Friday, July 30, 2010

I thought it was quiet...

but it's not that quiet. I am still very confused by Google Analytics, which I moved to after I found I couldn't use statcounter any more (and I can't remember why that was). But Google Analytics says I had no visitors in July at all. Which, er, isn't true.

Anyone got any better hints and tips? It's not that it's broken entirely as it says my other blog had a couple of July visitors.

What I Did On My Holidays

An installment here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This is from the Open Adoption Roundtable #18.

We are obviously not in an open adoption yet but have had interactions with lots of social workers - all of whom are in principle very keen on openness. But fully open adoptions with birth/adoptive parent directed meetings between both sets of parents and children are rare in the UK. Because most adoptions are from foster care the most common forms of openness are either letter contact, supervised and often quite tense birth parent visits, or self-arranged and relaxed visits with siblings or extended family members.

I get the impression the social workers are a little surprised we are so on board about openness - in fact I think they have been, probably quite wisely, preparing us for less openness than we'd be comfortable with. Practically speaking, we're never going to have a weekly visit, drop-in-when-you-want, first day of school and every birthday type of relationship. But we'd be happy (other things being equal) with regular visits with us and birth parent(s) without any agency/social worker involvement.

Our social worker is, I think, assuming that we'd actually have more contact with extended family (e.g.organised maternal grandparents who might have been a possible choice for raising a child, where one issue with a birth parent might be a lack of a permanent home). Oddly, though I imagine this might be a possibility, I can also envisage an opposite scenario, for example a birth parent who has not told their own parents that they have a child, so that we might meet them without being allowed to meet grandparents. This would be hugely unusual in the UK - and I think more UK adopters would have direct contact with extended family - so it's going to take some explaining to our UK social workers if we end up in that type of situation.

OK, now I have your open adoption attention - I need a quick bit of advice. We're just working on our profile, and I have put:
"We think it is very important for our child to know their biological family.

Because Dr Spouse’s mom’s family are from the US, she visited her grandparents there every summer when she was a child. We hope we will be able to take our child back to the US often to get to know their biological family."

Sooo.... I asked around and was told (not by a professional) that perhaps we should hold off on mentioning our hopes for openness, in the profile, in case it was read by expectant parents who were less interested in openness than us.

Now, if we had a link with expectant parents who wanted ongoing letter contact and were open to talking about in-person contact - then I think we'd be OK with that. Because from other people, I know that even if we set up to have ongoing in-person contact we might end up back in a letter contact, discussing in-person contact, situation anyway if circumstances changed.

So, what are people's opinions? Better not to mention our hopes in our profile, and speak about them in person? Or mention the most we'd be able to cope with (we think) and risk putting someone off who would rather have less?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sorry for the silence, but I'm not getting many real comments anyway so I'm not sure if people are just reading and going "meh" or not reading.

I'm in the middle of my media placement and it is such fun but very time-consuming - more because I've got a few urgent day job things to keep on top of in the evenings than because it's really such hard work. I can't really do anything toooo hard for the radio people in case I mess it up! And we are in London, having a nice break from real life, and I've just been to a conference (with digital recorder and fancy mike in tow, and having done a few fancy interviews, well, I thought they were fancy).

Now many of my regular readers know of the good ways to make your period start. I know I shouldn't be complaining having had two ridiculously short cycles, but at the weekend it was over 5 weeks and it was getting a bit ridiculous. We had (mainly) been careful and I was (fairly) sure I had ovulated late but I was trying the usual things. Wearing white knickers, going on a really long journey, and I even thought I was in the final approach when I had a migraine (looking back, it's been about 1 every 3 cycles on the final day or so). But no. It was getting so long that even Mr Spouse was getting anxious.

For the first time ever it was him who suggested getting a test and me who didn't want to. But of course it worked perfectly. Test on Sat afternoon and period started before I went to bed that night.

And, you know, I'm so busy with work, adoption paperwork, doing our profile, that to be frank, I really, really didn't feel disappointed.

Sometimes I amaze myself.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just lovely

We've had a week away in a part of Greece that I knew absolutely nothing about until Mr Spouse told me - his cousin lives there. It was too short but I know we'll be back.

