Wednesday, 27 July 2011

First home two weeks to wait (eek)

So... first proper visit from the city adoption social worker. As always, it was more like a chat than a scary interview. I think this is because the social workers are good at their jobs and put you at ease so you open up and reveal what you are actually like rather than just showing them your scared "rabbit in the headlights" interview persona. We usually follow a policy of being as honest as possible and generally rambling on and answering questions in as much detail as we can. She was pretty positive actually, said there was no reason she could see why they wouldn't invite us on the training course. But it's her manager's decision and we'll find out in 2 weeks. Eurgh! 2 weeks feels like a long old time!

She did ask us why we didn't carry on with foster caring for a couple of years before adopting and I wondered if that might be something they come back to us with. Our answer was really simple; because we're ready to adopt, we're ready to permanently have a child in our lives, we're ready to change our lives completely and we're really looking forward to it. Whether that will be enough of an answer remains to be seen. I hope so. I don't want the fact that we wanted to be foster carers to count against us now, it's just the timing is a bit dodgy with having an extension and going through the long old adoption process. She didn't ask us much else. Briefly went over our childhoods, why we want to adopt, our relationship, why we've chosen adoption rather than anything else.

It's a fair point. I mean there's plenty of womb at the inn so to speak. Sorry, that's really bad but I couldn't resist it. We don't have anything against people using IVF or turkey basters or any of that but it's not for us. I like the fact that our child will have a sense of where they came from and how they got to where they are. I feel like it's important for them to have a clearer idea of this than telling them who their sperm donor was. Plus the fact that there are so many kids out there that need adopting and so this feels right. I'm thinking about it now and it's really quite exciting! Must try not to get too excited until we hear back that we're through to the next stage. Then the training course isn't until November so we can chill for a bit, although obviously we won't!

Ever since we started thinking about adoption we've been reading lots of books about parenting, gay parents, attachment, adoption etc. etc. and the social worker seemed really surprised and impressed. We didn't do it for that, we did it because we find it interesting and want to be as prepared as possible when there is one, or possibly two little people in our home and we need to be able to link their behaviour to our behaviour and their past experiences. But that's my top tip for today. Read a book! They will (quite rightly) love you for it!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Over thinking things?!

So, we have our first social worker visit tomorrow. It is exciting to think that we are finally starting our journey but scary to think that there's a small chance it could end here! I say small chance not through arrogance, but just through the fact that we are already approved foster carers and our current social worker was very positive. Being the crazy human I am, though, I will always cling to the little bit of worry instead of the massive amounts of common sense. Must try and work on that! I think it will come in handy for both being a teacher and a parent! Self belief is a wonderful thing!

I fear I am over-using the exclamation mark and my colleagues in the English department would be very disapproving!

A few things have happened since I last blogged. School have been encouraging about giving the same benefits to adopters as maternity pay. It's not in writing yet but hopefully it will be soon as that will make a huge difference. My partner works for a charity so she would only ever get statutory pay which isn't much at all really! It's weird to think that I'm only really just starting in my teaching career and it won't be long before I go part time. I think this will be hugely beneficial to me in getting the most out of parenting, teaching and life generally and I feel massively blessed that we're in a position where we can do it. I have spent most of today making a huge spreadsheet of incomings and outgoings to work out where we really are with things. Said spreadsheet has many, many formulae and is pleasingly colourful which makes me feel better. Sad really!

The second important decision we have to make is whether we continue as foster carers (or even start!) We registered our interest in becoming respite carers to a disabled child way back at the beginning of 2010 and we have just been matched with a little boy. The idea of the scheme is that you are matched with a child throughout their childhood, offering respite for one weekend every month. When we started the process and underwent the foster carer training we didn't even know that we wanted to adopt. Going through the process and talking to each other, as well as meeting and talking to people at New Family Social meant that we felt we were actually more ready than we realised. Working through everything with our foster caring social worker and going through the approval process gave us the insight and confidence we needed to start the adoption process. This in itself is really great! But now we're not sure where to go with starting a link with a child or not. Our social worker thinks we over think and worry about things (true enough, I am partial to a spot of procrastination or two); but I feel like I don't want to put all the time and effort (and the child's time and effort too) over the next few months to then break the link when we have our extension, then again when we are matched and a child is placed with us, and then possibly permanently. It seems a bit rude! I wonder if someone else might be better. But then we actually have to be formally deregistered as foster carers when we haven't even started which in itself seems a bit mad. I'll talk to the social worker about it tomorrow (poor woman!)

Again, I'm rambling on. Congratulations if you made it this far! I feel I should tell you a joke or something as a reward. "What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh!" Boom boom...

Something's telling me it's time for bed.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Happy news indeed. I phoned the City adoption agency yesterday and said "we've been offered a home visit with the county one but I said we would rather have you!". They phoned back and are coming for a home visit on Wednesday next week! Should last about 1 1/2 hours. I'd better bake some biscuits! Funny how I like to do that really, it's not like I'm trying to prove how much of a Nigella I am or anything, I just like to make people feel welcome! I really am so very 50's... I think I even have a bottle of shake 'n vac somewhere...

Sorry...veering wildly off topic!

