Archive for the ‘Adoption extra’s’ Category

Grandparents and Other People

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The role of a Grandparent is usually seen as a simple one. Spoil them rotten, shower them with love and let them do what they want. 

Actually, I’ve never agreed with that but that’s a whole other entry right there and I want to talk, solely, about how Grandparents, and all other people, should try and behave when there is an adopted child coming in to their lives.

A few days ago (seems like a lifetime ago now!) we spent a lovely afternoon with our Mum’s and Dad’s having a celebratory afternoon tea before we met our daughter for the first time. The conversation headed in the direction of a Grandparents role, specifically how they should behave (now, when the child arrives and in the future). My Mother-in-Law told us that she’d even Googled to see if she could find anything to help her know what to say, what to do and how to behave and act with us and with, eventually, our daughter. It got me thinking and I decided to add an entry in to my blog solely to help new grandparents, other family members and friends of new adopters understand what to do in this very strange and unknown territory.

 

Listen: Adopters learn a LOT through the adoption process. They know a lot so listen to their advice and follow their lead. They know more about adoption and adopted children that anyone who hasn’t been through the process so respect that and respect their needs and the advice they give you.

It doesn’t help to have anyone laughing at them when they’re trying to explain the complex issues of attachment and how they may have to deal with that. Or how they’re going to deal with discipline because their child was beaten, or how they’ll deal with nappy changing because their child was abused. None of these things happened to our child but I have heard too many stories where other people have dismissed an adopters advice about how to deal with their children and simply laughed and overruled them. We do not say these things lightly and we say them for the sake of our children, not for ourselves.

 

Hold back: As hard as this one is you just have to hold back. Although it is seen as an exciting time the adopters really only have space in their heads for themselves to take on their own feelings. In fact, as we are 5 days in to our introductions as I type, I can honestly say that it’s most definitely NOT an “exciting time”. Sounds shocking doesn’t it? We’ve waited all this time for a child to come in to our lives and now we’ve got that chance how could we possibly not be excited. But there are too many other emotions flying around our heads to have any room at all for excitement. In this short amount of time I’ve been scared, had a panic attack, couldn’t stop crying, petrified of the future, anxiety levels have reached an all time high, I’ve felt low, depressed, bleak (that one’s for you L & M ;) )
I haven’t felt excited, happy, relaxed, calm or content in the last 5 days. It’s been really hard, emotionally draining and we’re exhausted by it. By all means get excited but don’t bombard the adopters with loads of messages, excitement and questions. Give the adopters space.

 

Try and get the balance right: A bit contradictory to the above statement….but send messages of support at crucial times. For example, the approval panel date, the matching panel date,  meeting the child for the first time. Just a little message of acknowledgment without any hint of needing a reply goes a long way, trust me. And reply to the adopters, pick the phone up if they call, respond to texts, emails and all other forms of contact which they initiate. I know this helps because this is what our families and friends have been doing. It really does go a long way to making the adopters feel there are people there at this utterly petrifying time. In fact, one really good friend actually phoned me after I sent a particularly distressing text to her as they (her and her husband) adopted 2 years ago and knew exactly what I was feeling so she managed to calm me down. That helped so much.

 

Don’t add more stress: It’s very hard, we understand, as someone close to us who wants to get involved and get stuck in there. There’s no point in you worrying about something and letting the adopters know you’re worried. Not in the early stages anyway. Talk amongst each other and realise this is a worrying time for everyone, not least the adopters.

 

Be selfless: This is about the adopters and the child alone. SW said to us we had to be “mindful of the grandparents feelings”! We have no room to consider other peoples feelings at such a crucial time. This sounds utterly selfish when said out loud but it’s really not. Why anyone else would want to be thought about by the adopters at this time must be mad.

