When we were going through the adoption process the first time around, I kept a diary on another website/forum. I have decided to add it to this blog, so that there is a record here of how I felt through the process up to our first approval. It was funny/interesting to read it again and see how incredibly stressed and anxious I was at the time. I want to share the diary here on this blog - to share with the people who read our story how I was feeling during that period (and also to remind me to chill out a bit this time round!). I must admit that I've had a few chuckles at how vehement I was about never undertaking the adoption process again........how quickly I seem to have forgotten all that!
10 Jan 2009
It’s strange how the world works. I never imagined 15 years ago that one day we would be planning to adopt.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster that has led us to this point. Many tears and much pain but also lots of insights and learning. Our marriage has been tested many times and we have supported each other through our grief and managed to stay together and have been together 19 years now. I always said that I didn’t want to follow the family tradition of having a baby at 20 but I didn’t realise that at 40 I would still be waiting. Is it a case of be careful what you wish for?
I used to wonder when I would reach a point when I knew in my heart that we needed to stop continuing to try for a baby naturally and think about another route towards our dream of being parents. For so many years I still felt hope that one day the medical profession would be able to find the magical answer to my continuing miscarriages. With single minded determination I spent years getting pregnant, taking medication; injecting myself in the hope that this time it would work. Then about 5 years ago we stopped being able to conceive naturally and we tried IVF and FET in the hopes that having a perfect embryo would be the answer. Every time I conceived and every time that wonderful little heartbeat was unable to keep beating. And so the answer came. Not only did I want to stop trying to get pregnant but I wanted to stop losing my babies. Enough was enough. But the dream to be a parent remained.
My husband and I had been talking on and off about adopting for about 5 years, but wanted to try out one last consultant who had helped my sister become a mother, so in January 2008 I finally made the call to our local authority to start the ball rolling. We had to wait until September 2008 to attend an information event because they wanted us to wait until a year after our last miscarriage. So we waited and then we went to the evening. We used the time in between to talk about what we wanted in our lives and to read up about what to expect from adoption. We listened to the social workers seemingly doing their utmost to put everyone off adopting at the info event. We had our first home visit in December 2008 and heard more of the same but eventually had the news that we are on the waiting list for the preparation course. So now we wait again but remain hopeful that this time we will become parents.
I do not want this diary to be about our infertility but I will take this opportunity to acknowledge my 10 little angels who I know I will meet one day but for this lifetime will stay in my heart and their little flickers of life on the scans will stay in my memory. I don’t know whether the sadness of their losses will ever leave me completely but for the first time in a very long time I do feel positive that one day I will be a mummy.
I plan to keep this diary to record this journey for myself and also in the future for my children.
12 Jan 2009
I’m amazed at how calm I’m feeling at the moment.
Before Christmas, when I was waiting for the outcome of our initial home visit, I was an emotional wreck. I think it must be the feeling of being judged worthy as a potential parent. Infertility makes you question many things about yourself that you know in reality just aren’t accurate. I have often wondered whether some higher power wasn’t letting me have children because of something that I had done. Maybe I wasn’t a good enough person? It’s silly really because there is no logic to that thinking. If that were the case then there are lots of people in the world who would be denied children. The difficulty is that infertility plays with your mind and twists your thinking. Inviting a social worker come into my house with the sole purpose of assessing whether hubby and I are potentially suitable parents was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do on this journey and I was terrified she would look into my soul and find me lacking. The emotional fall-out I experienced after the visit took me by surprise. Thankfully we were given the green light to go onto the next stage but it made me question how I see myself; how I will handle the home visits and also how I would react if we were turned down. All good questions to be thinking about before the next stage I think but for the moment calm is reigning…..long may that continue I say!!!
15 Jan 2009
Whilst the calmness continues I have been thinking alot about the adoption process; the questions we might be asked; decisions we need to make about how many children we want to adopt etc.
One of the things that I would change about myself if the fact that I over-analyse everything. I am a real thinker and ponderer. I sometimes feel that giving me too much time to think about something is not a good thing at all. I just know that this process is going to be hard for me from that perspective. One of the things that I think about the most is actually having children at this stage in my life and in my marriage. I’ve said in a previous entry and my hubby and I have been trying to start a family for over 15 years. We’ve been together for 19 years now and I’m now 40. We’ve had a lot of time to get used to being just the two of us. It will be a real shock to the system, for us both, to become three or four. I’m sure it’s the same for every couple or even singles who have children but sometimes I wonder whether we should stay just the two. I know in my heart though that I want to be a mother. It’s been driving me for years. The hard thing though is that when you’ve been chasing a dream for such a long time, it’s hard to know what you’re chasing at times and what it will be like when I actually achieve that dream. I feel like I’ve been waiting for such a long time and sometimes feel like life is on hold, waiting for the seemingly elusive moment when I become a mum. I work hard at keeping life interesting and doing all the things that I might not have time to do when I become a mum. I dance and have done alot of studying over that time which has helped me in my career and I have a wonderful job working with teens. Becoming a mum isn’t the answer to everything though and I am wary of making it my reason for living because having children will be amazing but also such hard work and exhausting. I also worry that by the time we actually get through the adoption process I will be 41/42 and am trying to get as fit as I can so that I am physically ready and also to try and ensure my health remains for the foreseeable future. We would be in our 60′s when our children maybe go to uni or work and I don’t want them to resent having older parents or feel that they have to take care of us. I know that these are things that are rectifiable. I will ensure that they don’t grow up to feel responsible for us and I am young for my age so hopefully I will stay fit and healthy.
