Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Let’s talk about your childhood...

So today’s home visit was all about my childhood.  I say “home visit”, it was actually in my lab at school, so a marathon 2 ½ hour session with no tea and NO BISCUITS!!! Unbelievable!  The second I got home I was ready to collapse in a heap with a cup of tea when my Mum phoned and tried to talk to me about the merits of different fireguards.  I was a little snappy and now feel guilty, especially as I had just spent the last 2 ½ hours telling our social worker what a lovely childhood I had and how wonderful my parents are and how we get on!

You will be very pleased to know that L and I (despite our obvious differences) both came out as securely attached on our attachment questionnaire.  So it turns out that whether you have loads of friends, or just a few close ones; whether you talk to 100s of people about your worries or just one or two, you can still be considered securely attached and pleasantly normal.  Hurrah for us both!

Our social worker also said that from the reference my Dad wrote, it sounds like they are excited and enthusiastic and going to make great grandparents.  Must phone them back in a bit and say so!  We are looking at my Dad as a positive male role model for our children as he is very lovely.

So I talked about my naughty older brother and my jolly countrified childhood and that was all nice.  Then we talked about education.  My education was quite driven (grammar school then University then more University) but I talked a lot about making it clear that despite my obvious academic achievements I am 100% not a person who looks down on other people.  I find it incredibly irritating when people treat me as if I am looking down on them, and am an academic snob, before they have even met me.  It sounds odd but it’s true!  So I’m going to write a bit for our PAR about how though me and L are educated and professional people, we are by no means academically elitist and actually will put education into the perspective it deserves.  There are plenty of happy people out there in perfectly interesting and fulfilling careers which don’t require a degree education.  And whilst I would never argue that the absence of an education is unimportant (for those who don’t have access to it, it certainly isn’t fair or right), I certainly wouldn’t force my child down an academic pathway which wasn’t appropriate for them simply because it is what I did, or because it is what people do, or because it is the middle class way of things.

So we talked about how I got to where I am now.  I talked a bit about how much I love teaching and though it was a rather round-about route into teaching, I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made (that and marrying L, and hopefully deciding to adopt will become one of them!).

So...two and a half hours of talking and I can’t really think what we talked about!  I’m sure it was interesting!! She asked me about religion.  I’m not religious.  Not atheist per see but definitely not Christian.  I fell out of love with Christianity when I was about 14 and my Grandpa died.  He was lovely and kind and fun and it didn’t seem fair to me, so it didn’t make sense any more because he was good and kind and Christian.  Since then my views and opinions on life aren’t so black and white or easily changed.  I have two friends who are the loveliest people you could meet and they are Christian.  They don’t judge me, I don’t judge them and we’re all happy.  I like the fact that if our child wanted to explore religion we could point them in the direction of some wonderful, balanced and open minded Christian folk and not feel worried.  However when I was at University I met a lot of “Christians” who just used their religion as an excuse to blame, to judge and to exclude.  I didn’t like that at all.  But ho hum...I guess that’s the people and not the religion itself.  I won’t get into that too much but hopefully we will bring our child up to be open minded...”some people believe in God...some people don’t...what do you think? Etc. etc.”  I would far rather our child learns to think about these things than is just brainwashed one way or another.

So...I’m pooped and should probably phone those parents I am so grateful to and have been raving about so much and apologised for being a tired old grump.  Two cups of tea and a chocolate biscuit later and I’m decidedly more myself (I’m such a teacher!)

Take care, everyone!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Lots and lots of loving and caring!


I'm not sure if anyone else was subjected to a crazy 1970s video about a children's home in London, but that is where the title of my post comes from. A therapist was working with a girl and talking about people as glasses which need to be filled up with "lovin' and carin'" it was quite jolly and heartwarming but also quite funny! Anyway...the reason I've titled my blog that is because I have been horribly fragile of late and incredibly well propped up by my lovely wonderful wife, friends and family so I feel very loved and cared for.

