Archive for the ‘Adoption diary’ Category

Solid Attachments

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Today I went to work all day, from 08:00 until 18:30 and it was a long day….not least because I missed my daughter so much it hurt! I couldn’t wait to get home to her, from about 09:00! And I rushed to get home to get once I’d finished for the day.

As I walked through the door and shouted hello she heard me and shouted “mummy” back and came running to me for the biggest hug. It was glorious and heart warming! She “squiggled” (touched with wiggly fingers) my face for ages while I held her there in my arms.

We then watched her play for about half an hour with her dolls house where Jack decided he wanted to be and climbed in! She LOVED that! And when he got out she shouted “Jack Jack!” for him to come back and get back in! He did come back and she tried to push him in, gently, and we were laughing our heads off while Jack just stood patiently wondering what on earth was going on being pushed gently while she grunted like she was pushing a ten ton truck! Eventually he gave in and crawled in again and happily sat in there while Pickle posted stuff to him through the door!

I miss her every time I’m not with her now. Our connection, after only 9 months, is staggering! I enjoy watching her and being with her every single second of every single day. I listen to her, respect her choices, she talks to me and tells me exactly what she wants.

She listens to my explanations of why we have to do things or why she can’t do something or what’s going to happen in the day. She understands everything I say to her and I understand (almost) everything she says to me. She communicates amazingly well her needs, feelings and how she views and experiences situations.

I am head over heels in love with my beautiful daughter and I feel so proud of her. She’s happy, content,  independent, confident, fun loving, silly, kind, gentle, bonkers, crazy, sweet, affectionate, beautiful, amazing, brilliant, clever, bright, sharp, feisty…I could go on and on!

How is it possible to love her more than I do now! My heart is full!

It Must Be Love, Love, Love

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

4 weeks earlier…….

We were out, Daddy P and I, for his birthday and I suddenly realised something….that I missed our daughter.

She was being looked after by Nanny and PaPa so I knew she was happy, safe, secure, loved and was having the time of her life so it wasn’t worry and it wasn’t anxiety so the feeling threw me. I always thought I missed her when I wasn’t with her but this felt different. I suddenly realised that what I had probably been feeling was actually attachment anxiety. That feeling of “am I doing the right thing by leaving her with anyone but me and Daddy P” and “what if I’m damaging the attachment between us we’ve worked so hard to achieve”? I’d always felt that tight knot in my chest as I left her with my mum and dad (the only people we ever leave her with apart from each other) not because of their capabilities but just intense attachment anxiety.

But while we sat having lunch and I said to Daddy P “I really miss Pickle being here” I knew in that moment that I loved her, that I’d do anything for her and that she was our daughter. It’s very very hard (in fact impossible) to say at the time “I don’t miss her” or “I don’t love her” because you think you do, and we did. We loved her from the moment we set eyes on her but it would be odd to say it was a deep love because, for most people, that just doesn’t happen. The guilt then that comes with that is profound and heartbreaking.

But here I was, in the middle of a restaurant wishing our daughter was with us, we missed her and she actually felt like our daughter. It was an amazing realisation and one that was quite mind blowing. And I felt happier than I had in a very long time. I felt more relaxed and more connected to her.

It’s hard to admit when things aren’t quite as expected at the time and, in fact you don’t admit it. But when the time comes that you suddenly realise you are totally and utterly and head over heels in love it hits you like a happy juggernaut out of nowhere, BOOM!

Love! Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best.

Weathering the Storm

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The deafening sound of writer’s block had got too loud for me and tonight it’s forced me back on to get things down in writing

After watching another (very good) adoption programme it reminded me of how important it is to write as much down as I possibly can for Pickle to read in the future. I’m writing her diary for her so she knows exactly when and how things happened and if I don’t keep that up how will I remember everything to tell her in the future. Stories are often lost from generations and Pickle’s story is too important to let go of and resign to the back of our memories where they may be, at some point, lost forever from her.

I’d stopped writing because things got so bad. I’m not going to go in to it on here. I was, initially. And a while back I started, several times, writing a blog about how bleak I felt but I just kept deleting it knowing that the instinct of not wanting to share should be listened to. All I’ll say on the matter is this; PMT, exacerbated by the change in our lives, post adoption depression and intense anxiety. That sums up January, February, March and a bit of April up and I want to forget it. I got help, the end.

I only managed to write about our first holiday in March because I knew how incredibly important it was to write it down while it was fresh in my mind. And we did have a wonderful time….but the anxiety was there all the time. Basically I was wrapping myself in knots and applying so much pressure on myself it had become unbearable and, quite frankly, emotionally unsustainable.

But 8 weeks ago that all started to change and I started feeling positive, happy, attached to Pickle, content, excited again and that something quite fundamental was happening.

I had started to love my daughter.