See? I said I worry about things too much!!!
24 Jan 2009
Thankfully I’m too busy with work and training to obsess too much about the lack of progress on the adoption front at the moment. It’s hard though when I watch other people achieving their dreams. I have no doubt that they too have felt the way that I am feeling and that I am not unique in that sense. It’s still hard though. I’ve watched most of my friends have their children and complete their families and have watched one recently become a grandmother and wonder whether I will ever be a mum or a grandmother. It’s so hard to imagine after all this time. I will phone our social worker next week for an update on where things are. I’ve made a mental note to phone her at the end of each month just to remind her who we are and to check for news on when our prep course might happen (just a gentle stalking – nothing too sinister!!!). I still hate the not knowing when it will happen part and don’t see why they can’t plan dates with prospective adopters so everyone knows where they are and can plan other things as well. DH and I both have busy diaries and I have that sneaky feeling that it will all be very last minute. Can’t you tell I’m a Taurean – I do love a plan and am not comfortable being left at the whim of someone else. I am used to this after all those years of ttc and am used to not having any control at all but it would be so nice to be in on the bigger picture just for once!!!
04 Feb 2009
I’m finding it all a bit difficult at the moment, to be honest. Not, crying all the time difficult, but frustrated difficult. We have waited and waited and waited to become parents and have spent years upon years watching everyone else getting there..and still we wait. How long do we have to wait? I’ve realised that the calmness I have been feeling isn’t really calmness at all, it’s resignation. I feel resigned to my lot in life being that I watch everyone else become a parent. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride? Everyones children love me – am I destined to be everyone’s favourite Aunty and never know the feeling of being a parent myself? I felt like I was so far behind everyone else on the ttc front and now I feel the same re adoption. I am watching everyone else getting their dream and wondering when it will be my turn. When will it be my turn? Why can’t anyone ever tell me? At least with ttc I could plan when we were doing treatment and knew that when I was pg when it was likely to end. I’m in no-man’s land and that is hell for a control freak like me. Why can’t social services just tell you it will be XX month before you can go on a prep course instead of all this cloak and dagger stuff? They must have some working idea when they are planning to put people on the courses surely? It’s like waiting to be picked for a team and being the last one picked or in my case being the wallflower when I was a teenager seeing the handsome guy come over to me only to ask if I could ask my mate out for him!! When will the bony finger be pointed in my direction? Do social services realise how people’s very hopes and dreams are in their hands and are being crushed on a daily basis? Is it that hard to just send out a regular letter saying that “no news”. At least we would know. Ok I know that they’re busy and I honestly, really do sympathise. I do a similar job and run myself ragged trying to help the teens that I work with but I would never treat any of my clients in the off-hand, dismissive way we have experienced thus far. Even the people that I don’t take a shine to get their calls returned. We don’t even get that. Man I hate being ignored and I hate not knowing the plan. This is a major trial for me and I am fed up with moaning to my friends about it. This time I’m saying nothing to anyone about how I am feeling and am just putting it here instead. I really hope that one day I will read this back and laugh at the fact that I wrote this the day or week before the social worker phoned and gave us good news!!
08 Feb 2009
Am feeling a bit calmer again today. Still feeling very frustrated that my social worker never returns my calls or emails and wondering whether I should ask to change SW’s but worried that this might cause additional problems. I wish someone could give me some advice about this. I am not sure what a normal call return rate is from Social Services. In my job I am usually hounding them because of child protection so am used to a fairly swift response. So how long do you have to wait before it is just plain impolite? This is all new to me and I am not used to anyone a) treating me like this and b) me accepting it. What is the way to react/behave in this scenario? Answers from anyone would be appreciated….
08 Feb 2009
Hmmm after writing my last entry and going away and thinking about it, I realise that most of these issues are simply “fear”. Fear of being rejected as a parent by social services. Every phone call that isn’t returned just fuels my anxiety that they will reject me and say that I’m not good enough. I’ve spent so much money in the past dealing with this issue and its origins that it’s annoying that the road to becoming a parent has to bring it all up again. Do we ever “get over” childhood issues? I’m a trained therapist and I’m still asking this question! So I say to the world “I AM good enough to be accepted by SS and when the time comes and I am a parent I will work hard at being a good enough parent!!”
