Childless Mothers Day

7 Mar

There is no escaping the fact that this Sunday in Mothers Day here in the UK. Walk along any High Street or through any shopping centre and you’ll see the displays to remind you. Of course I’ve sent my Mum a card, and organised the card from my husband to his Mum, but it would be nice not to be reminded that this is yet another Mothers Day without a little one in the next room.

We’re not one of those couples who has had to deal with years of not getting pregnant, and not knowing why, miscarriages and failed IVF. I’ve known for a long time that biological children were never really on the cards for me. But every time Mothers Day comes along, it’s ever so slightly bitter sweet.

Before getting married it wasn’t so bad, no one ever commented on my childless state. After marriage it’s a whole different minefield. Thankfully a majority of our family not only knows the situation for us but are extremely tactful. Some, not so much! Not specifically around Mothers Day, but mother/parenthood in general.

Some of my favourites include; 

You know when you’ve adopted you’ll just fall pregnant?

Nope, sorry, not going to happen. I sometimes wonder if people think that when a couple start to go through adoption they stop being intimate with each other. But when the little one arrives they start again and bada bing there’s a cupcake in the oven. Think about the friends and family you know who’ve had kids, naturally or otherwise. How many of them do you think have more sex after kids?

When you’re a mum you’ll understand.

Ouch! Thanks for that. I know this comment wasn’t directed at me in a negative way but it still pokes at a raw nerve. It’s not as if I think a child is like a tamagotchi. I’m fully aware of how to look after a child. I have godchildren, nieces and nephews who I look after. Just because I’m not their mum doesn’t mean I don’t know how to mother them. I have in-fact perfected the ‘mummy’ voice, as my 5 year old nephew will testify to.

Why don’t/can’t you have kids, if you don’t mind me asking?

See the thing is I don’t mind explaining why we are choosing adoption, the medical reasons etc. But there is such thing as a time and a place. If you know someone who is going through infertility issues or adoption and you’re curious, find a private moment to ask this question. I, like most women, don’t want to air my laundry (clean or otherwise) at work or in any public place. If you really want to less the glamorous reasons you are welcome for a coffee and cake at my house.

Said after commenting about feeling sick in the morning – Oh, are you pregnant?

Nope I’m not. I was just feeling sick. I didn’t realise that feeling crappy in the morning was the preserve of pregnant women and students.

 

The final one is my favourite even though it’s only been said once.

Who is the issue, you or your husband?

The person who asked this was nearly told I married a woman so that was the issue. But I reeled in my sarcastic side to say it was me, but as some of my husbands family had been adopted it was more natural for us and our family. This was a person I had known when I was younger but hadn’t spoken to for a long time. This conversation reminded why that was so. Sometimes Facebook is a pain in the rear!

I’m sincerely hoping that by the time Mothers Day comes around next year I will be writing about how my little one has brought me a card and flowers, and that hubby had to get up so I could have a lay in.

 

Then Mothers Day will be a good day…

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Adoption-Baby Brain….

4 Mar

You often hear pregnant women, or new mums, talking about having baby brains. Normally when they’ve done something silly, or forgotten something important. I’ve now decided that it’s possible to have an adoption-baby brain.

Why, you may ask…

I managed to lock myself out of the house today. In my rush to leave this morning it never registered that I would need my keys to get back into my house while hubby was at work! After getting a lift home from my friend/boss, I found myself outside my home without keys to get in. Thankfully I have lovely neighbours so I sat in theirs for a little while, waiting for hubby to come home.

It’s not the first daft thing I’ve done recently. I’ve left the oven on with nothing in, nearly flooded the kitchen and left my works keys in the store so I could get in to open the following day. I’m going to start blaming my adoption-baby brain.

I can’t be the only one though! The whole adoption process is so stressful and emotional it does have an affect on every aspect of potential parents lives. Our weekends are currently crammed with trying to finish off the DIY projects around the house so we don’t have to worry while we’re doing the home study. If I’m not thinking about those things, it’s thinking about what life will be like with a little one and the process involved in bringing them home.

In the meanwhile, I will having a spare key cut to give to my neighbours in case of emergencies…

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The Importance of Hands

24 Feb

I’m quite a tactile person. Friends and family are more likely to be greeted with a hug then a mere hand shake from me. I like holding my husbands hand and showing affection to him in public. I know some people don’t like PDAs or being touched but that’s who I am. I’m a hugger and proud!

ImageImageOne of the exercises we completed during our prep course was to address those children for whom physical contact was an issue. We had to massage baby lotion into each others hand, cover it in talc and press onto black paper. The resulting pictures I will treasure for a long time. The point of the exercise was to turn physical contact from something to be feared or worried about, to something fun and relaxed.

What was amazing to me as we completed the exercise, was glancing around to room and seeing the mix of reactions. A few people were freaked out by allowing someone else to put lotion on their hands, or were generally bemused by the whole exercise. It made me wonder for a moment if my tactile nature was something that would be an issue for an adopted child.

