Monthly Archives: January 2015

One week on

The good news is that I’ve managed to sleep without drugs – hooray! I feel so much better now and back to my old self. It’s so nice to feel like myself again and that I can really enjoy being with LO. Poor little thing is still a bit under the weather but it doesn’t stop her being a happy little girl.

She is already learning so fast. At first, she used to chew books but now she is enjoying books and she is learning to put things in containers (rather than taking them out), she enjoys eating new foods and being outdoors. We are of course doing all these things slowly and one at a time so not to overwhelm her.

My parents have met LO and they are smitten with her. We have also Skyped with other members of the family and she seems to be okay after she warmed to them. She is very nosy which is a good thing as she is easily distracted. She seems much more relaxed now and can play a bit on her own without requiring our constant attention.

It’s so lovely to see LO settling in and us too are settling in with her. We are learning her routines and understanding what works well for her and what doesn’t. Thank God for the internet and sites about what babies her age can eat and can’t eat. Everyday we are finding out more about her and loving everything we discover.

Good and bad days

It’s been nearly a week since LO has moved in. There have been good days and not such good days. The good days thankfully, have outnumbered the bad days. I am amazed at how resilient and adaptable LO is: she has been taken away from all that she knew and has to adapt to a new living space, new people and – sort of – new routines. Overall, she has been a super girl. The only bad days are when her sleep has been disrupted (which, after all, is completely understandable). We are still trying to find out the best routine for her (as she didn’t have one before, apparently). We have found out that she likes to see new people and/or new environments in the afternoon as I think she gets bored of us and sitting in the same old room (which, again I can completely understand!). Social services advise not to introduce too many people too quickly to her but she came from a foster family with a very busy household and we are doing it very carefully. We ensure that we are the ones who hold her, feed her and make her feel reassured when she first meets new people.

I am still not sleeping and my cold is getting worse. It is very difficult being ill being in this situation. It is unrelenting. Thank God for coffee and peanut butter! I just need a break and I need sleep. I have no idea what my body is doing, it feels as if my body is sabotaging me. Every time I’m about to fall asleep, I let out a sharp snort of breath through my nose and wake myself up! The worse thing is that my beloved and LO are now feeling under the weather too – oh no! Here’s hoping that we all feel better soon!

Back at home

After worrying about travelling back home with LO, it went remarkably well. LO fell asleep for most of the way and woke up in a delightfully charming mood, playing and cooing. She only got a bit antsy when we were near home. It has been a couple of days now and LO is settling in well all things considered. It’s amazing how resilient she is and how she just gets on with it. It is very easy to get lulled into a false sense of security with her and forget that it has been been a couple of days since she moved in with us. She occasionally gets a bit scared when she is alone with just one of us in the house. She is not scared of us thankfully but looks at the door if she hears or noise but then she forgets about it if she is distracted. She also can’t play alone at the moment and wants to see what we are doing all the time. It can be intense at times but again, it’s understandable as it’s early days and hopefully she’ll settle in as time goes on. We have introduced my parents to her and she was a bit frightened at first but then was happy to play with them.

As for me, I haven’t slept well at all since before the introductions. It’s not because LO is keeping us up, it’s just that I am suffering from a bout of insomnia because of the enormity of the situation. To top it all, I have had a cold for a while now and although being with LO is great and stopped me from feeling sorry for myself, I’m getting bored of being ill. It is most likely the lack of sleep which isn’t helping matters. Hopefully I’ll get rid of it (the cold and the insomnia!) so I can really enjoy time with the LO!

It seems surreal but completely natural looking after LO. She is utterly adorable and we both love spending time with her. We have been keeping up most of the routines from the foster carer as well as continuing to wash our clothes in the same washing powder and feeding her the same kinds of foods she is used to. We just hope we can do the best for her!

Day 7 – Introductions

This is the last day of introductions. The second half of the week is geared towards LO spending most of her time with us and we take over her care, so she has been coming over to our apartment and we’ve been feeding her, bathing her and putting her to bed. The second half of the week has been the most intense time. She is lovely but bless her, she’s not used to just two people spending time with her (she’s used to a busy household) so she gets grouchy and she’s tired a lot earlier than normal. She has also been clingy and moany. We then start having self doubts about being good parents and have we made her this way? etc. etc. However, I think that when she gets into a routine at our home and gets more used to us, her old self will come out again (I hope).

