Crossroads Are Annoying!

So what happens next?

I can't say I fully know. I do know.. R is not someone I want to let slip by. I know enough to know that I'm prepared to hold off on my dreams of being a mum to see if I can achieve my ultimate dream of being one half of "parents".

A Spanner - With A Nice Smile and Good Arms..

What happened next surprised only me it would seem. Everyone else appeared to be labouring under the idea that the next "man for me" was just around the corner.. all except me obviously. My reply from the finance geek turned into several. And then a date, which went so well I could barely believe it. At the end of the date, he wanted to know if he could see me again and I said yes.

What Happened Next..

3 things happened next which have changed the course I am on quite considerably.

First.. remember this.. 
My mission to focus on finding someone, the "right" someone?  A good idea in theory but as you'll have noticed from the other posts - zero takers. ZERO. Okay there were actually quite a few but none you'd want! So before things kicked off, I decided it was no good. I couldn't focus on that and the adoption. If I wanted to do this, which I did - I needed to give it everything I could. I don't think I ever really thought I'd meet someone that way anyway and I didn't give it THAT much focus but it was still taking up space in my mind that with work and the adoption I didn't need. So it was time to take down the profiles and settle in to being single until after the adoption.

Little surprises..

I get to know people pretty well I think, my friends at least. And my family (some of them). And whilst I have struggled with it in the past, I think I open myself up to people enough for them to know me. I feel comfortable about how I feel about people and they feel about me. I don't really get paranoid about whether someone likes me or not (boys are a different matter), partly - if they don't, they don't. Chances are for similar reasons I don't like them. 

The Missing Link..

Wow.. seems ages since I've posted and so much has happened it's ridiculous. I'll try to break it into a few posts so you don't drift off into a coma. 
Some of you will come here from a link I posted on a few of the forums. Or some that saw the post and commented may be wondering where it's gone. Through some good advice in the comments left I decided to remove the post whilst I was in the middle of things, just in case it was seen by anyone at the agency. Thank you though to everyone that did comment, some heated debate :-) but I was grateful to everyone that took the time. I still have the post and everyone's comments and when the dust settles may re-publish it. In the meantime, I'll try to summarise the kink that appeared on the road to mum-dom. 

Talk About "Big Brother"!

Dating profile published - 4 days    Views so far - 67    Emails - (still a big fat) 0

Am I being super-paranoid.. ?

I am second guessing every word I write in my homework.. my emails to the SW, everything I say (did I REALLY need to joke about "being partial" to a G&T with her!? She started it.. was it a test??), do and how it's interpreted.

Being a single adopter, I feel a bit like a woman working in IT.. like I have to justify my abilities even more. And recently trying to balance work with this process has moved challenging.

A New Companion

I am so charmed by this book I am reading.. it is so real and honest.

A single woman's journey through the process and out the other end to mummy of a 4yr old girl. She doesn't always think she's doing the right thing. She doesn't always think she'll make it through. And 3 weeks after her daughter has come to live with her, she questions if she's done the right thing. It's fleeting and she realises she could never abandon her but the fact that she could openly say she felt those things is why I love it.

How Quickly Do You Want To Go??

Dating profile published - 1 day
Views so far - 53
Emails - (big fat) 0

hmmmmm... hard to be judged in 2000 characters or less but that's ok.. if 99% are put off that just leaves one :-)

The home assessment has started. My SW (R) was assigned during the final week of Prep Group and I've met her 3 times so far. She's.. well she's hard to describe. In her early 40s perhaps (maybe older but looks good). She has older children and she's spent most of her career working on the child's side. She used to be a Youth Offending Office. Lastly a Children's Guardian (they have responsibility for the child's welfare during the process and will help the judge make the final decision on whether the child gets put up for adoption for example) which is good because hopefully she'll have first-hand experience of the kinds of children out there and what may work for me.

Let's Get This Show On The Road..

It's time ladies.. it turns out, I've been fooling myself. I've been trying "casual dating" and it’s not for me.

I am 120% committed to the adoption process that I have embarked on and whilst I have wobbles such as "aaaaaaargh.. how will I cope financially?".. and "shiiiiiiiiiiiit.. what do I do in the school holidays?" and "holy crap.. have I gone mad, I can barely remember to buy food for my cats!".. I'm led to believe these are all normal. And they have never ever made me question if I can really do it. Nor whether I can do it alone. I know I can. I KNOW I can. Because if nothing else, I'm determined and bloody stubborn and I have been telling myself since I was old enough to work out what it meant that I would never ever let a child down like I was.

Hold All My Calls.. I'm Not Coming Back

Who knew.. WHO KNEW!?