I've been getting lots of migraines and things lately, I think that's just what happens when a Jemma becomes rather tired and stressed. It makes me worry that I don't cope well with tiredness, but I guess after popping lots of pills and chilling out at weekends I'm managing to cope OK. I am definitely looking forward to half term!

So...I have my first proper visit on Tuesday which is just me in my own, talking about my childhood. Should be fine! I think I had a fairly normal middle class 1980s upbringing...lots of cheese and pineapple on sticks and leg warmers etc. I will let you know how it goes as always.

We went to see the house again today. They are doing lots of structural stuff now so you can't visibly see as much progress but we still get excited when we look at bedroom 3 and think about what it will be like in not so very long. We are very comfortable and happy in our holiday home/house sit but are still looking forward to getting back to our own (seriously pimped and awesome) house!

So...no real news! Just thought I would check in as I had a minute.

Will be in touch after the meeting on Tuesday to let you know how it went and what my attachment style is!

Take care, as always.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Really interesting animation about our education system


As those of you who read regularly will know, I am a science teacher. I have a bit of a thing for modern teaching techniques and the fact that most lessons in school are pretty rubbish and don't equip kids for real life. They also don't compare in any sense to the amount of stimulation they get outside of school from computers, tv etc. etc. so if we want kids to be happy and find a place in the world and learn to think, we have to get away from teaching boring facts, and move on to teaching skills (and basic facts) in a fun and stimulating way.

Obviously this will come into my parenting in a big way!

But for those of you interested in this, check this out:


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Fun with babies!

Hello chaps.

What a jolly day I have had today. No real adoption news. The lovely L has done her attachment style questionnaire with no probs so that's good. I will let you know our attachment styles and feedback when I get it. Other than that I've got my meeting where I talk about my childhood next week, and then we're cracking on! We are meeting some of the people we met on our prep course at some point in the next month or so which is nice. It's definitely very important to have a solid support network both locally and family/friends.

Today was just fun. The holiday home we are staying in is so nice. We had a lie in, cooked breakfast on the Aga and then headed off to meet our friends. I spent a little while cuddling babies which was fun! I love being a fake Auntie (you know, one of those people you call an Auntie even though you're not related to them. It is seriously fun! I'm getting much better at cuddling and comforting babies now. I used to be a bit scared of breaking them but now I just find it very fun! And it's so nice to see L playing with babies and making them laugh, it certainly makes you think about what the future will bring.

So. We have enjoyed being people without children this weekend (lie-in), we have enjoyed being aunties (baby jiggling) and we are looking forward to what the future holds. It still seems crazy that 2012 is the year we extended our house and who knows what else... Oh yes, we went to see the house yesterday and seeing that new 3rd bedroom (which now has walls!) made us feel very excited for the future. We are looking forward to lots of lazy weekend breakfasts as a family, cooking pancakes etc. on our island. It's all a bit rose tinted and idyllic at the moment but ho hum...I think that's ok as long as you appreciate that it is and won't be disappointed later.

On a more hilarious note, we purchased the babygros in the picture for the twins today. They are tacky and hideous but just quite hilarious! We couldn't resist. I wonder if my friend will let them wear them!! Possibly once all the other ones have been vomited on! Quite funny also as one of their real aunts is a lesbian (not fake aunts like us).

I think my blog has taken a turn for the random today so apologies to you serious readers!

I will be back with serious adoption news (or unrelated rambles) some time soon!

Take care, everyone!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Attachment style interview

So, I had a meeting on my own today for my attachment style interview.  It was a bit nerve wracking because she came to school and taped the whole thing on a little dictaphone.  I'll give you a rough idea of what it involved.

You had to name three people that you often confide in and then list significant life events over the past year.  I picked a student who had been rather difficult and the death of my grandma as they were the major ones.  We then talked about whether I had talked to the significant three people about these events, and what their response had been.  We talked about what sorts of things I felt comfortable discussing with them.  It was things like could I talk to them about health, family, sexual issues, financial issues etc.

