Cat amongst the pigeons…

We may have a donor…

I’m confused now. Do I trust them to be a donor for us and possibly get let down (again), or do we continue down the already stalled adoption route?

What would you do?

We have 4 months to try with a donor I guess… Or do we focus on the adoption? The preparation for adoption pretty much the same that we’d want to do for having a child with a donor…

 

Oh god I don’t know…

 

This would spin everything around.

Adoption: Alice is the one off work on “maternity” and I remain at work. Which I will admit hurts and I feel like I’ll miss so much.

Donor: I’d be the one to carry the child and go on maternity as Alice couldn’t (or rather wouldn’t because of various reasons) carry the child.

 

Adoption: Our lives are going to be scrutinised to the finest detail and we may not pass their requirements. However, we’d get to give a second chance to a child that really needs it.

Donor: We could have future issues with the donor’s partner if they don’t like it. It’s a lot to ask of someone. After all the heart ache of people letting us down, we’ve stopped asking and closed that door. Now it’s potentially open again. We could experience various issues with having our own child as there’s no guarantees in any situation and I know that having a child over 30 is always going to be more risky. Also Alice has always worried about not feeling as connected to the child or like a third wheel between me, her and the donor. At least in this case, the donor isn’t actually connected to us personally. He’s a work colleague for Al.

 

All I know is I want to be a Mum and it’s been a desperate gap in my life for a long time.

 

I have this app that lets me know what I was blabbering on about 1 year ago, 2 years ago etc and 2 years ago almost to the day as I write this, I posted on Tumblr about it:

“My life feels like it will mean nothing until I have kids. There’s a massive hole where my kids should be.” – Thursday August 4th 2011.

My friend replied to me saying:

“You will have them eventually, you deserve them and you and Al will be the best mams ever! Just kind of be patient and I know that’s hard and sucky but you will get there! I wish I could help xxx love you”

 

That woman is now one of the best mums I know, and has a beautiful girl that spurred me on to look at adoption further.

I saw her baby and knew that if someone told me I was to take over and look after that little girl for the rest of my life, I would love her as if she was my own without question. It really made me rethink about what family really is.

But would I always wonder what it would be like to be a mum through it all, from pregnancy to birth onwards??

I know I appear impatient but I’ve wanted to be a Mum for as long as I can remember and I feel like 32 years is too long.

 

Either way I know we’re getting ever closer, but now I’m confused about what to do.

I feel like I left the donor option behind me forever. I made a conscious decision to write that option off and follow the adoption route. After being so hurt in the past by people letting us down at the last minute, this feels like we’re picking at a scar that’s not fully healed.

 

It may even be irrelevant as he wants to ask his girlfriend. I know I’d say no if I was her, but I’m aware that I can be selfish in that respect.

Maybe she’s a better person than me.

 

I dunno…

Please help.

He has your… well, nothing

Genetics have never done either me or Al any favours… I do wish they would have her eyes, but as we’re adopting it’s not likely!! As this blog says, family is much more than a genetic link. In the same way a house can, with love, become a home.

Two Female Parents

The other day as I pushed the boys around a shop, a stranger stopped me. How cute, she exclaimed (about the twins, not me), and doesn’t that one look like you! She pointed at A. And I resisted the urge to say that no, actually he doesn’t.

A doesn’t have my mouth or nose or ears. His eyes, while the same colour as mine, are a completely different shape. In short, he has none of my physical features (although I’m picking up a strong shared tendency to stubbornness). And there is no reason why he should. Genetically, the boys are my partner’s. A and R both look like her.

When we first discussed the options for having kids, it was clear that for many reasons it made sense to use my partner’s eggs. After a little thought I was happy to say that the fact that I would have no…

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Panel

Reading this has given me a bit more strength… Congratulations! xx

willynilly

image (2)So the day came – and we were ready. We had spent months preparing for this moment – read many books, written lots of notes and fake-interviewed each other countless times. We were both so nervous and running on adrenalin since we hadn’t been able to get much sleep that week. We knew this would be the most important day of our life to date, there was just so much riding on it. Because of the speed of our process and the social worker’s belief in the match that had come up, we were doing both adoption approval and match approval in one day – two panels for the price of one.

Despite all our team’s protestations that the panel were ‘really nice’ and we shouldn’t get too worried, when we asked about dress code, we were told in no uncertain terms to be formal. Out came the job interview…

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Stumbling blocks…

We had a phone call from the adoption agency. It wasn’t great news, but it wasn’t bad news either I guess.

I’ll have to explain, we’re a bit different to other couples and things are a bit more difficult.

A few years ago, April 2010 to be precise, we had to collect some blood test results for Alice. Alice’s family has a troubled past with genetics and in particular, the BRCA2 gene. Recently the BRCA1 gene has been in the papers courtesy of Angelina Jolie and the preventative surgery she opted for.