First Family Holiday

Friday, May 16th, 2014

At 02:30 on the morning of Friday 9th May the alarm goes off and pierces through the dark cosy slumber of “fast asleep” or, in my case, “dead to the world”

We were heading to Mousehole on our very first family holiday with both sets of grandparents and Pickle’s Uncle. We’d packed the car up the night before, locked the car behind the gates and all we had to do was get ourselves dressed and Pickle in the car.

Fast forward to arriving and it couldn’t have been more successful. It took us 5 hours and 45 minutes. Pickle was awake for an hour then went to sleep under her duvet we’d put over her. I fed her a continental style breakfast and she watched frozen and brave on the ipad at the back of my car seat, she was riveted and loved every minute. She was as good as gold.

Fast forward again when the folks arrived the next day and it resulted in one of the loveliest most wonderful holidays I’ve ever been on. We created so many memories and I took about 1000 photos, which I’ve still to go through, it was just magical. We saw everybody every day. Pickle took a while to settle in to the “normality” of it but once she had she loved every single minute of it.

She loved Mousehole Harbour beach, loved the sand and kept running away from the waters edge with a look of horror mixed with excited glee on her face.

We didn’t actually leave Mousehole that much, it was perfect. Only on the Thursday (the day before our return home) did we all venture out and we went to Praa Sands which is a fantastic beach. Big and wide, it felt safe and Pickle had so much fun. We also went to Porthcurno Bay while the folks went to visit the minack theatre.

The weather was amazing all week and we’ve all come home with tans and having put on a couple of pounds from all the pasties, ice cream and cream teas we kept eating!

We also came home with something else very special. On the Thursday, when we were at Praa Sands something very special was happening in a court a few hundred miles away. Pickle was being made legally a part of our family. She’d already been a part of our family and a huge part of everyone’s hearts for 9 months already but getting that email to say that it had all been finalised topped our holiday so perfectly.

So finally we’re officially a family and we couldn’t be happier.

The Eve of your Second birthday

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Tomorrow we will wish you, our beautiful daughter, a Happy 2nd Birthday!

Of course, for us, this is your first birthday and it feels very special and we’ve definitely celebrated in style so far. We threw a big birthday party for you on Sunday with 14 of your friends who you’ve met since being with us and you beamed every time someone turned up, you looked, realised, beamed and laughed and screamed in delight…. only getting as far as the driveway to open the next present you were given. It was a delight to see. That was nothing in comparison to how you greeted your PaPa though, my goodness! We all thought someone famous had turned up. You spotted him arriving and then you ran, squealing in delight, throwing your arms up as you ran and literally jumped in to his arms as he scooped you up for the longest cuddle, your head rested on his shoulder and your arms tight around his neck. It was magic!

There were 30 people at your party in total. All the people who have supported us along the way to finding you and since you moved in. The little friends you have made along the way who you see regularly and always have a lovely time with. The people who have grown to love you and care about you so much that they all turned up for your party to show you and us how much they adore you. Everyone was so proud of you that day, you were a star!

I’d organised a treasure hunt with chocolate money hidden around the garden which you were all fantastic at and found it really exciting. You were in your element at finding just 3 chocolates and plonked yourself down to open each one and enjoy it surrounded by other children still on the hunt for goodies. You, in your beautiful red party dress and little black shoes, with your beautiful curly hair blowing in the wind.

Grandma and Grandad had bought you a little table and chairs which has come in handy for all the play dough you received! And Nanny and PaPa bought you a sand and water tray table which you can’t get enough of!

And I made you a huge Iggle Piggle cake which I made from scratch (I thought I was mad…. but it worked!) and you loved it! But it was funny because I lit the candles and the wind blew them out! You screamed in delight when you saw it. We did a little speech together, you and me, and you even attempted a “thank you” at the end finishing by clunking your water bottle on my glass of bucks fizz and saying “Cheers”.

At 2 years old you never cease to amaze us and astound us. You are bright, sharp, clever, knowing, aware, funny, feisty. You are simply amazing and we are so incredibly proud of you. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love you. My lifelong saying has always been “things happen for a reason” and I believe that me and Daddy met to have you in our lives. We are so blessed to have you, you are the most precious and special person, ever.

We love you very much. Happy birthday my little poppet. Xxxx

First Holiday

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

We’re on holiday, our first one ever, with our daughter

…and we’ve forgotten half the things we need!

We’ve come to Centre Parcs, the one closest to us which is only 45 minutes from home, and it’s perfect for a first holiday. A tester, if you will, of our capabilities as new parents taking a little one on holiday. And so far so good. We arrived and started with a walk to the village square to have a late lunch where we sat and ate panini’s and cookies, which went down a treat then had a meander back to our posh, 2 story villa with its 2 en suites and spa bubbly bath.

