Saturday, 30 March 2013

Life Changing Day....

On 28th March two things happened.  The day started out pretty yucky; improved slowly with some lovely moments and finished on a major crescendo.

Firstly Katie was sick and missed her Easter Bonnet Parade at school.  I think I was more disappointed than she was if I'm honest as I'd put some serious Mummy energy into making that damn bonnet! I thought it was quite good until I saw some of the other creations.  For heavens sake parents these kids are in RECEPTION YEAR!! This isn't the Tate Modern!  Go and bake some cakes or something.......

I digress.......Katie was sick during the evening whilst I was enjoying myself at my Reiki group.  She is very adept at timing her distresses for times when I'm out enjoying myself *raises eyebrows at the little monkey*.  Daddy had the nice job of dealing with a bed (and his T-shirt) of vomit and I got the nice job of coming home and putting it all in the wash and then having a night of very broken sleep with added vomit so don't feel too sorry for Daddy.  Poor Katie. It is so scary being sick when you are little. She gets so distressed.  I was able to snuggle her up in my arms all night and keep her warm whilst she kicked the covers off and fidgetted.  She's still not right, bless her little heart, but she's getting better (although producing some incredibly offensive odours from her derriere!).  She's organising her care package with organisational skills I should be proud of (other than the fact that it's me who's delivering the package!).

Thankfully she wasn't sick again on Thursday and we had a lovely Mummy+Katie day of mooching (yes I saw an opportunity to start teaching some mooching skills). I painted her nails; we baked some brownies for our Social Workers visit later in the day; we pottered up to the shops. It was actually a lovely day, despite the odd rush to the toilet.

Around 5.30pm our new Matching Social Worker arrived closely followed by our Assessing Social Worker to start our handover meeting.  Katie was delighted when our ASW presented her with a Lindt Chocolate Bunny (Mummy is under strict instructions NOT to eat it!) and Katie excitedly presented her with a lovely little mug we had found with a cat and dog sharing Dalmatian spots.  We love our cats and our ASW has dogs so we thought this was a very apt gift.  It was a fairly small mug as we know that SWs rarely get to finish a cuppa!

We had a little bit of chitchat and finally I asked our MSW "So, what happens next then? Are we just waiting for the phone to ring or is there anything else we need to do?"  I knew what her reply was going to be and I couldn't wait any longer for her reply which was

"Well actually I'm here instead of a phonecall".

I held my breath, anxious to see if what she was going to say was going to "match" the premonition I had had some time ago.  It did.  We have a match and it is a perfect match for our family.  I'm going to have to leave you dangling for a while until I am able to say more but I will say that we will soon be welcoming a very small member into the Katie family who might have a tendency to wear blue (or the various shades of brown and green that designers seem to like for a certain sex of child).  Our MSW asked if we needed time to think about it but Daddy and I both know that this is the right match for us, and Katie, and need no time to think any further.

We heard as much information as our MSW (who also seems very nice) was able to give us and arranged a meeting to discuss things further with the child's SW on 8th April.  We already know the SW because she was Katie's SW several years ago and we've had ongoing contact with her over the past 3 years.  It is all falling into place. Katie will feel relaxed with her, as do we, and this will help things along wonderfully I feel.

I've drip fed Katie some information. I've told her that our new SW thinks she may be able to find her a baby brother (sssshhhh I've said it).  Katie's face lit up and her excitement matches mine.  I've said we'll need to wait a bit longer until we get some more news but we're having little conversations. Just enough for a 5 year old to manage.

Since the meeting on Thursday I have been riding a wave of emotion. Mostly excitement until a friend of mine sent me an email of all the things I was going to need to buy and learn. Katie was 2 when we adopted her so bottles and teething and weaning are new things to us.  It's going to be a fun learning curve I think.

When we were matched with Katie, I was really unwell. I was anxious. I didn't know how to trust my instincts regarding a match.  Daddy was the one who "knew" that Katie was right for us.  This time I am all systems go. I feel it in every fibre of my being.  I am already bonded emotionally with this child.  The bolt of emotion has been allowed to flow.

