Monday, December 26, 2011

What if...

you post something on your blog about desperately wanting a baby and then people comment "you haven't been waiting that long", is that wrong (for the record, this IS the person I moan about on FB)? Is it more wrong to comment that on the blog, than behind their back (or is it more wrong to do the opposite)?
And, if someone comments that being a parent is not all roses and you don't have a baby for very long, is that also wrong?
And further, if that same someone is told NOT to make unhelpful comments, and then replies that they find it hard to cope with their adult child with learning disabilities, is that also wrong?
A grey area, at best. I know how much those without children hate being told about the bad times, when they don't seem that bad. This sounded bad.  But I have never heard adoption bloggers or posters on forums (even the dreaded Adoption Is Scary forum that I avoid since my "we're matched!" post got zero replies... where all children have serious problems) say that people shouldn't think the grass is greener, and that they  would think again about adopting.
I rarely reply to this person but I am replying now (I guess I now count her as at the stage where she should be complaining!) but I am replying to say more or less what I've said here - it's now that you are actively trying to be a parent that you will get more sympathy, but also that many parents who have difficulties are very glad they chose to parent that particular child, even knowing some of the possible difficulties beforehand.
But I can't help hoping that our future child is as easy as the colleague's baby we met today. Only two pukes on my black dress. Serves me right for wearing that colour. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Class divide

I'm going to talk about money. And class. If you are English, look away now.

We are spending Christmas Day with Mr Spouse's mother who you may remember has quite bad memory loss and would not really cope with staying at ours. It's too far to bring her up to ours for the day, and her tiny old people's flat is too small for me to cook in so we went out for lunch.

My family, the middle class ones, have various taboos, one of which would be wasting money on things like eating out on the kind of day when it costs more (or indeed ever. See: mother's upcoming big birthday). My mother can be very generous (she just gave us a frankly ginormous cheque towards our travel expenses) but will not call me today on my mobile, I can confidently predict. My family also seem to avoid using cash (both parents seem to suffer from empty wallet syndrome when for example a coffee out is suggested).

So to me, having Christmas lunch in a restaurant is a new experience. We also never watched Morecambe and Wise (or ITV in general) and we had stockings where Mr Spouse had a pillowcase.

You may also remember my mother-in-law lives a few hundred yards from an area that was rioted in August. We did book an out of town place, and we booked the early sitting (old people eat their dinners early - oh yes, though this is also a regional thing, we grew up eating lunch followed by dinner, not dinner followed by tea). It was more relaxed than I thought it would be, and the food was better (it's a chain). But the early sitting was clearly the right choice. There were a few tattoos in evidence, but crucially accompanied by sufficient  teeth. All children sat still and wore age-appropriate clothing. Only about two blokes were propping up the bar chain-drinking lagers.

It was as we left and the 2.30 sitting arrived however that the true flavour of Christmas became apparent. Toddlers in tutus that would put My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas to shame. Enough fake tan to paint a canteen of undercooked turkeys (and that's just the blokes). At least half the adults permanently hovering right next to the door smoking (one hopes not too near each other's hair or the hairspray might ignite).

Clearly the 2.30 crowd either knew they wouldn't be up in time to get there any earlier, or alternatively wanted to get a head start on the drinking). Judging by the navigation skills of the friend being directed to the restaurant ("You just drove past! Turn round! No, not left!"), it may have been the latter (one hopes it was the navigator on the Stella).

Of course, as with absolutely everywhere we've been in the last 7 years, I was wondering how suitable it would be for a small baby - and it was a positive conclusion - lots of room to run around, very helpful staff. And I promise a) not to dress babies in suits or crinolines and b) not to say, like one dad on MBFGC, "you can't buy a doll for a boy baby, he's not gay".

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I do feel like a fraud here. The number of people I have had to tell about the adoption plans has grown exponentially but I have still had to say to all of them "it might not work out" and they are still saying unhelpful things like "that's very rare surely?". I really cannot explain the US system to anyone who is not an extremely close friend with whom I wish to spend an hour or so talking - it's just too complex, and I feel judged too.
N is still in need of moral support, and I think is not aware that I'm working at home (to be honest, no-one else would really be aware except for the unfortunate colleagues who I keep pressing for a meeting, or return of documents, as I haven't got much done). I just feel very wobbly talking to her, as I overanalyse everything, and the SW isn't as available to me (which is no doubt why she calls me when she's having a panic), but I might give her a call later in any case.
I think I am going to go out now and go for a run to make the most of the last bit of daylight.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Help. Just.. well, help

So the SW at NLA feels that it is necessary for us (or at least me) to be around at the birth. I may not be in the room, but N doesn't plan on caring for the baby, and the whole point of making a plan for adoption with named parents, rather than having it made for you by CPS, is that the prospective adoptive parents are the ones caring for the baby immediately.
So it looks like I'll fly around the 15th January, Mr Spouse will join me as soon as the baby is born, and I'll be hanging around the hospital first and then around the foster carers, till I can take the baby away. NLA were trying to suggest something that I am pretty sure OHP would not like, but we think we have reached a compromise.

