Weaving our way through the hustle and bustle of the shop my littlest stops momentarily distracted by a plush Christmas baby toy. Taking it off the rack he waves it in the air and shouts “Mum, what about this for my sister?”
His words initially catch me off guard and I have to take a few seconds to think about my response. Bending down I look him in the eyes and say “That is so lovely you are thinking about her baby, Mummy has been too, but we are not sure how old she is going to be yet, so maybe we should wait.” He reluctantly puts the toy down but within nano seconds he is distracted once again by a tiny little Santa suit, “Awww but Mum she’s going to need a Christmas outfit” time for a sharp exit out of the baby section!
I actually regret not letting him buy it as it was such a special thought but as someone who grew up surrounded by some funny old superstitions (passed down from my Great Granny D) I decided to air on the side of caution as I didn’t want to cause any bad luck.
Back in my dark days there would be times I would find myself sneaking into the baby section to touch the soft fabrics and fantasise about what clothes I’d dress my baby in… it sounds a little bit creepy when I say it out loud! Of course I never dared to actually buy anything as for the same reason I denied my son the opportunity to buy his gift, ‘buying for baby too soon is bad luck’. It’s funny the things that stick with you from your childhood as still to this day I won’t let anyone put new shoes on my table and heaven forbid a mirror should break.
On a happier note, it’s Christmas after alI, I cannot tell you the excitement I felt years later (after being matched with our eldest daughter) when I was finally able to walk into a children’s clothes shop (without feeling like a fraudster) and pick her first outfits from me.
Continuing on that happier note, you may have gathered by now that the thought of another child has been conceived in our house and is currently growing in our hearts. This time it’s been a family decision, although my teenage daughter has joked that she will sabotage any process that does not involve a sister….hence the controversial need to be gender specific for the first time ever. Having strong bonds with both my boys I feel it’s only right for me to say that this isn’t for any other reason other than the need for gender balance…..Oh and the fact that I need some sparkles and unicorns in my life since my football playing teenage daughter has decided she likes everything black!!
Our first trimester (Stage one of the Adoption process) is now complete. This saw hubby and I sat side by side in the doctor’s office partaking in vital yet hilarious tests such as touching our noses followed by the doctors hand repeatedly, to ensure that we are medically fit to adopt. It was touch a go for a while when hubster sent the blood pressure machine rocketing through the roof as the doctor questioned whether there would ever be a baby number five!! You’ll be pleased to hear however that we are not only medically fit we both have notably good reflexes which is always good when raising small children. Prior to this we made an initial enquiry ( over the phone) and attended an initial interview to establish our suitability as Adopters.
Also Included in the stage one process were the written reference checks which consist of two family members, two of your choice, a work reference each, a school reference for the children, a Local Authority check and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. This has seen me having to be really nice to people for the last few weeks to ensure that they write nice things about us…..on a more serious note do Christmas presents count as bribery?
Our house has also been assessed to make sure it is safe. Thankfully this occurred weeks ago as I now think the sacks of Christmas presents that I’m unsuccessfully trying to hide in my room would be flagged up as extremely hazardous! Oh and I’m training my backside off to evidence my preparation for a new addition. Seriously, I’ve actually turned into a trauma and attachment geek! The other day I found myself talking animatedly to my friend about the book I’m currently reading on ptsd and the look I got in response was as if I was half crazed!!
Christmas is now rapidly approaching and we have a short break before we embark on stage two of the process. Just like my youngest I too have been thinking about our new addition and at times have found myself wondering if she’s been born, where she is and if she will be safe this Christmas. It’s a funny feeling knowing that your baby has (most likely) already been born and wondering what they are doing.
I felt exactly the same prior to my eldest daughter coming home however our eldest son was a bit of an adoption anomaly. The reason for this is that our first meeting with him was by pure chance. After being linked and seeing pictures of him at nearly ten months old it transpired that we would be attending the same event for adoptive families. When our social worker made the connection that we would all be in the same room it was decided that they would introduce us early rather than risk us bumping in to each other. As a result we spent a lovely afternoon sharing lunch cuddling and getting to know him. The hardest part of course was having to hand him back at the end of the day knowing full well that there would be an agonising two months before we would see him again. Our daughter was only little at the time and struggled to understand why we couldn’t take him home there and then. In the car on the way home she continually questioned where her baby brother was. Needless to say he permeated our thoughts and conversations on a daily basis for the next eight weeks.
Just like I’m preparing my children now I prepared my daughter at the time by talking her through the process for example ‘Mummy and Daddy have been to the doctors today and he told us that we are fit and healthy to adopt a brother or sister for you’. We wanted her to understand the process fully and acknowledge the different way in which our family was being made.
In the car on the way home that day we explained to her that her brother was still being looked after by his Foster Carer but would be coming home soon.
For his first birthday a few weeks later we had a birthday party with a difference, the difference being that the birthday boy wasn’t actually there!! When my son asks me now where I was for his first birthday I show him the set of pictures we took on his special day. Keeping it very low key we celebrated with family and some close friends. Our daughter marked the occasion by blowing out his first birthday candle and wishing that he would be home soon.
Similarly, this Christmas could be our next child’s first and whilst in the words of Stevie Wonder I’m feeling ‘very superstitious’ I’ve decided that instead of buying gifts we will mark the occasion by lighting her first Christingle candle in church tonight which will hopefully make it into her memory box. When she is older and she asks me to tell her about her first Christmas I can tell her that whilst we were not yet together, she was very much in our thoughts.
Merry Christmas to all my babies past, present and future.
Merry Christmas to the birth families who blessed me with my most precious gifts.
And Merry Christmas to you all.