She asked a lot about arguments and I honestly said that I don't really have hideous arguments with people. Occasionally I might have jokey ones, or get a bit tetchy but nothing like the ones on Eastenders!  When I tried to give examples of the most significant ones in he past year the social worker (it seems very impersonal and odd to keep calling her "the social worker", maybe I should give her an alias!) laughed at me because they were all a bit silly.  But rightly or wrongly, I am more of a passive sort and that is just who I am.  I think as I've got older I've learned to stand up for myself more, but never in an aggressive way!

Then it moved on to general relationships, how easily you trust other people, whether you feel like people will let you down if you trust them etc.  How do you react if your partner is late home etc. Oh, and there was a bit on how easily you make friends and build relationships and if you have a problem who do you go to.

All in all, it went very quickly (she said I was her quickest ever *glows with pride*) and wasn't too hideous!  I think if you're prepared to just be honest, but not go into too much detail, then it isn't really anything to worry about.

It was quite tiring though!

But in other news, I am rather tired because I stayed up late last night watching Sherlock and eating cheese (quite ridiculous really).  We also finalised the design of our kitchen today and I can't quite believe that we will actually be the owners of such a nice kitchen (and extension) in a few month's time!


It really is all go!   X

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Things are starting to happen!

So...we've had our first home study visit.  It was all a bit stressful to start with as the taxi I had booked from work was twenty five minutes late so she arrived before I did.  Not a good start but she was very lovely about it and is just generally interested, funny and seems very down to earth and kind.

This meeting was really just about setting up other meetings, collecting data on our references and writing our work histories so nothing too scary.  On Monday (tomorrow) she is coming to school to do my attachment style questionnaire which should be interesting.  It takes 1 1/2 hours!  The authority we are adopting with find it really valuable, but I don't think all local authorities do one.  The idea is that if you are more of a person who hides in a corner and shuts out the world when you are sad, they won't place a child with you who has a similar personality (attachment style) or equally if you are someone who screams and shouts they would try not to place you with another screamer/shouter!  I think that's the idea anyway.  I think there are some attachment styles which they feel are unsuitable for adopters to have, but it's unlikely if you are a happy, functioning member of society, that you would have one of those!  I hope that makes sense.  I will let you know more tomorrow.

It's such a beautiful day today.  I'm just feeling rather lucky at the moment.  We went to visit our partially knocked down house yesterday and it was exciting to see the space that will be the new kiddy bedroom.  We also went to see the twins, who were their usual cute and awesome little selves!  I can't believe how fast they are growing.

Sunday has come quickly this weekend!  I went ours last night for the first time in ages and woke up at about ten so haven't had as much of the day as usual.  It's funny how we are appreciating being able to do things like that now as we know that at some point we won't have that luxury.

One thing our social worker asked was how long we expected the process to take.  I said I was trying not to set myself too firm a deadline as I thought then I would be likely to be disappointed.  I'm not sure if I should have said "well, obviously we're aiming for June!" To encourage a bit of speed...but there's no rush.  We're not old and we need to finish our house and we appreciate that these things take time.

Another thing we talked about briefly was "one child or two? "  We always initially said two (hence "two mums, two kids").  But lately I've  been thinking it would be better to start with one.  We live in a lovely community with lots of children around so there would be plenty of children for them to play with and it seems to me that the issues that adopted children have (low self esteem etc.) are the opposite to only child syndrome (sense of self importance etc.) but...who knows!  My partner is sure she wants to, and currently I say one (!) but we shall see. It's definitely something we need to discuss at length and with the social worker.

We made our family trees and eco maps at the weekend too.  The eco map was fun as it gave us a really good picture of all the wonderful people we have in our lives; friends, family etc. and how well supported we are.

Right.  I'm off out to enjoy the sunshine and get some fresh air.  

Take care, everyone! X

Sunday, 8 January 2012

First home study visit on Friday

So...wow, here we are about to start our home study. All our referees have received their forms now and have been diligently filling them in and letting us know of their progress. In some ways it is really lovely to formally have the support of your family and friends and in another way it's odd that in a small way it feels like we need their approval and opinion before we are allowed to be parents.

