Thursday, November 29, 2012

Walking at the pace of the slowest person

I haven't updated the blog for a couple of weeks now - partly because things have been hectic at work, but partly because there has been very little progress.
We sent off our intial forms to our local authority over 3 weeks ago now, and have still to hear anything back from them.  We have spoken to other local authorities on the phone, sent off forms to them and not heard back after a 2 week period.  The only agency that seems to be efficient at responding to paperwork and phone calls is a voluntary agency that covers our area.  Patchwork spoke to them on the phone, and they seemed very positive about our background situation.  They then emailed the next set of information out almost instantly.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will get back to us soon (We only put things for them in the post 2 days ago.)
With all the publicity surrounding the drive for more adopters and the reports of increasing numbers of children left for prolonged periods of time in the care system, it seems awful that we are having to wait so long for a response from the local authorities.  I understand that they are probably short-staffed, almost defiently over-worked and undoubtably underpaid, but it would be nice to have recieved some kind of response from them - even if it was just a holding reply telling us that they have recieved the paperwork and will get back to us at some future date.  Currently we are in limbo, wondering if we have fallen short at the first hurdle.  Added to that is the thought that every week we are kept waiting now is another week that our future child/ren are spending in the uncertainty of the care system.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Steps into Parenthood: lost...

I came home yesterday evening to find my wife Patchwork curled up in bed - she had been feeling grotty for the last couple of days and I have to admit I had suspected the news she had to share.

Steps into Parenthood: lost...: I started a new job today and I'm sure there are all these feelings of how much fun it was and how nice the people were that I'm supposed to...

Having had some time to sleep on it, I can still only describe by response as emotional and confused.  It seems strange to mourn the loss of someone that you didn't know existed but grief is certainly one emotion I'm trying to unravel from the mess.  Bizarrely, hope and optimism are amongst the others - horrible though the it is to cope with the thought that we have just lost a child, the fact that he/she was there in the first place, has renewed all my hopes that we might become biological parents - confusingly at time when I have come to accept the thought that we won't.  Sprinkle into the mix feelings of worry, concern and care for Patchwork at a time that is even harder for her and add a dash of 'Must be strong for my wife' and you have a recipe for tumultuous emotions.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let people know where you are going

Over the weekend we have told all of our immediate family about our plans to pursue adoption.  On Friday we told my Dad when we went out to the cinema with him. On Saturday we were meant to be seeing my Mum but ended up speaking to her on the phone and today we have seen Patchwork's Mum and brothers and phoned my sister.
I was probably most worried about speaking to my Dad.  I thought he would be the one that would take the news that we are unlikely to have a biological child the hardest.  Although he has a grandson from my sister, I think there is a part of him that hoped/expected that I would give him a grandson to carry on the family line directly.  Telling him was far easier than I thought it would be, and he took the news very well - asking about what the process would involve and how he could help, and how much he admired us for being willing to take on a child who is likely to have difficulties.  I have the same first name as him, his father and my great-grandfather and both of us have always assumed this would be a tradition that I would carry on with my son one day.  It's probably just another stage of me accepting that we are unlikely to have biological children, but I have to admit the thought that I will have no say over the name of my future child is quite a strange thing to accept. 

We had planned to see my Mum on Saturday - a visit that had been planned even before we sent off the first set of paperwork to our local authority.  However, she had to change her plans so we spoke to her over the phone instead.  As much as I love my Mum, she sometimes appears to have a unique view of the world, and doesn't seem to understand that the things she says can upset people.  For example, my previous marriage was to a woman from Eastern Europe and my Mum and her got on reasonably well.  Over dinner one evening, the conversation turned to immigration and my Mum proceeded to tell us how bad it was that women from Eastern Europe (even going so far as to specify the country my ex is from) were able to marry British men and come over here and get work, become British citizens etc.  When we pointed out that we were in that situation, her response was "Well I don't mean you two obviously" and genuinely couldn't understand why her comments had upset us both so much.
When I told her that we were planning to adopt and the reasons behind the decision, she made some comments rather unkind comments about Patchwork not being able to lose weight.  I know she didn't mean them to be unkind, but that doesn't make it easier to deal with.   Fortunately, she also made a suggestion that was so silly, Patchwork and I were able to laugh about it all.  My mum asked if we had considered fostering - I explained to her that we wanted to have our own children, and that with fostering there would always be the feeling that it was a temporary arrangement, that we were looking after someone elses children for a limited period of time rather than being a family.  Her response - "Isn't it better to foster so that you can give the child back if there are any problems?" !!!!  I'm not sure if it's me or my sister she wanted to give back to the proverbial stork!

We told Patchwork's mum, her partner and her two brothers over lunch today and I felt it went very smoothly.  I think her brothers were a little bit shocked by the situation, and possibly a bit embarrased  listening to their sister talking about infertility problems.  Her mum and partner were very supportive and asked lots of questions about what would be happening and what they could do to help.

I knew that my sister would be very excited by the news, and although we only had a short conversation on the phone (she had to put my nephew to bed) she was very positive about everything.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The journey so far

I've been with my wife Hexagonal Patchwork for about 5 years now, although we have only been married for a couple of months.  About 3 years ago we decided to start trying for a child, knowing that her polycystic ovaries would make it hard for us to conceive.  After about a year or so with no luck apart from one miscarrige, we decided to speak to medical experts about the situation.  We had a battery of tests, checking both my fertility and Patchwork's.  Although I ws given a clean bill of health, unfortunately Patchwork's condition meant that she wasn't ovulating on a regular basis.  Although the doctor's said they might be able to help us if Patchwork was able to lose some weight, the medication she is on for PCOS meant she couldn't drop the weight, despite a lot of effort on her part.
It's taken us some time to come terms with the fact that we are unlikely to conceive naturally, but over the last month or so we have been talking about adopting more seriously.  Last Tuesday we went to an information evening run by our local council to find out more about the process.  On Wednesday evening we sent off the form requesting an initial home visit - the first stage in the process. 
I'll post a bit more about what lies before us later - for now we are off to see my Dad, partly to see Skyfall, but mainly so we can break the news to him.

Setting out

It's been said that the first step of a journey is the hardest and it seems the first post on a new blog is equally hard.  I've been staring at a blank text box for nearly 5 minutes, trying to decide on the best way to introduce myself and this blog.
Who am I? Just a man that wants to be a father - Depending on where I am and who I'm speaking to, I guess I would identify myself in different ways - by my job (A Science teacher), by my involvement in voluntary activities (I help to run a Duke of Edinburgh's Award group), by age and gender (mid 30s, male), by relationships (Husband to my wife of 2 months, Son to divorced parents, Brother to a sister and step-sister, Uncle to a 3 year old nephew and a 2 year old niece, Godfather to a 4 year old girl, friend, colleague), by hobbies (Hiking and camping, Roleplay games, Motorbikes, Reading anything and everything) but in my heart of hearts I am just a man who wants to be a dad.
And that leads on quite nicely to why I've started this blog - My wife and I have come to accept that the only way we will become parents is by adopting.  I'm hoping this blog will be a record of my journey along the path from an inital enquirer to an adoptive father, but also a place for me to explore the highs and lows of the journey, to give me a space for self-reflection, to keep friends and family in touch with what is happening, to connect with other people who have walked the same path, maybe inspire some people following behind me and hopefully one day be something I can look back on with my son or daughter as we talk about how we became a family.