 

Meeting the child for the first time: This is the most crucial piece of information I can give you if you know someone who is adopting……………It’s going to be a little while before you get to meet their child.
This is where adoption is so different to having a birth child. Apart from stressing out the parents, a crowd of people visiting a new born is going to have no impact on the baby at all (apart from picking up on the stress of the parents…..which is, I might add, a good enough reason not to have loads of people around anyway!)
With an older child, who is more than aware of their situation (whether they understand it or not) this is going to have a huge impact on them. The most important thing is that the child and the adopters settle in to their new life together, alone. This is crucial to forming those attachments and bonds. So you can imagine if anyone else starts coming around within those first few days it’s going to get very confusing for the child.
Depending on how old a child is the adopters will make the decisions on when people are able to meet their child. With our child being 15 months we’ve decided on a (flexible) plan of 4 days on our own, seeing nobody at all. We will go for walks but we won’t have anyone actually meet her. On the 5th day we’re then having the first set of grandparents round and on the 6th day the second set will come round. This will be for an hour at the most, for a cup of tea, relaxed chat, nothing over the top or exciting. Just nice and easy.
We are then planning to have 3 weeks where we don’t introduce her to anyone else and the only people we will see are her grandparents. On the 4th week we will then start introducing other family and friends. This may change but only if we feel our daughter will cope with other people visiting (all down to how we feel she’s attaching to us)
It seems such a long time to make people wait and we are as desperate for everyone to meet her as they are to meet her, but we just have to be patient for her. The wait will all be worth it in the end.

 

Gifts: Go for it! If you want to shower the adopters and/or the child gifts go for your life! There are no rules here…..apart from one; When the child moves in don’t be offended if we don’t open the gifts right away. One thing we have learned about this is that we don’t want a child thinking every time someone turns up there will be a present! We acknowledge that such a lovely gesture can have such negative connotations but, as mentioned before, we’ve learned a lot and we need to use that knowledge for the benefit of our daughter. Don’t worry, she will always know who her presents have come from. And of course, this is where the grandparents will differ…..she will be opening your presents while you’re there :)

 

How to behave around the child: The simple answer to this is ‘normally’. Behave how you would with a birth child but always be mindful of what an adopter has told you. If you’ve been told not to rush in and be loud then don’t do it. If you’ve been told not to give a child sweets, don’t bring any. Remember the first point I made about listening….this is where you use it.

 

Don’t turn up uninvited: Although we’ve never had an issue with this anyway I thought it worth mentioning after reading and hearing horror stories about how Grandparents have been waiting on the driveways and doorsteps of newly adoptive parents as they bring their child home for the first time. Please, please don’t do this. As lovely an idea as it might be at the time to surprise the new family with banners and balloons and yourselves it will just add misery, bitterness and resentment as well as stress, anxiety and (later) guilt. There would be nothing worse than having to tell your nearest and dearest to go away while you’re trying to deal with moving your child in for the first time. As I mentioned, I know this won’t happen to us personally, our parents, family and friends have all been incredibly supportive and brilliant. But I DO know it’s happened to other people and it makes me shudder.

 

Don’t interfere with the attachment: I thought this might be worth adding as a little extra. I thought about this the other day and I think it makes a lot of sense but might not be as obvious as we imagine. If a child is crying or distressed and the Mum and Dad are in another room, what would yo do? I know what I would do. I’d comfort that child immediately. Not necessarily any child but a friends children or my sisters child I would not hesitate to comfort. But , while we are trying to attach to our daughter, if we are in another room or, in fact, there but our daughter is just closer to the other person in the room, she may very well reach up for you for comfort. That is going to feel so lovely for you because it’s going to feel like she needs you and wants you. But it is absolutely imperative that you do not react. We have to be the ones to comfort her for those first few weeks and months. If anyone else does this it may damage that bonding and attachment to us that we’re working so hard to achieve. To see this happen is going to be just as hard for us as it will be for the other person to not be able to comfort, which is such a natural thing to do. But you must try, as hard as that will be, to hold back and let the adopters do it.

 

The future: At the end of the day, even after everything else I’ve mentioned, our daughter is, quite simply, that! She’s our daughter, she’s your granddaughter, she’s your niece and she’s your friends child. Treat her as such. She’s no more special, or important, or different to any child on this planet.

Although, to us, she is! 