It has been very tiring as we have had full days of entertaining each other followed by her melt down which occurs each time she is in a taxi. My beloved and I came away yesterday feeling like we’ve run a marathon. It has been particularly hard for me as I haven’t been sleeping very well. Every night this week, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep at all. Clearly this intense time is doing something to me. However, we both are learning so much about her every day though and we miss her so much when we leave her. We also feel relieved when we first see her each day.

Anyway, tomorrow is when we take her home. We are not looking forward to the car journey home as LO has hated the taxi journeys so far. We have an emergency bag with her favourite toys and foods. We hope that she falls asleep for most of the journey but we’ll just have to wait and see. I just wish we could click our heels and get her home!

Day 5 – Introductions

Today we had LO for a lot longer. We realised that we should have some chilled play time rather than going out and doing something out-of-the-ordinary. We were told that LO had woken up early so would probably need a nap so we tried… and we tried… but LO was having none of it. She just wanted to play which also meant that she wasn’t really hungry either. In the end, we managed to put her in the buggy and wheel her around so she eventually fell asleep but only for 40 minutes and she ate a little. We felt like such fools and poor little thing has to endure us making a pig’s ear of changing nappies/putting her to sleep/feeding her/you name it.

Anyway, we had a good time playing and went to the shops which she loved. However, it was quite difficult because we weren’t at home and couldn’t do our normal things. When it came to taking her home, the taxi was late and LO didn’t like to be in her car seat. My beloved tried to put secure the car seat to the taxi but the seat belt was playing up so the taxi driver tried to do it. LO did not like that one bit. To be fair, it was a bit scary being put in a car seat in the night and a stranger looming over you. LO cried her eyes out and my beloved took her out of the seat and she clung onto her like a little monkey, looking really scared. She managed to calm down but she had a little sob now and then and it broke our hearts seeing her upset (particularly as she never really cries). It was then that I realised that I would do anything for that little girl and that she really was/is my daughter. Like all children, LO got over it and was back to her cheery self when we got back to the foster carer’s house. Again, we fed and bathed her and put her to bed. Everyday, we learn something new about her and definitely will make sure that she sleeps on time. We just can’t wait to take her home.

The foster carers have been absolutely amazing. They have tried their best to make sure we spend time with LO without being there. They have let us use their own home as if it was ours to ensure that we take over the care for LO even though it must be difficult for them. I’m sure LO would not be so accommodating to us if it wasn’t for the foster carers.

Day 4 – Introductions

On the fourth day of the introductions, we brought LO back to our place. It was the longest time we had her without the foster carer and it was D-Day. LO came back to our apartment and my beloved managed to get her off to sleep. It was quite difficult as we don’t have a separate bedroom for her so she was a bit confused. I left my beloved and LO together as she was unsettled with both of us there. Whilst I sat in the kitchen, I got a bit hungry so starting munching on some crisps. However, it was too loud so I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor eating crisps, next to the toilet. I never thought I would end up doing that. Anyway, after a while she managed to go to sleep.

Whilst she slept on our massive king-sized bed, she looked so small and it suddenly hit me that this was going to be our daughter. It was so exciting and we both grinned inanely as this little person asleep on our bed. She is perfect for us too. She is funny, smart and sturdy that you can throw her in the air and she loves it. She is the best little thing.

When she awoke, we went to the park which was a little way away. However, LO was not used to going outside so we think that maybe this was a bit too much for her, particularly as it was cold. We will start doing little trips outside and build it up.

We played some more and then took her back to the foster carers. She had a little smile when she got back to familiar surroundings but it was a good sign that she didn’t seem relieved to be away from us. We fed her and put her to bed and it was a great day.

NB: Those who follow my blog may be a bit confused as I posted a post yesterday which should have been after this post, so I will re-post the other after this one! Apologies for the mix-up. I think I got a little lost as the first day of intros didn’t happen.

Introductions

So we are on day 3 of introductions. Introductions are an intense period of time in which the adopters meet the LO in her/his home and observe their routines. Over the next week (or two weeks if it is an older child), we slowly overtake the foster carer’s routine to the point that we take on the full care of the LO and then take LO home! I haven’t really slept since the day before the introductions so I am tired but not so bad considering.