We are both sort of excited and a little nervous to start our home study. On New Family Social recently there seem to have been quite a few people for whom which their social workers have taken a statement out of context or made a small comment into a big issue, so I think we are more worried than we were. But I keep saying that we just have to be ourselves and if there are any issues, we need to deal with them anyway. I guess you just have to hope your social worker doesn't find issues that you don't think exist.

I helped out at my friend's six year old daughter's birthday party today. Basically they were decorating cupcakes and going mad with sprinkles and edible glitter. It was all very jolly! It makes me rather excited to think that in not too long we get to be all mad and creative and make crazy birthday cakes and host crazy parties! It makes our extension all the more exciting when you consider it's use in the future. We are having a third bedroom and study, but also a large kitchen/diner/living room to replace the current incredibly small kitchen. The space will certainly be good for parties! All very exciting and again (as always) I'm getting hugely ahead of myself.

So...back to school tomorrow. I'm not feeling much about it at all really. I'm usually nervous and excited but I think, with my Grandma's funeral on Wednesday, all my emotions are there really. It will be good to say goodbye and begin to start healing properly as at the moment, think I'm coping with a fairly superficial mask. At least I only have two days at school before Wednesday...I'm sure I can cope!

Do let me know if you are reading this and whether you find it interesting or boring or if you have any questions! Being a teacher, I'm always asking the children I teach for feedback on my lessons so it is quite weird for me writing all this stuff and then just seeing the reader numbers on the little statistics tab!

I hope you are all well and haven't caught any of the horrible bugs which are going around.

I will let you know how Friday goes!


Monday, 2 January 2012

Sorry it's been so long.

Hello folks, happy new year to you all.  I'll have to be quick as I have about five million other things to be doing but I felt that a blog was definitely in order.

So...wow....2012 could be the year...or equally likely could not be. We shall see! We have spent Christmas enjoying cuddling and playing with other people's gorgeous babies which was really lovely.  I think we both think about being parents a lot now, and we always have a lot to talk about after lots of baby exposure as it gets our hormones going!  It's strange to think that in not too long we will all have children who can play together etc. although that still seems a little way off.

The reason for the crazy busyness is that we are packing up our house ready for moving out as the building work will start on Monday 9th. It's all a bit of an upheaval but one which will be worth it in the end, I'm sure. I am very excited about our big family kitchen as cooking and messy play with kids is really important to me.

My Grandmother passed away on Thursday this week (just 4 days ago) and the emotional impact of that really hit me yesterday. She was a truly remarkable lady and a real friend of mine as well as being my Grandmother.  We will tell our children about her but it is deeply saddening to me that they will never get to know her and experience her uniquely positive outlook on life.   I'm hoping enough has rubbed off on me to be passed on.  It's strange how now I always consider the impact of these things on the future as well as the present. I guess I am really starting to emotionally prepare myself for having a child.

So, we are off and out on Saturday for around three months whilst our wee bungalow is knocked down and remodelled into something much more exciting.  The most exciting bit being the third bedroom which will be home to our new addition when they arrive.  For now it will just be built as a white, blank canvas ready for us to cover with wall stickers, pictures and mobiles when they arrive (although not too much...don't want them to be overstimulated!).  I'm getting ahead of myself slightly! 

So our social worker hasn't called yet but I gather that Christmas is quite a crazy time of year for children's social workers (horrible thought) so we are just keeping patient and waiting our turn.  I guess soon our home visits will start in earnest.  Luckily we have a lovely holiday cottage to rent whilst we are homeless so the outlook for the next three months isn't too bleak.  At one point we were thinking about living in and camping in our own home...I'm glad we rethought that one as I'm not sure I could cope with that right now.

So I'm starting 2012 in a rather emotionally fragile and tired state, although I know that my Grandma was excited about all the plans we had for the future and that definitely helps.  As do all my lovely friends and family.  My friend has been sending me jolly pictures of the twins (the ones we held the baby shower for) and they are just adorable.  You just can't be sad when looking at those lovely little faces!

I hope 2012 is good to everyone! X