I was an au pair about 20 years ago in Rhodes and although it is lovely there, it is a lot hotter than here and - even though I was with the family and not doing many touristy things - it was really touristy even then, lots of "resorts", and I'm sure it's a lot busier now. This week we've been on Thassos (no, I'd not heard of it either) and over to Kavala, on the mainland, which is where the cousin lives with his wife and (when he's not at university in the UK) their son.

Thassos is a charter destination and we decided it would be a lot easier to do it as a package - Mr Spouse came independently previously - but we've got the typical 7 nights hotel, bed and breakfast and foraging for gorgeous food in the evenings. It's the kind of destination which attracts couples like us (over 25 and no kids) though most of the tourists aren't British - there are quite a few Germans, who tend to drive here, and a lot of Romanians and Bulgarians - it's just over the border from Bulgaria and a couple of hundred km from Istanbul.

It's also really popular with Greek families (it's a lot cooler than most other places and has nice sandy beaches) so seems to be a lay-on-the-beach holiday for most. That's not really our thing and the island is 100km round and the highest point is as high as Snowdon, so you won't really be surprised we headed up into the hills a couple of times for short walks. There is a mad lady who goes round and spray paints route marks onto rocks and trees and has written a little book. We didn't make it all the way up to the top... though we had planned to go on a jeep tour, it absolutely poured with rain the night before so the tour was cancelled. Several of the tours available were cheesy beyond words but it is the kind of place that you can drift from cafe to cafe (I'm very fond of Greek coffee), sample the pastries, read by the pool, and generally chill out.

Probably because of my exposure to home-cooked Greek food, I adore it, and we don't get very much of it in the North of England (some Turkish, and the same in London, where there is some Greek food, but it's not quite the same, plus I know the Greek words for it rather than the Turkish). I had some peaches the other day that were, seriously, the most peachy peaches I have EVER tasted in my life - including peaches in SoCal and in the south of France and in Spain.

The city where Cousin Spouse lives is apparently the largest seaside city in Greece - as I say, completely off my radar and indeed everyone I have spoken to about the trip. It is ripe for the city-break picking, I'd say. Unfortunately the only direct UK (and other N. European country) flights are weekly charters - not ideal for weekends - but you can go via Athens or I think some other choices. Easyjet are missing a trick. You've got gorgeous ocean views, steep rambling historic streets (though some of the historic buildings are a little hidden), harbourside restaurants, a bit of light shopping (there's Max Mara, Zara, and a street market that Primark-lovers would drool over, which also has olives, herbs, flowers, and a load of gorgeous fruit and veg you couldn't really get in the suitcase); Thassos itself is famous for olives and honey.

It's not what you'd call unspoilt as it is a big city with its own life and sadly - state of the economy and that - lots of empty shops - but we haven't seen or done everything by any means. We didn't venture inland but hiring a car and pootling round a huge set of ancient sights should be on the agenda at some point (heard of Philipi? did you know Drama was a place?). It's very historic in itself - a Byzantine aqueduct, as well as Roman/Ottoman/I can't remember ruins - it has a couple of small museums but typically they were "under renovation" - but the new museum on Thassos was pretty fabulous, so we didn't feel hard done by to miss that.

Cousin Spouse and his wife are lovely - he is very good value, full of stories, she is quite quiet and I felt a bit bad that she was always getting things for us, though I do know this is fairly typically Greek and even when I was "staff" people would get things for me, "people" especially meaning "women". We took a couple of group photos to prove for the adoption profile that Mr Spouse does have some family and I can't help feeling a little relieved that Mr Spouse looks younger than Cousin Spouse, even though he's 5 years older. We've been working on our profile and browsing other people's profiles and thinking we might play down a little the "we-are-always-travelling" angle as it can come across that couples don't have time to have kids - but it should be nice to show that the cousins live in a gorgeous Mediterranean city.

Anyway last night tonight and we're going back to the best restaurant of the week (there's always one we say 'got to go back there') for the mixed meze.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Just a quickie

Still on holiday - we're trying to get free tickets for a Prom that go on "sale" today and I'm currently number 400-and-something in a queue - hope you all like the new look.

Greek food/mountains/sea/weather all very acceptable (though Greek weather isn't all sun and clear skies - who'd have thought it - certainly not me as I spent a summer as a mistreated au pair in Southern Greece and I'm currently in Northern Greece). In London next week, then away for a week, then back in London for a further two weeks, in case anyone fancies getting together for a blog meetup. What's a blog meet, a bleet?