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

The Silly Things People Say

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

I wrote about this when I was having IVF and the silly things that people said to me then

I knew I’d get some people saying daft things when we eventually told people about our adoption plans and, to be fair, it probably hasn’t been quite as bad as the IVF comments. But, there are still some silly things said and I thought it would be good fun to get them down on here. I’m sure I will be adding more in the future.

“It’s not just adopted children, you never know what you’re going to get when you have a child, they could turn out any which way, you just don’t know.”

Although technically true this statement shows an utter lack of understanding of why children are adopted in the era that we live in now. “Yeah, you’re right” I tend to say in response because I can’t tell them what’s happened to our little girl and I find that really frustrating because actually what I want to say is this;

“Did you abuse your child, neglect your child, beat your child, starve your child, take drugs while you were pregnant, drink copious amounts of alcohol while pregnant, smoke while pregnant? Did you shout and scream at your partner while holding your baby every day without realising the damaging consequences of doing this? Were you beaten by your husband while you held your baby on a daily basis? Did you keep your baby in his or her cot for days on end in a filthy nappy while throwing pieces of toast in every now and again?…….No?”

I find it increasingly upsetting that people genuinely think that they can make sweeping statements about how children are going to be just because they think “all children are the same but, ultimately, different”. No, you don’t know how any child is going to be when they grow up but our children, adopted children, have a much bigger question mark over their heads and, unfortunately, it was completely out of our control.

 

“She’ll be fine, once she moves in she’ll forget all about her foster carer”

Very dismissive and flippant. Our little one will be 15 months old when she moves in with us, leaving the only “mummy” she’s ever known. No, she won’t ‘remember’ her in a few weeks or months and she, very likely, won’t remember her in 20 years time. But she will know, in the moment, that she’s frightened and scared and with 2 strangers.

*laughing* “You’ll soon be moaning when you’re not sleeping and tired!”

This one always shocks me, especially when it comes from people who know our situation. We have waited 3 years for this. If I was worried about being tired and having sleepless nights I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m actually really looking forward to it, as is my husband, and that includes the “fun” of sleepless nights, tiredness and all that goes with having children. We are doing an amazing thing and we’re going to love every single second!

“Is that what happened to her/him?”

Or, in other words, trying to guess what happened to your child. I find this the most frustrating. We can’t tell people what happened to our child, the main reason being that it’s none of their business. Most people have been Ok about me having to say “I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that” but it is embarrassing being put in that situation. It’s not the asking that bothers me though, it’s when people say, a bit later on in the conversation when I’m giving examples of why children are taken in to care “is that what happened to her/him?” Having already told them I can’t tell them about our child’s history I then have to repeat myself. That’s when I get annoyed. It’s simply rude. And I’m normally having that conversation because I’m trying to explain why adopted children have more of a question mark over their development when they’ve made statement number 1 ^above^


“You’re not thinking of an older child are you because they……*fill gap in with crap they’ve read in the daily mail*

Basically, this one boils down to people who think they know it all about adoption and children who are adopted because they “know someone who knows someone” or they’ve just read a sensationalist story in the Daily Fail.

One woman, when I told her we were adopting, immediately asked this question about whether we were considering an older child and then rambled on, with feigned concern, about how many issues and problems an older child comes with. She also ‘enlightened’ me about drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, the issues about taking on sibling groups and then proceeded to tell me about a “couple she knew” who’d adopted two children and they were “a handful and a nightmare”. At this point I wanted to ask her if she’d taken a good look at her own 3 children lately and if she realised what wild, rude, obnoxious, dirty individuals they were! I certainly wouldn’t be proud.

I also had this from another person who, immediately on hearing we were adopting, fired off a 20 minute story about a couple she knew who had adopted two boys and how they’d “turned out to be bad apples because they’re adopted”. She tore those boys apart for the 20 minutes I was subjected to, about how they’d stolen from their parents, been violent, taken drugs, disappeared for days when they were teens. All the while I was thinking, surely this isn’t ‘just’ because they’re adopted. And then in the last 5 minutes she told me how they were, in fact, brought up by a live in nanny because their parents had jobs where they worked away a LOT and they were never there. To me, that made more sense why they’d turned out the way they had but she put ALL their behaviour down to one, solitary fact…..they are adopted.