Goodness you have to have your wits about you to tip-toe through this minefield of emotions!
6 Feb 2009
Well I gave in and phoned our LA today as I was fed up with having a stress about not hearing back from our SW. It turns out our SW is still off sick so that explains the lack of response. I asked if this SW was set to be our ongoing SW and they confirmed that another SW would be allocated after prep. Had a very gentle chat about whether it might be possible to have the original SW who was going to do our initial visit as I really liked her etc etc. I said it wasn’t anything to do with the current SW etc etc but I didn’t feel as much of a bond with her….and they said to have a quiet chat at the prep course to see if I could request the SW I wanted. I was asked to phone back this afternoon to speak to the duty SW who also does all the course allocations and she’s just said that we are allocated to the end of March/beg April course (if we can make it). DH is just checking with work that he can take the time off as it’s almost the worst time of the year for him to take off. He sounded hopeful that he could swing it though. So if he can do it, I just need to confirm with them and get that form done…..
I really needed some good news today as it’s been a really difficult couple of weeks, what with one thing and another, and I was feeling a little emotionally raw.
05 Mar 2009
Well we have our dates now for the prep course – only a few more weeks to go. The application form arrived a couple of days ago and we now have to remember all the addresses we’ve had since birth!! ARRRGH!! That should be fun! We moved almost every 2 years when I was growing up!
I am feeling a bit more positive about things at the moment and found myself mentally bonding with my child, wherever he or she is yesterday. I have a song in the car that is my adoption song and helps me think about meeting my child for the first time and finally becoming a family. Having friends to chat to about it all has been really helpful and is helping me stay sane. So much is riding on this for me that I don’t know how I would feel if we were turned down. But I’m trying not to think about that at the moment and am staying positive!! Hopefully we will be through panel by November!!
11 Mar 2009
Not much to add at the moment really. We’re just completing our Form F and I am attempting to remember all the things that have happened to me since birth and all the places we have lived. My mum liked to move house a lot when I was younger so trying to remember all those houses is a challenge!! Still all in a good cause. The completion of the form is bringing up thoughts and anxieties about my past but I am sure they are minor things. Am working hard on keeping my over-thinking to a minimum and imagining how I will feel when I meet my child for the first time. I can’t wait!!!! I have chosen a song that I play in the car a lot which keeps me feeling positive and helps me imagine success. I had a wonderful moment last week when driving home from dancing and listening to that song when suddenly I felt like I knew my child in my heart already and was sending out a communication to them that I was waiting for them and we would meet soon. Ok I won’t tell my social worker that in case she sends for the people in white coats but it was a lovely feeling and made me feel really positive about the future.
27 Mar 2009
We start our preparation course on Monday. I’m feeling excited and nervous all rolled into one. It is exciting to be doing something other than filling in forms and I feel like we are a huge step closer to our dream of being a family but am nervous at being assessed and being found to be unsuitable. Because of the job I do and its involvement with child protection, I am hoping that I will be prepared for some of the sensitive and sad information we will be given about some of the children who are placed for adoption. I am really looking forward to meeting other potential adopters and hearing their experiences and hopefully making some great new friendships. It is so nice to speak to people who are going through the same process. My friends are wonderful and give lots of support but it is such a relief to speak to people who understand how complicated and unusual this process is as a way of starting a family. I heard on the news today that Madonna is off to Malawi to adopted another child and wondered how social services handle her adoptions and whether she is assessed the way that we ordinary folk are. I really do think that it should be the same process for everyone and no-one should be able to cut corners just because of who they are. In fact, I think the sort of lifestyle that someone famous has should be carefully assessed to ascertain who exactly is looking after an adopted child. We have the issue of attachment issues hammered into us and the importance of taking a year off work to ensure that the attachments are formed. Will Madonna do that? Will there be a nanny? It would be interesting to know and I rather suspect I know the answer already but in case there are any legal people reading this, I am not going to comment!!!
31 Mar 2009
Well we’ve completed 2 days of our adoption preparation training. It’s been interesting; upsetting; draining; helpful; button pushing; and intense, to use just a few words, so far. I heard second hand that there is a shortage of approved adopters in our area but also a shortage of social workers to do the assessments. Will have to see how this all impacts on our home assessment. Hopefully positively.
Lots to think about…am off to give my mind a rest for a while though now.