Actually  lots of you probably knew but this is a new one for me. I'm at a spa. Not just any old spa.. Grayshott Spa in Surrey. More of a health resort than a beauty spa, you get a health consultation when you arrive and EVERYTHING is designed with your health in mind. No tea or coffee in your room, just water. Free water I might add. You can have an alcoholic drink at the bar if you want one, but "we do not sell sugary fizzy drinks such as diet coke Madam".. (Not said to me incidentally, I don't do diet drinks/food. Would rather eat less of the good stuff, than suffer eating the stuff that's supposed to be healthy and tastes like cack!).

Walk Before We Run!

Just read a great post on why Adoption preparation shouldn't be rushed on The Children's Services Blog.

I have to say as much as I want this to happen yesterday.. I'm finding the pace already amazingly quick. Friends often remark on how fast things seem to be moving. You can see from my Timeline you can see that I only went to an Information Evening on 31st January and the assessment is likely to be complete in under 5 months. The matching process could equally take another 5 months.. it could also only take 1! That could be less than 9 months and the learning curve is so steep.

An Emotional End..

To the Prep Group Days that is.

Sorry I haven't posted for what seems like ages.. everything hsa started happening at once and finding the time has been a bit of a challenge but I'm back!

The last 2 days of the Prep Group were a real drain. Amazing still but challenging emotionally. Yes more blubbing sorry!

A Promise..

My friend posted this on Facebook and I had to share..

"My promise to my children ~

As long as I live I am your Parent 1st, your Friend 2nd.

I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare and hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE YOU! When you understand that, I will know you are a responsible adult.

You will NEVER find someone who loves, prays, cares and worries about you more than I do and if you don't hate me once in your life - I'm not doing my job properly!"

Turn To Page 565 Of The Help Guide..

My kittens have started whining at me in the morning.

I'd like to say "miaowing" but that would imply the noise is like that a cat would make as opposed to the slowly-dying-beetle impression they're actually doing.

My first port of call is usually the food cupboard to relieve them of (by the incessant racket they're making) the hideous hunger pains they must be feeling. Once they've eaten and found out where I've fled to escape, whimpering resumes and I usually try a cuddle. This seems to work until one of them starts biting my elbow and the other tries eating my hair.

Prep Group - Day 2

Well I had the 2nd day of Prep Group on Wednesday and it was great!

Everyone is so relaxed around each other which is amazing after just one day. Perhaps because we already know something relatively personal about each other - that for some reason we are on this same road at this point together.

We looked a lot at the types of "abuse" children can suffer and the affects they can each have. 

We talked about a lot about Theraplay, which the VA and others believe can make a big difference in helping children with attachment issues. 

Prep Group - Day 1

I had my first Prep Group “training” day last week. It was.. amazing. Overwhelming. Emotional. Exhausting actually. I was fast asleep by about 9.30pm!

It was a full day and there were about 19 of us. It was run by the Practice Manager (S) with help from a lady (J) that had adopted several years ago and was training with the agency. I think I may have been the only single person there. I say “think” because there was a man there that had been invited to do the course because they are adopting a child already in their care. I don’t think his wife was with him, in which case there was another single lady there. Either way.. although I thought it would, it made absolutely no difference. I met some WONDERFUL people. 2 couples actually in my town and 2 others in neighbouring towns. We’re already talking about creating our own version of an NCT group J

Saying "No" To Hypocrisy!

In the spirit of "change", I've also become obsessed with how much I will have to change. Well.. how much I should change before a child materialises.

Did your mother (or parent) ever say to you... "because I said so"? Or "do as I say and not as I do"? What did you learn from it? Did you learn not to do it again because of the consequence of not doing as you were told, or because you understood why you should/shouldn't do something? I know this is dependent on the child’s age and their ability to understand reason but what I learnt initially was that my mother thought I was too stupid to understand and later that she was simply too lazy to bother helping me to.

Getting Ready for Change!

I read an article in Adoption Today (a magazine I get sent as a member of Adoption UK - well worth visiting the website if you haven't already) about Post-Adoption Depression.

It's a real thing apparently. A bit like post-natal I guess, as a result of the massive shock to the system suddenly finding yourself with a child despite all of the training and preparation, etc. that you undergo. And the fact that despite having to cope with being a new parent, you and your child don't necessarily "fit together" straight away, as you don't have that biological connection.

I think it's the one thing I am most afraid of. Though I imagine, it's something all new mothers worry about - realising at the end of it all, that you've bitten off more than you can chew! That all the preparation in the world, can't prepare me for exactly how I'm going to feel when I've driven home with "my" child, we've climbed the steps to my house and shut the door on the world behind us.

How Should I Feel..?

I've been having a little wobble recently...

It started with me getting in a bit of a tizz about how I should feel. Excited? Cool, calm & collected (hah!)? Positive? Sensible and realistic?.. I want to be stupid excited and positive but feel.. like that might be wrong somehow. I'm talking about regarding the outcome.