We got settled in and let Pickle help us set up her cot and then she busied herself unpacking all her nappies and “putting them away” (aka unfolding each one and then chucking them on the shelf) We’ve bought a ridiculous amount of stuff with us, even having forgotten some bits and bobs, but I actually think it’s really helped. Her cot, the travel one that’s hers for the week, looks like it does at home and she helped put (throw) all her teddies in ready for the first night. She even lobbed a couple of books in to boot for a bit of morning reading. (Always impressed with my daughters ability to know exactly what she wants at 22 months old)

We then ran her a bath which we put bubble bath in and proceeded to turn the spa bubbles on which escalated in to a half hour bubble fest with us laughing our heads off and Pickle slowly being swamped by the most amount of bubbles I have ever seen. It did the trick though. It relaxed her and, once we put her in the cot, she was asleep within moments. We were amazed.

It’s the first ever night she’s had away from home since she moved in 7 months ago. 3 days in and everything is going swimmingly. We’ve kept her, quite rigidly, in her routine which has been nice for us too as we’ve had an afternoon siesta every day. She seems to have coped incredibly well with being somewhere other than home and I’m hoping that’s because she feels safe and sound with us, Mum and Dad.

We’ve been swimming, bike riding with her in a buggy attached to the back which she looked über cute in eating her snacks and wrapped in her quilt. She’s walked loads, which has exhausted her but she’s loved it and we’ve eaten out a few times at different places.

But she’s also been ill. She woke on the second day from her afternoon nap a lot later than usual and she was on fire. Her whole body was baking and she was very floppy…but not distressed or out of it. We quickly realised it was teething and brought her in to our room and allowed her to watch CBBies in bed in her nappy to try and cool down. She then got shivery and had to snuggle then she got hot again and lay herself down on the cool duvet. It was horrid to witness. But she coped so well and was so brave. We dosed her up, she drank 3 bottles of cold milk and stayed on our bed with us for 2 hours. It wasn’t long before she was back in bed but she slept all night, waking occasionally but not distressed, and then we all got up at the normal time.

Our daughter is a coper. She never ceases to amaze me at how brave she is and how well she copes with change. We haven’t change her routine but it’s a big thing for her to not be at home. I’m simultaneously proud of her and a bit anxious for her as I want her to know that where she lives now is home. But I’m optomistic that because we’re still with her she realises that we’re here for her, forever.

For her, I hope, home now is where we are.

Real Connections

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

What a fantastic week we’ve all had. It’s been a week of feeling better, lovely weather, confidence building and positivity.

The week has gone without any real glitches, we’ve all felt better in ourselves and we’ve managed to get out in the sun and fresh air. More importantly we all feel much more connected. What’s really helped is that I’ve had a plan every day for the 2 of us. Monday we had a day pottering around the house. Tuesday we went to playgroup, a new one, where I braved going on my own. I’m glad I did, as soon as I walked in someone came over to me and introduced herself and said she realised I’d not been before. She was lovely and so was everyone else who made me and Pickle feel very welcome. But the best thing about it was that Pickle kept looking for me and coming back to me. I was so proud of her. I felt she really knew I was Mummy and that she wanted to be with me. It was lovely. When we got home she asked to go in the garden which we did. I believe that a child should be given a voice and she asked so politely (saying please in makaton) that we got her wellies on and Jack the cats harness and lead on and we all had a pootle round the garden. Afterwards we had lunch, I put her to bed and then decided to treat myself to a lovely long soak in the bath while she slept…bliss!

Wednesday we had a friend round for a play date in the morning and would have gone swimming afterwards but I had to stay in for a delivery, but that’s what we plan to do from now on. Thursday she went to Nanny and PaPa’s, who she adores. And Friday we went to playgroup in the morning, with a very good friend and her daughter who we see every Friday, followed by a quick visit and lunch to Nanny and PaPa’s, a sleep in the buggy on the way home and then a second play date in the afternoon.

And today, Saturday, Pickle and Daddy P have had an amazing day together walking in the park and checking out the flowers.

This week she’s wanted me there, really needed comfort from me when she’s fallen and hurt herself and when she was pushed at playgroup she came to tell me all about it so I gave her big cuddles and kisses which she enjoyed. She even got jealous because another child held my hand so she came over and held my hand. It’s all been pretty awesome this week and this is where all my one to one attention work is coming to fruition and I’m so proud of her.

She’s bloody awesome and I love her!

Comforts and Cuddles

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Today Pickle fell and banged her cheek really hard

She started crying immediately and I picked her up to comfort her as I always do, empathised and rubbed her cheek and kissed it over and over again while I held her close. Normal scenario right? Not for us. And it wasn’t until this moment in time that I realised just how much we’d become used to her not allowing us to really comfort her.