Anyhow, we are very excited about this home visit, and it's quite nice to think that two agencies wanted us! I guess that makes me feel less nervous about the whole thing.

So we're actually on the starting line now, rather than just lurking outside the stadium somewhere! I hope we get put on a training course in October. My head of department wasn't too keen on the idea but it can't be helped. I've just emailed school to ask whether they will provide adoption pay which is equivalent to maternity pay so we shall have to wait and see. I will keep you posted.

I'm currently trapped in the bedroom as the extreme nesting has somewhat taken over the house. The main living area looks like something out if CSI because it's completely covered with plastic sheets. Log burner and solar panels this week...obviously essential to family life! We are so strange! Our architect came yesterday about the extension. We really need a third bedroom and I want a kitchen I can cook and supervise children in, but it's so very odd planning the design of our new house around our imaginary family. Though I want everything g be perfect, in some respects I really don't because I'm a clumsy old thing and I don't want our children to feel scared to sneeze and avoid Ribena like I did as a child...white foods and clear liquids only in this house...hideous! The architect has understood me brilliantly as is planning some kind of amazing two kitchen showy kitchen in the open plan living space where I can pretend to be Nigella and another one in a giant cupboard which I can fill with mess and shut he door...fantastic!

I'm sensing this has turned into a ramble so I shall leave it there.

Much chaos and excitement though! Excellent!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Parenting talk and nesting

I don't know if it's just me but currently all the programmes on TV are about parenting and everywhere we go there are parents! And all we seem to talk about is parenting, parenthood, etc. We're currently looking at improving our home: large scale nesting I think. Putting an extension on the back for a big family kitchen and getting a wood burner and solar panels. Future proofing, I believe it's called. It's exciting to be thinking about changing our garden to be more child friendly and having an extra bedroom to fill.

I think we're at the stage where we're not sure if we should be saving money or spending it. My maternal instincts are telling me to save up nest eggs (!) and then the other half of me wants to make our home as wonderful as possible now because in a few years' time it will be a lot more difficult to paint and have home improvements done. But I guess it's easy to get swept away in all the excitement when in reality our family finding days are a long way off really. At the moment I'm not sure if it will go scarily fast or horribly slowly, it seems like there is no in between with the adoption process. That reminds me of an assembly some of the sixth form physics students gave on roller coasters; it's not the speed they go but the change in speed which makes them so terrifying! I think it may be the same with the adoption process!

Monday, 11 July 2011

A baby niece!


Not strictly adoption news but it led to me and L having a long discussion about things so I thought I would share some of it!

We were both seriously excited by the arrival of my brother's baby girl this week. I am thrilled to be an Auntie and looking forward to lots of spoiling her and cuddles. Our friends are also expecting (twins no less) and I'm organising the baby shower. It got us thinking about society's reaction to a new born, and how it differs from adoption. I guess people are well trained in how to react to a new birth: buy a babygro and some flowers, take hundreds of photographs and coo lots at the cute little sleeping wee person. More than that it comes automatically: I couldn't stop staring at my little tiny niece and wanted to cuddle her all day! And I imagine that people don't quite know what to do when you adopt. I mean if we adopt a three year old with it's own personality and ideas, it would be rather scary to be passed round the room and photographed, and quite schocking to recieve huge amounts of new stuff. It's all about the slowly, slowly, softly, softly and I wonder how I will respond to that when the time comes. But that's me...I do like to worry about the unknown. Must purchase a self-help book and become more centred!

To be honest I expect our friends and family will be quite awesome...excitedly murmuring away n the background but trying not to be too overbearing. I just wonder if we will miss all the fuss, all the welcoming and all the celebration. Who knows? There are many many more things to wonder about at this stage and many more important things to worry about. But I do know that being an Auntie is going to be really fun!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Form filling and information sessions


My first post...excitement. I thought I would document our experience with the information sessions we have attended so far.

So after advice from the lovely people at we decided we should check out two different adoption agencies. Where we live there is one big county one and a smaller city local authority. We thought we would go with the county one as it's nearer but on advice went to the other one just in case. Wow...I'm glad we did! The county one talked about wanting adopters from different backgrounds at the beginning but the whole presentation was littered with "they need a Mum and a Dad" as well as crayon drawings of mummies and daddies. Ridiculous. Definitely not practising what they preached there! There was also an overwhelming vibe that they were doing us a favour and potential adopters were almost an inconvenience. Erm...more like essential! I don't like the way they made you feel like it was a hideous trial you had to go through to "prove your worth". Odd. Anyway, we went off to the city one and they were genuinely inclusive and wonderful and incredibly friendly (plus we didn't have to take part in a cringey quiz).

Which means that I would definitely reinforce the advice we were given: you're awesome, they need you so shop around!

So after more form filling in we've been offered a home visit by the county authority (their session was first) and we've sent off our form for the city one. Hopefully the social worker will be able to come during the school holidays.


I'm already feeling like I don't know if we want one or two children. Lovely sensible people seem to suggest that you just wait and see nearer the time. Although clearly it is something we need to think/talk about a lot!

So...that's the end of my first post. Will I keep this up I wonder. I'll try!