Well I am 3 weeks into my adoption leave, and am starting to realise how little from my to-do list I am likely to achieve.
I had a plan that once I stopped work I’d be doing all sorts of things like going swimming and painting the doors and skirting boards, and meeting friends for coffee in a relaxed, chilled out sort of way.
Instead I am finding myself waking up profoundly tired and dragging myself through the day, mostly doing laundry and food shopping and meal prep and running the girls around to playdates and activities. S finds it astonishing that I am getting myself ready for bed at 9pm while she is still sneakily trying to read her book in bed instead of going to sleep!
So after S moved in, I had to set up parental controls on her tablet, which the foster carer previously had set up. She has an android device and the foster carer used Google Family Link so I set it up and it was all fairly straightforward and made sense to me.
The kid was mildly annoyed that I still wanted to approve any games or apps she downloaded and set limits on screen time, but otherwise it was fine and easy to sort out.
Then I tried to set up A’s tablet and it was a total disaster!
Well, after a lot of wrangling I finally got my adoption allowance granted – and in the end they actually gave me more than I had asked for!
I had initially asked for quite a large sum over 4 months to cover my adoption leave, but in addition to that they have also added a mean-tested sum to continue until S is 18 which I wasn’t expecting! It will get reviewed annually but should provide an extra little buffer which is extremely welcome just now as all our bills start to go up and up and up!
So, after all the ups and downs of the past few weeks things are picking up pace.
Just like my last adoption, paperwork is suddenly flying around, and things are moving at last. I’ve got a host of meetings scheduled to talk about post-adoption support and funding applications and prepare for the panel, and so on. I’m also back and forth with my manager planning my adoption leave, and looking at the price of school uniforms and so on.
In amongst all of this my daughter-to-be is still coming for visits and honestly we are having the best time.
The 7th January is the 2 year anniversary of the day my daughter A’s adoption order was granted. It should have been a happy day.
But it was also the day I got some devastating news about my second adoption, so it’s rather bittersweet this year. And since then it has all been VERY up and down quite frankly.
To sum up the journey so far, in April last year, we saw S during our regular visits to A’s foster carer, and I asked her social worker if I could adopt her. Initial feedback was very positive and in June I re-started the approvals process to get approved. At that point I genuinely thought the approvals process would be faster the second time around because I’ve already successfully adopted once before, and this is a known child to me so there is no need for all the anguish of the matching process, waiting to find the right kid for you. I already KNOW she’s the right kid for me.
I had a really tough week last week, for reasons I will go into another time.
However I have also done some reflecting on 2021 (much as I did in my recap Xmas letter). The thing that stood out to me when I wrote the recap of the year was how shit 2021 was in general. How hopeful we were that everything would magically get fixed once we were all vaccinated and it stopped the spread of the virus etc etc. Knowing in the end that it didn’t work out was hugely disappointing.
BUT what I’ve been thinking about this week in between all the drama is how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life to support me. And when you stop and focus on the positives, in the face of all the crap and shit and bollocks life throws at you, it’s amazing how awesome people are.
There were so many people back in January and February last year who helped and supported me through the awfulness of Covid. People who collected my shopping and checked in on me when I was laid out exhausted and throwing up into a bucket. People who spent hours on video calls with my daughter so I could rest and recover while we were in isolation. People who collected my prescriptions for me, people who went out of their way to make a meal for my daughter so I wouldn’t need to cook. People who sent us toys and activities to keep my daughter busy. People who collected my daughter from nursery for me when we had to go back into isolation again. The doctor who took me seriously when I wasn’t getting any better after weeks of fever and headaches and offered helpful solutions that actually worked.
Similarly, when I accidentally bought my disaster house later in the year and started lurching from one crisis to another, it astonished me how many wonderful people stepped in to help and to catch me when I started to fall.
People who helped me to pack and move house, people who showed up at my door to take in my dirty washing and return it clean for me. People who offered to come and look at my pipes, or help me reset the boiler, people who offered to drive over with emergency radiators when the heating failed. My family, who stepped in willingly and supported me financially when the bills overflowed and the costs of fixing it all threatened to drown me. People who offered to come and help me paint my walls, and offered me furniture and cups of tea when it all went wrong. People who dropped everything to drive me and my sick kid to the emergency room when things got scary. People who drove for miles just to bring me flowers to cheer me up. People who patiently listened to me moan for hours on the phone about all my first-world problems. People who dropped everything to come over and hug me when I had a terribly shitty day.
I am so incredibly lucky that I have an army of amazing friends and family who do all of these things for me. I hope I will never need to lean so heavily on all of them again, but it is a huge comfort to know that they are there and that next time I fall there are at least 20 people out there who will catch me and help me to get up again.