I'm in!  

I'm caught....

Hook, Line and Sinker.

The MSW has said we can move things along as quickly or as slowly as we would like.  There are still some uncertainties that need to be addressed.  We still have some building work upstairs to sort out.  I can't imagine we would start introductions quicker than in 2 months because we have to meeting with the Medical Adviser and Foster Carers and go to Matching Panel.  The system can only work so quickly.  I will know more on the 8th but we have said that we want to move as quickly as is possible to minimise the time spent in Foster Care.  Until then I'm going to be bouncing about in a mix of excitement and panic about how much I'm going to need to achieve and buy.

Bring it on, I can't wait!  What a life changing day......

Friday, 29 March 2013

Why Don't You?

When I was younger we didn't have tons of toys or things to entertain us (don't worry this isn't going to be a sob story or one of those "when I was young" diatribes).  We used to play outside the front of the house with our friends.  I spent lots of time either sitting on the curb chatting with my friends (whilst one particular "friend" spent two years bullying me from the age of 6 until around 8) or playing chase or "two ball".  I think I spent the majority of my childhood outside of the house either on bikes, getting up to goodness knows what, or just hanging about (when I wasn't being grounded for all sorts of silly things that is).  I don't remember being bored. We had amazing freedom, free from worry about being run over or abducted.  I'm sure the "B" word was used as most children seem to use it with frightening regularity but I don't remember it.  I still don't get bored even to this day. When I was on my own I spent as much of my time as I could with my nose stuck in a book.  I was a vociferous reader.  I would read anything that I could get my hands on. I would happily spend my holidays stuck up a tree reading "What Katy Did" or "Little Women".  It used to drive my mum nuts.

"We didn't bring you all this way for you to sit up a tree with a book" she would yell at me.

I'd be delighted for Katie to sit up a tree with a book.  Chances are it wouldn't be with a book nowadays.  It would be with a smart-phone or an IPad or Kindle.  If I'm still physically able to, at the point she is old enough to partake of this wonderfully peaceful exercise, I might even climb up and join her, although I'd have to ensure I had enough charge on my Kindle!

It seems to me that children don't necessarily play these days in the way we used to.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not harking back to the "good ol days" with some evangelical rosy-tinted glasses but I do think life was simpler and we used to know how to entertain ourselves.  We had to.  We didn't have grown-ups to play with us necessarily - most of the grown-ups I knew back then were busy talking to each other and not interested in us kids.  I can't remember my mum ever sitting down and reading with me or playing games.  We did used to watch "Top of the Pops" and "Dallas" together though.  We didn't have lots of TV time as we only had three channels until the early 80's.  We had games like Operation and Buckeroo and Monopoly and they came out at Christmas etc but I don't have lots of memories of sitting down and playing them.  Children weren't at the centre of life as they are these days.  We were expected to "know our place" Parenting was sadly, mostly Victorian (it was in my case). Playing was for when we were with our friends and not our parents although I do remember being dangled upside down or tickled (both of which I totally hated!).

How the world has changed and how different it is for adopters!

Parenting these days has done a 180 degree flip and is very child focused. We are encouraged to play with our children and spend "quality time" together.  I enjoy playtime with Katie.  I waited for a very long time to become a parent and I want to be involved. For adopters (as well as other parents I'm sure) playtime is our bonding time. It's a time when we can encourage our children to learn to use eye contact or touch in a non-threatening way. We can help our children develop their motor and communication skills. We can use play therapies such as Theraplay to help our children relearn and reprogramme negative and damaging experiences. We can let them be in charge for a period of time and help build up their self-esteem.  We can have fun!  It is also a time when we (the alleged grown ups) can indulge ourselves in a child-like world and forget (albeit very briefly) about our adult lives and responsibilities.  Making a child laugh is one of the best experiences in the world.  Hearing the sound of their laughter, full of total glee and abandon with no pretences, is precious.  I adore hearing Katie laugh. She laughs like one of those giggle toys that used to be quite popular.  It stops people in their tracks and makes them smile!