I always pictured myself sharing big bear hugs with my child, or tickling them profusely just like my parents always did to use. Not a weekend goes by that dearest husband and I have descended into the madness of a tickle fight. For me, it’s a normal part of our crazy little family. It worried me that for a child who had never come across that kind of affection, they wouldn’t be able to settle into our family. Thankfully another exercise elevated my fears. We asked to to do a Family Finding exercise, where we had a biography of a Looked After Child and had to find the best family match out of three families. One of the points we were asked to consider was the fact that the child loved cuddles and adult attention. One of the family bios specifically said they were reserved in their physical affection to each other whereas the other two families both had it written that they loved to cuddle.

Reading those bios gave me a happy glow, but also made me understand the importance of getting our home study right. Whilst the fear regarding the home study and social worker visited is that they will be intrusive, I finally understand why.  We need a child who wants cuddles and can deal with the affection they will get on a daily basis.

Even though they say love isn’t enough, it’s a start…

The First Day…

19 Feb

Yesterday was our first full day at our Adoption Preparation Workshop. And what a day it was! I’m never felt so bombarded with information or overealmed with emotions in just one day before. Thank goodness for husbands!

Sometimes I’m a nagging wife and I know I regularly drive my poor husband round the bend. We have our tiffs like anyone else, normally about stupid things that the next day don’t matter so much. But yesterday was one of those days in our lives when I’m so thankful he’s mine.

For potential adoptive fathers the process is very strange. When a couple have a baby naturally the fathers input happens at the very beginning and then he has a few months before baby arrives and his input it required again. Though fathers may attend hospital appointments and birthing classes, in reality he’s there to be emotionally supportive. At no point is he expected to endure labour pains or sore breasts.

Adoptive fathers have to be involved 100% from day one. Yesterday we were split into groups, separate from our partners. At one point I heard dearest husbands voice from across the room. He wasn’t being loud, I could just hear him talking in the group. For a man who is quite happy being on his own, not saying a word, it was amazing.

It let me know if I’m to go through this crazy process, I wouldn’t want to be doing with with him…

Twas the night before…

17 Feb

Tomorrow is the start of our main prep course and the nerves are finally here. I think perhaps because the process has been so long for us it’s never seemed like it’s really happening. Leaving work this evening was the trigger I think. Normally I take a week off and may not actually have anything planned. But this week we have something major planned!

Four days of learning as much as possible about ourselves, the process, the children and their backgrounds. The advice from Wednesday evenings meeting was to go in with an open mind. Currently we want to adopt a child under 3, no preference on gender, ethnic background either British/Eastern European and potentially open to a little one with some medical issues as long as they could live independently as adults.

I don’t know many birth parents who have to think about so many things when having children.

When you are planning to get pregnant do you think about the worst case scenarios?

What happens if your child is born disabled or becomes ill?

What could you cope with and what would be too much?

How would your extending family deal with your little one needing just a little more care?

The other issue is age. When a woman gets pregnant she knows the new baby will be exactly that. A brand new person who has no personality quirks, fears, mental or emotionally scars or baggage. That little person is perfect and it is only the experiences of their lives that change the perfection.

When we adopt, we will be bring a little person into our lives who may have already been through more in their short lives then most adults will have to face in a whole lifetime. We won’t be bringing in a new perfect little life into our family. Our little one will be a real person with a pre-defined personality, likes and dislikes and a potentially heart breaking back story. That is the same for all adopted children whether they are 10 months old or 10 years old. And whilst we hope that our little one will be a young infant, the reality is they are more likely to be 2 years old and not so new a perfect any more.

I really hope our family can cope with the big changes bringing an adopted little person will have. Knowing them I have faith that they will more than cope, they will raise to the challenge… Here’s hoping we can too…

Blackberry is now live!

14 Feb

I’ve just added the blog to my blackberry so I can post on the go!

Introduction Evening

14 Feb

Happy Valentines blog!

Last night we attended our first official adoption related meeting. The local authority we’re using holds an evening before the main prep course so everyone can meet first. It was quite good, with the usual ice breaker game and introductions.

I was a little surprised that out of a group of 19 adopters there was only one single parent and no gay couples at all. All the couples were white married/cohabiting heterosexual couples. I don’t know why but I was expecting more of a mix. With every you hear about LGBT couples/individuals being encouraged to adopt, I expected them to be represented on our group.

I think I may have been the youngest in the room but that didn’t shock me at all. What did surprise (and worry me a little) were the age groups people were looking at. All 0-4 except one couple who were looking at school aged children. The first thing you read when looking into adoption is don’t except to get a small baby as very few are placed for adoption nowadays. It worries me in the sense that all these other couples are potentially looking for the same child you are, and if they are how many other potential parents and looking at the age group. Then you start to look at how many under 1s are placed for adoption per year and it’s not that many. Most children pre-school age who are adopted at 2-4 years old when placement starts. I hope our family is ready for the fact that we’re more likely to have a small person running around than a tiny baby laying in a cot.

I know we are…