I’ve spoken to many “experts” along the way and it gets ever so slightly annoying but these 2 women have been the worst.

I want to just remind them that we’ve done more than any parent I know to prepare for this. An entire years worth of study. I’m not saying that that alone makes us experts either but we know a lot of the facts as prospective adopters and being told what is, basically, regurgitated chip paper material, is insulting.

And, oh, how I secretly hope these women stumble on my blog!

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

Statutory Adoption Allowance

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Dear reader, please excuse me if I forget you are reading and rant…..I may very well do that right now. Brace yourselves!

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am self employed. I am adopting. I pay my taxes. I pay my class 4 National Insurance contributions of 9% and my class 2 voluntary – (*rolls eyes*) National Insurance contributions.

Yet I don’t get statutory adoption allowance of (at the time of press) £136.45 per week for up to 39 weeks. I get nothing. Nada. Diddly squat! I am the only section of society that doesn’t get this help which everybody else is entitled to.

If I was an employed birth mother I would get it.

If I was an employed adopter I would get it.

If I was a self employed birth mother I would get it.

And, if I was on benefits, paying no tax and not working then I would get something.

But, because I am self employed and adopting I do not get it.

Total anomaly in the system.

Every single person I know has had it. People on more money than me. People who don’t really ‘need’ it – not that I begrudge them….Oh, ok, maybe a bit…..but only because I don’t get it.

I wrote to you [David Cameron] I had my letter hand delivered to 2 MP’s in the houses of parliament by the CEO of Adoption Uk. I wrote to my local MP. And all I got back was a letter saying that they “knew about the situation” but that they “weren’t going to do anything about it”

Nice.

They even suggested that we go to the local authority of where our child is from and ask them for the money…but that this would be means tested. We’ve just been assessed and because we’ve got savings we aren’t entitled to any help from them either. Talk about passing the buck. But, as I believed, maternity pay isn’t means tested….is it? And I’m almost certain that the people I know who have received maternity pay have also got savings!

Total and utter discrimination.

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT going to change our mind about adopting….as one department that our social worker had to deal with suggested. How crass and disgusting that they even imply that not getting £136 per week would make us turn our back on a little girl who, even before matching panel, we’ve fallen totally in love with already. But, to me, that shows the lack of understanding and, actually, how these people think is all wrong.

All we’re asking for is what everybody else is entitled to. We’re not asking for much. The numbers are so small that it’s barely going to register in the expenses of the government towards maternity/paternity/adoption pay – but maybe that’s why they’re not bothered about us self employed adopters, not enough voices to be heard! And if one more person tells me that we’re (the country) short of money which is why they’re probably not going to change it I suggest they give me their maternity pay…..they’d soon be moaning!

I suppose, as one government/local authority website stated, we can;

“look on the brightside, I can have as much time off as I want”

*grabs hair and runs round in circles screaming*

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

Matching Panel Questions

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

As we sat down in front of the 8 people on the matching panel my main concerns were that we would answer ‘correctly’ and that I wouldn’t faint

Fortunately, the fainting didn’t happen and, because the chair woman had already told us what they were going to talk about, we were prepared. This is when we realised just how important it was to have been completely honest and open throughout the entire process. We feel you have to be approved on your own merit, not just by what we thought they wanted to hear.

They asked us several things:

Uncertainty
The main question they asked was about the uncertainty that our daughter may (or may not) face because of different factors that she has experienced. This is not uncommon for adopted children unfortunately. Gone are the days where babies are “relinquished” (hate that word) by young, unmarried Mothers who would have, in fact, been fantastic Mothers had it not been for their embarrassed, forceful families making them give up their precious babies. There are a lot of factors involved now, in adoption. Adoption now involves a lot of negative behaviours from neglect and abuse to drugs and alcohol, as well as a lot of other negative factors, and we just don’t know how these will effect adopted children in their future. I believe, as a prospective adoptive parent, if you can’t accept uncertainty then how can adoption be the right thing for you or, more importantly, the child. For us, we are as prepared as we can be for any uncertainty that might arise in the future but we can’t predict what might happen. All we can be prepared for is to do all we possibly can to help our daughter if anything does start to show up in the future. We’re jumping in, feet first, with eyes wide open!