19 Apr 2009
I had a lovely day out with some of the ladies from the forum yesterday. That day, coupled with a day out at the zoo with my nephew on Friday, was just what I needed as I’ve been very low and tearful about things lately. I think the prep course brought up old feelings and I guess there will be more of that to look forward to. I was feeling extremely threatened about the feelings and anxious about what the social worker might make of my background when we do home study but am starting to relax about it a bit more and remember that they just want to be able to match us with the right child for us. I’ve been through alot in my life but I’ve come out the other side and am relatively sane, all things considered. I think THAT is more important than the actual events of my life. It’s how you deal with things that is more important. I also think that my experiences enable me to be more empathic and also not to expect that I can wave my wand and fix all the difficulties my child or children may have.
Yesterday was lovely. When I was feeling low I was anxious about how I would feel being the only person there without children. My hubby couldn’t make it so I was terribly worried about being a spare part. I had a lovely day though and the opportunity to speak to other adopters about their experiences and to meet their children who were all just wonderful, lovely and perfectly ordinary children, was great. The social workers like to scare you with stories of extremely challenging behaviour with adopted children and, whilst I am sure that all the children I met yesterday have their moments, they were all just normal children and their behaviour was no different than any other non-adopted child I have met. Sometimes you can’t beat a real experience and it’s so necessary to balance out the SW’s stories. I send out a personal thank you to everyone who was there yesterday for being so open and willing to share their experiences with me. I cannot thank you enough.
19 Apr 2009
I have just realised that I didn’t put anything in my diary about the final two days of the prep course. I’m glad I’ve waited to be honest because it was extremely emotional and I felt drained for nearly 2 weeks afterwards. My hubby and I discussed what we thought of the course and, for the most part, found it very useful. I think anyone having a baby should do parts of the course. It might make people think a bit more about how they bring up their children and what they hope to achieve from their parenting. I learned some good tips for bonding with a child and helping a child who isn’t used to being physically touched. I personally learned that our own personal experiences stay with us a long time and the emotions can be quite devastating when they emerge. I found that the course brought up old emotions from my childhood. Things that I have been to counselling for and am able to live with. It was hard reliving some of those feelings to be honest and I’ve had some difficult days. I am feeling heaps better now which is good and know to look after myself and hubs throughout the home study part. Lots of things to help ourselves emotionally I think. Being summer will help as we can get outdoors. The SW’s told us that we are short of approved adopters in our area and they want to push us all through quickly. Will see how that pans out in reality though. We met some lovely people on the course. I’ve stayed in touch with one of the couples and plan to meet up soon. Some of the other couples bonded well with each other also but I don’t think we will stay bonded as a group. I’ll see how that works out as time goes on. It was lovely to spend the time with them on the course and help each other through the 4 days. I wish them all well.
30 Apr 2009
I’m starting to champ at the bit this week because we’ve been told to expect a letter with the name of our allocated SW by the end of this week. Today is Thursday and I’m watching the post like a hawk!! I really should get some housework done though as we have guests for the bank holiday weekend and a party to plan.
30 Apr 2009
There’s something that I should note here really that came out of the prep course. We received a call last week in relation to the feedback that was given about the SW who did our initial home visit and some concerns that were raised by us and other adopters on the prep course. It was very reassuring to know that our LA took the comments very seriously and were investigating the comments. We won’t be allocated that particular SW for our home visits which is reassuring. I did feel awful having to comment about it but as so many others had the same experience I know I would want that feedback in my role.
04 May 2009
Did the letter arrive with the name of our allocated social worker by the time it was promised?……..
Of course not!! The waiting continues.
06 May 2009
Well the letter arrived today with the name of our allocated Social Worker. There will be a delay starting our Form F because the SW’s are all busy but there will be homework! So more waiting to see what happens next.
20 May 2009
Am just stopping by for a petulant whinge. I had an email today from the lady I met on our prep course. She has been allocated the SW that I was hoping to get. Not only that but she’s had contact with her and has dates in her diary to start home study. Have we heard from ours?
HA! Of course not!
28 May 2009
Still no news from our SW to organise dates for our home visit so I’m still trying to work out what “shortly” means. I guess I’ll have to start psyching myself up to chase yet again. It would be so nice not to have to chase them all the time. I am watching other people getting news and moving ahead and still we wait for something….anything..... I am starting to feel sorry for myself again at the moment which isn’t productive really. We’ve waited 15 years now for a child. Isn’t there some sort of queue jumping system in the universe? I’m British, I work on the basis that if you stand in a queue you will reach the cashier before the person stood behind you. It so doesn’t work like that in the starting a family business. In all these years of doctors and medical professionals and now social workers, I just wanted someone to see me as a human being, not just a case file, and that something in them was ignited and a desire to help me was born. In my job that desire to help the young people I work with is ignited on a daily basis. I work hard to help with the issues that they need help to resolve. I just wish someone felt like that about me on this issue instead of having to constantly harass people to do their jobs. Someone recently said that adoption is a marathon not a race. I understand that and even understand the need for the process but is that an excuse for treating people who have already been through so much with such indifference?
