Sunday, April 20, 2014

Guess what?

Things have changed. Then they've changed again. Then they've changed again. If you've kept track of that, you'll work out that this week/day/hour, Nella is now saying she'll place the baby with us. There has been a lot more behind the scenes than I've said but I have no energy to tell you all of it.

We, and OHP, are pretty sceptical, but playing along.  Of course we will again be freshly devastated should it not go ahead.  OHP spoke to New Agency who said they'd be the in-state agency, on paper, they don't want much to do with her so OHP will be the support for her.  OHP needed to find out if she was a) still pregnant and b) no longer working with her other agency.  We called Nella and also her dad, who is sane, and her dad said "she's huge" so at least we've got a) answered!

We go to our UK approval panel on Tuesday and if we have b) answered correctly on Monday (a holiday here but not in any of the relevant states) we will be telling our UK SW this too.

Baby Spouse arrived on a date which would be about 3 weeks from now so really, it could be any time now.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Something cute

It's Mothering Sunday in the UK, so perhaps you'd all like to hear how my actual child is getting on, rather than just drama about our hypothetical child.

We spent about half am hour this afternoon sitting on a stool by an upstairs window looking out at the sunshine on our rather empty street, and spotting bees, as well as pushing wooden cars and a horse along the window sill, and putting them to sleep on the window sill. At one point I got up to go to the loo and The Tiny Dictator (as he is known) came to the bathroom door to tell me to "come on, mummy".

So life with Baby Spouse is good. He's still a good sleeper, and we've managed to fool him into going to bed a bit early this week in preparation for Summer Time. He's had some issues with being far too hungry/grabbing food/screaming for more but we think we've got most of that sorted for the moment (partly by dishing everyone's food up away from the table, but he also seems more able to wait longer for food - he can now play in the kitchen while I cook, without having too much of a meltdown, so I think it's partly that he's a little older).

He's just started enjoying scribbling, stickers etc and also Duplo (baby Lego), and it's great to have things he likes doing that don't necessarily involve running around, or throwing things.

He has loads of new words most weeks - we're almost at the "gosh, I've lost count" stage. We are however about to make an appointment to have his height and weight remeasured, to see if he's a bit further up the charts (weight was fine but height was below the 9th centile. He's never going to be a basketball player (which is a sha physiologicalme as he loves balls, and is pretty good with them too), but they want to check it's nothing physiological.

We did find out something interesting yesterday regarding Nella, which makes sense of a few things, and may or may not help or hinder us. We'll see.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The post that I do not want to write

My computer seems to be conspiring with me to prevent this, too - and my phone has decided to implode - we've been living with this news all this week and it gets no easier.

Nella decided she had had enough of NA and that she'd find a new new agency.  We think she'd been talking to them for a few days, because all of a sudden we heard that she was moving to them and already had a couple she was working with and no longer wanted to work with us.

That is basically it. We feel like someone has died. Mr Spouse was afraid of saying that it felt like one of the miscarriages - but I felt that way too. "Our" baby will still be out there, though - instead of a notional due date, there will be a real baby that we may never see grow up. We've talked to our social worker about our feelings, as well as about what to do now.

I don't think we can give up hope that she will change her mind (or it is slightly possible that she would be left with no other alternatives if she continues to burn her bridges left, right and centre, now there's a great mixed metaphor!).  It's also entirely possible that the new couple might decide she's too much like hard work.  We have put out some feelers but we aren't really sure which of them would be a mistake, if any.

Our SW had originally worded our PAR (the full form that includes the home study) to say we were approved for a sibling of Baby Spouse.  Her manager pointed out that this should really be just for "a baby" (before this all blew up) so that is changing. It's not going to make much difference to the time taken to approve us here (a 3 week delay to panel), and it's still therefore possible that we would be ready in time should she change her mind.

We have decided for now to go with the "sibling, or other baby, from the US" option but our heart is not in the "or". It will take a bit longer to get ready for the "or" so we have a little time to have a break, a holiday, that kind of thing. We do have other options and we are worried that we might burn our boats on those, though, if we end up waiting too long on this option.

I'm basically in denial at the moment - I have hinted to a couple of people that this might not be happening but there are just too many people to tell, at work etc. etc.

I think that Baby Spouse has worked out something is up, too; he's been very clingy, and his nursery worker said he was looking at the picture they have of us all and saying "Daddy, Daddy" and getting very upset, several times this week (though Mr Spouse was late home a couple of times too, and we've all been very tired).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

There's more

Nella can't stay calm for long it seems. She's managed to wind up both OHP and NA. They have agreed that OHP will now mainly deal with her, with NA doing the things that they only can do, being in state. She's generally OK with us on the phone, or even apologetic, but we also suspect she doesn't know what they tell us.

She rang us the other day to tell us she's thought of a name for the baby. Will you think about it? she asked. Well, it's definitely something we can talk about, I said. For about five seconds, said Mr Spouse when I told him her choice.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Just a quickie

Nella is out of jail, and sounds much more positive than she did recently, too. I imagine it's mainly relief to be out.  I won't go into details, but the BF is no longer on the scene and that sounds like a good thing.  She was also - crucially - positive about the help that New Agency are giving her which is a huge relief to us.  I am sure they are putting in the effort they should be putting in - it is possible this isn't quite the level of effort she felt she had with Nice Little Agency, it's also possible they were overstepping the mark a bit.

