Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm sure this isn't in the spirit of things

But I have just unsubscribed to a blog because the blog posts loads and loads and loads of posts - I swear it must be about 3 a day - but 90% of them are protected. I read blogs through Google Reader, and especially if I read them on the phone, it's a pain.
Mean, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We had our first family trip to a festival as I said (baby's first festival wristband, a far more important keepsake than first tooth/haircut/shoes), and also a stay in London seeing some Paralympics events (fabulous, especially the wheelchair basketball final). We're off again in a month to France for our one and only (very likely) holiday during both school and university term time, as I can't normally go on holiday then (we'll do some in school term before Baby Spouse starts school, though). We're going somewhere we have been as a couple and, like our festival-going, we have said how nice it would be to go as a family.

We're also going to book, shortly, a trip back to Birth State, in fact likely around Baby Spouse's birthday. We are doing this to avoid fuss. My family would make a huge fuss (as it's so shortly after Christmas, we're hoping to avoid Christmas Fuss too) and we are hoping we can get one year without this. Nella's parents said that they often spend time at Waterside Resort in Birth State, which sounds lovely, so we think we will ask if they could come there for a weekend and bring Nella and Montana (big sis).  We think Nella is under the impression that we will be visiting Nice Little Agency Ville and will pay for her to visit us there but we'd rather not get into doing that. However, we're encouraged that she's still calling us, if we don't call first, about once a month, and she sounded more calm and (I hate to say it but) sober this month.  So we're hopeful that she will at least make it to see us, if not in Resort then in Birth City (which is not very exciting as a place to visit but we could make a two day trip or something).

I also know where I want to go on next summer's holiday... am I too obsessed with travel? Or is it withdrawal symptoms from work travel?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

My Flabber Was Ghasted

A couple of instances recently.

I went for a leg wax (I cannot do them myself and hate shaving) and it wasn't my usual beautician (I think the usual one knows we have adopted, but she is more restrained in her comments too). I mentioned that Mr Spouse was looking after the baby, and the beautician asked me a few other questions and then asked "so, how was the birth". I could not think what to say so I said "I don't really want to talk about it". I think she was also going to ask "so, how old are you?" but I deflected her with another question.

None of my mummy friends have asked me that outright (or even my age!). When the topic comes round to birth horrors, I just play with the baby or change the subject.

Yesterday I had lunch with a very good, very old friend who was one of our referees for Baby Spouse's home state (they require non-relative referees while all the other bodies require one to be a relative).  She was talking to another friend about people called Somethingson* which is her husband/kids' surname, and a family name in that friend's family. It's a fairly common name but the friend was keen to research families with that name. "Of course, D's father isn't a real Somethingson because he was adopted".

Speechless. As usual you think what you should have said later - it's not worth saying to her now but I wanted to say "but Baby Spouse is a real Spouse".

*names changed to protect those not present

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A conversation

I mentioned in my last post bumping into an old friend and finding out that she was adopted. I'll try to relay the essence of the conversation here - forgive me if it gets a bit garbled - but it was very interesting.

It turns out that she and her two younger brothers were adopted, and she was 5 when placed (I think when placed for adoption, rather than when first fostered, but I'm not sure). I think she said that they were separated in foster care and then adopted together, but because her brothers had more moves than she did, or possibly because she spent more time with her birth mother (that's her interpretation), she was able to form better relationships and to pull her life together when older. 

And she does indeed have her life more than together - she is a mum to two lovely children and has two separate qualifications - she was in a more technical occupation when younger and then switched to social work - and she used to work in adoption (I don't think she works in children's services any more). But by her account her brothers do not.

There were a few other things she said that stuck in my mind - we were discussing the US and UK adoption systems and what happens when a child would be removed at birth and the parents know this.  I was also explaining that we might consider concurrent placement (fostering with a view to adoption) and she said she'd prefer if all adoptive placements were actually long term fostering. I am not sure if she agrees with me (that children shouldn't be moved around) or if she thinks that permanency shouldn't necessarily mean adoption.

She also said, and actually I agree though it's a bit more complex than that, that it sounds like Nella very much had Baby Spouse's interests at heart when she decided to place him for adoption. Nella did not want him to be removed without any input on her part into who the parents would be, and she didn't want to risk him going through multiple foster placements. In fact, the risk of him being in multiple placements would have been greater had she been able to care for him temporarily at some point - so it now occurs to me that she put aside the possibility of her caring for him in order to achieve stability for her.

The complexity though comes when you see that she got a lot out of placing him, especially support from us, but also a more formal contact agreement (though still not enforceable) through Nice Little Agency, who I have no doubt explained to her their standard agreement.  We explained what contact we hope to have - and she was firm in saying (and good for her, as many adoption social workers don't seem to think like this) that we have to remember it is not about us or Nella, but about Baby Spouse.

But one thing that I think we agree on is that parenting Baby Spouse is not like parenting a birth child - as I said to her, I think my family in particular think that it is now all done and dusted, and we can carry on as if I gave birth to him.  We know we can't. Even if we never saw any members of his birth family again (which I have to say seems unlikely) it would not be the same.  

I must remember to keep her updated - I think she's one of the few of my contemporaries who really gets it - I do have a couple of friends who were adopted at birth, but in my generation those adoptees seem to divide into [COMPLETE STEREOTYPE ALERT] "don't really want to know much about birth family" even including "would be disloyal to adoptive family" or else "I was lied to all my life, my family life was a lie".  I really hope we don't end up either end of that spectrum.