To say that our adoption journey thus far has been a rollercoaster would be the biggest understatement of the year! We’ve had more twists, turns, dips and jolts than even the most far-fetched of soap storylines. And these last few weeks have been no less unpredictable.
So just when we’d resigned ourselves to the fact that we were to begin looking for new children, we got ‘the call’. By chance James and I happened to be together during the workday when his phone rang. It was our social worker, Louise, who wanted to let us know that Kit and Cooper’s birth father’s appeal had been dismissed. OK… Great… Rather than feeling immediate joy or elation I found myself being cautious.
‘Does this mean that nothing else can go wrong?’ I asked evenly. I guess I wanted to be sure that another potential derailment wasn’t on the horizon.
Louise duly informed us that everything could proceed as had been originally planned. But I guess we weren’t as forthcoming as she might have expected. She asked us if we were still happy to proceed (with a faint air of tentativeness in her voice) and we confirmed that we were. The problem was that we were still feeling a little bruised and battered. We’d spent the last few weeks feeling pretty dreadful and powerless about the uncertainty of our situation and just when we’d come to terms with potentially saying goodbye to the boys we were told that it was all back on again. Talk about playing with our emotions! Arrrgh!!!
We ended the conversation with Louise and were both a little dazed. We now had to gear ourselves up to the idea of becoming Cooper and Kit’s parents again. Over the next few days momentum began to pick up pace as new dates for matching meetings and the all important Matching Panel were booked in the diary. I began to allow myself to begin daydreaming once again about our new lives as a family. My attention, once again, turned to the nursery that had pretty much been ignored since we’d found out that everything had been put on hold.
A couple of weeks ago we finally got to meet the boys’ foster carer in their home. This is a standard part of the process that gives the adopters the chance to hear directly from their future child/ren’s current carer. We were accompanied by Jane, the social worker who had taken us to panel, as Louise was on annual leave. The 3 of us arrived together 5 minutes early and were met at the door by the foster carer, Gina. Now I must admit that I was expecting some sort of wholesome, apple pie baking, doily knitting Mary Poppins type, but Gina turned out to be more salt-of-the earth, gritty. I eagerly thrust the prized eggs from our very own garden into her hands as a means of ingratiating ourselves with her. You see, it is key that we form as friendly a relationship with Gina as we can. She is essentially the bridge between us and the boys and will be instrumental in ensuring that Cooper and Kit’s transition into living with us is as smooth and successful as possible. Within minutes Gina was showing us videos and pictures of the boys on her phone. Up until now we’d only seen a few pictures of each boy and a short video of Cooper. It was wonderful to see a video of little Kit wriggling around on his tummy and smiling and another of Cooper having the time of his life in the paddling pool. I could feel my heart swelling as we saw more and more of our future sons, marvelling at their beautiful faces.
After a short while, Billie, the boys’ social worker, arrived and we settled down to the nitty-gritty of asking the questions that Louise had kindly prepared for us. We talked about everything from bedtime routines, eating habits, favourite activities, to dealing with Cooper’s slightly melodramatic tantrums (a boy after my own heart!) and how each of the boys has adjusted to life at home with Gina. It was a joy to see Gina’s eyes truly light up when she spoke about them – especially Cooper as she has had him a year now. We were also warned repeatedly about just how energetic Cooper is! After about 2 hours of conversation we definitely left with a fully rounded idea of who the boys are and some of what life with them at home will entail. We drove home with the belief that these children were meant for us cemented in our hearts and minds.
Fast forward to the last few days and we’ve been beavering away ‘nesting’. A trip to James’s sister saw us leaving armed with even more books, equipment, toys etc – we continue to be bowled over by everyone’s generosity. Both cribs are up, gifts sorted through and tidied away, wardrobes filled. We’ve even made a trip to IKEA (the first of many more concerning the boys, I’m sure) to get a few more bits and pieces to get the room ready. And with matching panel a mere few weeks away, it’s all beginning to feel excitingly, terrifyingly, wonderfully real!