Monthly Archives: June 2014

Life story work

Days are going by and things are getting a little easier. Family have been brilliant and really supportive even though they are disappointed too. I’ve been going to work and realised that my colleagues don’t really know how much I’ve been affected by the match falling through. This is completely down to me as I compartmentalise my emotions so I am normal when I’m at work and then feel sad when I’m alone. It’s an old habit from my childhood to hide how I really felt. I’m not too sure that I want to get rid of this habit as it has helped me to get on with things as long as I give space and time for my true emotions.

Anyway, before we heard about James’ match falling through, I booked myself on a course about Life story work. Life story work is something you do with your adopted child to help them understand and process what has happened to them. I was a bit wobbly at first but I managed to control my emotions and got on with the course. The course was really informative and the people were really nice. Life story work is really important to do with an adopted child so they can make sense of their life journey so far. In the UK, adopted children come with a life story book already and the adoptive parents should continue their story book and add other elements as the child gets older as well as add present day items too. Present day things such as accomplishments or the child’s favourite things helps the child to feel validated in their life and gives them a sense of self. I’ve found a really good website called Life Story works that helps with difficult issues such as mental health or drug problems.

So life goes on and hopefully we will soon feel stronger to being our journey again.

Too soon

I stupidly looked at Children Who Wait again for children’s profiles and my heart sank at the realisation that I am back at this stage. Only a couple of days ago, I had imagined having James in our lives and now I’m back to looking for a child. It’s really depressing and upsetting and clearly far too soon to start looking again.

I remember reading in someone else’s blog that you need time to ‘mourn’ that child when things like this happen. They are right. I need time to mourn the loss of our hopes and dreams about becoming a parent to James. Just like when someone dies, life goes on and you have to get on with things. Then as you get into the swing of things, you forget and suddenly, you remember and it hits you all over again.

Our families and friends have been fantastic. They have done what we asked and let us come to terms with this we contacting us directly. I know it must be hard for them too as they started getting excited too. I know people mean well but at times like this, I can’t face hearing statements like ‘it’s not fair that you have to go through time when someone can get pregnant’ etc. Our family and friends are showing their solidarity and support through getting annoyed by the process but it can get tiring hearing their annoyance when we are feeling quite vulnerable and insecure about the process too.

Hopefully time will make things better but at the moment, I’m feeling really low.

We are devastated

After our visit to the foster carers and the medical advisor, we chatted to Denise to tell her that we were still interested. She tried to arrange the meeting between her and the James’ social worker but the manager who was supposed to chair the meeting cancelled the meeting as ‘something’ came up. Two more weeks passed by and we heard nothing from the social workers. I was getting a little suspicious as  Denise was waiting to hear back on a date to meet. Today Denise rang me to inform me that the foster carers have decided to adopt James after all. I think that meeting us made them realise that James would be leaving them and clearly they had fallen for him (as I thought they had). To be honest, I was not surprised as we got the feeling that they loved him very much. Also, we came away feeling quite guilty about taking this little boy away from the only people who he created a secure attachment to. He is also 3.5 years which means he is old enough to know that he will be uprooted but too young to understand why. I was very understanding on the phone to Denise and asked her to ring my beloved as my beloved would ask me questions that I may not have the answers to. Shortly after, my beloved rang me and we talked about it. When she said that we were back at the beginning of our matching journey (which was 6 months ago), then the realisation hit me. I started crying on the phone as I realised that the little boy who we thought would be our son would never be. I also was upset about the prospect of having to go through the whole process again: finding a child, applying for the match, waiting to see if the social worker likes the look of you and justifying why we would be good parents. Needless to say, it was very distressing. My beloved was also very upset. I had to leave work and spend the day grieving for what never was. The dreams and hopes about being a mum to this particular little boy have been shattered and at this moment, it feels like we will never be parents. The awful thing is that we have to let our families and friends know (who are equally excited as us). We can’t face talking to them as we don’t feel strong enough to face their disappointment and anger so we have to email them instead, let it sink in and then talk to them later. We just can’t face them at the moment and need time alone to grieve as we have lost this idea of a son.