The tools we have in our armoury make playtime so much easier although we don't need to be as resourceful, unless you're a supermum with the most amazing crafty skills and don't feel threatened by an empty toilet roll; cardboard box and sticky backed plastic as I do  We have a trampoline (currently unused due to the unseasonably cold and wet weather). We have a LeapPad and DS and an IPad.  We have books and dolls and babies and Lego and cars and tons of Princess dressing up dresses and soft toys and games especially designed to enable learning.  We have play-dates and Jenga. We bake cakes and sometimes do some mark making and play Play-Doh or watch TV. With exception to the latter, I am a one-woman entertainment centre. 

Is all this one-to-one attention actually good for Katie in the long run though?  Obviously, in part, the answer is a resounding "Yes" but what about her ability to self-entertain?  As a parent I actually also need to give her time to become bored to enable her to develop these skills and enjoy some of the amazing things that can come out of time spent without entertainment. As a young person I spent a lot of time writing very dodgy poetry when I was alone.  I have to say that gives me some adult amusement to read nowadays!

This ability to sit within the feeling of boredom is quite a topical issue this week.  Research is showing that our modern culture of 24/7 entertainment options and socialisation isn't actually good for children because they are missing out on spending creative inner time.  Just sitting and staring out of a window can lead to amazingly creative outcomes.

In a BBC news article Dr Belton, who is an expert in the impact of emotions on behaviour and learning at the University of East Anglia, said "boredom could be an "uncomfortable feeling" and that society had "developed an expectation of being constantly occupied and constantly stimulated".

But she warned that being creative "involves being able to develop internal stimulus".
"Nature abhors a vacuum and we try to fill it," she said. "Some young people who do not have the interior resources or the responses to deal with that boredom creatively then sometimes end up smashing up bus shelters or taking cars out for a joyride."

This is a serious concern and we as parents need to question where the balance lies and we also need to be strong enough to encourage our children to entertain themselves without the aid of modern technology.

In a Mumsnet Guest Blog post Dr Belton also writes:

"With school holidays approaching, parents will be expecting wails of, “I’m bored - there’s nothing to do!” Stretched budgets may also make expensive outings impossible. If so, take heart. Parents tend to feel responsible for their children being occupied at all times - but being constantly busy or entertained is not helpful for children’s development. Yes, children thrive on stimulus from babyhood onwards, but one can have too much of a good thing. Children also need still, quiet time to learn from their experiences, to think their own thoughts, to get to know the world around them."

This is really reassuring because Katie has now learnt the "B" word.  I actually hate that word.  I remember many years ago being told that "only boring people get bored" and I find myself saying it back to her with some frequency.  She has reached that whiny challenging five year old age where, as a parent, it can be sometimes easier to give in to demands to entertain her rather than standing firm.  She is amazingly good at distracting me when she is "bored".  She'll either follow me around constantly or start to do things that she knows she shouldn't be - all for negative attention. I have started standing more firm and giving Katie time to amuse herself without the aid of modern technology or me (I make sure I let the cats outside first though!).  This is going to be really important when we introduce a sibling to our family. I don't want her to tie the two in together so have brought this change in now and am planning to ensure these Easter holidays aren't the usual action-packed fun fest school holiday that we usually enjoy.  Yes there will be time with friends but there is also going to be more time at home just mooching.  I need some mooch-time and I think it's about time Katie learnt how to mooch as well.

Wish me luck. I'm taking heart from a favourite TV programme of my generation "Why Don't You?"

Why don't you just turn off your television set and 
go and do something less boring instead......

Good advice I think.  What do you think?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Steamy Spring Cleaning....

I have a confession to make I have a nickname at home.....Gadget Girl. I love finding products that will meet an imagined domestic need and make life just that little bit easier.....with varying degrees of success over the years.