Anyway we are kind of back where we started when we were matched with Nella before Baby Spouse was born - and she had a breakup with a boyfriend - and she called me to tell me how awful he was. Quite a bit. But that's OK, it feels familiar and that had a good outcome.

Mr Spouse says that the more we learn, the more we can see how we are not "taking the babies away" from a beautiful life with their birth parents.  It's going to be hard to tell him/them about this when they are older. But it's going to be necessary. It is, as a friend once said, one of the special burdens of adoptive parents.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


That's News In Brief to those not in the know.

  • We had our first, and second (and last) home study sessions last week and this. Because our home study was done by the same social worker, with the same agency, last time, and the main thing that has changed is, well, we have Baby Spouse, she's really only had to update it.  She couldn't fit this in before, and she wanted to allocate two full days to it in case it took longer than she thought.
  • She still has some further checks to arrive back, and she should have already submitted her full report to the Panel to meet this date, officially, but she's assuming we will go the Approval Panel in April. One of the missing items is an interview with one of our referees who is far too casual about the whole urgency thing.  I rang him last night and I hope I sounded sufficiently panicked.
  • We spoke to New Agency's social worker with whom we sympathised over the difficulties with Nella.  NA SW told us that, contrary to what Nella has told us, Nella denies that her current boyfriend is the new baby's father, and that Nella has said she is genuinely unsure who the father is. We aren't sure if she thought CB was the father, but changed her mind (or vice versa, or twice) or if she was just telling each party what she thought they wanted to hear (or if she was telling one party what was easiest/what she thought they wanted to hear, and the other the truth-as-she-sees-it).
  • We rang Nella again earlier in the week to push her one more time for a "here's your birth father and your birth mother" photo of herself and CB for the new baby, and CB answered the phone (which occasionally he does if she is driving/busy).  And told us that she's in jail.
  • Yep, you read that right.  If you remember, this has happened before. There is nothing we can do, and OHP has confirmed there's nothing we can or should do, we know she'll be getting fed, she cannot go AWOL/call another agency, there are some ways in which she will be taking better care of herself by force of circumstances, but she also cannot go to her regular doctor's appointments and there are obviously bad things about this circumstance.  Like any other relative fed up with someone's behaviour, this doesn't feel like an entirely bad thing, but we know this isn't going to alter anything long term for her.  We just hope it doesn't mean anything bad, long term, for us or the new baby, and we hope it doesn't last too long.
  • Sigh.
  • We're having a nice few days away (both of us having a single day's work to do in That London have managed to make these two days next to each other, so Mr Spouse has taken Baby Spouse to the park, and shopping, today, while I'm taking him to see some horses tomorrow, and we're all going to the zoo on Saturday).
  • Oh, and a couple of people in need of thoughts at the moment: Henry Street is flying to see the woman who is just about to give birth and whose baby will likely be their second child. She is very nervous but here's hoping it's the beginning of a wonderful new adventure.  May on the other hand is facing a new beginning in a much less pleasant way, working out how to move out her stuff from her marital home and into a new life without her H.  Hand-holding for both of them, and particularly gentle for May please.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Calm calm

This is what we say to Baby Spouse when he is worked up about something, crying his eyes out rather than having a tantrum, while we stroke his hair/arms/cuddle him (except not the latter if he's stuck in his high chair) and we (used to at least) give him his pacifier and/or muslin. He now says it himself when he knows he needs to calm down, though he also seems to think it means "pacifier" which we are trying to wean him off. But he is really very good at trying to calm himself down.

And everyone else seems to have, at least temporarily, calmed themselves down.  OHP seems to have persuaded Nella that, while NA can do what she needs, it can't necessarily do what she wants. She admitted to them that she'd looked at other agencies, and they told her that she wouldn't get more elsewhere due to her state laws. She told OHP that yes, she does want the siblings to grow up together. NA seem to have found a route that they and Nella can live with. 

And I spoke to Nella myself yesterday and she also said something about advantages of the siblings living together (though oddly she was proposing an advantage for us, rather than for the babies or for her - though I added how nice it would be for us all to have visits together). She also apologised for sounding a bit off at my last couple of calls, saying she been napping. I am not sure if she knew she'd sounded odd, or if she heard something in my voice, but it's true, she did sound more relaxed and clear this time. And she does usually apologise if, for example, she sounds unsure when she picks up the phone (as our number comes up as private).  I think she is calming down a bit, though this could be temporary, and I'm also more inclined to try and call more regularly, which can only help, I hope.

And Mr Spouse is also feeling calmer.  We got another bit of paperwork back, and we've got a full day of lovely social worker (she is lovely, but a full day of talking to her is a bit daunting), on Friday, so we can check which other bits of the UK paperwork need chasing.  We haven't got any of the extra documents that we need from the UK but for the OHP requirements, except for one thing from Mr Spouse's employer (and the fact that my employer hasn't done theirs is the least surprising thing to happen this entire year, I have to say). So I'm giving those people another couple of weeks and then chasing them down, and sitting outside their offices if I have to.