I was shopping online at one of my favourite home accessory stores Casa Mia looking at signs for my kitchen (I'm redecorating) and I saw all these lovely signs about "family" that I wanted to buy for Lily's room. I put one in the basket and removed it, then added it, then removed it.. and on it went. I didn't buy it but it left me in a bit of a state. RIDICULOUS.. I know. But I couldn't work out whether I should be stubbornly positive and say "I AM going to be mum" or not tempt fate and wait.

Why.. I Want To Adopt..

I won't deny that part of the motivation for a lot of the decisions I've made have been because of my mother. How I watched her treat her own children - at best with indifference, or like a chore and at worst with neglect and abuse. When close friends around me were unable to naturally have children of their own, she was blessed with 5 of her own which she continually abandoned and only one of which now has anything to do with her.

Why.. I Want To Be A Mother

As part of this process I've been forewarned that the Social Worker (SW) is going to want to delve quite deeply into everything there is to know.. my background, family, experiences growing up, relationships, etc. Anything that will give them an idea as to whether I will make a good mother and what kind. That at times it may seem unnecessarily intrusive or even irrelevant..

I know "why" in my head.. but I know as I tell more people my plans and when I finally meet the SW, I am going to need to be as articulate as I can be. I guess the "why" is technically 2 questions... why do I want to start a family and why do I want to adopt.. but to me they're sort of the same answer.. so here goes!

Everyone Has A Right To An Opinion.. BUT

A lovely friend shared a link to this post with me - a Daily Mail online article about Charlize Theron who has adopted a baby boy on her own.

My first and only thought was.. wow, good for her. She's taking matters into her own hands and realising a dream of starting her own family despite her single status and in the least selfish way by adopting a child already in need. How great that despite probably being able to get any man she wanted to give up his sperm and despite having more than enough money to go through IVF, donor insemination, etc. if she so wished..  she's chosen to adopt. And yes, okay she can afford a ton of helpers, etc. but she will still be a single woman responsible for a child for the rest of it's life.

Then.. I scrolled down to read the comments which was a mistake because every time I think about it I get angry all over again. These are a few.. (and I'm sorry but I am going to get on my soap box!)

"These celebrities are a bunch of freaks? If a woman can have kids naturally have them, stop adopting they are not shopping bags.This is not normal."

Look What Arrived Today!

"Dear Lily's Mom,  
Further to your initial interview with PACT we would like to confirm that we would be happy to work with you towards assessing you as a prospective adopter.... "

Application Form in the post and booked onto the Preparation Group days starting 18th April!
Once they receive the application form back, they'll assign a SW and the clock starts ticking! They will try to take me to panel in 6 months (all going well!)... this years Christmas present may be the best yet :-)

What's In A Name?

I've been thinking a lot about names recently. Not first names.. surnames. And what they mean to someone. What does your surname mean to you?

Is it romantic to think your name means "family"? That it means "where I belong"? And deeper than that, about heritage. I guess it's different for men, because a woman's name changes throughout her life as she takes on her husband's name and becomas part of his family.

I've partly been thinking about it because my husband and I are not yet divorced. He said he was going to file and I believed he needed to do that in defiance of what I'd done and as part of his "closure". Or maybe he just wanted to see how I would react, but he never took it further. I suspect the £450 it costs to file the petition these days had something to do with that though. And that's not me being cynical, it's certainly the reason I haven't done it it. Do you know how many pairs of Christian Louboutins you can get for that!? Well.. okay one but still!

Always My Lily..

Some of you.. if you're even a teensy bit more observant than I am.. will have noticed I've change my Blog display name to "Lily's Mum".

I'm a member of a few forums including the Fertility Friends Adoption & Fostering boards (which I can't recommend enough by the way, if you're looking for info and support) and a few people suggested I want to be a bit more "anonymous" as they are frequently used by SWs and VAs/LAs etc. and you never know do you so.. welcome advice anyway.

Also I don't want anyone stumbling on this accidentally, before I've had chance to tell them myself. Especially colleagues.

You may also be wandering who the hell Lily is! No.. I do not have a lovechild that I am keeping hidden from the world. But Lily is my little girl.

My Dads..

The good news is.. I reconnected with my step dad yesterday. No big dramas or explosions.. it's funny how much harder it gets to contact someone the longer it's been since you last spoke.

Anyway.. it'll be fine. We have lots to talk about but baby steps for now. I'm hoping to visit at the end of March when I take my sister out for her birthday.

And my other dad? Well.. I contacted someone the other day. Through their work email address lol. My super-detective friend found a company owned by someone with my dads name roughly in the area I believe he lived. And a picture of his son playing squash. He also seems to run some kind of cycling club which is interesting as my dad used to work for Raleigh.

A string of coincidences no doubt but I emailed his work address anyway and just asked if he had worked at Raleigh 30ish years ago.