Social media
The second most important issue we discussed was about social media and how we were going to protect ourselves, and our daughter, from it. We agreed (a while ago) that we would change our surnames (already done it!) and that there would never be any photos put anywhere on the internet, ever…by us anyway. We’ve still to ask our friends never to put photos on facebook but, if they do, to never ever tag us in them and certainly never to geo tag us in anything. We are never going to use her real name on any social media platform and, so far, everyone is “getting it”. I have never used her name on facebook, I’ve never even used the word “adoption” on there so we can’t be linked with anything, and so I expect people to follow suit. One person did use her name so I deleted it straight away and politely explained why. This got me thinking and we’ve decided to start calling our daughter a pet name on facebook so people can do the same. One of my lovely twitter buddies helped us with that one and we love it! She needs to be protected for as long as possible. Unfortunately, facebook is a minefield for adoption so we’ve just got to do all we can to prevent anything happening without losing that support platform (facebook really ‘works’ for me) and this is the best way to do it. We’re going old school again and going back to printing! Of course, we will be emailing certain photos to certain family members who live a long way away but, at the moment, I’ve only done that with one photo and to one person and I made it very clear in the email that the photo was not to be shared with anyone, anywhere other than by printing it out and showing it to people. Stick in the mud? Maybe. Safe? Absolutely!

Managing introductions to family and friends
They also asked about other people, family and friends, and how we were going to manage how and when they meet our daughter for the first time. We explained that we’d be on our own for at least the first few days and then slowly introduce our parents over time. We’ve decided on having a plan which can (and will, if we need to) be changed at the last moment. Then, at least for the first 2 or 3 weeks, the only people she will see are us and her grandparents. We will then introduce people very very slowly and for very short moments (cup of tea and a piece of cake anyone?!) We are both taking a substantial amount of time off together (6 weeks) so we both have that chance to bond with her and she to us. I’m hoping this will give her time to be upset/scared about leaving the only person she’s ever known and to give us the time to deal with it so both of us can give her comfort, love and security without one of us not being able to be there for her. People have been saying to me, when I try and explain how important this time is going to be for us to all bond, that adopted children aren’t ‘more’ important than a new born baby when it’s brought home and the Dad has to go back to work after 2 weeks. I’m going to clarify now that I have never said they [adopted children] are “more” important but I certainly think that their situation is more sensitive than a birth baby and needs to be dealt with very differently. A newborn baby has no idea if there are 20 people visiting per day. Yes, the parents do and I think it’s still a nightmare for new parents to be bombarded with visitors. But throw in to the mix a 15 month old who has been taken away from the only person she’s ever known you don’t have to be a genius to understand that we have to get this right, for her. So having this time off, together, mostly on our own with her, is crucial.

The cat
Finally, they asked about our cat. This was very straight forward as all they wanted to know was if our daughter was allergic to cats and we’d already been told she lives with 2 cats and a dog. After we answered that one it was done and dusted!

Acknowledgments
As well as the questions we discussed in panel they also acknowledged a few things about us, which was really lovely. They acknowledged the supportive families that we have and the diversity we have experienced in our families including disabilities and adoption. They were very happy about our financial stability, that they saw we are hard workers and hard savers and that we’d got a ‘cushion’ if anything went wrong.
They also acknowledged the experience we had with children and the extra experience we’d gained from going to a nursery for 5 sessions together. They also discussed our daughters progress and how she was developing which is all looking very positive.

And that was that. I think we were in there for about 30 minutes but it could have been 2 hours. I wouldn’t put money on it….but then we’re not the betting sort anyway! ;)

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Life Appreciation Day

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

We have just arrived back home after a full on day of 9 hours!

Some of that travel time but most of it talking and discussing and listening and asking questions.

Life appreciation day is where we (the prospective adopters) get to meet everyone who has been in the child’s life so far.

