Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Luverly Jubberly!!

One of the things I love most about being a parent is the funny things that Katie does each day.  Every day she uses a new word or phrase and does something that makes me laugh.  Today she is saying "Luverly Jubberly".  She got this from me.  I said it in the bath this morning and she has been repeating it ever since.  It's so cute and hilarious to hear her saying it.  She also love blowing bubbles.  She will blow them for hours! We were in the garden for 2 hours yesterday blowing bubbles.  We ended up doing it in shifts so that I could get some housework done. One of the sweetest things she says is "we do it a-gether".  This obviously means "together"  It's so sweet.  She looks at me with these beautiful eyes and smiles at me.  She often says it about having a bath or blowing bubbles and it's clear she means that it is me and her together.

We are fast becoming partners in crime.  This brings wonderful things and also means that any temper tantrums are directed my way.  I am delighted that she feels comfortable enough with me to just be herself.  She is a total joy to take out.  We have been shopping today in the main town and she held onto the pushchair when she walked and behaved beautifully.  She was rewarded with a drive on the pink bus near the pay ticket.  Yes, I hear all those parents now cry, I am setting myself up to have to let her ride every time.  We also reward with lots of huggles and it is lovely to see her enjoying herself so much.  She is a very sociable young lady and loves to wave at everyone and say hello.  It's so sweet and seems to brighten people up wherever we go.  Funnily enough I used to do the same thing when I was the same age.  She sings to herself all the time as well.  I also used to do the same thing and used to sing to people on the bus.  How embarrassing for my parents!! LOL  It doesn't bother me.  I think she is lovely!

It's not all been plain sailing so far.  Katie is a toddler so the bets are always off as to how she might react.  Like most toddlers she likes her own way about things and sometimes we disagree on whose way it will be done.  I said before we brought her home that I pitied her having a Taurean for a mum!  I can out-stubborn any toddler.  Obviously I am picking my battles though.  She is still getting over seeing Grandma and has so many changes going on that giving her a bit of latitude, without letting her get away with too much, seems to be working quite well.  Yesterday she spontaneously came and kissed my arm.  She said to me as she was doing it "I give mummy a kiss".  It was the first time she had voluntarily come and kissed me.  What a wonderful moment.  I gave her a huge beaming smile and a big Thank You!!!

My little pip-squeak is supposed to be having her lunchtime nap at the moment and is hurling her toys out of the cot in play.  Time to intervene I think.......

Saturday, 27 March 2010

An emotional day.....

Yesterday was a difficult day.  Grandma and Grandad came to deliver all Katie's clothes and toys - wow what a lot of toys we now have!!!  I am just sorting out all her clothes.  I'm delighted we now have more trousers and tops in her current size because we have been spending a lot of money building up her wardrobe in the meantime.  Katie was delighted to know that they were going to be visiting and was quite excited.  She was mostly excited about Grandma.  She was also delighted to see the baby that they are also fostering.  He is a real sweetie.  Katie was excited to see all her toys and the presents that Grandma and Grandad had brought with them.

We planned to go for a meal at a local pub to ensure that Grandma and Grandad weren't leaving from our house to hopefully help cushion the blow a bit.  I said to Grandma that I would take Katie to the pub in my car a) to ensure she is clear that she is living with us and b) so we could leave the pub on our own.  Katie sobbed when she knew she wasn't going in Grandma's car.  She tried to get in her usual place.  She calmed down as we were driving to the pub but wanted to know where they were all the way.  We had a lovely lunch which Grandma and Grandad paid for.

When it was time to leave Katie was very upset to know that Grandma and Grandad weren't coming with us.  I asked Grandma to put Katie in my car seat to ensure Katie could see that Grandma was happy and supportive of her being with us.  She sobbed her heart out for about 5 minutes in the car.  I drove off having said we would go to the park. I thought going to a place that it ours would help bond us.  She did calm down and we had a good time at the park.  She had missed her nap so it was a lot of emotion for her on less sleep than usual so I really felt for her.  We talked about seeing Grandma and she said to me "I cried".  We had a chat about how sad it was for her to see Grandma and that she was missing her.  I said to her that we would always be there for her and she could always say anything she wanted to us.  I'm not sure how much she would have taken on board but I really think she understands the general idea.

Grandma sent some pictures through via email this morning.  I let her see them and she wanted to see them over and over again.  We've put on of them on our digital frame so she can see it.  We've decided that we won't visit Grandma's house next week as we originally planned because we feel it's too soon for her.  I have said to Grandma that we will meet regularly at a neutral place though until Katie settles.

I found it very difficult yesterday.  Watching my daughter be that upset and knowing that she will have to feel that pain and grief is horrible.  Yesterday really brought home to me that even some of the great things about adoption i.e. having wonderful foster parents can bring lots of sadness to a little girl.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!

I never used to mind rainy days.  They were days for catching up on chores and watching films with a cup of tea and a yummy cake.  If I was working then it didn't matter because I was inside in the dry and I was busy doing my job.  How much my perception has changed in one week!  Rain with a toddler - not great fun at all!!  Toddlers needs to run and climb and generally wear themselves out.  I am learning that this is a key point.  Wear them out so they sleep!!  It's much harder to wear them out when it's raining - unless you go to one of the indoor play parks.  We've been to our local one twice in just over a week!  I've really felt for my little girl today.  She's had a pretty rubbish morning all things considered.  Not only was she unable to go to her favourite park and play on her favourite swing because it was raining, she has had to put up with the man fitting blinds for much of the morning and Mummy not being able to play for the whole time.  Add this to the fact that she was awake with the dawn chorus this morning (hence the new blinds which are blackout blinds) and she's not been in the best humour about it all.  She's coped really well considering she must be really tired but it's fair to say that we've had a few falling outs this morning.  She smacked me today so I put her on her chair for a moment and she cried her little heart out and asked for Grandma.  It was so sad and it broke my heart.  We had a really long hug whilst she sobbed and I told her I understood she was missing Grandma and that it must be so difficult for her.  I explained again that she was living with Mummy and Daddy now and I reassured her that we love her so much and that we will help her with everything.  I think she understood me.  She is a bright little thing emotionally I think.  She seemed to enjoy the cuddle and it is reassuring that she is happy to cuddle me when she is upset and that I am able to comfort her.  She did have an early lunch and is now sound asleep though I should add!!  I'm feeling quite tired myself today. I was hoping to use nap time for a little sit down but I am heading off to make a stew now!

We had a meeting with Katie's Social Worker yesterday and she is delighted at how well it's all going.  She is amazed at how well Katie has settled in.  I do wonder though whether Katie is really only now starting to realise that she doesn't live with Grandma anymore.  Hopefully Grandma will be well enough to bring all Katie's clothes and toys tomorrow.  I don't really want to have to tell Katie that Grandma isn't coming again.  I'm not going to tell her that she's coming this time until I know it's definitely happening.  It will be interesting to see how that goes tomorrow and whether Katie is upset by seeing Grandma.  Wish us luck!!

One really good thing was that we managed to wash Katie's hair without her screaming today.  I have managed to find a way to do it and make it fun!!  Phew!

Monday, 22 March 2010

A song and a party...

