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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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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It ain’t no cruise…

Being a parent, and especially a single parent, means being all things all of the time, whether you want to or not. It’s a huge responsibility to be the person holding everything together even when sometimes you don’t feel like it.

You are the anchor, keeping everything stable.

You are the Captain, in charge and sure of yourself and your decisions at all times.

You are the navigator, charting a course, figuring out where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

You are the ship itself, keeping everyone safe as you roll around in the stormy weather, reeling and rocking, getting pummelled and battered, while keeping them warm and dry.

You are the activities director, planning all the playdates and football matches and swimming lessons and fun stuff.

You are up the mast clinging to the pole trying to spot any icebergs bearing down upon you, working out if you can avoid them or not, or if you will inevitably have to take the hit.

You are the safe harbour when the outside world is too rough and inhospitable.

You are all of these things, and sometimes, you are also an exhausted human who needs their own safe harbour, and anchor and captain to look after you too.

If you’re lucky enough, you have a support system (or harbour) strong enough to hold you sometimes when you need to dock and refuel, to bolster you ready to head back out to sea and do it all over again.

Adoption Leave

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!

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My baby comes home

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!

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On Saturday something funny happened….

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.

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