04 Jun 2009
YAY!! Had a call yesterday from our SW to organise a visit. Bless her, she apologised for keeping us waiting so I felt so much more positive about it almost immediately. She is the first person who has apologised for keeping us waiting and I thought it was nice of her to do so. Hopefully we will meet up in a few weeks time. She is organising for CRB forms etc to be sent to us so we can fill them in before the visit.
Another step forward…….
17 Jun 2009
Well only 2 days to go until we get to meet our new SW. I am excited to be finally getting moving and hope that we get some dates in the diary for our home study. I was so nervous earlier on this year but have calmed down a lot more now which I hope continues.
20 Jul 2009
Just a small update really which is a shame because a lot has been going on but I don’t feel much like writing about it at the moment. We have started our home study and it is proving to be very intense. I knew it would be but didn’t really think about how I might feel hashing over old stuff. Mostly I feel anxious about being turned down and how things are being interpreted. I have little control over these things and I find that stressful.
One thing I do know – if we’re successful with this process, I will not put myself through this again. I have no doubt in my mind at all as to why very few potential adopters come through to social services. You have to be very tough to emotionally survive this process!
Will update as we get more into the process and hopefully have a clearer sense of perspective. In the interim I am talking to friends and just getting through the days until the intensity dies down and I can find my sense of balance in life again.
Oh I should say that despite what I wrote just a moment ago, I do like our social worker. She seems really nice and professional. Just what I asked the universe to send. Now I just have to trust her judgement…….
06 Aug 2009
It’s been a little while since I added anything to my diary. I think that’s simply because it’s been quite intense doing the home study and I am feeling quite quiet and introspective and not really wanted to rehash what’s been happening and how I’m feeling.
It’s been strange talking about my childhood and dealing with the feelings that that has resurrected. I do feel pretty happy with our Social Worker thus far though and feel that she is working hard to portray a fair picture of us. I find that reassuring.
I have just been re-reading the BAAF book "Take Two" which was written by someone I now know and have met many of the people in the story. The first time I read it, it was almost like doing recon into what we were going to go through and seeing how someone else felt. Being that much further through the process and having met the author and her family now has changed my perspective and it was so much more emotional reading the pages this time. I was able to visualise the people as I turned the pages. Being that much closer to hopefully sharing the experiences described, I found myself welling up on quite a few occasions and wondering how it will be for us.
I find myself having quite a few emotional swings at the moment. I swing from feeling positive and calm to almost having panic attacks over what we are doing and whether it will all turn out ok. Whether we will be approved or whether we will be good parents and what our child or children will be like and what feelings that might evoke. I struggle with dealing with the unknown and am much better dealing with a situation that I can see and respond to. I suppose the obvious answer is to just deal with the home study for now and “be in the moment”. After 15 years of wanting to start a family and the journey that we can been on I think that is easier said than done. I am champing at the bit and want to get started with being a family. I want to allow myself to feel excited but there is that underlying fear that we will be turned down; that our history or current situation might not be deemed acceptable. When you are pregnant most people can work towards a date that you know you will meet your child and you can buy things and get excited. With adoption you are prevented at nearly every stage from feeling optimistic. You can’t buy things in advance because you don’t know if you’ll be approved and/or what age of child you may be matched with. As prospective adopters we are at the bottom of the rung at all times in terms of importance and you are almost in the dark throughout the process (well that’s my experience so far). I am not sure people really appreciate how difficult it is to be in this limbo land. It is a different limbo (and in many ways the same) as trying to conceive and experiencing miscarriages. Not knowing when we will become parents has been with us for much of our marriage. I am weary of that feeling now and just want to create my family. My period no longer feels like a failure on my part. It is what it is. I do not know why I was born with a body that can get pregnant but not carry a baby. I will never know. I will never fully join the world of women who are able to compare their labour stories and that unspoken rite of passage that you have to describe in great detail. In some ways I don’t mind not experiencing that part of it – it’s the way that other women react that bothers me more than not actually giving birth I think. That shared bonding. I know that I will be able to love a child that I didn’t give birth to. I have decided that I will delight in the fact that I will be able to continue to bounce on my trampoline without needing Tenna pads! There will always be a longing I think to know how it feels to carry a baby in my womb. Just to know how it feels. I always liked being a bit different I guess so in some ways, of course my route to becoming a parent would be different than most others. I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drum so am probably equipped to be able to cope with those feelings of being a bit different. Maybe those feelings are actually helpful in being a parent to an adopted child. You understand how it feels to look the same but be a bit different than other people.