I'm not sure if I have already mentioned about my special song.  I have been listening to Michael Buble's "Just Haven't Met You Yet" for the past few months.  The words have become very special and I listened to it in the car dreaming of the day I would meet the child that was going to become mine.  When Katie and I first went out in my car I put the song on the CD player and turned to her and told her what a special song it was and why.  I told her that I listened to it while I was dreaming about her.  I told her it was Mummy's song and now it was Katie and Mummy's song.  She listened and then started playing with her toy phone.  So off we drove and I was listening to the song and driving into town.  The song ended and went on to the next track.  A little voice peeped up from the back of the car "again Mummy".  I asked her if she meant the song and she said "Yes Mummy and Katie's song".  I put it on again. Every time the song ended she asked for it again.  Several days on we still haven't made it any further than that track.  Daddy was in the car yesterday and now it is Daddy; Mummy and Katie's song.  On the first day I had tears in my eyes whilst I was driving.  I listened to the words and realised how much they now meant to me and how much of a promise I was making to her for the rest of her life.

Life is settling down into some sort of normality now.  I am adapting to eating at different times to fit around Katie's routine and am losing a few more pounds as a result. That won't do me any harm.  I need to find some time to send out thank you cards to the people who have sent gifts and cards. I will get there soon I know.

Katie and I are going to try swimming this week.  I've never taken a small child swimming before so that will be interesting.  Grandma is finally well and will be visiting tomorrow with Grandad and bringing all Katie's clothes and toys.  We have weekly review meetings with the social workers so that adds to our week as well.  I want to try to have a quieter week and just potter about and try and get our lives on track.

Yesterday Katie met lots of new friends at a special friend's charity Easter Egg Hunt.  She had met the birthday boy in the morning and loved having birthday cake.  We decided not to join them for lunch to ensure Katie had a good sleep and could cope with everything in the afternoon.  When we arrived at the hall a balloon popped loudly and Katie became hysterical.  She hates balloons popping.  We went outside to calm her down again and I wondered whether we might have to leave.  She sorted herself out though and we went in and met our host.  She loved seeing all the children but seemed to feel better with just a few at a time so we popped outside every now and again so she felt safe.  She shouted bye bye to several new friends and we will see them all again soon.  Today we are going off to meet another friend who is the same age for the first time and she is really excited.  So excited in fact that she is struggling to have her afternoon nap.  I have just been in to get her to lie down again and go "nite nites".  She is finally quiet and has stopped chatting to her toys.  I suspect that now she'll sleep really deeply and I'll struggle to wake her up!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

It feels like she's been here for ages....

I realised this morning, when I was counting on my fingers, that Katie has only been living here since Monday.  6 days.  It is only just over 2 weeks since we first met her.  It feels so much longer.  The days are blurring into each other now and I am finding it harder to find specific things to write for this blog, and I promised no nappy talk!  Life has changed beyond all recognition yet I am the least stressed I have been in years.  The only downside is that Daddy's work is causing him some difficulties and is needing to work a bit more than we planned to get the year end sorted out.  I can't say I'm overly happy about it because we have waited 15 years to become parents.  I don't think he is happy about it either but hopefully it won't last too much longer and we can get down to family life.  I am still getting used to a new routine and I think that will take some time.  It will take time to work out what Katie likes.  We are getting better with food and have been given some other ideas to try out with her.  One of the really interesting things has been the smell of her.  We were told to mirror the washing powder and fabric conditioner of Grandma. This was easy enough.  We already used the same washing powder and the same brand of conditioner - just a different scent.  Now we use the same smells and the idea was to help her settle down and have familiar smells.  For me, the same things has happened.  It's the Katie smell.  It's the smell that's bonded us. At the moment I can't imagine going back to my old conditioner.

Have been having a bit of a worry with Katie the past few days because she likes being spun around but both yesterday and today she has suddenly gone very red in the face and quite rigid and then seems very scared.  She comes for a "huggle" and a little cry and then it is all forgotten.  She doesn't lose consciousness so it doesn't feel like a fit of some kind.  I think I will need to speak to the doctor about it though just to reassure myself.  Hopefully it's just a little head rush making her feel really dizzy and she isn't old enough yet to know when it's coming.  She does like to throw her head back which is probably not helping. It scares her though and I am annoyed with myself for allowing her to spin too much at the indoor play park this morning. I have a thrill seeker for a daughter which for a cautious Taurean is hard to understand.  I bought her a cup which says "Little Miss Daredevil".  I have a feeling that we will need to find ways for her to channel this part of her character as time goes by.

On the upside, we had a lovely lie-in this morning because Katie didn't wake up until 8:30am.  Bliss!!  She is currently supposedly down for her afternoon nap but was singing to herself for an hour.  I was told that she does this every so often so haven't been to get her up.  She was singing "Happy Birthday" to herself just a moment ago although all seems quiet now.  She is very excited because it is a friend's son's birthday tomorrow. He will be 9 years old and we are seeing him for a birthday lunch followed by an Easter Egg hunt.  She is desperate for birthday cake so I have organised that I will have a cake for after lunch tomorrow so we can blow out the candles and she can have her birthday cake.

I am getting pretty good at understanding Katie's speech now but she did throw me for about 2 days with a word that I just couldn't get.  It sounded like "fleecies".  We have sat down and I've been trying to work out what the word was.  It's been funny, I keep showing her things and asking if that is "fleecies" and she says no. I asked for a little divine intervention to help me work it out and the answer came yesterday afternoon.  It is "sweeties".  Katie opened my bag and pulled out a packet of Lockets and said "fleecies".  Aaaaah - the penny finally dropped.  She is used to being given sweets with Grandma but I'm not so keen on lots of sugary sweets because of her teeth.  I don't mind chocolate but not lots of sweets that she will keep in her mouth for a long time.  We've decided to try some candy coated chocolate, like Smarties and also some yoghurt covered raisins to see if this appeases her.

Katie is going to be meeting Nana and Pops for the first time this afternoon. She recognises them from their picture now and understands that they are coming today.  She doesn't miss a trick my daughter, that much I am learning fast. 

Friday, 19 March 2010

We are family!

The good news today is that we have had our placement meeting and we are now officially Katie's prospective adopters!!  This means that we now share parental responsibility with the local authority and Katie's birth mother.  We will have weekly visits from Social Workers for the time being and have a Review Meeting scheduled for 7th April to see how it's all going.  Katie's Social Worker today said that Katie seems to have bonded so well with us.  We need to be careful how many people we introduce to her in a short space of time so we will respect that but also need to acknowledge that Katie is a very sociable little lady and needs children to play with.  We are finding that our digital picture frame is brilliant for introducing people to her.  I have loaded up pictures of the people she is going to meet and every time we go past the frame we see who's there.  She loves running up to see the pictures and often gets me to come and see.

Little Miss Pickle Pie is currently having a nap so I am now off for a sit down and a hot cup of tea!!! Yay!!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Shopping again and meeting new friends...

We are packing a lot into our days at the moment and little miss is tired.  She's still under the weather so I don't want to wear her out.  There are so many people for her to meet and she is being very sociable.

Well we went off to Mothercare yesterday and bought some clothes that finally fit.  She is sporting some extremely cute dungerees today.  She also came home with some bubbles to blow and a dolly car seat for Babba.  Daddy is dreading our shopping trips and the hit on the credit card!!  I indulged her by letting her walk into Mothercare.  It won't be something we'll do very often because she was like a kid in a sweet shop and we did buy some extra things because Mummy couldn't say no!!

Katie was delighted that her cousin came over for tea again yesterday and we bought him some bubbles to blow as well.  They both played in the garden together which was very sweet and ate all their dinner up together!