Lots of thinking to be done

After the visit to the foster carers and the medical advisor, we came away feeling undeterred by all the information we received. We heard nothing that surprised us but we felt that we should give it a long hard thought to ensure that we are doing the right thing. So we chatted and chatted to ensure that we were both on board.

We already knew that we wanted him but we had to make sure. However, one thing that I didn’t imagine feeling was guilt. We felt very guilty about taking this little boy away from the only people he has built an attachment to and taking him from lovely nature surroundings and bringing him to a city. However, if he can’t stay where he is, we felt that we will be the best people for him as we have had experience with working with children who have conditions that he may potentially have.

We told Denise that we still wanted to pursue this match and explained our reasons why. She obviously wanted to talk to both of us to ensure that we both felt the same way. She was supposed to meet James’ social worker to make the match official a couple of days later. However, Denise couldn’t make it but then realised she could (don’t ask) but the chairing manager couldn’t make it now. Now we are waiting for a new date that they could make. More waiting…

Foster carer & Medical advisor visit

We travelled to see James’ foster carer and medical advisor near where he lives. It was very strange to think that our potential son is somewhere nearby. It is also strange to think that all these adults are thinking and talking about him, and we are getting emotionally attached to the idea of him and he has no idea that we exist or that any of this is happening.

Our train was delayed by a couple of hours on the way there and it was most frustrating, particularly as I argued about the appointment going ahead in the morning. It felt like we were never going to get there but we did in the end. The foster carers were lovely enough to wait for us and they talked non-stop about him for 2.5 hours. They clearly adored him and they knew it was going to be emotionally hard for them to give him up. We learnt a lot more about him, his routine, his likes/dislikes and we could really picture him.

Afterwards, we went to meet the Medical Advisor. Unfortunately, she was not as lovely. She was quite flippant and arrogant and talked more in general terms about medical conditions, rather than about James. However, we couldn’t deny the fact that there were some concerns she had about him and regardless of what we thought of her and her over-diagnosis of things, there are potentially some issues that we need to think about. Now we have to go away and think about all we have heard and come to a decision about whether we want to proceed. What a crazy day.

 

Close shave

The day before our visit to meet the foster carers and the medical advisor, I receive a phone call from Denise to say that James’ social worker talked to her manager and thought that as some new medical information has come to light, that we should meet the medical advisor first. They then decided to cancel the meeting with the foster carers! I was livid. The meeting was in our diaries for more than 3 weeks and with less than 24 hours to go, they wanted to cancel the meeting. We had booked time off work, paid for our train tickets and generally got ready for these visits. Denise also thought the cancellation was unusual and the order of getting the information didn’t really matter as we would still need all of this information to decide about whether we can take on James. I let my thoughts known to Denise who was going to relay it to James’ social worker. Denise rang me back to let me know that the foster carer’s visit will still be going ahead. That was a close shave!

More waiting

We still have not heard anything from the second visit and whether they would recommend us for James. Weeks have come and gone and still no word. I don’t really know why I should be surprised at the lack of news. However, the visit to foster carers and medical advisor is still set to go ahead which I think is why I’m not so frustrated by the lack of news.

In the meantime, I find myself imagining being James’ mum. I am cautious that I maybe fantasising about an ideal child and know that the reality is going to be very different! This is hoping that we get through of course! What did make me come down to earth with a bump is that some extra medical information about James has come to light. The way the information was conveyed to us was very insensitive and could have made us run the other way. However, we aren’t put off so easily and knowing that things can get lost in translation, we are holding our horses until we get more information.

So we are thinking about what questions to ask the foster carer and the Medical Advisor. We see this a really good opportunity to find out more about James and so have written down a lot of questions!