Friday, February 15, 2013

A letter in a cache

I thought I'd try something a bit different for this blog post - an open letter to our adoptive child.  If I'm organised enough to keep this safe and accessible somewhere, I'm hoping that at some point in the future we can sit down and read this (and other future letters) together as we explore our life stories.

On a side note before I start, I'm also going to flag up the weekly adoption shout out scheme I have just come across
Adoption Badge photo BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg

My classroom
15th Feb 2103

Hey kiddo,
24 hours after hearing the news from the LA that they will train us as prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and I'm still catching myself smiling happily just because the journey has finally started.  The reality is finally starting to sink in a bit though, in a way that it hadn't before yesterday.
Reality 1 - I'm going to be a Dad.  It's something I've always wanted and over the last few months its something I've had to start working hard towards but suddenly it seems daunting.  its no longer just a vague 'I'm going to be a Dad at some point' to 'I'm going to be a Dad at some point in the near future'.  All the thoughts that my male friends are telling me are starting to surface , "Am I going to be able to cook food you'll want to eat?", "Will I master the art of putting clothing on a wriggling child?" "Will we have a good relationship?", "How much will you moan when I try to get you to come walking with me?", "Are you going to want to watch cricket matches with me without saying 'Dad, can we go yet? I'm bored' all day?", "How am I going to pay for all the things you need and some of the things you want?", "Will you understand that there is a difference between those two categories?", "Will I be a good role model?" - basically "Will I cope?".  In my heart I'm sure I will, but that doesn't stop the doubts.

Reality 2 - I'm going to be a Dad at some point in the near future - that sentence has a vagueness than birth parents don't really have to face.  If things go quickly and smoothly, you could be with us in 6 months time.  Alternatively, I could still be wondering when you are going to turn up in a years time.  I got an email from the local theatre advertising the Christmas panto - I was thinking of taking K. and L. but I don't know if you'll need a ticket or not yet. There's even an outside chance you might be here to watch Hampshire win the t20 championship for the 3rd time in 4 years!

Reality 3 - The chances are you are already out there somewhere, maybe with your birth family, maybe with foster carers or some other situation.  I don't know what you are going through right now but I hope that you are safe and looked after, that someone is taking care of you properly.  I hope for all that, but I know that the reality could well be different.  At best you are probably with foster carers, well-fed, properly clothed, a warm bed, toys to play with, getting the medical care you need and the attention you deserve.  At worst the odds are that you weren't getting all of that.  I know that bad things happen to people who don't deserve it, for all sorts of reasons.  Hearing stories about neglect, abuse and all the other horrific things that are out there is hard enough when it happens to a stranger.  You aren't a stranger, you are my child.  And to make things worse, there's nothing I can do to protect you right now.  That makes me angry and furious in a way that I've never felt before. It sounds silly - getting angry and furious over something that may not even be happening, feeling it is personal when I know nothing about who you are yet.  It certainly sounds irrational, but then when has parental love and concern ever been rational?

Reality 4 - At this stage your mum and I know nothing about you - What's your name? Are you male or female? How old are you? What colour are your eyes and hair? What's your favourite colour/toy/food? and a thousand other similar questions.  Every prospective parent is just as ignorant at the start, but I find it a bit bizarre to think that there are people out there who do know these things.
It seems wrong to end a letter with 'I love you' when you don't know the first thing about the recipient, but it seems just as wrong to write a letter to my child and not say it.  How about this as a compromise?

I will love you,


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The view from the top makes the climb worth it.

Often when I am taking Silver DofE groups out into the mountains for the first time, they struggle with walking up some of the steeper climbs 'Keep going' I tell them 'The view from the top is worth it'.  They sound like hollow words when you climbing up a steep slope, heavy pack on your back and feet aching, but those who have experienced it no there is no feeling quite like that of getting to the top of a ridge and suddenly seeing the world open up beneath you as look across the green land beyond, sunlight dancing off distant rivers and lakes. It's a feeling that I thought could only come when you are outside, enjoying the beauty of the world we live in.  Seems I was wrong...

A camera can never really capture the true magic of the view beyond

We had the meeting with the SW from the LA to the west of us this morning.  This afternoon she phoned back to say they will take us on as prospective adopters

Our training course is in the middle of March - It took 3 months from the initial contact for our home LA to come to the decision not to take us on.  With this LA it will take less than half that time to go from initial decision to completing the training.  I always tell my DofE groups that they have to walk at the speed of the slowest person, but between you and me - it's good to be able to stride out now and then :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Keep on walking.

Last week we finally heard from the LA for the city we live in.  After 2 months of delay, the SW had finally had a meeting with her boss to confirm that they won't be taking us on as prospective adopters because we live within the small area they cover.
Both of us were expecting that response, but it was still disappointing to hear it.
The good news is that having responded to an advert a friend saw on the back of a bus, an LA covering a town to the west of us have invited us to a introductory evening (Frustratingly I expect this will cover all the basic stuff that we have done with the other LAs) in March and are coming to do a home visit on the 14th (I think if we do end up adopting through this agency we'll have to tell our child that it all started on Valentine's Day - sounds slightly better than saying it all started on the back of a bus!)
We are also hoping to hear back from the city LA to the east of us about an initial home visit from them.  Fingers crossed that one of these pans out, as it seems we are starting to run out of options.