Katie had an early night (I'm so going to have to start doing the same) because she was so tired.  She had a lovely bath and did her first wee wee in the big toilet afterwards.  I was very proud.  She climbed into her cot at 7pm desperate to get to bed and get her nungies. She isn't sleeping as late at our house as she did at Grandma's  We're not yet sure why that is but I have noticed she will play in her cot for quite a long time without calling out.  We let her play there for about 30 minutes this morning before going in to say hello. It's so sweet listening to her chat to herself.

Aunty came over for a walk with her dog this morning.  Sam is a little Lasa Apso and is just fab.  Katie adores her Aunty and she loved walking the dog ("my doggy" she said).  She held the lead tightly all the way there and back and tried to chase Sam in the park before going on her favourite swings.  She met a new friend for lunch today when one of my friends came over with her 2 year old son, Finley.  Katie was a bit shy at first but they were soon playing together really well and enjoyed their dinners followed by chocolate buttons.  I had been warned about Katie eating chocolate and the fact that she would wear it instead of eating it but she ate it really well.  No mess at all!  We've decided that Katie and Finley will get married one day!

Katie's tummy is still pretty upset.  It might be the same bug that Grandma currently has so I'm hoping that passes soon.  It might also be all the change in her life at the moment.  She is smiling and chatty and happy but you do wonder what she is thinking and feeling and making of everything.  Oh I wish I could crawl into her head and see what's going on so that I know what to do to make everything ok for her.

I'm now off to do the ironing and am fondly remembering what a sit down was.  It's great though.  Wouldn't change it for the world.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Our second night and the Review Meeting

Last night sleeptime went well.  Katie was in bed nice and early - just after 7pm but woke up earlier today.  She was unusually awake from about 6:40am.  She woke herself up coughing so we laid in bed listening to her chatting to herself in her mirror.  It was great because this is what she does at Grandma's.  We let her chat for about 20 minutes before heading in to say hello.  We were due to go to Grandma's this morning at 10:30am for our Review Meeting and our official handover from Grandma.  It is an hour's drive to Grandma's so we were up and dressed nice and early today.  We had a call from our Social Worker to say that Grandma was poorly.  I had chatted to her last night so was aware that she wasn't well yesterday.  It was decided to move the meeting to our house instead.  Katie and I headed off to the park for a while because we had so much time to spare and I hoped that would mean she would have her nap quite early today because she'd be tired.

The Review Meeting went really well.  There were four Social Workers at the meeting.  They were delighted at how well it's all been going and how well Katie has settled in. Our Social Worker said you can never really tell with placements and she was surprised at how well it has gone considering how attached Katie was to Grandma and how long they originally thought it would take for her to settle with us. Our official placement date will be on Friday 19th March and Katie is now staying with us. We've got all the paperwork etc now.  Katie was very excited at everyone being at our house so we were very distracted trying to keep her occupied but it worked ok.  Katie's Social Worker will visit us on Friday to do the official handover then.

We are a bit short of clothes because we were supposed to be picking up all her clothes today and the ones I've bought are a bit big (dresses and skirts ok but trousers not) so we are heading off to Mothercare to get some more vests and a few smaller pairs of trousers to tide us over. We need a few woollies as well because I can barely keep up with the washing. We'll get her other clothes from Grandma soon though.

Bless her she was so tired today. She was up early and we were ready to head off to Grandma's so I took her to the park to wear her out a bit. She didn't do a dirty nappy yesterday so I was rewarded with the biggest mess I've ever seen in my life before lunch today!! She had an early lunch and was happy to go for a nap so we'll head off shopping in a few hours. She ran up to bed today - it was so funny!

Well I guess this is the start. We our now a family.  Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly from now on regarding the legal and official side of things.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Overnight!

I'm a bit late in writing today so you can guess that it's been a very busy day!  Katie stayed overnight last night and we've just put her to bed for our second night!  It's been busy and wonderful all rolled into one.

Katie was very happy to come to her new house yesterday and we brought a bag of vests etc but Grandma said Katie would like to wear some of the clothes that were in her wardrobe at her new house.  She waved bye bye to Grandma and was ready to go in her car seat.  We had lots of fun in the car on the drive down.  We have now established several new games that Katie plays with Mummy and Daddy. I am sure I will regret some of these games soon but for now they are fab.  We play "Mummy go sleep" so that Katie can wake me up.  Katie's other favourite game is "Mummy go sad" where Mummy has to pout and cry.  Mummy then does "Mummy happy".  Katie likes reading her Night Garden book in the car and also likes to play with her musical phone.

Katie was still a bit under the weather yesterday and Grandma had had several really bad nappies.  She's obviously run out for a while now because we've not had one dirty nappy today - just several wet ones.  She has been eating for England today though so I suspect it will  be all systems go tomorrow!  Enough talk of nappies, I promised I wouldn't be one of those mums who talked about nappies!!

My sister and nephew came over for tea last night and met Katie for the first time.  Katie loved them both.  My nephew is 5 years old and played quite nicely with Katie.  They bounced well on the trampoline and Katie played like a boy so my nephew was delighted.  Katie had lots of presents and loved her Upsy Daisy wooden toy that collapses when you press the button.

Last night at bedtime we had a bath and played with Katie's toys.  Katie went to bed after her bath without a protest at 7:00pm and slept until 8am this morning.  Mummy didn't sleep very well.  Every time Katie coughed in her sleep I woke up ready for a cry.  Bless her she slept on though and I was up and bathed before she woke up this morning!

Breakfast was a bit of a non-event.  Katie asked for Shreddies but didn't eat them.  She had a yoghurt instead and we then got dressed and managed to make it out of the house by 9:30am to go shopping for some new trainers.  Katie wore her new Upsy Daisy dress which was a present.  Katie had her feet measured and chose a pretty pink pair of trainers with flashing candles on them from Clarks.  She was so good for the lady in the shop and sat on her chair and put her feet out for them to be measured.  She is a 6F on her right leg and a 6.5F on her left.  She is pleased with her new trainers.  Mummy got a bit teary eyed when she bought Katie's first pair of shoes.  We then did a bit of general shopping and bought a birthday present for a certain young man's birthday on Sunday.  We went to Tesco and Katie helped me choose some things for her dinners.  We I was hoping she might actually eat them if we did this.  We also bought a little Iggle Piggle to keep Upsy Daisy company.  After shopping we went to our park and played on Katie's favourite swings.  She made friends with a little girl who was 18 months old.  She loves children.  I think we will need to make sure she sees lots of other children to play with.  We had our first main disagreement on the way back from the park when Katie wanted to play for longer in the car with her dollies in the car seat but Mummy decided after 10 minutes that it was time to go home.  We had some tears but they didn't last long and Mummy got Katie in the car seat and cheered her up again.

We went home for lunch and I did half a tin of Tom and Jerry pasta with sausages (Katie loves spagetti with sausages so I told her it was spagetti!! - naughty Mummy!).  She ate with real gusto and then asked for more so I had to cook the rest of the tin for her. She also ate some breadsticks which Mummy told her were crisps.  Oh how the lying works eh? LOL  She was covered in tomato sauce by the end of lunch but very happy.

She had a long nap today.  I decided to leave her a bit longer because she is just exhausted.  She was bright and ready after 2 hours and Daddy was home from work by then so we went to feed the ducks down the road at the pond.  It was a lovely walk and Katie's legs needed a rest in her pushchair.  We played for a while whilst Daddy cooked some dinner.  Katie had fishfingers and some smiley faces and a few more breadsticks followed by 2 yoghurts!!  Goodness!  We then had a bath and a play and then Katie had some milk and some grapes (and another 2 breadsticks) before Mummy called time and said it was bedtime.  She happily went to bed for her nunga nunga (dummies) at 7pm and is now sound asleep.