One thing I have found quite difficult about the process is dealing with the sympathy from my Social Worker around my miscarriages and about some elements of my childhood. I forget how other people react because I never see myself as a victim. I think that’s what has always made me strong emotionally. Sometimes people can mistake that emotional strength as not caring but, as I explained to my Social Worker, it’s not that at all. Of course I feel strong emotions at times about all these things that have happened. I just don’t feel that they are everything about me. I am more than just the sum of some of my experiences. Of course losing so many babies is just plain awful. I can’t change that these things happened even though I wish I could. Of course I wish I could have met my babies and will always wonder what they would have been like. I do know however that people can cope with these things and move on with their lives. It’s part of who I am but it’s not everything about me. Trying to convey that to other people, who just want to look at me with sympathy because all they see is the miscarriages, is hard though. Again I suspect these experiences and feelings will help me be the parent to an adopted child.
I have to admit that am increasingly overwhelmed by the shear amount of people who will have access to information about our background and relationship during the adoption process. People I have never met or will ever meet again after panel could see me on the street and know private things about my childhood or other things that I’ve never told anyone. I guess that gives me an insight into how my children might feel in times to come about the knowledge that people have about them and their birth family. It’s a bit like Pandora’s box. Once you open the box the realisation of all the little things that adoption consists of suddenly hits you like a tornado. I must want a child very badly to do this, that’s all I can say.
We have a trip planned next week to Italy. I can’t wait to just go and be a couple for a few days without the constant planning for our next visit from our Social Worker and writing family trees etc.
17 Aug 2009
Not much to add really. I’m emotionally all over the place though (just for a change!). Partly I’m just tired. We had a lovely trip last week but I hardly slept whilst I was there because the bed in the hotel was so hard (I have really bad problems with getting comfortable beds wherever we go!! LOL). So that, coupled with huge amounts of walking and sight-seeing has left me very tired. I am emotionally tired from the adoption process as well. I’m doing as much yoga as I can to retain my equilibrium but it’s hard work at times! I just feel tearful about everything. I’ve put myself on some St John’s Wort for a few months just to help myself along and will go to the gym and do my yoga. I will be fine. I’m just emotionally frazzled I guess. The adoption process is bimbling along – doing its thing. We meet our SW and answer questions. She goes away and comes back with more. I’m getting used to having to give details over and over “for panel”. I am working on the basis that the fact she is thinking about panel (and mentioning it a lot) that things are going well and we will go to panel. It seems a long time until November though. My DH is much more positive than I am – I bless him daily for that. I feel that I have to protect myself a bit though. After all the loss we’ve gone through I am scared to believe that this might actually happen. I’m used to things going wrong – so I’m holding my breath at the moment – trying to be positive but hoping that the other shoe doesn’t fall.
20 Aug 2009
Well a bit of a "can’t be helped" disappointment today because our SW is unwell and can’t make today’s appt. I hope she is better soon. There’s a lot of nasty bugs going around at the moment. I have some unexpected time to catch up on some jobs today which is actually rather nice. I’ve not had a session with our SW for a few weeks which has been quite nice – just to relax a bit. Will update more when she is better and gets in touch to organise another date.
We had a lovely break in Italy last week which was much needed and I think we’re going to get away for our anniversary in September for a long weekend as well. I think those breaks are important at the moment. I definitely think my head needs the break. It’s all pretty intense and naturally I’m thinking about the process far more than is healthy. Oh to be a spiritual guru and know how to let go of my desired outcome (can’t see that happening any time soon!).
03 Sep 2009
Emotions definitely come and fits and starts through this process. I think it’s fair to say that I’m not quite my usual bright and sparkly self at the moment still. I’m definitely feeling a bit quiet; a bit angry; and my confidence has been taking a bit of a nose-dive lately. I guess there’s nothing like focusing on things that have caused you pain in the past to resurrect tons of old feelings of self-doubt. I’m trying to both forgive myself for this and also take myself in hand and not let these feelings take over but I think it’s fair to say that some days I succeed better than others.
When we started this process I had an overwhelming sense of hope and was excited not to have to compare myself to my friends and their baby making any more. The trouble is that you swap one thing for another. I think being so close to panel (hopefully) now is bringing back those old feelings of being left behind and that feeling of wondering whether it will ever happen for me. I am watching other people’s joy at the moment and finding it hard to relate. I know my friends would encourage and motivate me and tell me that it will happen and I’ll be a great mum, but I can’t help feeling that it never will happen. That I’ll always be the one left behind and not a mum. I have friends who’ve had infertility and then had their miracle child. They are lovely but they try to pretend they know how I feel. How can they? They may yearn for a second child, and I feel empathy for them wanting that, but they don’t know how it is to be childless. It’s not about biology for me at this point but it is about being a mum and also getting that panel approval. I am so terrified that I will not pass this eternal hoop jumping test. We now have to spend a day in a nursery. Fair enough, not a problem, I was quite looking forward to it, but we now also have to observe a child and write down our observations about that child AND have the nursery supervisor write a report on how we get on at the nursery. I spend half my week with children of one kind or another – teenagers; young children whom I look after etc etc. There is always stuff to learn which I embrace but this doesn’t feel like a learning exercise – this feels like another test. I’m starting to get seriously fed up with this at the moment. No other “parent to be” gets put through this to be a “good enough” parent.
