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!
So judgement day arrived. We ensured that we had everything we needed (the prep things we did for LO and all the reports in case we wanted to read them on the way). On the train, my beloved tried to speak to me but I couldn’t reply as I was too nervous and my stomach was in knots. We got to the place in time and Denise was running late. Luckily, the panel was running late so we waited in a room with LO’s social worker, the family finder and finally Denise.
All the social workers were called in to discuss the match with the panel without us and they took in our preparation things to show. They were then going to call us in. It felt like an eternity but finally, the social workers came out and the Chair of the panel came out to introduce himself. He was very friendly and put us at ease. He also told us what was going to happen and how many questions they had for us. We then followed him in and like the approval panel, there was a panel of people in one room, all facing us. They introduced themselves and then asked us our questions. We answered them the best we could. The questions weren’t very hard but you never know how well you did until later. We were then asked to leave whilst they took a vote and we would then be called in. It was a horrible time waiting for people to decide our future. However, we were called back in and as we went in I realised that we were on the threshold of a life-changing moment. When we got back into the room, we got a resounding yes! We were so relieved! We were a bit dazed as we left and then had an hour meeting about what would happen next. Afterwards, we text everyone our good news and everyone was very happy for us.
I thought we would be going out to celebrate but I was very tired as all that stress and nerves had left my body! It is so odd to know that we are going to be parents!
After our most amazing day, we have let ourselves get a little more excited about LO. We’ve been showing photos to family and close friends. We are now getting the room ready for LO and getting some things ready before the matching panel.
Denise told us to laminate A4 photos of our faces (clear ones) so they can be put around for LO to see at the foster carers’ house. We have also created a talking book so when she opens the flaps, she sees a photo of us/me/my beloved and hears our voices. We have also worn t-shirts so LO can smell us. We also created a family book with pictures of us and each room of the house. In each photo, we have a cuddly toy somewhere in the photo and when we get to meet her, we take this cuddly toy with us to give to her. We have also slept with this toy so it smells of us. This is all so LO will transition easier and we are familiar to hear by the time we meet her. I can’t wait!
It’s difficult to remember that it is one step at a time and we now have to wait for matching panel. Waiting is horrible so the only way to pass the time quicker is to get our house in order. So painting, reading, toy/equipment scrounging (asking friends and family for baby things) and baby-proofing the house are all in order!
We went to meet the foster carer and the medical advisor for LO today. We set off early to ensure that we made it on time. Denise didn’t make it as she text and said she was ‘delayed’ so we went on our own. We met the foster carers, their link worker and the family finder. LO was in the next room being looked after by someone in the office as they didn’t have anyone to look after her! The family finder asked if we wanted to meet LO after the meeting as it must be strange knowing she is in the next room! It was left undecided until the end of the meeting. The meeting went well. We felt sorry for the foster carers as this was their first placement and we could see that it was emotionally difficult for them. However, they wanted the best for the LO so they put on a brave face and told us all about her. They talked about her routines, her likes and dislikes and other things like that. We asked questions and they were very forthcoming in their answers. They gave us photos to keep. After the meeting, they asked if we wanted to meet LO and we said yes!
It was so very exciting. LO was carried in and then given to my beloved! She sat on my beloved’s knee and they had a little interaction in which LO made a cooing noise and my beloved copied her and LO cooed back again. She was a little bit restless so my beloved put her down on the ground and helped her stand (we knew she could do this beforehand). She took a few steps and was very relaxed and not anxious at all which was reassuring. She was extremely adorable and it was very strange meeting our future daughter!
We were still reeling when we said goodbyes to go and meet the medical advisor. Denise met us at the hospital and apologised for being late (she had forgot to take her train tickets so had to go back home to get them!). The medical advisor talked about LO’s health and development and the potential outcomes. It was good to hear about what could happen and being aware of it but also not to get too over-anxious about it. This medical advisor was so much nicer than the last one we had seen!
After the meeting, we had lunch, walked around the town and then got the train back home. On the way home, we saw a perfect double rainbow. It was like the world was saying ‘yes, this is an amazing day’.
Well after my negative social worker bashing, it seems I was proven wrong. LO’s family finder has indeed done her paperwork and asked us to fill in a section. She still wants us to go to panel within the month! A couple days later, we have a provisional date to meet the foster carer and medical advisor and received reports from the foster carer and medical advisor. It seems like it’s really happening and my beloved is getting quite excited. I have had to refrain her from buying furniture! I don’t know, for me, I’m not getting excited at all. I think that after last time, I am self-preserving myself. I can’t believe that it is happening. Maybe I can’t let myself believe that it is happening as it was very emotionally difficult when the last match fell through. I think that maybe when it is nearer the time, I will get more excited. It is so strange to think that I may have a child soon!
After an intense weekend of thinking about children, my beloved told Denise which child we would be matched with. We have now left it to Denise to work her magic with the child’s social worker. The child’s social worker would like us to be matched as soon as possible as she is quite young which we are very happy to do! We do have to wait for her medical though so I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, particularly after last time. So it’s difficult trying to get back to real life again, going to work and thinking about other things. It feels like we have been in some surreal time warp thing and have been plonked back into real life. Now all we can do is wait.