Tomorrow we have our review meeting at Grandma's house.  Katie has asked a few times where Grandma is and I've said that we will see her tomorrow.  She was happy with that.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Mothers Day.....

Mothers Day.  It's an emotive phrase.  For those of us who have experienced infertility and loss, Mothers Day becomes a day of sadness and sorrow.  Yesterday was my first Mothers Day as a mother to a living child.  I thought the day would be incredibly emotional yet oddly it wasn't.  I rather suspect that is because I am so tired that I can barely think straight and also because we are still in the introduction phase with Katie and she isn't living with us full time yet.  We did have a lovely day though.  Daddy and Katie gave me some flowers and a card.  Katie opened the card for me which was really sweet.  In many ways, it was a perfectly ordinary family day.  That is the key word for me: family.  That is what I have been striving for for so many years.  My little family.

When we picked Katie up from Grandma's yesterday it was a bit awkward.  Grandma's family were arriving to celebrate Mothers Day and Katie really wasn't so keen on leaving.  I can't say I blame her really.  We had to get creative and made a game of going to the car.  She happily waved Grandma goodbye at that point.  We left quite late and Katie was tired so we worked hard to keep her awake in the car because it was important that we managed another nap at our house in preparation for our first overnight tonight.  Poor little mite could barely walk straight after her lunch.  She was rather overtired and didn't want her nap.  "No, mummy, no" she tearfully cried to me.  I have watched Grandma manage Katie when she is tearful so was grateful that I knew how to manage her.  I told her that she was very tired and needed her nite nites so we could go and play at the park.  We said nite nite to the garden and the sky (through the skylight) and I reassured her that I would be here when she woke up and that she would have lovely dreams and a wonderful sleep.  I snuggled her down, played her teddy, and she was asleep before I got down the stairs.  Phew!!  We had decided that I would do sleep time for the moment because this is what Grandma usually does and we have noticed that when at home Katie is coming to me more.  When we are out and about she shares us very fairly.

We left her to sleep for about an hour and a half before seeing how she was doing.  She was laying quietly amusing herself in her bed.  She beamed at me when we went in to say hello.  We had a little cuddle and chat about her sleep and changed her nappy.  Then we went to the park.  Boy that girl loves her swing. She must have swung for over 30 minutes before eventually getting off.  We made friends with a 7 year old boy at the park who had a little toy puppy. Katie loved the puppy so the boy very kindly let her play with him.  He was so lovely.

We had an interesting circular conversation with Katie whilst on the swing.  She had heard a baby crying and then she noticed that the baby's parents took him away somewhere.  She said "baby crying" and we acknowledged that he was.  She noticed he had gone and said "baby gone".  So we agreed that yet he had gone and asked her where she thought he had gone.  She decided he had gone home with his mummy and daddy so we asked her what the baby's mummy and daddy would do when they got home.  We decided that baby was having a bottle and his pooey nappy changed and then going to bed.  We made a game of the pooey nappy bit and she was giggling.  She then said again about the baby crying and we repeated the conversation.  She then asked again, and again, and again.  I think we had the same conversation about 25 times.  I think she was trying to understand the relationship between the baby and the baby's mummy and daddy and trying to understand her own situation.  It was fascinating and emotional.  What is she thinking?  What sense is she making of what is happening to her at the moment?

When we said it was time to leave the park and go back to Grandma's house Katie didn't want to go.  She wanted to stay with us at our house and she delayed our departure by wanting to go around the house to look everywhere and play with her toys.  We felt that we could have probably managed an overnight last night because she seemed happy to stay.  Once we were in the car and part of the way home she focused on the fact that we were seeing Grandma and was keen to return there.  All Grandma's grandchildren were at the house when we arrived so our little girl bombed off to play.  She gave us a kiss goodbye when we left but her mind was elsewhere.  We have realised how careful we need to be at the times we leave there and arrive there to make it easier for her to recognise what is happening.

So we are picking Katie up after lunch today and bringing her back home for the night.  We have agreed that if the next few days go ok we won't be taking her back to Grandma's house for a little while but will meet Grandma somewhere neutral each day to break the connection with Grandma's house being Katie's home.  We have a review meeting on Wednesday to assess how things are going.

My sister and 5 year old nephew are coming over for tea tonight.  We have agreed with Grandma that it is ok to introduce Katie to her cousin.  I have added some pictures onto our digital picture frame for her to see them and have also now added some of the other children and their parents she will be meeting soon so I can start introducing her to them.  I think she will love them all to be honest.

Fingers crossed we all sleep tonight!!  I have just put some mirrors on the wall near her bed so she can see herself because she has a huge mirrored wardrobe near her bed at Grandma's house and she chats to herself so we felt we should recreate this as much as possible.  I hope it works.  I've also put together a unit for the bathroom to keep all the bottles etc on because Grandma has warned us that someone likes to open all the bottles and pour things away.  Mummy is prepared!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A day at home.....

Yesterday we picked Katie up from Grandma and Grandpa's and brought her home in our car for the first time.  We played a game of bounces and bubbles before leaving to ensure Katie was feeling relaxed.  Katie loves bouncing with Mummy on the trampoline.  "Again Mummy" are words I am getting very familiar with now.  It still feels so strange hearing her say "Mummy and Daddy".  Daddy said to me last night that he loves being a Daddy.  I can't believe how lucky we are to be parents to this wonderful little lady.  She is a joy.  She makes us laugh so much with the things she says.

Katie was much chattier in the car yesterday than the day before.  She waved bye bye to Grandma with barely backward glance today and we reassured her that we would see Grandma later.  We had a car full of things she wanted to bring with her so we chatted and played with Babba.  It's a long journey there and back daily for a toddler really.  It takes about 50 minutes from our house to Grandma's so she's getting tired poor love.  It was hard for me yesterday in that my laryngitis is back and my voice is very hoarse.  I was a bit worried that this might unnerve Katie but she's totally fine about it, not anxious at all.  She was excited about playing with her toys and couldn't wait to see Lindy and Sophie.

When we got to our house we played a bit more calmly.  The frenetic excitement of the previous day had calmed and Katie wanted to explore more slowly.  She was excited to look at all her clothes again and she wanted to try some of them on.  She loves her new Upsy Daisy denim dress and her little grey skirt with coordinating tights.  The big hit was her white towelling dressing gown which she wore for a while over her clothes.  It wasn't long before it was lunchtime.  Lunch wasn't such a big hit today but a) she has a cold and b) she is tired.  It's a lot to expect of a toddler to be honest.  She enjoyed a petit filous and then we read her new favourite book "In the night garden".  Mummy then decided it was nap time.  This was the first time we had put her down for a nap on our own.  Would she cry and get upset?  She said she didn't want to go "nite nites" but Mummy said she was a tired little girl and needed some sleeps before we went to the park.  She was happy to go in "her bed" and we had a kiss and a cuddle and some "I love you's" and Mummy walked away bravely.  We stood at the foot of the stairs listening for about 10-15 mins.  We could hear her chatting to herself for a while and then she put her musical bear from Grandma's on a few times.  Mummy didn't realise that Grandma doesn't put it in the cot but turns it on before leaving.  Note for tomorrow!  I think it was reassuring for her to play it though.  We heard her wimpering for a while which was so worrying but we stayed calm and waited and soon enough she was sound asleep!  Success!!  She slept for nearly an hour and a half before her cough woke her up.  Mummy and Daddy went up to say hello and she beamed at us.  Phew!! We were worried she might cry when she woke up in an unfamiliar house.  We got up and had a chance to the Bear Cha Cha Cha and then got our shoes on to go to the park.  Mummy and Katie needed to go to the shops first so we two plus Babba and a baby pushchair (I thought I would indulge her as I knew that Mummy would end up pushing it!) went to Boots.  We survived our first trip to a shop and then Daddy picked us up and took us all to the park.