One of the products I have been desperate to buy has been a steam cleaner. As an asthmatic, with various allergies and a husband plus a messy 5 year old and two extremely mucky Maine Coon cats, I am always on the lookout for chemical free and environmentally friendly cleaning products. Since Katie and these two particular cats joined us I spend a lot of time cleaning round. I have mentioned in previous posts that Maine Coons are the most untrainable cats I've ever met. Adorable but untrainable. They traipse all over my work surfaces (which I've never allowed with previous members of my furry family). I spend half my day either hollering "DOWN" at them or wiping up their muddy footprints when they come home after a fun hour or two in the garden. 
Imagine my delight when I was selected by Mumsnet and Karcher to receive one of their new steam cleaners, the Karcher SC 2.500 C, to play with and review.. I was as giddy as a school girl and waited excitedly for the doorbell to ring heralding the arrival of my new toy.  Willow, one of my adorable Maine Coon cats, was in the box the second I had unpacked it so there were two happy females in the house (a rarity Daddy might comment that this point!).

With any new gadget my tests are:

a) how quickly I can remove it from the box and get it ready to use; 
b) how easy the destructions instructions are to decipher; and 
c) how well the product works (and for how long).

The cleaner comes with a booklet which explains in words and pictures how to put it all together. I will say I found the pictures easier to follow.  If you've ever put together a vacuum cleaner you will find the Karcher steam cleaner a total doddle to assemble. Everything slots easily into place (I had the cleaner clicked together in about 5 minutes).  There are a variety of different attachments for different jobs such as a steam gun (called a detail nozzle) and a small brush that attaches to the gun for cleaning areas such as sinks and baths and around the taps.  The cleaner is very light and easy to move around on the wheels.  The power lead is a decent length and I was able to clean my kitchen and downstairs bathroom easily from one plug socket.  You can store all the attachments in a section at the back of the cleaner and you can hook the extension tubes and floor nozzle onto the back of the cleaner, rather like you can do with many vacuums.  The unit is quite small so it's easy to store.

It is important to read the instructions on which surfaces you can clean before using the cleaner.  It was hard to restrain myself long enough to do this as I wanted to get on with it.  Actually I'd say you could fill the reservoir up with water and get the cleaner heating up whilst you read this section of the instructions. It takes about 6 minutes to warm up properly. I found I had to re-read the written instructions a few times just to make sure I'd understood it properly. They feel a bit wordy but actually I think it's more that there is a lot of information crammed onto the page to save space (the instructions have been translated into 28 languages so space is limited).

The first thing I did was clean my kitchen floor. The terry cloth is folded in half and clips onto the vacuum-like floor nozzle.  You do have to be careful of your fingers when doing this but it fits tightly once attached and is easy to adjust. As soon as the light had indicated that the steam was heated I squeezed the trigger and watched excitedly as the steam hissed its way out of the floor nozzle.  I was locked and loaded and ready to go.  

First I cleaned my kitchen and hall floor.  This space is a few hundred square feet in size and it only required one filling of the reservoir. The book warns that you might get some smearing in the first instance as previous products are removed. I didn't find this was the case at all and my floor looked beautifully clean (for about 5 minutes until the cats came in again and put muddy footprints all over it!).  The terry cloth cover on the other hand was filthy. My floor was mopped only a day before I used the cleaner so I was very impressed at the depth of cleaning achieved (and slightly concerned about the poor job my mop has been doing).  It's important to keep an eye on the reservoir whilst you are cleaning to ensure that it doesn't run out of water.  There is a warning light that lights up to remind you to refill. I think, in time, I will get to know roughly when I need to refill. I erred on the side of caution for my first outing with my new toy.

So, after a quick refill of the resevoir and a little wait for it to reheat, I tried out the detail nozzle on my chrome kitchen taps and kitchen sink.  The taps, sink hole and overflow cleaned beautifully and were left very shiny.  There was some staining on my ceramic kitchen sink which I generally bleach white again once a week.  The steam cleaner wasn't able to clean these stains off (I'm not totally slovenly I promise. The surface of the sink does stain easily).  I then cleaned my shower quadrant and enjoyed getting into all the nooks and crannies that usually require the use of a skanky old toothbrush that I've saved for such occasions.  I am delighted that I will never have to use that toothbrush again. Blasting the cleaner through the space where the door slides and watching in disgusted awe as lots of unsavoury gunge and dirt came whooshing out.  I cleaned the glass doors of the shower (remembering to gently allow some steam to coat them before cleaning them with the hand nozzle so as not to risk breaking them).