I am aware that this is my reaction and that’s all it is – a reaction. It’s a reaction with lots of issues from the past whispering in my ear and triggering it. Our SW is actually really nice and I am aware that she wants to ensure we get through panel and nothing gets referred back. I know she is the face of a system . I just feel like I’m being a total pushover at the moment, which anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a pushover – generous and willing to give the benefit of the doubt but NOT a pushover. I am scared to fight back in case that is seen as another character flaw – but I’m also concerned that if I’m not true to myself that she will think that I am a pushover and that will be written off as a flaw as well.
LOL – how to tie yourself up in knots in one easy session eh?
All I know is that I will NEVER put myself through this again. I can’t take much more of this stress at the moment. I am coping, of a sorts, of course I am. But I’m not sleeping so well and am tired and not feeling well and am feeling like I’ve lost so much confidence in myself as a person. I’m trying to relax by doing yoga and going to the gym but I feel so tense that I could just snap at the moment. I had a bit of a hissy fit at work yesterday just because of the hot desking policy which has meant that I’ve had to keep moving desks in the office – and drives me nuts!! Let’s just say I embraced my childish side a bit yesterday. Of course I then hated myself for that for being so childish. I feel so judged at the moment (mostly by myself I suspect) and feel that everyone is watching me to prove that I am not fit to be a mother. I am watching what I say to my friends who are referees just in case I say something that gets passed on to the SW when they meet her. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not pregnant because the stress would do so much harm to the poor child. I’m going to do what any self-respecting woman would do in such a crisis – I’m going to the hairdresser to have a re-colour and style! It should distract me if nothing else! LOL
I did have a very powerful moment though the other morning in bed. I was thinking about my child to be and wondering whether they have been born yet and what their circumstances are and whether they are ok. I know that there will be a serious reason as to why the child that I will be mummy to, can’t live with their birth family and even though I don’t know that child yet, it breaks my heart to think of them suffering in any way. There have been so many thoughts and realisations just lately. Part of me realises that it’s good that the process takes a long time because you really don’t have a clue about all the little details when you pick up that phone to set the adoption process in motion. You don’t think in real depth about all the little, and big, issues that you will go through with your child and the feelings that that will bring up. I read the things that fellow adopters write and realise that I know so little and am under-prepared for what might be ahead. I have tons of love to give but realise that this homestudy will not be the end of the tests – not just from being a normal parent – but from all the add-ons that come with being an adoptive parent – birth families; helping my child understand their history and how that effects them; stupid people making stupid comments over the years; the often ineptitude of the LAs; having to decide how much information to share with people about my child; not having parental responsibility until the legal adoption; the possibility of legal wranglings etc. Like I said, the majority of us don’t have a clue about what’s in store as an adoptive parent. The SW’s just tell you about behavioural difficulties and attachment disorders, they don’t tell you about all the other stuff. I just think geeez if this feels overwhelming for me as an adult – how about that poor child in the middle of all that?
I guess that gives me some perspective really after my long rant…….
17 Sep 2009
I’m actually feeling a bit better today. I wasn’t very good last week when we saw our SW and I realised just how defensive I am starting to feel now. She seems to be implying that I’m a bit inflexible!! ha ha!! Ok anyone who knows me knows that I like things the way I like them. However, I have been around children enough to know that I am extremely flexible about plans changing with children. DH and I had to tell her something that we argued about so we decided to say that the only real bone of contention between us is when he changes plans at the last minute and it drives me nuts. I don’t think that that is me being inflexible – just a typical Taurean (LOL). Anyway, I was glad when she left last week as I felt a tad criticised (particularly when she said that I would be organising all the mums). Is there anything wrong with trying to be organised?
Ok so this week I’ve been to the osteopath and found my sense of humour again now that my head and jaw ache that I’ve had for years have gone. I’m also booked for massages every 2 weeks until panel which I hope will help!