Katie really loves the swings.  I think we will need to buy one for the garden.  She is a bit of a thrill seeker I think!  We had a long push on the swing until we felt her eyes were far too watery from the cold and then played on the climbing frame and slide before heading off to meet Grandma and Grandad at a pub about 3/4 of the way back to their house.  We stayed for a drink and a natter and Mummy braved another pooey nappy.  We chatted with Grandma and Grandad about how things were going and our plans for the next few days.  We agreed that it was important that Katie spends as much time as possible at our house now so as not to confuse her with mixed messages.  We will be picking her up tomorow morning for our first Mother's Day together and hopefully doing our first overnight on Monday!!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Our first day at home.....

Today has been manic.  It started with me frantically cleaning ready for Katie's first visit to our house.  The house hasn't been this tidy for ages, and won't be again for many years I suspect!!  I'm now totally exhausted.  It hasn't helped that I have been poorly and have now lost my voice again.  The coughing is tiring me out.  I'm off to make some homemade cough medicine in a moment which helped cure my last bought of laryngitis a few weeks ago.

Katie; Grandma and Grandad arrived at around mid-day today.  Grandma and Grandad stayed for a cup of coffee, whilst Katie bombed around the house looking at everything, and then they headed off for lunch at a local pub.  Katie remembered lots about the house from her intro book and was so excited to see her playroom and bedroom.  She was looking for Upsy Daisy.  Of course we have taken Upsy to Katie's house so didn't have her here.

Katie didn't know what to look at or play with first.  She was beside herself with excitement.  She barely registered that Grandma and Grandad had left but asked a few times about them whilst they were gone.  She went around the house naming everything "Katie's bed; Katie's playroom' Katie's bedroom" etc etc  She loved the play kitchen and we spent quite a while cooking dinner and making cups of tea with it.  We took a lovely picture of her wearing her Macha Pacha towel poncho for swimming and she is excited about us going swimming soon.  I can hardly wait myself!!  Her excitement was infectious.  She loved her new "bubba" which is a dolly I bought to go in her new pushchair.  Bless her, she has taken it back with her tonight because she didn't want to be parted from it.  She totally loved the musical Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House which has been living at our house for several years now.  I put some new batteries in him and he is turbo charged with his singing and dancing now.  Katie loved him!! I thought she might be scared but she wasn't at all.  She wasn't even nervous at being in our house.  She was confident and charging up and down the stairs to her bedroom.  The biggest surprise was one of our cats, Lindy, let Katie kiss and stroke her.  She's not really into children but was quite cool with Katie.  A friend suggested that Katie might be part of our smell now which might explain it.  I felt quite emotional watching Katie with Lindy.

We had a bounce on the trampoline before it started to rain.  She loves the trampoline so that was great fun.  Daddy cooked us all our lunch so Katie sat in her booster chair and had her sausages with smiley face potatoes and peas and carrots.  Daddy and I were very proud watching her eating her dinner.  Her first dinner in our house.  I know the novelty will wear off pretty quickly but I am going to savor it whilst it lasts.

It was interesting that Katie wasn't bothered by Grandma and Grandad coming back to pick her up today.  She was pleased to see them but she wanted to carry on playing so they stayed for another coffee and headed off around 4pm.  We agreed that we will pick her up tomorrow from their house and bring her back to us all day.  We will do the same on Sunday as well and then hopefully start our sleep overs.  Who knows, she may be home by Wednesday - will see what happens.

An early night for Mummy and Daddy tonight methinks!!!

Our first day out as a family.....

Yesterday was an exciting day.  It was our first day of taking Katie out in the car without Grandma.  She is very attached to Grandma so the question was "would she come with us on her own"?  We debated the best way to handle the situation on the way down in the car and decided that it would be better if Grandma had already left for her meeting before us so Katie didn't feel she was leaving Grandma behind.  Grandma had been preparing Katie for her time out with us so she knew what was going to happen.

Katie was delighted to greet us when we arrived. She beamed at us both.  Her smiles turned to tears however when Grandma said that she was going to a meeting at school for one of her other foster children.  We distracted Katie with a bounce on the trampoline and suggested that Grandad went inside and we would just go to the car once she was happy again.  Katie willingly came with us to the car without any tears at all and was excited when we showed her her car seat "Katie's seat?" she said.  "Yes, that's Katie's seat for Mummy and Daddy's car; our car; Katie's car" we replied.  She happily allowed me to put her in the car seat and we said we were going to the ball park and she beamed.  She was quiet in the car but we know that this is quite common really so we weren't worried.  We arrived at the ball park and asked her to show us what to do.  We had a wonderful time playing in the ball park.  Katie particularly loves the wind machine that blows the ball in the air.  She sat on top of it for a long time, letting the wind blow through her hair and Mummy's hair and squealing with delight.  We played all around the ball park and climbed up all the big girl ladders etc.  Daddy enjoyed his first ever visit to a ball park and I am sure it won't be his last.  Katie asked about Grandma a few times whilst we were playing and we reminded her that Grandma was at a meeting at school and she accepted this happily.

After the ball park we went to the cafe next door for lunch.  Katie had some nuggets and chips and ate really well.  Daddy told Mummy off for sneaking some cucumber on Katie's plate and said he didn't want to upset her but Mummy had a chuckle at Daddy when Katie picked up and ate it saying "it's like the one on Mummy's plate".  Katie was very chatty over lunch and we had a good time.

We went on the choo choo train after lunch but it was so cold that we didn't want Katie to get too cold.  She feels the cold severely, poor love, and still has a cold.  We had a quick feed of the ducks and geese, which surrounded her.  Daddy had to pick her up out of the way so as not to scare her.  We headed back to the car to drive back to Grandma's but, because they were still out, we went to grab a coffee at Costa.  Katie was sound asleep in the car seat so we stopped at a local service station with a Costa bar and had our coffee in the car watching our little lady sleep.  She woke up just as we got back to Grandma's house and delighted in telling Grandma about her day with us.  We played with Katie for another hour at Grandma's house.  Grandma noticed that she was coming to us more for help rather than going to Grandma.  We were all pleased with this because it shows that her bond with us is growing and we all feel confident that it won't be long before she will come home to us.

We said goodbye at around 3.30pm because Grandma's daughter and grandchildren arrived and we thought it would be nice for Katie to play with them.

Grandma sent me a text around 6:50pm to say that our little girl had had her dinner and fallen sound asleep already.

Today Katie is coming to our house for a few hours.  Grandma and Grandad are coming for a coffee and then heading off for lunch.  I'm hoping the rain stops so we can play in the garden or head up to the park.  I wonder what Katie will think of her new home?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Bedtime.....