Through the hours, in which we were there, we spoke to the two social workers of the child, the foster carer, her social worker, a health visitor, a physiotherapist and our social worker was there too. We were a little bit apprehensive about it but, to be honest, we’d met the social workers and the foster carer not long before today so we felt pretty much at ease as soon as we walked in the door and from then on it was just very easy and relaxed. We laughed a lot (which always helps to break the ice) and, although we are totally aware of how serious and important this process is and what it’s about, I couldn’t bear to sit through meetings with a stiff upper lip and total seriousness through the process. At the end of the day we are all human beings who need to feel comfortable in a very unusual situation and it helps that we all get on really well. It will make the whole transition period and introductions all that more enjoyable and enable us to cope with it. Can you imagine not getting on with the foster carer…..awkward!

We’d also met with the child’s doctor at the hospital beforehand too and she’d spoken to us, at length, about some of the issues we may face in the future. It was nothing we hadn’t heard or read before but it really helped to hear it from the medical professionals mouth and clarify the few points we knew about already.

The same went for most of the people we met through the day but we did learn little bits more than we did already and everything else we already knew were just made clearer.

The whole day was totally and utterly invaluable because we have now met people who know the child and different aspects of her. It’s made us feel more confident in our own ability and we feel really positive after today.

Now….I’m going to crack open a bottle of ginger beer and I’ll probably be asleep within minutes!

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

Meeting the Foster Carer

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

This was a BIG day for us

We were more apprehensive about this than anything. But we did the usual thing we do and pretended that we were fine which, in the long run, makes you feel like you’re doing fine. We had nothing to worry about. We feel we’ve been lucky with everyone we’ve met through this process. She is lovely. Really open and friendly and the conversation flowed, after an initial stilted period of time where nobody spoke for a few seconds (which felt like hours!) and me, being me, wanted to fill the silence. But I held back (and bit my tongue) because it wasn’t our place or our job to start the conversation.

She told us quite a lot about her (the child) and she’d brought her camera with some new photos on it from the week before and she’d changed so much (from the initial photos we’d received) and had become even more stunning.

I’m really glad that we get on with her so well. It will definitely make things easier. And she told us so much that it brought everything to  life, which is hard when all you’ve got is a photo. She was really animated in how she described her and she became a little girl to us, not just information in a report.

This was one of the best days so far.

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Meeting the Social Workers

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

This was one of the least worrying moments of the whole process for me. As mad as that sounds. I just knew they’d be nice

Everything about this little girl just ‘feels’ right and, from the moment the social workers came through our front door, that feeling stayed. I’d made cakes which I told them I’d made as a bit of bribery and corruption. Seemed to work *winks*

They talked a lot about the little girl and asked us to ask any questions. The only thing they asked us was about time off work and then reassured us that she wasn’t allergic to cats as she lives with 2 at the moment…thumbs up for that!

They were with us for about an hour and a half and were very positive and helpful. It’s an odd feeling though because you feel like you’re getting somewhere and then, after they left, you realise you’re in total limbo land again because you don’t quite know where you are with it and nobody has actually said “yes” yet.

We feel very lucky to have worked with such fantastic social workers, it’s made the process all the more positive. 

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

 

Report Reading

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

As we drove back from Scotland we knew that the little girls report would be on our doormat as we walked in the door

We both couldn’t wait! Yet, as we walked in with all our bags through the front door and saw the thick, brown envelope, we didn’t open it straight away. We unpacked our bags, put a load of washing on, put all our things away in to their correct places and then made a cup of tea. It wasn’t until then and we’d sat down that we opened the report to read. It is 78 pages long. And it took us 2 hours to read it. It took even longer to take it all in and we were exhausted after reading it.

In all honesty, because the little girl was taken in to foster care very early, the report was mainly about her birth mother and her birth fathers histories. They say it will be upsetting reading a report and they’re right in one sense. But I think it must be a lot harder to read a report about a child who has been neglected or abused for some time before being taken in to care. For us, it’s not like that. And that’s just me being honest. Because there will be people out there who don’t feel devastated when they read a report about birth mothers and birth fathers who will be made to feel guilty or odd for that. But you’re not. You are just human and, for me, all I care about is our little girl-to-be and the fact she’s been with a fantastic foster carer nearly all her life, so far, who has loved her and given her consistency, security, warmth and love is just great!