Well, to cut a long story short, Alice has the BRCA2 gene. If you’re so inclined, you can read the wikipedia entry about it here. She’s going to have the surgery at some point in the future, but we’re not sure when they’ll be able to do it and understandably, the adoption people need to know when too.

I can understand that.

Love Makes a Family

Love Makes a Family

Also they want us to prove we’re not smoking so we’ve got to go to the doctors and get reports done. Fair enough.

Also our nice new house is well, basically too new… We need to have been in there for longer. Which is something that worries me in any case as our landlady is a bit flighty… We’ve got a tenancy review in December so I’m hoping we’ll be able to extend the tenancy for a while longer. Also we’re going to put ourselves on the council list so that if we can, we’ll be able to get something more stable.

They also want to speak to any significant previous partners. Which is not good news for me, needless to say the person I was with before Alice could hold quite the grudge. Hopefully they’ll take a statement from a mutual friend instead.

Little hands

Little hands

Oh and then there’s me having been a bit crazy in my early twenties. Nothing major, I was just a bit messed up and suffered from thinking the whole world was out to get me, when in reality it really isn’t. I think I had a hard time coming out and not living up to what I thought my parents expected of me. In reality they wanted me to be happy, it just took me a while to figure that out and basically stop being a brat.

It’s added an extra 5 months to the whole process which initially knocked me for six. I’m gutted as we were so excited thinking that we would have a new addition to the family within the space of a year, and now that has been extended again.

We’re so desperate to have a family and share our lives with another little one (or two) that it feels like its slipping away from us again. It’s not and it’ll all be worth it, but we started to let ourselves believe things were really happening and happening quickly too.

I broke down on the phone to the woman, which was awful. She explained that it isn’t a no, it isn’t even necessarily an issue, but there are things that we need to get in order before they can consider us.

So we’ve got some work to do now…

Bring it on, we can do it.

We Can Do It!

We Can Do It!

The meeting

Ok so we arrived at the Stadium of light and were lead upstairs to one of the meeting rooms.

Stinking hot weather and even hotter in the room…

There was a mixed bag of people waiting there some young, some older and then there was us.

 

We sat down and went through a basic introduction of the processes and what is likely to happen for both people interested in Fostering as well as adoption.

 

We were informed about financial benefits and fall backs as well as some advice about the mental drain that the situation could cause.

 

It was absolutely fantastic, very clear and well delivered. They covered nearly all bases to the point that no one could think of any questions!

We were then split into 2 groups, the people interested in Fostering and the people interested in Adoption.

We had 2 adoption officers with us as well as 2 adoption officers from Barnados. There was also one of Sunderland Council’s Adopters there to tell us a little about her experience.

We listened to the officers from Barnados as they’ve introduced a new scheme called concurrent parenting. You basically have the child from day one and work alongside their birth family. This is incase there is a chance to rehome the child with their birth family. There is only a small chance of them returning, but it’s almost liked shared parenting. There’s much more to it and I’m probably not being fair to the system, but I remember thinking that it would take someone stronger than me to do that as I couldn’t take in and care for the baby and worry that I would never be able to adopt them. Selfish I know, but I’ve got to be honest.

They then let the lady talk about her experience of adoption. It was really interesting and her anecdotes of the child were extremely endearing.

She was looking for a child through adoption and had a son already who was 11. They were potentially looking for a boy of school age, but their adoption officer went on a hunch and offered them this beautiful little girl who was only 3. She ended up being a perfect match for the family as the son was old enough to be finding his own feet and making important moves forward into his teens. They hadn’t planned on a girl, but the officer thought that there was a desire for a girl in the house, but they hadn’t really thought about it!

Not long after they officially took the little girl home they were due to go away to visit the lady’s parents for their wedding anniversary and they were faced with explaining that the whole family was going away.

The little girl had been moved around quite a few times and they were unsure as to whether or not she would form an attachment, let alone deal with a break away so soon after being settled.

They planned out how to go about it and decided to show the little girl how they were packing the bag. They laid out all of the clothes for the weekend for everyone.

Everyone had exactly the same amount of clothing. 2 pairs of underwear, 2 pairs of socks, 2 tops etc… She explained to the little girl they all had the same amount of clothes so they had to come back and all come back together.

It was such a simple thing, but it was vital to the stability of the child. She needed to know she was in her forever home and going away didn’t mean they weren’t coming back.

 

I guess you have to remember how much these kids have been through the mill. They may not have physically obviously injuries, but that doesn’t mean they’re not emotionally scarred.

 

Listening to this woman just made me more certain that we can do this. It’s not about just loving and cuddles, although they’re important of course, it’s the extra steps you have to be prepared to take to ensure the child trusts you and what you are telling them.