Yesterday was a really busy day for me.  We weren't due to visit Katie until 5pm so we could have dinner with her and Grandma and Grandad and then put her to bed.  I had the gas engineers at home all day putting in a new flue and supposedly fixing my hot water, which is currently going hot and cold preventing me using the shower.  You will notice my use of the word "supposedly" because I realised once they had left that the shower is still going painfully hot to freezing cold.  I will have to get them back again - how much is that going to cost I wonder?

I managed to dismantle the cot we were given for Katie and put up the cot bed which is more similar to the one she is currently using.  I've also cleaned the trampoline after the winter, ready for playing.  I'm not feeling 100% having caught Katie's cold so I'm hoping that doesn't slow me down too much.  This is the 4th illness I've had since December.  I'm never usually unwell so this has been a tough winter.

We went to Katie's for 5pm.  Katie's face lit up when she saw us and said "It's Mummy and Daddy!"  We played for a while and read her new story book that I had taken along "That's not my Dolly".  She loves the book.  We then did bath time.  She loves the water so it was a real joy.  We washed her hair.  Interestingly she suddenly asked to come out and had suddenly gone from being warm to being really cold so we wrapped her up in a towel and dried her really quickly and dressed her in her bedtime clothes.  She is so cute - she sleeps in a vest plus PJs and a fluffy sleepsuit on top.  After hair combing, which Grandma said I did much more gently than she did we were all ready for our fish and chips.  This was a real treat for me because their local chippy goes gluten free fish and chips.  It was the first time in over 2 years I've had anything from a chippy.  Katie ate some of her fish and chips and a bit of sausage.  She stayed in her booster chair with us for ages and we were playing with a paper aeroplane that I made for a long time.  Katie absolutely loved that game and squealed "Again again" with excitement.  We then read our story books again with Katie repeating with me "That's not my Dolly".  At bedtime she was a bit tearful and didn't want to go.  Grandma came up with us so as not to distress her but Katie is basically a happy child and the tears soon stopped and she kissed us goodnight and laid down for sleeps.

We stayed for another hour chatting to Grandma and Grandad about Katie, trying to understand things that she likes to eat.  We will be going back today to take her out for a few hours without Grandma and are going to the local play park which should be great fun.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Seeing our girl first thing in the morning.....

I love the fact that Katie is a real sleeper.  We arrived at around 8:30am this morning and she was still in bed and only just waking up.  We got her up today and did nappy and breakfast and dressing etc.  She seemed a little surprised to see us there this morning - which is understandable really, but coped really well and was happy to let me do her nappy.  We played with her in the garden and then took her and Grandma's other grandson out for a walk for about half an hour.  It was a bit cold to be out walking today and Katie still has a cold.  Her poor little eyes were streaming and her nose running.  She coped well and likes her stroller.  Mummy learned how fit she will get when pushing the stroller up a very steep hill!!!  She understood immediately that it was her stroller which was lovely - Mummy has had to practice lots to get it up and down though!!  She loved the fact that I wore my red necklace again today which I also wore in her special book.  She shows me the necklace in the picture so I am wearing it every day.  She is showing everyone her book and loves reading it, which is rather adorable.

When we got back from our chilly but sunny walk we went out for lunch with Grandma and Grandad and their 3 year old grandson and other foster child (who is 7 months old and a real sweetie).  We went to a cafe on the beach and had a really lovely lunch.  Katie was really good using her fork for her fishfingers but is a bit cheeky when she chews her food and then spits it out.  We will have fun with that one I think!  Katie was quite happy being with us but I think it's going to take a bit longer before she is happy to be with us without Grandma being near by.  We are going down later tomorrow to do tea-time and bedtime and will be having some gluten-free fish and chips from their local chippy.  I've not had chips from a chippy since I had to go gluten free 2 years ago so it will be a real treat for me!  On Thursday and Friday we are doing longer days and the plan will be to take Katie out in our car for longer periods.  We are a little anxious as to how this goes and whether she will cope being away from Grandma so I will report back later with the results of this.  We are so lucky that Grandma and Grandad are wonderful, nonetheless it is difficult being in someone elses home.  I feel a bit out of sorts and not really sure what to expect although they couldn't be more supportive.  I am sure it will get better and better as time goes by.

Monday, 8 March 2010

First official day of introductions...

We started today at 10:30am at Grandma and Grandad's house for a planning meeting with our Social Worker; Katie's Social Worker; a Team Leader and Foster Carers.  Katie met us at the door and very quickly got out her picture book and the photo album and kitten books that we had given her (still being kept in the Holland and Barrett bag). Seeing her lug the bag along is hilarious so we took a picture to remember this.  It was so hard to pay attention to the meeting.  We took turns to play with Katie and try to listen to the plans being made for the coming week.  She is calling us mummy and daddy all the time now and is wanting to engage with us most of the time.  The plan is that we spent the morning until nap time today. Tomorrow we are going for wake-up time until nap time so we can do breakfast and then take her out for a while.  We are all going out for lunch tomorrow with Grandma as well.  Wednesday we are going for the afternoon and then putting Katie to bed.  Thursday we will be there most of the day and the same again on Friday.  Grandma and Grandad will bring Katie to our house on Saturday. They will stay for a while and then leave her with us for a while.  If she is anxious they will pick her up again after lunchtime but if she is ok then we will take her back home again for bedtime.  We will pick her up for our first Mothering Sunday and bring her to our house on Sunday.  We will do the same on Monday and Tuesday with hopefully one or both of those days being sleep over days!  We have a review meeting on Weds 17th March to see how it's going.  Who knows - if all is going well then she might just stay with us from that point onwards.  The one fly in the ointment is that Katie is still a bit poorly and didn't want to be left with another Foster Carer yesterday.  We have agreed to play it all by ear and see what happens over the coming days.

Katie is really starting to bond with us both now.  She took her book out again and is noticing more about the pictures.  She asked me about the easel in the playroom picture and said "painting?"  I told her that yes we would be painting there when she came to see us at our house; Katie's new house.  She is extremely good at sharing her time between both of us.  Daddy said that when I nipped out to visit the toilet she asked where mummy had gone, which was lovely.  She is definitely going to be a daddy's girl though!  She seems to understand that we are there for her and is loving the attention.  She showed us her picture CD with lots of pictures on since she was born all set to music.  We had seen the slide show before meeting Katie but she was very keen to share this with us.  She was singing along to Westlife which was really cute.

We are starting to notice more about her character.  She gets clumsy when she is tired.  She is such a cheerful little lady that she doesn't really complain or whinge but she starts to get heavy handed and trips up a lot when she is tired.  She loves me doing gymnastics with her and helping her do somersaults.  She hid under the table because she didn't want her lunchtime nap today which was funny.  She is a young lady who is starting to know what she wants and doesn't want.  Grandad said today that she is starting to choose which plate she wants to eat from and what cereal she wants each morning.

We spent time playing building blocks with her today. It was cold so we didn't venture outside.  She loved the brownies I made - so did Grandma!!  Grandma and I are both unable to eat gluten so she was delighted that I brought homemade gluten-free brownies today!  Katie loved her piece of cake!

Grandma is starting to fill us in on Katie's routine now so there is lots to remember and write in my book.

I had a really busy afternoon getting car seats fixed and buying a new stroller to fit in my little Beetle.  We have a fab stroller for in the local neighbourhood but it's too big for my car.  We are looking forward to taking that along for Katie to ride in when we go out for lunch tomorrow.  I am hunting for a new, larger, car now though - the Beetle is just too small sadly and won't be good for my back!!  Bye bye little Beetle!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Busy getting ready....and shopping!!

