t know it then of course, and neither did she, but the timing is rather wonderful.

At that time, I wasn’t looking for her, and she wasn’t up for adoption. By the time I was approved as an adopter, I was still looking at older children, as I was originally only approved for children aged 3 and up, (due to my financial circumstances). By sheer coincidence, in late November/early December of 2018, just as her Placement Order was granted by a judge, and the social workers began to search for her forever family, my dad unexpectedly sold his house and was able to give me some extra money, allowing me to be able to consider younger children and cover the additional costs of childcare and maternity leave.

Had she been granted a Placement Order sooner, she may have been matched with another family, and if my dad hadn’t sold his house, I wouldn’t have been able to consider her as a possibility anyway.

Instead of which, the universe aligned, and just when I decided to start my journey to becoming an adopter, she was born, and just when she started looking for her family, I was suddenly able to be matched with her. It turns out I had to wait this long to become a mum, because I was waiting for her, I just didn’t know it. And she is 100% worth the wait.

So perhaps there is a little bit of magic in the world after all….

Introductions

Well the day finally arrived!

We had a placement planning meeting on the Monday before introductions started and the foster carer, who had an awful bout of flu just burst into tears and wept through the whole meeting. She’s been looking after my little girl for 14 months and is extremely attached to her, so she was just devastated to be saying goodbye.

It was a good reminder that just because I’m feeling bouncy and excited and over the moon, I need to manage my emotions a little bit and be aware that her relationship with my daughter was ending, so it was a strange place to be in. Continue reading

Karma, Luck or The Happiness Quotient?

So, here’s an interesting thing.

I had a couple of rough years in a row – 2015 and 2016 in particular. It felt like, I had a bad year, followed by a REALLY bad year, followed by another bad year. I kept getting to New Year’s Eve, and when I looked back all I could remember were the awful things even though lots of good stuff happened in those years as well.

(This, I am told is normal – we are programmed to remember bad things more strongly that good things, to the point that it completely negates all the good things. This is why people who were happily married for 10 years before a bad year or a nasty break up will tend to only remember the bad parts when they look back on their marriage/relationship, or why people who suffer a traumatic event will forget all the good things that may have come before it. A brilliant day out at the beach, where everything is wonderful and which finishes with the death of your pet when you get home will soon become a sad memory, and the fact that you had an entirely great day is tainted with that sad memory from the last hour of the day, so that next time you go to the beach you’ll probably remember the death of your pet not the great time you had at the beach). This is apparently just how our brains work.

But recently, I’ve been feeling really happy. Continue reading

The one I can’t post…

I’m writing this now, around the end of March, sitting in my hotel room in Ethiopia, but I can’t post it yet. If things don’t go my way, I can’t post this at all, so you’ll never know anyway.

But here’s the thing.

I have a new potential adoption match, and it feels really different.

It’s strange because I have mostly been looking at boys so far, and this one is a girl. I’ve mostly been looking at older kids and she is quite a bit younger.

She is so unexpected, as she isn’t at all what I imagined, and yet, when they approached me with her profile, and I read it, something clicked.

I felt different about this kid to my previous potential matches – this one really does feel right, and it feels like this really is the kid for me. Continue reading