Avoiding it doesn’t make it go away….

So, while I was in Yemen, the final restructure paper was released and people started having their impact meetings. I read the paper, and sure enough my role was cut as I had expected, and as predicted the new adviser roles were a grade above mine in terms of pay. However, my counter-proposal was accepted and in my impact meeting, they explained that I could be included inside the ring-fence for the role, alongside the other advisers at risk of redundancy. So I was able to interview for the new role, and based on the outcome of that, would either be offered a permanent job with a pay rise, or be made redundant.

I was feeling very hopeful that I have a strong skill-set and would be a good candidate for the role, and felt reasonably confident it was going to be ok. My bigger concern previously was that I wouldn’t be allowed to apply for the role at all due to my pay grade, so once that hurdle was overcome I was feeling calmer and more reassured that it will all work out. Continue reading

Finding a family

Well, after a brief break to go to Yemen for my work trip, and for my social worker to go on holiday, I have now been given a login to the database called “Link Maker” which is where prospective adopters and prospective children can be matched.

I have filled in a profile, which includes photos, information about myself, my hobbies and interests, what type of things I like to do, and what type of child I am interested in being matched with (age preferences, gender preferences, disabilities etc). That profile has now gone live, and the professional social workers or “Family Finders” will start trying to match me with the right child.

It’s hard to know how long this might take. I know one couple who were approved last September and were only matched in June this year (9 or 10 months waiting), but I also know of 2 different couples who were approved in the same week as me in late July, and both have already been matched barely a month later! They won’t confirm their matches for another month, but their child has been identified and they are ready to move forward. Continue reading

Podcast: The Adoption

For those of you following my adoption journey, or for friends and family who want to know a little more about how it all works, there is an EXCELLENT podcast which I highly recommend.

I have had several podcasts recommended to me since starting this journey, some I found too trite, some too religious, and some were based on the American adoption system which is very different from the UK and therefore not all that helpful for me.

However, there is a podcast series by BBC Radio 4 called “The Adoption” from their World at One series. It has 17 episodes, each about 8-10 minutes long, and it is a documentary, following the story of two real children in the UK on their road to adoption.

The names have been changed, and certain elements of their stories have been redacted, to protect them, but it gives a fascinating and real insight into the process, and the experience from the point of view of the children, their social worker, their birth parents and birth grandparents, and the adoptive family. Obviously they have had to remove certain parts, such as the real reasons the children were taken away from their birth family, so some parts are a little confusing or vague, but it’s clear they had good reasons and you won’t hear anything harrowing in terms of abuse or neglect.

I have found it extremely gripping, useful, and informative, and it has given me a lot of insight into the process from the child’s perspective, and from the birth family, and I think it’s really worth a listen for anyone who is interested in adoption in the UK, or who wants to know more about what it might have been like for my child, once they come along.

You can listen online here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05k3wsq

or you can find it on your usual podcast place, but I highly recommend giving it a go.

HENGE!!!!!

As many of you know, April 2016 was my very first Henge experience.

Naturally, back then, we went to the Big Daddy of all Henges, The Original Henge, Stonehenge. It’s the most famous, most well-known, and has it’s own (recently renovated) massive visitor centre. It had an EXCELLENT gift shop, but the Henge itself was behind ropes so there was no Henge-touching. However we learnt a lot about Stonehenge, and also about Woodhenge! (I LOVE that there was also a Woodhenge).

So this time, as my friend CeeCee was visiting from Australia, we decided to go on an adventure to find THE OTHER HENGE….. Continue reading

Panel, introductions and more

So, time to check in on where we are in the adoption process. So far I have completed the following stages (started officially in November 2017, so approx 9 months so far, although I went to the information day originally in summer 2016)

  1. Information Day
  2. Pre-Stage One suitability meeting
  3. Stage One (paperwork, volunteering, book-reading, more paperwork, criminal records checks in 4 or 5 countries)
  4. Stage Two / Homestudy (intense discussions about my childhood and suitability to be a parent, more paperwork, health and safety review, financial checks, more paperwork, training courses)

Today I went to my Adoption Panel, which is the culmination of all of the above stages, and I am happy to report I have been recommended for approval!

I will have to wait 10 days for the official letter, as the panel can only make the recommendation but the LEA has to officially confirm the approval in writing. But usually if the panel approves you, you are approved!

So it’s a big milestone for me, 9 months into the process, and I am very happy! Continue reading

Latitude 2018

My friends and I went to Latitude, an incredibly middle class festival in Suffolk for a weekend. Partly because we’ve been before and it’s a nice festival, partly because this year there were lots of bands and comedians we wanted to see, and from my side, partly because it’s likely to be my last festival for a while (I doubt once I’m a parent I’ll go to any big festivals, though may possibly go to some of the littler, smaller, quieter ones…)

I purchased an amazing folding trolley so that we could haul all our stuff from the car to the campsite, including our mattresses!