Well it's been a busy Saturday and Sunday filled with painting; sorting out; washing and shopping for pretty dresses!  Our house is filled with the mixed aromas of paint and the beautiful smell of the fabric conditioner we have switched to to mirror the one used by Katie's foster family to help support her move to us.  Of course the shopping for pretty dresses part was wonderful.  I bought 6 dresses!  I also found a cute little t-shirt that says "My Daddy Loves Me More Than Football" written on it! Perfect!  Daddy is a huge football supporter (lifelong Man U fan) so she has real competition for his affections!  Actually I rather suspect that Man U have already moved to second place as he is totally smitten with his daughter.  I said to him on the way to our friends for a lovely dinner last night, and our last night out for a while, that I had realised that I could now shop to my hearts content and because it was for Katie he would just go all misty eyed and be ok with it!!  All I have to do now is find a way of getting him to do that when I shop for myself!!  All he will say is that she is perfect!  Life just suddenly makes sense and we both know without a moment's doubt that she is meant to be with us!

Before moving on I will just take a moment to reflect on the other people effected by Katie joining us.  I haven't mentioned her birth parents and they won't be a focus in this blog but I am very aware that our joy comes at the expense someone else's sadness and difficulty.  Very few children are relinquished voluntarily for adoption these days.  There are always reasons why a child is placed for adoption.  It is our intention to ensure that Katie grows up knowing her birth background and what those reasons are and to support her with her thoughts and feelings regarding this.  We are looking forward to meeting her birth parents and reassuring them that we will take good care of her and that we won't turn her against them and that, should the time come, that she wants to meet them, we will support her to do with with our love and understanding.  I think we all know that the circumstances that we are born into or the choices we find ourselves making effect us all throughout our lives.  Overcoming difficulties take enormous personal awareness and lots of support and we don't always get there on our first attempt to change.  In the case of children it isn't possible to take the risk that something will change when they are unable to facilitate that change themselves.  This is where adoption comes in.  For us, adoption is something that has made us a family but for someone else it is the loss of their family even if that family functions ineffectually.  Lack of love isn't necessarily why a child may be placed for adoption.  It may be the  lack of the ability to use that love appropriately and with awareness to parent that child satisfactorily that leads to a child being adopted.  As adoptive parents we won't be sharing Katie's story with anyone but herself but when she is ready she will be able to share her story herself if she chooses. 

Katie's Foster Carer (Grandma) is another person effected by her adoption.  She has loved and brought Katie up from the day she was born.  The fact that this little girl is so wonderful is a testament to her and her husband and their family.  We knew immediately that we would not take this little girl away from them and that we would invite them to be one set of her official Grandparents so that they can both continue to benefit from their relationship.  Grandma will also be a source of information about Katie's past which I suspect will be invaluable to us all.

So having acknowledged that our road to becoming a family is somewhat different than that of many people we move forward with enormous excitement to spending time getting to know our daughter without any hindrance of difficult emotions or the past and embrace our future as a family.

Hopefully it will not be long before Katie comes home.....

Saturday, 6 March 2010

An Amazing Day!




Yesterday (March 2010) we met Katie for the first time.  We didn't really know what to expect when we drove up to her Foster Carer's house (very early for once! Anyone who knows us knows that we can never get anywhere on time!) on a totally beautifully sunny March day.  The rain had finally stopped and the sun shone for our meeting with our daughter!  We arrived along with Katie's Social Worker and went in to meet our daughter for the first time.  Her Foster Carer (known as Grandma by Katie but whom we have asked to stay in Katie's life as her Grandma) opened the door and warned us that she had a) just woken up and b) had developed a cold today so she wasn't sure what to expect.  Katie initially hid behind her Grandma's legs so I bent down and said hello and shook her hand.  We all then went into the conservatory, which was a huge sunny room at the back of the house overlooking the garden.  Grandma asked Katie if she knew who we were and she said it was Mummy and Daddy.  Oh that was wonderful to hear!!

Katie initially sat with her Grandma so I went over, crouched down and said hello again and asked if she wanted to meet Upsy Daisy.  I took Upsy Daisy out of my hessian Holland and Barrett bag and gave it to her.  She lit up.  I said that this was the Upsy Daisy that was in her book.  Grandma asked Katie if she wanted to show Mummy and Daddy her special book so she ran off to get it and came and sat on my lap and we read the book, over and over again.  I showed her the pictures of us and asked who it was.  She knew it was Mummy and Daddy so I then showed her the pictures and pointed to us.  She got Daddy really well and then realised that I was the person called Mummy in the picture.  Daddy had to mend the book in the end with some sellotape because it is so well read.  Katie really loved Daddy mending the book and she kept turning the pages and asking him to mend it!  She loved the pictures of the cats, particularly Sophie.  I think her name is easier to remember than Lindy, our other cat.  It was so sweet.  We played a game of us all kissing Upsy Daisy which Katie loved.  She was beaming at us all the time. We then played with her Wooozit book and srunched up the noisy pages which she absolutely loved doing and was giggling and laughing.  By the end of us reading her two books she was identifying that the house was her house and that she was coming to the house.

We then showed her the touch and feel book on Kittens we had brought her and she read that book with Daddy, hopefully learning how to gently stroke the fur!  I rather suspect that we will be doing a lot of "gently's" with Katie when she meets the cats for the first time!  Katie then wanted to put her books and Upsy Daisy back in the Holland and Barrett bag and was carrying it all over the place with her.  It was as heavy as she is so it was quite comical seeing her trying to lift it up.  We decided to leave the bag for her to play with and keep her things in from Mummy and Daddy. 

As it was such a beautiful sunny day we went out to play in the garden and had a wonderful time bouncing on the trampoline, falling over and pretending to be asleep! We played on the swing and Katie had a wonderful game going with Daddy where she pushed her sit in car down the drive way.  Because it is quite sloped the car shoots off down the drive.  Daddy had to run to rescue the car, then he and Katie would push it back up again.  This was a wonderful game - who needs the gym?

The first visit was supposed to last between 30 minutes and an hour.  Because it was going so well both Grandma and Katie's Social Worker agreed that we could stay on.  We arrived at 2pm and decided after 3 hours at 5pm that it was time to leave.  Katie was still really happy to be with us but we were aware that she had a cold, her poor nose was leaking like a tap all afternoon, and didn't want to over-tire her.  We thought it would be good to leave whilst everyone was happy so she would be keen for us to return.

Katie walked us to the front door and I crouched down to say goodbye.  Katie walked over to me and kissed me on the lips.  I couldn't believe it!!! She then went to Daddy and we all had a little huggle.  Katie and Grandma walked down to the car with us and waved us goodbye.  We will be back on Monday to start all our intros properly.  Grandma said to me that she felt the visit had gone remarkably well and she didn't think there would be any problems with Katie bonding to us and she felt that she would be home with us much quicker than they initially predicted.  We will wait to see how things go next week!!

I had an email with some pictures from Grandma this morning which was lovely.  She said that Katie was showing her book to some of Grandma's grandchildren last night and telling them all about Mummy and Daddy.  I think all I can think of to say is "WOW"

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Relief!

The approval of the match that we had at panel last week has to be ratified by the Agency Decision Maker in writing. That usually takes at least a week to come through. Until that formal decision comes through introductions cannot start. I was starting to get a bit twitchy about when our decision would come through and whether it would arrive in time for us to meet Katie tomorrow. The joy of email has just brought that decision through from Katie's Social Worker, so we are good to go tomorrow! What a relief!