So did the Karcher SC 2.500 C fulfil the requirements that I set out at the beginning?  

Yes it did. It is very easy to assemble and use and cleans amazingly well. The instructions are pretty good (particularly the pictures). I'm not sure I would use it every day for all the small jobs and will still need to wipe my surfaces where the cats have climbed over them (otherwise I'd have the cleaner out all the time) but it will be great for a bigger clean several times a week. It will be interesting to see if, what seems to be impressive cleaning with no chemicals, impacts positively on my asthma.  I feel incredibly positive about being able to clean effectively without using any chemicals and how this will impact on myself and Katie and Daddy in the longer term.

If you're interested in seeing the cleaner in action and all the technical details then check out this online clip from Karcher (I actually found this clip useful when using the cleaner).....


Please Note:

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.

Monday, 25 March 2013

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Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Toofh Fairy.....

A little while ago I wrote about Katie's first ever wobbly tooth. It's been quite the event in our house for around 6 weeks or so.  The tooth slowly became more and more wobbly but wasn't showing any signs of wanting to budge out of her mouth (no matter how much tongue action was involved).

So a few weeks ago Daddy and I had a night out planned. You can count on one hand how many times we've been out together since we first adopted Katie so this is a big deal for us. We were going out for a meal with some friends to celebrate a 40th birthday.  Katie was very excited because she was going to my Sister's for her second ever sleepover.  We are incredibly protective of Katie so she doesn't do sleepovers as a rule.  Excitement was high. Katie was excited at the prospect of a sleepover and Daddy and I were excited about having a grown up meal in an actual restaurant! I should just mention here that last time Katie slept at my Sister's house not much sleep actually ensued.  Katie doesn't do change particularly well (we have this in hotel rooms and on holiday etc).  Last time she wouldn't sleep until gone 10pm and was wide awake again by 4.30am. Pretty much the same thing happened this time so we've decided that Katie won't be doing any more sleepovers until she is older.

There were mitigating circumstances this time, to be fair, because something dramatic happened......Wobblegate.  Wobblegate sounded quite traumatic in the blow by blow account I received from all parties involved the next day and in the frantic phone message I finally received later that evening when I got a phone signal.

Katie decided she couldn't go to sleep because she was worried her tooth would come out in the night and she would swallow it.  Hysteria set in.  Daddy and I were unreachable due to a dodgy phone signal in the lovely Thai restaurant that we were having a pretty delicious meal.  Auntie BB had to decide how best to resolve the issue.  Facebook enabled her to contact one of my best friends.  After many tears were shed because Mummy wasn't there and several hours of anxiety, the tooth finally came out.  Phew!  The event sounds worthy of an episode of Casualty! I'm sure the defibrillator was standing by just in case (or was that for Auntie BB?).

Of course upon hearing all of the above I was anxious and pretty gutted that I couldn't be there for her and that I missed her first tooth coming out.  Firsts are so important for adopters because we miss out on so many of the firsts.  I didn't hear Katie's first word; or see her first tooth or first step.  There are some important things that I missed out on and being involved is very important to me (I'll write about the school disco another time).  I felt like the worst Mum on earth.  There was I having a wonderful time whilst my daughter was in distress (Raises right hand to forehead.....I should have been on the stage - oh I was for a while so that might explain my performance!).  I have now gained some perspective on the whole thing, particularly as other adopter friends have told me similar things have happened to them (usually with teeth coming out at school or actually being swallowed).  I'm still a bit sad but we've moved on (being approved at Panel and visiting Euro Disney helped with that).

 Katie wouldn't allow Auntie BB to put the tooth under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy.  She was too scared about the Tooth Fairy so the tooth came home, wrapped in tissue, for a proper send off.  It was so tiny. Barely there.  So cute.

