This is written half way through day two of adoption leave – so far today I have been to the hairdresser, been to all out of town retail parks, done a load of washing (as in one load, not tons of) cleared out the kitchen cupboards, rearranged a bedroom, taken some things to the charity shop, made dinner for husband and now as I sit and write this, there is still a vast space of day remaining!!
I’m doing ok!
I need to keep busy because for the first time ever I can say these words ‘we meet our son this week!’ which is both exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. I know that pregnant people have the same feelings, I had the added luck of not having to actually give birth but the added complication of will he like me and what will I wear?
Before we get to meet him we need to have what is called planning day which for us is on Wednesday (and its planning 2 hours which isn’t nearly as catchy I suppose) We will meet up – us, our social worker, his social worker and his foster carers and go over the plans for introduction week (i’ll explain this in a bit) we’ll make sure we have everything we need to become parents – birth certificate, little red book etc and then that will be it, we’ll be all planned and ready to go. We are also going to discuss what will happen when we meet birth parents (I’ll do separate words on this subject)
Introductions take a week. Well a week for us because of his age, any older and depending on needs it usually is for 2 weeks. Every thing is planned meticulously. When we went to matching panel we had to take some things with us to help during this upcoming week. We had to take a blanket that we’d washed with our washing powder and then slept with so it would smell of us. We also had to buy a toy and have our photo taken with it. We then had the photos printed A4 and laminated (imagine what the man at Rymans thought to that request?!) The foster carers will put these up around their house and show child the pictures so he gets used to seeing us and the toy. Then when we meet him on the first day we take the toy (transition toy is the technical name) Finally we took a book/toy that was butterfly shaped and you could put pictures in it and then record your voice – we had one of each of us, one as a couple and then a picture of cat. I think I’ve got a voice for voice overs I have to say. Husband on the other hand had to do many retakes to avoid – hello this is daddy – sounding like some 18 rated horror movie!!
Anyway, back to intro week. It goes a little something like this. Day one we go to foster carers house and spend two hours there with him. This will be the first time we meet him and I literally cannot imagine what this will be like (I do know I probably won’t be getting the extra shot latte on that day) I’m fully prepared for it to be weird – we feel like we know him so well yet it’s all going to be so odd for him. I also can’t imagine what seeing him for 2 hours and then trotting off home will be like!!
Day 2 we spend longer there and perhaps go out with the foster carers and child and observe lunch routines, day 3 we get there for morning routine and we can take him out on our own, day 4 we do evening routine and day 5 we swap over and he starts coming to ours. There’s always a mid way review which will be on day 5 where we just check that everything is going ok and make any changes to the introduction plan if needed. This is also the day we meet birth parents.
Day 7 we have had him at ours for a few hours in the afternoon and evening. We do his evening routine, get him ready for bed and then take him to the foster carers for the last time. In the morning we go and pick him up and bring him home FOREVER!!
At the pick up they ask the foster carers to meet you at the door so you can take him and go. I think this will be again a mixture of emotions.
Don’t get me wrong – I am so so excited and I cannot wait but I think people may be surprised that my face doesn’t light up at the prospect of this week in the way they might have expected. It’s one of the nuances of adoption I suppose. There’s still a lot of red tape, social worker involvement, the weirdness of being in someone else’s house for a week looking after your child, the anxiety of not knowing how he’s going to be when he’s lived with these same people for almost a year. Layred then with the normal feelings of good grief I’m quite daunted by motherhood!
So yes I can’t wait to get him home – but we’ve a little way further to go yet….