Preparations continue in ernest today. I am cleaning and clearing stuff out. My hallway is currently full of things to go to the tip and to the local charity shop. It's a bit like moving house! I will feel a bit better once I've got all the jobs done so that I can sit back a bit and enjoy what's to come. Is this what they call "nesting" I wonder? I don't think my husband understands my whirling dervish hive of activity at the moment!

I wonder if I will get any sleep tonight. I can feel the excitement growing in my tummy by the minute!! It's hard to describe the emotions that adopting brings. As I've already written I felt a lot of anxiety whilst going through the home study and anxious about whether we would be approved. Since the match with Katie I've had so many emotions. I suspect some of them are similar to any parent-to-be: excitement; feeling overwhelmed; tearful; anxious about whether I'll be a good enough parent and whether I'll have enough in my repertoire to entertain Katie. To help with the latter I've ordered some books of activities to do with toddlers. I've also been ordering lots of books to read and we're off shopping to add to the toys we already had at the weekend. I've bought lots of the "That's not my......" books. They are so cute!

I am a bit worried about how our cats will cope with an active 2 year old in the house all the time. Usually they just hide when we have guests (even weekend guests) with children. Neither of the cats is particularly young. One is 15 1/2 and the other is nearly 13. One of my cats likes to be in the garden all day so she'll be ok. My other one likes to sleep on our bed. This might be interesting with the addition of a stair gate at the top of the stairs if she wants to come downstairs. I'm going to put the gate up today so we can see how we cope. She's a bit too old and arthritic these days to hop over it. It's been suggested that she might just give me a shout when she wants to come down. Fingers crossed that that works out!!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I received a really lovely email this morning from Katie's Foster Carer. She said that she had received the book that we made to introduce ourselves and our home to Katie. She said that Katie was really interested in the book and wanted to read it 4 times. She now recognises us as Mummy and Daddy and said "Wow" when she saw her bedroom. When her Foster Carer's daughter came round to visit Katie wanted to show her the book. Her daughter commented that it all seemed so right for her and that she is very happy. Katie's Foster Carer sent some more recent pictures to us with the email.

I am just sitting with a huge smile on my face whilst writing this. When I told my husband he grinned excitedly. He couldn't believe it.

Roll on Friday!!!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

3 more sleeps......

The excitement is starting to mount. At the moment I am clearing out cupboards of junk. It's very therapeutic. I know a 2 year old won't appreciate if my house has been spring cleaned but I know I won't get a chance to do it again for quite a while so I'm trying to stay focused enough to get it done. I'm not making as much progress as I would like to be honest. I've managed to order some new velux blinds today so we're getting there. I'd been advised to make sure I have blackout blinds so I've bought a black out curtain for the window and have now ordered the blackout blinds as well for the skylights. Apparently our daughter is a good sleeper - I want to make sure that continues!!!!!!

An Adoption Story

Our journey to becoming parents has taken us 15 years with infertility and the loss of 10 precious babies along the way.

Hubby and I married in 1994 and decided to start our family in 1995.  I fell pregnant within two months but lost the baby at 12 weeks.  We had two more heartbreaking miscarriages before we could receive any medical interventions.  I found found to have a uterine septum and then subsequently to have a blood clotting disorder.  Several more pregnancies using asprin to thin my blood but they ended in first trimester miscarriages.  Finally the septum was removed and heparin was added to the mix during pregnancy but still my body couldn't sustain a pregnancy, and I became allergic to the heparin.  When I was 35 I simply stopped being able to conceive naturally so we tried IVF.  It was a text book cycle with a pregnancy but yet again a miscarriage.  We finished our treatment with a Frozen Embryo Transfer, which again was text book, followed by a pregnancy but yet again I miscarried.  Each of my pregnancies had a wonderful little heartbeat but each time I miscarried in the first trimester.  We came to the realisation that my body just couldn't do pregnancy.  Whatever the medical explanation is, medical science just hasn't caught up with me yet. 

Whilst we were doing the IVF we had pretty much decided that enough was enough and we didn't want to continue putting ourselves through the stress and agony of pursuing our dream of becoming a family through pregnancy. The IVF and FET were our way of closing the door on infertility.  It obviously wasn't meant to be for us. We decided to contact our local adoption agency and find out whether we would be suitable to become adopters. Making that first call to the agency in January 2008 felt like the most positive step towards becoming parents that we had taken in years. We went to an information even in September 2008 to find out more about becoming adoptive parents. After the information event we put in an application to be assessed. We had an initial home visit in December 2008 after which we were informed that we were on a waiting list to attend a Preparation Course. We finally attended this course in March/April 2009. In July 2009 we started our home study.

Anyone wanting to become an adopter has to be prepared that the process takes its time. There are often gaps of several months in between different stages and it often feels like you will never get there. Most adopters-to-be worry that they will not be considered suitable and minor indiscretions or difficulties in their past will count against them. We were no different. The anxiety was enormous. In fact, the reality is that Social Workers are looking for people with life experiences. Children who are available to be adopted have already experienced issues such as separation and loss and may have also experienced things such as abuse; neglect or exposure to drugs and alcohol. Social Workers need people who understand the emotions that these children may experience throughout their lives and be able to understand and manage any difficult behaviour that may result from these emotions. The adoption process feels long and intrusive but it is important that the Social Workers understand you as well as they possibly can so that they are able to understand your strengths and limitations and also to match you with a child that is the best possible match for you and for the child. During the home study I felt very exposed and vulnerable. It occurred to me during the process that the emotions I was feeling would probably be similar to a child being placed for adoption. It was a valuable insight.

Paperwork all in order, we went to a Panel in December 2009 to be approved as adopters. Panel was the single most terrifying experience of my life I think. After 15 years of being unable to become parents, being judged by a panel as to whether we were suitable to be adoptive parents was loaded with all the emotions we had carried for those years. Were we good enough? Would we be found to be lacking in some way? The panel were lovely. We received a unanimous YES! We were finally going to be parents. It was no longer "IF" it was "WHEN".

On 29th December 2009 we received a call from our Social Worker saying they had a match for us. She had known about this match for some time but had to wait for all our paperwork to go through before she could speak to us about it. We were in shock. It was only a few weeks since we were approved. We discussed the details with our Social Worker and decided were keen to pursue the match of a 2 year old little girl. On 31st December 2009 we met with our Social Worker and the Social Workers for the little girl.

From this point the world speeded up. We barely had our heads around the fact that very soon a 2 year old little girl would hopefully be joining us. We had meetings with the Medical Adviser and Foster Carers. We were trying to get the house ready and do all those jobs that you always put off. There was still a question mark hanging over the process however. Another panel. This one called the Linking Panel. We met again with the panel in February 2010 who again were wonderful to us. The approved us to adopt our little girl. Finally we could embrace the fact that we really were going to become parents.

Whilst we had seen some pictures and some wonderful video clips from the Foster Carers, we had not been allowed to keep a photo until this point. We had created a beautiful little book of photos and a story to introduce us and our house to our new daughter. We were able to add a gorgeous picture of our daughter to this book but still didn't have a picture of our own. I fell in love with my daughter when I saw the picture that her Foster Carers had provided for our book. At panel my desperation for a picture to gaze at was voiced and the following week some pictures were emailed to me by the Foster Carer. I am now able to gaze to my hearts content whilst we wait to meet our daughter.

In three days time we will meet our daughter for the first time. This blog is the story of our meetings; life as a family and my thoughts around being an adopter.