We’ve decided not to tell anyone our panel date. I’ve always been open about everything ever since our first miscarriage. All my friends knew when we had scans etc and there was this pressure to text everyone straight away to tell them that another baby had died. That was so tough. I am good at being brave but it’s not always the best thing for me. I am not feeling overly confident about being approved at the moment so I feel that if no-one knows the date I can have some time to handle it if it all goes wrong before telling them and also I can hopefully minimise the build-up of stress as the date draws near. I love my friends and I know that they just want the best for me and support me 1000% but I just want to keep this private. Almost like keeping a pregnancy secret for 12 weeks. I’m not sure everyone understands our decision but I think it will also be good practice for me being able to make decisions about how much of our children’s information we share without pressure from people wanting to know more. I know some of my friends will want to know everything and I don’t feel it’s appropriate. I’m kind of breaking them in gently.
So today I feel ok – almost chirpy (the St John’s Wort must be helping!). No visit from our SW this week but I have lots of writing to do for our profile which I plan to get on with over the next few days. I also have to book us in for nursery days.
19 Nov 2009
It’s been quite a long time since I last added anything to this diary. The truth is that I’ve been so busy with home study that I’ve not had the emotional ability to write anything more about this process. Goodness it’s been draining!! At the moment I feel emotionally worn out. My muscles are so tense and tired and I have constant backache. I’m having a week off work now to recover a bit before panel (and get some Christmas shopping done!). I’m trying to do lots of yoga and am having massages etc to help.
I still feel that we’ve been lucky with our SW. She has been very professional. She got a bit worried during some parts of our home study because of how complicated some bits of it were. I pick up on other people’s feelings alot so got very anxious along with her over some of the interviews but she seems very happy now and panel is all set to go in a few weeks time. I’ve not broken and told anyone the date yet (actually I did tell one very close friend but she has now forgotten the date so I guess that doesn’t count now!).
Emotionally I’m a bit calmer now the home visits have stopped. Having a few weeks of no SW visits is bliss! Work is a bit better as well now because I have managed to close a client file that was taking up an enormous amount of time. I can go back to my normal cleaning routine and not worry about the house so much for a while now. I have been lucky that my friends have let me rabbit on and have been very supportive. I think I would have been carted off long ago if it weren’t for my hubby and them.
I won’t lie. I am very nervous about panel. All those people making a judgement about me is just so difficult for my poor insecurities. Hubs is very laid back and says that they wouldn’t put us forward if they weren’t happy. Our SW has said the same but I know she has a few worries about things the panel might ask us so I still have that anxiety. I know I have no control over any of this now. It’s so hard to let go of it though but we have waited 15 years for our family. This means EVERYTHING to me. How would I feel if we don’t get approved? That is something that does worry me.
Trying to be more positive – both my hubby and I are very worried about making the right decision if/when we are matched. I am hoping that what I’ve been told about just knowing it is right will hold true for us. It takes my hubby 2 years to buy a surround sound so this will be an interesting process!
I’m going to try and focus on other things for the next few weeks and try to relax a bit. Hopefully by the time we do get to panel I will be feeling a bit better and maybe this will be our last Christmas as a duo.
10 Dec 2009
We had our approval panel last week on 3rd December 2009! Yes I did give in and tell my friends when the day was! How could I not really?
Big day and boy was I stressed by the time it came around. Our SW has been fab but she is a real stickler for dotting I’s and crossing T’s etc, which is great but means I get worried about the things she is worried about. We had a list of questions we thought panel might ask us and I was so anxious about my family background and whether it would cause any problems. Our SW was only in with panel around 15 mins before we were called in. I was sat at the childrens centre reading the kiddies books which was quite poetic really. When we were called in we were only asked 3 questions which were really straightforward to answer. What a relief!! DH and I bounced out of the room feeling so much happier, and relieved it was over, thinking that there was no way they were going to turn us down after so few questions. Sure enough about 5 mins later the chair and our SW came to see us to tell us that we had been unanimously recommended for approval for 1/2 children aged 0-4 years. We will have to wait for the decision to be ratified by the Asst Director of Children’s Services now. We were told that would take about a week but I had an email last night from our SW to say that she hadn’t received that yet so we are still waiting for that. I’m not going to spend any more time worrying about it now. I have been getting far to stressed about it all. Understandably I think because this is our last chance to become parents and it means the world to us. The trouble with anxiety, as I’m now finding out, is that it doesn’t achieve anything other than make you feel ill. I’ve not been sleeping well and am emotionally so tense that I can barely breathe. I had a lot of emotional issues tied up in our approval. Lots of family issues and also the emotion of 10 miscarriages which had left me feeling in some ways that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mum. I guess emotions aren’t always logical and self-esteem sneaks in when you are feeling vulnerable to play with your mind. I’ll be happy for a bit of time out now before we are matched. I am having glimmers of excitement about what is to come and knowing that it will now be “when” not “if” is a lovely feeling. I need to focus on sorting this anxiety out now and calming myself back down again and also getting some prep work done in the house that we want to do (well re-design the upstairs of our chalet bungalow ready for the pitter-patter of tiny feet!!).
This is the end of the diary!