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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Irrational Fears

All fears are irrational to a certain degree.

If you put a snake next to someone, and tell them it’s harmless, and they don’t need to be scared, it doesn’t mean they can just switch the fear off. Fear resides in our primitive brain, in our limbic system, and our fight or flight response is hard-wired in. It’s hard to override that even with rational thoughts.

Which is why I was surprised to discover I’ve developed a mild fear of being ill.

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The Outrage (or shocking lack thereof)

Recently in both the UK and Australia there has been a big debate in the news about women’s safety, or as it really should be called, male violence against women.

Chris Hemmings gave an excellent interview (you can watch the 2 x clips here on Twitter) about this problematic framing of the debate, and I have seen it previously posted before in a very succinct way that I like:

The constant framing of sexual assault as a women’s safety issue should OFFEND you as a man.

Men should be outraged when someone claims that women can prevent rape by not wearing certain things or not going certain places or not acting in a certain way.
That line of thinking assumes that you are incapable of control. That you are so base and uncivilised that it takes extraordinary effort for you to walk down the street without raping someone.
That you require a certain dress code to be maintained, that certain behaviours be deployed so that maybe, just maybe, today you won’t rape someone.
It presumes that your natural state is rapist.
Men should be outraged every time someone suggests that a woman’s body in an invitation for attack or abuse just because parts of it are visible.”

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2021 Book Challenge

For the 5th year in a row, my dad and I are embarking on the Popsugar reading challenge. It’s been a fairly slow start to the year what with one thing and another, but here’s a few I’ve read so far.

Book 1: The Survivors, by Jane Harper

Category: A book published in 2021

I love this author. Her first book The Dry was AMAZING and has just been made into a movie. I didn’t love Force of Nature, her second book, but her third The Lost Man and this one were both also excellent. They are proper, gripping, page turners. There is almost always a murder or suspected murder and a whodunnit style exploration of a small town and it’s inhabitants, who all seem to have secrets and motives etc. They are quintessentially Australian and the scenery and setting is vividly pictured.

This was technically released in Australia in 2020, but is not released in the UK until later in Jan 2021 so I’m counting it. My friend in Oz sent it to me as a Christmas present so I was able to read it before it’s even released here, and I literally raced through it in 2 days. A strong start to the year! Continue reading