Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I am thinking of giving this a go this year (because although I have nothing to say, and no time to say it in I feel like it should be said more often).

I don't think I'll be officially joining up because a) I object to the "na" bit and b) I can't get the BlogHer site to let me join. BelgianWaffle warned this might be a problem, but for me it's the word verification I can't get to work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

First hearing about open adoption

I'm a bit late to the table on this one, but this is partly because I read the post and thought, well, I can't remember hearing about it first - it must have just seeped in; or alternatively that I'd heard about friends who were adopted meeting their birth families as adults, and kind of assumed that open adoption for children was just an extension of this.

But then I remembered.

In 1999 I was working in Southern California, and a mildly irritating hippy type colleague mentioned that he was heading to a different part of the state for the weekend to meet up with "his daughter's birth mother". I now remember being stopped in my tracks. At the time, I was in touch with my former foster son; I did know his father, and could see that there was some benefit in having contact, even if just so the boy could see how unreliable his father was. But I didn't really manage to link the two, not because A wasn't adopted, but because I thought of younger adoptions as being different. In fact, it is only now that I recognise the link. At the time, I am pretty sure I didn't see the point in this colleague's daughter having contact.

I've been talking recently to a couple of people (including Mr Spouse, who agrees with me) about how I find it hard that UK adopters are much less in favour of openness and contact than equivalent US adopters. Everyone says "ah, but it's different in the US, it's all relinquished babies". But it isn't, and adopters from foster care I think are more positive towards openness and contact; and there are some relinquished (or removed at birth) children in the UK, and I tend to hear the argument "they don't have a relationship, so there's no point in contact".

I hope I am able to live up to my ideals. A's dad didn't vanish or cut off contact, but mainly tended to come and see me when he wanted something. If contact is like that, I've got experience in handling it. We'll see. But I think we'll be OK.

Lesson learned

We have always been told, and other adopters have said, that we need to remember that any information about our child's birth family or background is theirs to decide if they want to share when they are older. I've learned this the hard way this week.

I was updating my mum on the phone calls (two now) that we've had with the expectant mother, and told her some information that I thought was neutral, or even quite positive. Her reaction was extreme, and negative. Now, I know she has buttons, and clearly this pushes one of htem, but they are buttons that normal people would hide, and wouldn't even think to say anything about. I was very offended and hung up on her, and then emailed her to explain the whole "even if you think it's shareable, it isn't" conversation. From now on I will be behaving like the proverbial clam. Sorry if you were hoping for details. But thankfully my mother now has apologised.

We did have a second conversation as I said with N* as I'll call her, which was a little less awkward than the first one, with a couple of confusing pieces of information, and a couple that made other things make more sense (one of which made it seem like, all other things being equal, there is another reason why N is unlikely to be able to parent). One of the confusing pieces of information made more sense when we got another email from the social worker. It wasn't anything that N wanted to be kept private, nor was it something she specifically asked us to tell the social worker, but I'm glad we passed on the information - we have found the social worker a teeny bit brief/rushed on occasion, but it's helpful to know what she's dealing with.

Sorry to be so cryptic here but I think you get why!

*I have just come back to change this, after I realised that of course my former foster son is also A and that I'd referred to him in the very next post. Gah. I'll have to try and remember to keep the pseudonyms straight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dress spurs

They don't catch on the carpet but they do clank a lot.

Just one of many facts I learned today. Among these were:

Fashion goddesses  dress very boringly when meeting the Queen (black hat, black coat)

Well known  children's authors  have much more fun taste in hats (bright red cloche)

My dad is probably the only person on Britain who can sit next to a  national treasure and not talk to him, but say he looked "familiar".

Someone, somewhere is making a lot of money off gold braid.

The string section of the band of the Welsh Guards does a nice line in show tunes.

Even important people don't get tea at the Palace.

You can't walk out of Buckingham Palace when they are changing the Guard.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Hopefully this list will be useful before too long (yes it has a lot on it, and since we won't take most stuff home from our travels, I am going to look into renting, but as a point to start from...)

And Thalia, that is a really really kind offer of baby stuff. We have a friend about an hour away who says she has a lot of stuff in her attic. Her daughter is 11 so some of it will be a) girl specific (not too much, knowing her, though) b) not up to current health and safety standards or c) a bit mouldy. I am thinking I will let her know when we are coming home and ask to come and pick up most stuff at that point (or, if she's feeling generous, ask her to come and deliver it!).