Interview Questions

Here are some of the questions I was asked:
  • About me
    • Why adoption, why now
    • Do I smoke, drink
    • Am I healthy
    • Have I experienced any loss or trauma
    • What is my experience with other children
    • Anyone else living with me
    • Relationships (i.e. about marriages, why they ended)

Step 1: APPROVED!!!

Well.. informally at least :-)

After 2 hugs on my way out of work and advice about not swearing! (I have a bit of a potty mouth when I get going) - Against my nature I turned up 15 minutes early. The offices are professional but not scary, and everyone smiled as they passed by me on the way in/out. No fancy reception or anything, which gave me comfort that they were about the business in hand.

I met the young woman (J) who interviewed me at the Information Evening and already thought she was lovely and she was. Just.. "normal". Like a normal person that has to ask me some questions and wants to help me.

I was there just under 2 hours in the end and she gave me a load of information about the process, the make-up of the team, about the kinds of children they place, etc. In the main though, it was for her to ask me a load of questions. I've listed them seperately (here) to give others an idea in preparation for your own interviews :-)

Step 1: The Interview!

So.. I have my interview tomorrow. 1pm. Right now I'm fine. Tomorrow.. if you say boo to me I will cry or wee myself.
When, I spoke to the VA (Voluntary Agency) on Friday and the date was brought forward from the 16th March to TOMORROW, I was so emotional after the call. It was happening.. I was taking the first step. God only knows what I'll be like tomorrow.

I don't really know what to expect either. I know it'll last about 2 hours and they will want to know who I want to do it alone and now, why adoption, stuff about me and my support network and I guess some general health/lifestyle questions. They should go through the process with me and the next steps, etc.

Random Crazy .1 - Alcoholic??

Like sitting bolt upright in bed after a nightmare, randomly during the course of the day I have started having random "OMG" moments.. Actually I think I always had those, but at least now they're centred around the same topic!

So today's Random Crazy... came to me as I stood on a stage doing a presentation to some business users onsite for a client. Suddenly I wondered if during my assessment they would think I was an alcoholic and not approve me.

That may sound random but I do have an explanation. Which isn't.. that I actually AM an alcoholic, though I'm not sure everyone would be convinced of that ;-)

Finding My Dad

Going through the process of deciding to start my own family finally has made me start to analyse the people in my life.. my friends and most of all my family.

I lost some friends when I split with my husband, some I expected to lose (the ones he had brought to the relationship and had to stay loyal) and others I really didn't expect to take sides at all nevermind the one the chose. Everyones fault and no ones. Mine probably most of all but the ones that stayed with me were my closest then and are my closest still.

My family on the other hand, aren't quite so easy to label. My nan passed away just after my 21st. I always joke that she did it to get out of going to my first wedding.. she didn't agree with my choice. I loved her like a mother and was treated by her like a daughter. Better even, like a favourite granddaughter :-) I lived with her for a time and I will thank the Gods for her till I die.

My Aunty (on my mothers side) has equally had the greatest influence on my life - though I doubt she'd think so. She is brave, determined, steadfast, funny, kind, generous and fiercely loyal to her children. She'd not afraid to admit her mistakes and has the most common sense of anyone I know and I love her with all my heart.

Telling My Friends..

NOT.. as it turns out.. as easy as I thought.

Actually.. I don't think I ever did think it would be easy but I'll admit some reactions did surprise me,

Most of my close friends have been so supportive I could cry. SUCH lovely responses, it has given me the confidence to tell people and not hide what I want. As far as anyone is telling me, they get why I am doing it and support the decision even if they think the donor route would be one they would choose first if they had found themselves in my situation.

IBut..  have had a few less positive reactions.. I know not everyone will agree with what I'm doing for their own personal reasons or because they genuinely don't think it's right for me. But I can't deny it didn't hurt me deeply. I know it's because people care for me. They want me to be living the dream and as a result feel that this decision is about me "giving up" on love.

Taking Matters Into My Own Hands..

Hi everyone..
Thank you for looking at my blog.. I decided to start writing this as a way to keep me sane during the journey I'm about to embark on, as well as hopefully providing a good resource/insight for others also venturing into the daunting world of single motherhood and adoption. And my friends can all keep up-to-date with what I'm up to :-)

I've been waiting so long to start a family of my own. It's something I have always wanted but over the years whenever the time hasn't been "right", I have managed to mask my feelings and convince myself I don't want it, or I'm not ready. Almost anyway..

I married young at 21. Too young (and anyone that's 21 and says it's not too young.. it IS. My friends told me I was too young but I'm the kind of person that has to make my own mistakes. And I did.), to a man 13 years older than me. Everyone told me it was wrong and when it became apparent that he was never going to want to have children, I convinced myself I didn't want them either. But there's something about having something suddenly taken away from you that makes you realise how much you do want it.. even if it's not right now.