Even at home Katie didn't want to put the tooth under her pillow so we thought a bit about why this might be.  To be honest it is a scary prospect to think that a fairy is going to come into your house and into your bedroom and ferret around under your pillow. Katie doesn't have any particular reason that I know of in her history that might exacerbate this fear but I could see where she was coming from so we put our thinking caps on and decided to try something we had used before with the Nunga Nunga Fairy (Dummy Fairy).  We put the tooth in a little box and hung it in a gift bag on the back door with a note for the Toofh (Katie's spelling) Fairy.  Katie felt that this was something she could handle.  We reassured her that the Toofh Fairy wouldn't come into her bedroom by me writing an envelope telling the Toofh Fairy where to go when she arrived.  Of course we could have just down played the whole thing and not involved any fairies but fairies are a big part of our lives in the Katie household.  We particularly love the Parking Fairy.  She is amazing and very reliable!

The next morning a very excited Katie awoke and rushed into our bedroom asking to go downstairs to check inside the bag. We sprinted down with her and watched her discover a shiny £2 coin (for a first tooth, the price goes down to £1 for subsequent teeth - OK the truth is that I didn't have a pound coin so it had to be a £2 coin).

The tooth next to this one is now wobbly. Let's hope the next one is a) less traumatic and b) comes out with Mummy and Daddy at home.

Is that asking for too much I wonder?

No swallowing it at school Katie......


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Panel Day......

Well what a day and what a long time in coming it has been. Eighteen months since we started the adoption process the second time around we have finally, today, been approved to adopt a sibling for Katie aged 0-3 of either gender. Panel was a very positive experience. All the members were interested and positive. They made us feel welcomed and relaxed and wanted to know lots about Katie and how we were planning to manage two children. I did wonder if they were after some tips for child management at one point LOL! Each panel member had a question to ask but they were all manageable questions and not really anything to tax our brains too much. One of the ladies on the panel was really funny with some of her comments and observations.  She really helped us relax (although I was a bag of nerves beforehand and during panel).  They were beaming at us when we went back in to hear the verdict so we knew we could breathe a sigh of relief. Our SW said it was the easiest panel she had ever attended.

If they only knew what the last 24 hours have been like in our house .............

The day has been somewhat overshadowed by a rushed visit to A&E last night after Katie fell off her scooter yesterday morning and bashed her foot. We thought she was OK until she woke up at 9.30pm last night screaming in pain.  A four hour visit to hospital revealed a possibly chipped and very bruised bone in her foot. We left hospital about 3am. To say we're exhausted is an understatement. To say we were on autopilot at panel is also an understatement. 

Katie was a total star at the hospital (after an initial panic meltdown at having to go to hospital). We wrapped her up in her PJs and Dressing gown with a snuggly blanket. She was so well behaved and incredibly good when having her x-rays. Sadly she had to miss school and her long awaited school disco today (which also didn't go down well this morning). I'm sure half our neighbourhood heard how much it didn't go down well. She did decide herself half an hour later that she wasn't fit to go. It meant rearranging all my careful plans for today whilst we were at panel. A good friend texted me whilst we were in the hospital last night and offered to look after her this afternoon. It was a good decision and Katie had a lovely time. She's still stiff and sore in her foot but hopefully she'll be OK for Disneyland Paris at the weekend!

So we're tired and slightly nonplussed but happy that we're on our becoming a family of four......

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mothers Day

 On this Mothers Day I count my blessings. I look at my beautiful daughter and think of what we all went through to be become a family. How blessed we are to have each other.

We all had a journey. 

I think of my son or daughter who will join us soon and wonder what their journey has been so far and of what our lives will be like next year as we become a family of four.

I think of all the Birth Mothers who are unable to be with their children for whatever reason. 

I think of my friends whose children have died. 

I think of all the adoptees for whom this day can be a complex one. 

I think of my estranged relationship with my own mother and wish her some happiness. 

I think of all the single mothers who might not get treated today.

Today we will light a candle for Katie's Birth Mother. We will think of her and send her best wishes. It will be part of our day, but not all.

Now I'm going to bake everyone's favourite brownies and simplify all of the above with chocolate stickiness......