I know your stuff will be more recent and will include boy stuff (or let's say, more non-girl stuff, and I also know you won't have too many mini soldier outfits - previous observation has indicated though that Next is the only shop with unisex baby clothes, please, why??? Is it so I have to knit or sew everything? Because crafting is definitely going to go by the wayside, and my mum doesn't know how to sew knits or to knit anything other than Norwegian sweaters). So I will definitely get back to you on that one, cheers m'dear.

Oh I forgot - we did talk to the expectant mom - we rang on Friday evening, she answered straight away and knew who we were (well doh, is another random British stranger going to be calling her!) but it wasn't convenient to talk so we rang back (at quite a late hour - and that's why I forgot to say - because the next day I went to Blackpool with 8 of my Brownies and 9000 others (and some rather scared looking non-Guiding families who were also there), so that kind of put it out of my mind.

Anyway, the chat was, well, awkward, but not too bad. Hard to know. We were all polite but I felt a bit like I was gabbing and grilling her. We'll call back next week, we think she suggested Saturday but we aren't quite sure if our collective memory is correct.

You know what this feels like...

It doesn't feel like the home stretch. It feels exactly like having just got a positive test and waiting to tell people until we are more sure. It feels like saying, well, if we get to six weeks we'll tell family, we'll only tell work if we get to 12 weeks.

At least I don't have to be on knicker watch.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Not to do list...

We had a bit of a panic and a few cross words were exchanged last night. I think we just feel overwhelmed and this is preventing us from feeling excited. Today I feel a little bit excited, but mainly just knackered (I hadn't been sleeping well even before this) and very slightly less overwhelmed...

Today we needed to:
Send yet more money to Official Hague Person - check
Ask OHP if they need to contact the UK "central authority" now - check
Send forms to Nice Little Agency - check
Start to think about who to tell, and when
Panic about calling the expectant mother - double check
Thinking about asking the nursery at work what to do about a place that we may, or may not, need - check

However we will not be:
Telling more than immediate family (the list is less than 10 people, and does not include my boss, anyone on Facebook, thanks guys)
Telling work
Buying any baby stuff
Knitting any baby stuff

But I have to confess that I did look up what vacation spots there are within a few hours' drive of the city the baby will be born in...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


It looks like it's going to be a good week for the Spousehold.

An expensive week, but a good week.

The expectant mother has picked us. And although perhaps there were other situations we weren't picked for because the parents didn't have full information, there are other things that mean this is a good match for us. But one of the things that made her happy was us wanting to meet, and she knows it won't be that often, and I'm just going to look up vacation spots suitable for children near her city...

It's probably a boy (you know how it is with ultrasounds, sorry, sonograms as I must remember to call them), due in January. So 3 months to bite my fingernails. Will she decide to parent before the birth, will the father turn up, will she decide to parent after the birth, will the state authorities take ages to allow us to travel out of state, will the baby get sick, will the baby die, will the US authorities take ages to allow us to travel out of the US, will the UK authorities play ball... some of you have been there, done that, please hold my hand!

Although Mr Spouse has been a little worried about costs, he has basically said "go for it"; we aren't entirely sure exactly how much we owe as we have three different copies of the totals/estimates. We will wait and see what they say... and then empty the bank account. Thank goodness for low mortgage interest rates meaning we have a little in the savings.

In other news, my dad is getting a major award from a member of the Royal Family next week. I'm beavering away on the sewing machine to make a dress and have also stupidly decided to make a hat from a hat blank (one of those things you don't know how hard it will be so you say, yes, why not). The dress has some restitching on the neckline, the hem, and a bunch of hand sewing to do. The hat... well... I'll remain silent. I'm just hoping we'll meet a Goodie.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Just a quickie...

Another call about a situation, this time pretty much OK, no major worries, yes please show our profile. Photo on their profile of expectant mother with child she does not live with - so please emphasise we'd be open to visits, but couldn't promise very often. Oh, you'd be open to visits?

Erm, have they not read our profile?

We have not put this specifically on the full colour profile in so many words as we were told some parents are not keen and wouldn't want to be pushed into this. But it says this on our agency forms, we told them, have they forgotten? Have they not been telling expectant parents?

Anyway hoping this might be the right one for us, should hear tomorrow or the next day.