I noticed the other day that she’d started to give me her hands or her feet to kiss better if she’d banged or stubbed one of them but she would always offer the other one for kisses too and seemed to enjoy the attention, care, kisses and love that I was showering her with. Not that I was complaining! But it was interesting because she’d never done that before, she never really let’s us comfort her “properly”. If she knocks herself and she hurts something but not too badly she will push us away after a second or two of comfort. Even if I’m just rubbing her back after getting down on the floor she will run away like nothing is wrong even though I know she’s hurt. And that’s what we’ve started to do so we’re not pushing ourselves on her if she doesn’t want to be comforted.

But even if she really hurts herself and she loses her breath (which is when we know she’s really bumped herself) she will only let you cuddle her for a second or two and then she’ll push you away. And if you don’t let go she has a tantrum or hits you. As I say, it’s strange what you notice subconsciously but don’t notice until something changes.

And today it did.

Today she fell and banged her cheek, hard, as we were playing. I went to pick her up as usual and I was sitting down so I gathered her up on my knee, rubbing her cheek, empathising, cuddling her close and kissing her cheek over and over again….and I suddenly realised she was letting me do it. Not only that, I was managing to calm her down and she’d started enjoying the kisses on her cheek and she was still sitting on my knee cuddling in. That’s the moment I realised it was the first time she’d allowed me to do that. It was amazing and surreal all at the same time. There’s no feeling quite like being able to comfort a child properly and having them accept and enjoy it.

6 months and at 21 months old Pickle has allowed me a little bit further in to her life and I feel honoured.

Clearing Moss

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

By definition moss is a plant with no true roots 

That’s what I’ve felt like for the last two weeks. I haven’t felt rooted to anywhere. Not to the ground. Not to my family. Not to my friends. Not to my husband. Not to Pickle. Not to the world around me. Not to myself. I’ve felt disconnected, isolated, alone.

I couldn’t shake that feeling and it got worse and worse as time went on. But then one day this week I woke up and felt a little bit better. I felt a bit more ‘there’. The change was significant and all down to hormones. I’ve always suffered with PMT but it seems to be exasibated more now because I have someone else I need to think about.

Having realised this I booked an appointment at the doctor to finally sort myself out and decided to get myself outside to do some gardening with Pickle and Jack the cat for a bit of therapeutic weeding and de-mossing and afterwards I felt exilerated. It took nearly 2 hours to get that rootless (could’ve fooled me) plant up off the drive but by the  time I had I felt alive and ready to face the world again. Having ripped up this rootless pest with a vigour that I thought I’d lost forever I suddenly felt part of the world again. I felt patient and calm and a little bit happy.

I have become rooted once more. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Or so the saying goes

In the last few days I’ve felt like I’m going to die. Not literally, I hasten to add, but definitely metaphorically and, quite possibly, emotionally. It’s not been a good few days at all. In fact, it’s not really been a good few weeks. But it’s been a builder. A slow ride to hell with peaks every so often to throw myself in to doubt as to whether it was actually happening or whether the decline in to hell was all a figment of my imagination. Sadly not. But it’s amazing how a guardian angel can come to your rescue right at the end of that road and whisk you off course to get back on the right track.

I was put in touch with another adopter. We met and ate lemon drizzle, drank through 2 pots of tea and chatted….for 2 hours! We had so much in common it was scary, even down to the nicknames we call our daughters. But what was so important for me was to be able to speak openly, candidly and honestly about how I felt and not have to explain why. She did the same. She was able to speak freely without fear of judgment or the badly hidden eye rolling that I seem to get from all angles at the moment.

It’s nice to tell someone about “The Time When Someone Picked Up Pickle And Walked Off” (like a title from friends!) and have her put her head in her hands in solidarity and empathy because she totally gets it and I don’t have to dive head first in to explaining why that is SO bad for everyone, not least Pickle, me and my husband. It’s refreshing. Easy. A relief.

As I left my Pickle in the capable hands of my Dad to meet this fellow adopter, this person who just “got it” without explanation and no sighing because she disagreed, I felt a sense of strength that I’ve not had in quite a while now. And the longer I was with her and the more we talked candidly about our experiences the more I felt my sanity seeping back.

Sometimes you don’t want solutions. You certainly don’t want judgements and having to feel like you’ve got to explain every last scrap of the why’s and wherefores. Sometimes you just need to let it all out to someone who just bloody well gets it and understands.

I think we both left that meet up a bit bouncier than when we arrived. I adopted 6 months ago. She adopted 6 years ago. It didn’t matter. We ”got” each other. And it was nice.

This whole experience may have been difficult but today I feel stronger.

And as I drove away a song came on, quite aptly. Kelly Clarkon, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. And the sun came out and I felt good, positive and ready to face everything again.

I also feel like I’m standing a bit taller.