Sneak peek into our bell-tent! Yes, our mattresses were amazing.

Continue reading

Woman vs Hose – epilogue

Aside

Just in case any of you were in doubt as to Mother Nature’s sense of humour, I should tell you that eventually I got the hose working (with a friend monitoring the tap for floods), and after giving the garden it’s first proper soaking in weeks, about an hour later it started to rain… Literally the first time it has rained here in 2 months….

She’s got an evil sense of humour has mother nature.

Woman vs Hose

Once upon a time, Maya’s water butt ran dry, and she decided to buy a hose in an attempt to keep her tiny garden alive.

What follows is the devastating story of one woman’s struggle to defeat the most basic of garden technology.

First Maya went to Homebase, where they sold her a hose, but had run out of the adaptors required to fit it to an indoor bathroom mixer tap, because Maya does not have an outdoor tap.

Maya went back a few days later to get the adaptor, and was told by the man in Homebase that the whole of Oxford had sold out, as everyone suddenly needs obscure mixer tap connectors, and he himself had driven all over Oxford to find one just yesterday. He assured her that Screwfix, Homebase, B&Q and all other hardware stores within a 10-mile radius had sold out of this one very specific piece of plumbing equipment. The last tap connector in Oxford was in fact in his car,as he was going to return it, would Maya like to purchase it?

Maya purchased it, and felt extremely weird buying obscure hard-to-find tap hardware from the boot of a man’s car in the Homebase car park on a Saturday morning.

Maya then attempted to connect up the hose and adaptor to the bathroom sink. The connector did not function as advertised, despite trying all of the rubber washers provided, and Maya and her bathroom got very, very wet. The garden however stayed bone dry during this exercise.

Then Maya’s colleague lent her an alternative mixer-tap-connector-type fitting, which did fit her tap and did not spray water all over the house. Success! Sadly the joy was extremely short-lived as the hose did not fit into the new connector, and the garden remained unwatered for several more days.

Maya said some rude words and wished she had trained as a water and sanitation engineer.

Then Maya ordered a new connector online from a very obscure tap website, and a week later when it arrived, she took all of the parts to a different local hardware store to request help, as the hose had not come with any kind of instruction manual.

Maya felt extremely stupid explaining to the man in the shop that she needed a manual to operate a garden hose.

The man in the new shop explained patiently that Maya had somehow bought a hose that was a “non-standard gauge” also known as “not wide enough” and that was why it didn’t fit the connectors.
The man sold Maya a new hose, that was the correct gauge and width, and patiently showed her how to connect the various parts of the hose together.

Maya then hauled all of the pieces back to her house to start again.

Maya discovered that the spray nozzle on the hose needs to be pressed firmly down in order for the water to come out, otherwise the pressure of water backs up and explodes all over her bathroom. Maya realised she cannot turn the tap on and run faster than the rate of water back out to the garden to press the handle before the tap explodes in the bathroom. Maya tried multiple options for wedging the handle closed, or removing the handle and re-inserting it once the water is flowing, all of which resulted in a flood in the bathroom. She also could not hold the hose down inside the bathroom thus running through the living room with the hose on, spraying everything in her wake.

Maya has realised that watering the garden requires a professional engineer and at least 3 people to monitor the different components in case of disaster.

Maya is also now sure that when she finally gets the water flowing in the correct direction, out of the hose, all of her plants will be dead and a hosepipe ban will be announced.

Maya hates garden hoses and tap connectors with a fiery rage that is not normal.

Random acts of kindness

As tempers get ever-more heated at my office, people are hunkering down in their respective corners getting increasingly defensive and spiteful. The sad thing about feeling under attack is that it makes people lash out and blame others and attack each other even harder.

The vibe in the office has been one of ever-growing hostility, sadness and despair over the last few weeks. Restructures are never easy, and I’ve been through several, but this one in particular feels somehow far worse than any we’ve gone through before. There is a bitterness and resentment that is slowly seeping into everyone’s consciousness, as if an evil villain has released some kind of toxic conflict vapour into the air.

I have been through my own rollercoaster of emotions, ultimately touching on all of the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) when thinking about my job, and the prospect of losing it.

I have days when I accept that it is all out of my hands, and days when I feel angry and want to fight back. But I also realised that our senior management are bearing the brunt of everyone’s visceral anger and hatred and frustration. And I suddenly saw how tired and exhausted and worn down they all are. And then I remembered that despite being “management” and being the ones having to propose cuts to this team and that team, they are also just people, and I remembered that they are people I happen to like.

I have spent so much of the last few weeks joining in with all the panic and anger and sadness and bewilderment and confusion and defensiveness that I forgot that some of the colleagues I admire the most are also suffering the most.

So I decided to try a new tactic. Continue reading