Reading the report was hard going because that’s her story, her history. But the fact she will know about that will help her make sense of her life in the future.

 

 

 

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved

Holiday Time and the Second Biggest Mountain Climb

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

We couldn’t have planned or timed this better. 2 weeks after our approval date we went on holiday

We would have gone straight away but decided to wait a couple of weeks for various reasons (friends birthday night out we didn’t want to miss out on and husbands work was very busy)

We both had 2 very busy weeks at work so by the time we got to Scotland we were ready to collapse….which we did, very quickly, when we arrived at the beautiful cottage in the middle of nowhere which we called home for a week.

In fact, our SW had agreed that we would have some “time off” from the whole process which we really appreciated but then she had sent me an email about a little girl in the week running up to our holiday who we felt an immediate click with. We had, very tentatively, replied saying we were interested and so she’d sent us a bit more information before her full report so we could read more about her and a couple of photos. We were smitten immediately. But, the trouble is, we’ve become very practiced at hunkering down our feelings and emotions and not getting excited or assuming anything. So we went on holiday and didn’t really think about it apart from the odd conversation on our walks.

****I can’t quite believe I’m saying that now (23rd June) because she is all I talk about! But more on that later****

We faced one more mountain climb after our approval panel and that was to climb Benn Nevis. We did it in 7 hours and it was a gloriously sunny, hot, blue skied day. Stunning! It is the highest mountain in Britain and we succeeded in completing it yet we feel we’d climbed a much bigger mountain in the last 8 months to get to our little girl.

Not quite there but I can now see the summit.

 

 

 

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Adoption Preparation Groups

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Our adoption preparation groups were run on three days over two weekends. Friday of one weekend and the Friday and Saturday of the next

They were very long days, 9:30 until about 4:30 with a couple of breaks in the middle. There were 3 other couples there so it made for a really nice, small group and we all got on well. We’ve kept in touch with one of the couples and, even though they don’t live that near to us, we keep in touch by text.

When we first arrived the social workers were there already to greet us. We started promptly at 9:45 and sat in a circle while the various social workers and guests talked. There were, over the 3 days, a child psychiatrist, 3 adopters and another lady who came in to talk about attachment issues. The psychiatrist was fascinating. In fact the whole 3 days were really interesting even though they were so draining. We slept so well on those 3 nights! There was a lot of involvement of us (the prospective adopters) and lots of discussions and questions. We talked about why children are adopted, the different reasons (drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse to name but a few) how the local authorities go down every avenue possible to try and keep a child within their birth family and the fact that adoption, really is, the last port of call. We learned about attachments, what a child needs to develop and grow and we were made to understand that adopted children are different in ways to birth children as they have more of a question mark over their futures and development because what has happened to them.

We were then given various tasks to do. One was called “The wall of needs” where we had to discuss what makes up a childs needs from birth onwards and what happens if a child doesn’t get those things. It falls down, of course, or at the very least becomes unstable. It is then up to us (the adopters) to try and build that wall up and insert the bricks back in for these children.

We were also asked, at the start of the 3 days, to pick out a picture of a child and put it in an envelope. Our decision had to be based purely on looks. Then, at the end of the 3 days, we had to get the photo out, explain why we’d picked out that particular child and then read the information on the back about that child. This was to teach us that there is more to a child than a picture.

The whole prep group experience was invaluable. We learnt so much, including one of the most vital things which is the reading of report. We had case studies and homework to do which we threw ourselves in to and really “got it”. It was, by far, the most informative things we’ve done on this adoption process. Very harrowing at times, but vital to us understanding the needs of these children.

I would go as far to say that I think every parent should go on a course like this. Maybe certain children would stand a better chance in life if they did.

© www.hoopsandhurdles.co.uk 2013 All Rights Reserved