Edited to add the following link that I found in The Guardian. An adoptive mum writes an open letter to her daughter's birth mum entitled Letter to Daughter's Other Mother.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Panel Date....

Great news! After many delays and some ridiculous requests from our Local Authority including planning to postpone our panel date yet again so that they could take up a reference from 25 years ago (I kid you not!) and deciding our PAR was too long we finally have confirmation that we will be going to panel NEXT WEEK!  Thankfully sense was seen by the Overseeing Adoption Manager who vetoed the need for the reference, particularly after I used the word "ridiculous" to them and highlighted that it was not needed with our first adoption.  I'm saving the word "escalate" in case things get any worse!

At one point thing got to the point that I offered to do some of the rewriting of our PAR because our Social Worker was on annual leave.  In the end she had to cut her holiday short to return and sort it all out because the Manager who was supposed to read our PAR didn't open the document until a few days before the deadline to send it out to panel.  I feel this is really unacceptable.

We are still awaiting a time for the panel (which is in a week's time). Daddy is champing at the bit because he has an incredibly important meeting to arrange for the same day and needs to know the time so that he can sort that out. There is also the issue of collecting Katie from school.  I am fully anticipating that we will get a time for something like 2pm which will cause us all sorts of problems. I am sure there is someone else who I can arrange to collect Katie that day, if need be, but ideally not as it's her first ever school disco on the same day and it's a big date in the diary. I'm also helping out at the disco (which has been pointed out to me is rather stupid as I will probably have a migraine by then from all the anxiety of the day).  I think I'll take some pre-emptive tablets that day to try and ward anything untoward off.

Still, in my opinion, these are minor worries.  WE HAVE A DATE!!! I can't actually quite believe it at the moment. I'm still waiting for them to postpone it for some, as yet, unknown reason. They'll probably suddenly realise a vital piece of paper is missing and postpone us for another 3 months!

Yes, we've been delayed this time already by 3 months because of a missing personal reference.  A reference which, I should add, I suspect was never really missing in the first place.  I suspect it was simply "misplaced".  It seems too much of a stretch for my limited imagination to believe that the missing reference was amazingly "received" on the very day that I complained about how slow our process had been thus far and the Deputy Manager was looking at our file.

My frustration levels since December have been pretty high with this adoption process, for very different reasons than the last time.  Last time I was so anxious about being approved. That someone would finally say that I could be a mum had my blood pressure on red alert (ok that's an exaggeration as I've always had low BP). This time the anxiety has been more linked to the various delays we have experienced along the way.  As I have mentioned previously, we were promised an 8 month process. We are now 18 months into that process.  We are second time adopters.  All our information was current from our last adoption.  The only thing that has changed is the addition of Katie to our household.  Now that is a pretty major change and I have no issue with a full assessment being undertaken to ensure that Katie is going to be ready to accept a sibling into her life. That part was totally easy.  Our Social Worker is very happy that that is the case.  The delays have been admin-related in origin: 

  • Lack of assessing Social Workers,
  • Lack of coordination and clarity between our Local Authority and our agency Social Worker,
  • Lack of coordination of our personal file,
  • Lack of clarity about information that was required,
  • Misplaced CRB checks,
  • Misplaced references,
  • Three changes in the PAR form required by our assessing Social Worker
 I'm not going to point any fingers other than in the direction of David Cameron and the current government.  I suspect that the staff at our Local Authority are stressed to the hilt because of the staff and budget cuts and also structure reorganisation. Mistakes are going to be made when working under those conditions. My message to Mr Cameron is this:

"Don't advertise and promote adoption when you are making funding cuts to public services. What are you trying to do to the staff that work there? Do you really think that adopters will be able to assessed quickly and easily and in shorter amounts of time when you don't have the infrastructure in place to support this aim?"

I do like to end on a high, and a high there is to end on. Not only do we have a date but.....

We also have the name of our Matching Social Worker!!

I know, I almost fell off my chair when I received that information.  Are they suddenly being organised or is there one of two other options to consider:

  1. They have a match in mind for us or
  2. They are worried we are about to complain.
What do you think?

So now all I do need to do is decide what to wear to panel...........