I'm also serving as unofficial agony aunt/social worker as N is having some traumatic times in her personal life and rang me three times (!) today (mainly ringing back after being interrupted) to tell me about it. It's all good fun, as Mr Spouse would say. N thinks the baby will come earlier than the due date - I'm squeezing in work appointments at the last minute but really, that is not a good idea, and I am going to have to tell people to back off.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...I'm a person who's going on adoption leave before too long.
I had my last lectures of the term, of the year, and possibly of the next 12 months, yesterday. We had a few negotiations during the week about Christmas presents, paperwork that hasn't been sent, and what might be possible re. travel dates, with OHP and NLA. I ordered some small things for N's apartment as a Christmas present (some of the to-ing and fro-ing that the SW has been doing has been related to N, with no possessions, moving into an unfurnished apartment) and called her yesterday evening to let her know something was on its way, and that if it was late it was my fault for waiting too long to order it (and not springing for Christmas delivery - as I have no idea which day the SW will see N, there didn't seem much point). The SW is hassling N for some paperwork so I didn't want the SW to be the bad guy on late presents, too.

We have worked out that we cannot both travel before the birth, for a boring insurance-related reason (the policy needs a name and a date of birth). We are neither of us really sure that we have an active desire to be at the birth - not quite sure why - it seems like the Holy Grail of domestic adoption but to us it seems private, and definitely not something we should press for. However, if N is really keen for that to happen, I guess I know more when I'll travel - I'd go over a week before the due date I think - and just hang around. That has implications for adoption leave because I'd have to take more time as holiday and less as adoption leave but it's not the end of the world.

If not, then I am no closer to knowing when I'd go away and I'm getting hassle from colleagues who want to know this.  We'd probably be able to have custody of the baby about a week to 10 days after birth, if all goes well - we are not sure if I then will take more annual leave (before we come back to the UK) or if my adoption leave kicks in as soon as we have custody.

Next question is exactly how long am I going to be twiddling my thumbs/holding the baby in a hotel without Mr Spouse.  And who is going to come and hold my hand? I am kind of wondering about posting an appeal on the FB page of a couple of well-known US bloggers I'm FB friends with (not the one who told me to get lost after a flippant Victor Meldrew style comment recently though), to see if any of their fans live in the area. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Up again, down again

Finally came home to a voicemail from N.  We spoke briefly as she was actually in a loud place on her way to the doctor's.  Not sure if she got the date wrong, it changed, or it was just a case of being generally confused.  But what is noticeable actually is that N has called me back (despite the chronic phone tag) but the social worker from Nice Little Agency has not called OR emailed. N is supposed to call back later but I think again may worry it's too late - so I might continue the phone tag game tomorrow.

We have some questions both for OHP and NLA, but I still don't feel ready to ask "what happens after the birth". Mr Spouse is out having a Christmas dinner with his chums. So I made fudge.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Very wobbly

We have now reached, more or less, the stage at which we could get a call saying "healthy but very early baby" (the due dates on the medical reports we've seen say, first report, 12th Jan, second report 24th Jan, and I do know the first one is more likely to be accurate). So why am I panicking more about things going wrong?

We spoke to N briefly (as in, I'm about to go eat, nice to speak to you, oh you don't have a holiday there?) on Thanksgiving (we ended up having guinea fowl on the Sunday, though we do sometimes have large group Thanksgiving meals - we had a lovely one a couple of years ago), but since then have again got voicemail a couple of times. 
Though so far when this happens she has rung us back I'm biting my nails over a couple of things - the last time she called us, she sounded shocked that it was so late in the evening here (we don't mind at all, it wasn't that late for us, and we stay up late - especially Mr Spouse - and we occasionally get calls at odd hours regarding his mother). 

Also, she was due to have a doctor's appointment which I think was after Thanksgiving, and she told us she'd try and get us a copy of the ultrasound. Now leaving aside how freaky that would be for us, we don't want her to feel obligated to send us this if she doesn't want to, and apart from of course being worried that she's a) changed her mind about us or b) had a very large life crisis which is a likely event given what she is susceptible to, and gone off-grid, I'm also worried she c) is rethinking the ultrasound issue but doesn't want to say.

We did email the SW yesterday to say some of this (but sounding less panicky) and now of course I'm worried that we haven't heard from her, and no news especially in case b) does not necessarily mean good news.

We were chatting at lunch (great side effect of Mr Spouse being temporarily a spotty student is that we can have lunch together) and also realised we're very confused about the custody/timing issue after the birth, IF things get that far (well clearly the baby is not staying in there for ever but you know what I mean!).  I'm having to tell more and more people I might not be around, so I think I'm going to have to find out from Official Hague Person more of what the timetable might look like. Which is in itself of course even more scary.