 

I want to be a mum and this feels like one of the most amazingly rewarding ways to do it. Heaven knows I’ve needed a second chance (or 4) in my life, and this is our chance to give a child a second chance at a loving and secure home.

 

Mad day…

Ok, so we’ve gone for it now…

We went to the introduction meeting.

It was more like a meet and greet with a bit of a question and answer set up.

I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous. Alice was too. She went into babble and fiddle mode!

We had downloaded all the information available and had filled our form out. There was no need to do it before the presentation evening but we were fairly sure this was what we wanted!

Just incase you’re reading this and wonder what it’s like to attend one of these, I’ll try and explain it in the next post properly…

We were attending the “event” shall we say, at the beautiful stadium of light in Sunderland. Now, as a Sunderland supporter, this was already awesome, but anyhoo…

I’d been at work all day, strange day where nothing goes right kinda day… It’s totally irrelevant, but I want to set the scene before the next post!

Woke up at 6.22am precisely. This sounds good and prepared but no. At 6.22 I’d expect to be alone in bed as Alice should be just about to arrive at work. Needless to say sleeping beauty was still lying there next to me! I quickly woke her up and had to rush her into the city to get to work in time. Then after talking about it in the car, we decided it would be best if she kept the house key so she could get home easily after work. One key is currently with her Mum so she can get in to let he woofs out.

All fine and dandy until I realised that I didn’t have a key to get back in after dropping her off. Thankfully Andy was still home and I was able to steal the key back to get in… Then an hour later after sorting myself out for work, I left and headed to the park and ride to take me into Durham.

I arrived with plenty of time and got on the bus with my colleague. Chatting away and I realised I’d left my phone in its holder on the dashboard, basically as an open invitation to smash and grab… The car park is pretty good and they have good security, but even so I knew it would be playing on my mind. I decided to stay on the bus and wait for it to turn around in the city centre and head back up to where I was parked.

Time to kill, what do you do? Social media of course! Out comes the iPad and I’m merrily scrolling away, when I look up from the page I noticed we aren’t heading back to the park and ride I’m parked at, but the one the other side of Durham… No choice but to sit and wait until it had done the full loop before it started heading back to the car.

Arrived in a fluster to the office to more things going wrong of course…

Basically today was no looking right at all!

Then I was due to meet a friend to check the car out after work and he was a no show.

I had planned to quickly change at his garage too so I could be a bit more presentable after the heat all day in the office, but no luck there either and time was running short for me to get across Sunderland to the stadium.

Traffic was bareable and it helped that I spent most of it behind this one bus heading to Shields that had a huge adoption advert on the back of it… Then the radio seemed to know what songs to play as well. I’d hastily done my makeup in the car mirror and I was close to losing it as emotions were definitely running high!

I arrived and found some ladies who worked for the events team at the stadium. All I wanted to know was if it was ok to park where I had and they were convinced there was no event on… Cue further confusion!

Thankfully it all got sorted and I quickly shuffled around in the back seat of the car and changed. Classy stuff I must say. Thankfully the windows are slightly tinted in the boot so my modesty was preserved. I hope…

What a daft series of events on a hot day in July.

But, out of chaos comes the calm… 🙂

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Plodding on…

So we've made further steps onwards. We spoke to my Mum and Dad and told them we were going through the adoption process.

I don't know why I was nervous, but I was!

We talk a lot over FaceTime as they're over in Switzerland working during the summer. They never got the hang of retirement, so this helps keep them busy and earn some extra cash. Anyhoo, we were chatting and they asked us if there was anything new to report, to which I replied, “yeah, we've kinda taken a leap in a new direction.” My Dad, who never misses a trick said, “adoption?”

I guess it's written all over us!!

They're really supportive and we are very lucky. Al's Mum Rach, and step dad Andy are awesome too.

Mums decided already she's going to be a “Nana”. I like that as her mum was my nana, and I know she will be wonderful. Dad will no doubt end up being pops as that's what we call him already and I can see it sticking! Rach is “Nan” or “Nanny” and Andy, well I guess we will see. I think I can see him as a Grandpa… As for Alice's dad, god knows. All that matters on that side is that Al's half sister Holly will be an Aunty, and she's super excited! 13, going on 30 that kid though…

The big question I guess is what do we get called??

I've never thought of it really as I've always just seen myself as “Mum”. Alice has said she will be mummy, but I'm thinking she will end up as Mama!

It's nice to know we will still get time off for statutory adoption leave, which will no doubt be Alice and I'll take paternity. Which sounds weird to say the least… I wish I could have more time, but I'll be able to use some holidays too so it'll be good to be around for a while full time.

The next step is entering into Stage one…

More to follow soon!!