The first day was a bit of a nothingy day for us as the foster carers had a last minute, urgent appointment that they couldn’t get out of. The original plan was to meet LO for a couple of hours and then have the introduction meeting with us, our social worker, LO’s social worker, foster carers’ link worker and the foster carers. This meeting still went ahead and it was a bit official. We had an independent chair and someone taking minutes. We were informed about what would happen during the week (we went through the introduction plan), what meetings needed to happen after introduction week (social work visits to occur weekly for 4 weeks and then an independent review meeting to take place within a certain amount of time), life-story work and information to birth parents.

After the meeting, we went to our accommodation. The second day, we had a few hours in the morning with the LO and then went away for a few hours to have lunch, then came back to play some more and put her to bed. This went really went. LO was happy to play with us and came over to be picked up.

And then we come to today. On the plan, from 2 hours on the first day to half a day on the second day to a full on day on the third day. I think this was far too much for everyone involved. It started well, LO enjoyed playing with us and we went to the park without the foster carers. However, LO didn’t have her morning nap and then she was a bit all over the place and felt a bit out of sorts with us. She seemed a bit restless and we felt a bit at a loss as we couldn’t go out to distract her as it was near lunch time. After lunch, we put her to bed but she was restless and didn’t want to sleep. Eventually my beloved got her off to sleep and we found out that the foster carer was annoyed as the social worker had changed the plan without her knowing. Without going too much into it, it was a simple miscommunication problem between them both and the foster carers were really good with us but we knew that they were angered by social services. Luckily, we had to leave to change accommodation and it was a good excuse to leave as I think everyone needed a break: LO needed sleep, we needed a break and the foster carers needed some time alone to relax in their home. We went back and LO was in a better mood as she had slept and we had some really good bonding time. However, she was still a bit unsettled when we put her to bed but both times, we didn’t need to get the foster carer and she settled.

I think the social workers forget that introductions is also a difficult time for the foster carers. At the end of each day, we got a phone call from Denise and from the family finder and we felt that we were in the middle of the foster carer and the social workers. Both think they know what is best for the LO and we can see where each is coming from. It is important that we do not get involved with this fight as it really isn’t our fight and could have repercussions with us. Social services need to bear in mind that angering the foster carers during this emotionally fraught time is not the best for us or for the LO. This needs to be a smooth transition and it easily couldn’t have been as the foster carers could have taken it out on us. It is so important that we have a good relationship with the foster carers for the LO to trust us and for us to feel comfortable in their home. Luckily, our foster carers’ LO are very nice and warm and we actually get on.

We had a phone call from both social workers and it felt as if they wanted us to say more about the foster carers or to agree with them about this miscommunication. We didn’t want to get involved so we were diplomatically neutral.

One thing we have noticed is that we feel sufficiently unprepared because Denise has not told us anything about introductions. We didn’t know if we needed to bring toys, a buggy or anything else with us. For example, the family finder asked if we had taken pictures on the first day and was surprised that we hadn’t been told to do this for the LO’s life story book. Luckily we were told in time and took some photos. Also, as LO was coming to our accommodation, we were unsure of how much to bring with us but luckily the foster carer has agreed to let us take some with us when LO comes over. All this should have really been discussed with us with Denise before the introductions. This is definitely something you need to think about and discuss before you start introductions!

All in all, I can’t really complain as spending time with LO has been the best thing ever. It doesn’t really feel real that she is our daughter yet!

The last days as non-parents

Since the matching panel, we have been on full speed. My beloved painted the LO’s room, we bought various baby things and family and friends have been really generous with giving us loads of things. We had a great party to celebrate and everyone was really happy for us. We have been walking on clouds and it doesn’t feel real at all.

As time gets closer, we are also doing things that we know we can’t do for much longer such as going out to eat at nice restaurants, seeing friends on a whim, going out in general at night. My beloved had gone out the other night and I really enjoyed my time at home on my own. Maybe it was because I knew out was one of my last nights where I could do what I liked and I wasn’t responsible for a little one. My life is going to change and a part of me is mourning the loss of my life now but it is going to be replaced by a new life filled with joy and new challenges and the thought of LO being in my life far outweighs the loss of my old life.

It is funny how friends have become teary when they heard that lo will be our daughter and that myself and my beloved haven’t become teary at all. Maybe it’s because they have witnessed our long struggle and it’s finally coming to fruition and that we haven’t really because we are in it. Only a few more days now until introductions start!