Thursday, 6 May 2010

06-May 2010

Post number 90 and my last post.

We picked them up at 9.30 and gave the FC a card, flowers, chocolates and photo frame from them.  We met their social worker and signed our lives away!  We picked up the last few bits and pieces, then said our goodbyes.  I thought I was going to blub big time but I didn’t.  FC held it together well, she is a strong lady!

We then drove home without a peep from them all - mainly due to Tom and Jerry on the car DVD!  We had a relaxing morning in the lounge playing with toys and then lunch of Midge’s favourite – sandwiches!  We popped to the shops to pick up some bits and then into the garden.  Midge didn’t follow Mumma’s instructions and so had to stay in with her for some time-in whilst she unpacked the shopping and tidied up.  A bit later on he said sorry of his own accord, so he is realising what is happening.  We then had tea – meatballs, sweetcorn and rice yummy!

Then we did the first full bath and bedtime routine here.  We chucked them all in the bath together and they all loved it.  They each chose a bedtime story and we read to them.  Then it was time for Squidge’s bottle and into bed for them all.  Midge wouldn’t stop talking, Tidge screamed for a while and needed Daddy’s hand for a while.  Squidge went off in 2 minutes flat!  We have sussed Midge and Squidge so we need to work on Tidge – but it’s only the first night!  Let’s hope they don’t wake until the morning – ha haa!

Thanks for all your support over these 10 days and the previous few years.  I have loved every minute of writing my blog.  We have had such fantastic feedback from you wonderful readers and if it wasn't for you all I might not have continued sometimes.  It has been a three year adoption slog on top of two years naturally trying and two years / four cycles of IVF.  We have had the worst journey bar none and many times I wondered if any of it was going to be worth it.  When I kissed our children goodnight tonight for the first time in their new beds in their forever home, the pain, heartache and blackness was wiped away in an instant.  We are a family at last.  Lots of love from Mary, Mungo, Midge, Tidge and Squidge xxxxx

Our journey

Jul 03 We started dating, after knowing each other as colleagues for a few years
Dec 03 Started trying for a family
Feb 04 Got engaged and bought our house
Feb 05 Got married
Aug 05 Started IVF
Nov 06 Stopped IVF after 4 ICSI cycles
Apr 07 Decided to adopt so applied to agency
Jul 07 Application accepted
Nov 07 Prep groups completed
Mar 08 Home study completed
Aug 08 Approved to adopt a sibling group of 2-3 children aged 6 and under. Actively looking for children
Dec 08 / Jan 09 Potential link with a sibling group of three; due to the decision to split up the boys we decided not to proceed
Mar 09 / Apr 09 Potential link with a sibling group of three; the social workers went with another couple who were geographically closer and more able to reflect their cultural identity
Apr 09 / Jul 09 Linked with a sibling group of three. Received reports: Children's Permanence Report, medical, foster carers and nursery
. Met with children's social worker and their agency's Family Finding social worker. Officially linked on 9th July. On 24th July birth family no longer support the plan for adoption, have their own plan and are in a much stronger position than they were. The court date is set for February. Due to the uncertainty of the outcome and the 6-month wait we decided not to proceed
Aug 09 We had a break from family finding for a month following a failed link. We are looking at ways to make ourselves better known to social workers and had our one year review on 27th August.

Sep 09 We have become more proactive in contacting social workers and have updated our profile.  This has lead to three sets of social workers being interested in us and paperwork has been swapped.
Oct 09  We had a meeting on 13th October with social workers regarding a sibling group of two and were not successful.  We decided to take a short break from blogging
Nov 09  Re-linked with group of three that failed in July - yayy!  Placement order to be granted in February
Dec 09  Awaiting outcome of interim court hearing
Jan 10  Still awaiting outcome of interim court hearing
Feb 10  Care Order and Placement Order granted.  Matching panel was pencilled in for 5th March but subsequently cancelled
Mar 10  Matching panel due 9th April.  Met foster carer, nursery school teacher and Medical Adviser
Apr 10  Matched to three children under the age of five - extremely relived and happy  Introductions start 27th April
May 10  Introductions for 10 days, brought home our Midge, Tidge and Squidge on 6th May 2010 - THE END!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

05-May 2010

Picked up our beautiful babies at 11 then back home for the day.  We had lunch, went to the park and the local shop - first outing for the pram, which worked a treat.  Midge has a habit of running off and not listening to us, so he spent some time holding Mumma's hand.  We bought flowers and a card for the foster carer, along with the photo frame and box of choccies we already had for her.  The children picked the flowers they wanted to give her - well, Midge did actually, as the others weren't paying attention,  When I say picked, I do mean chose from the bucket in the shop - not picked out of some random garden along the way lol  We met a friend of mine on the way back who said we all looked great walking together and she had tears in her eyes which started me off!  We then played in the garden and Daddy took lots of pictures.

Then we had dinner and they had their first bath in their new home, daddy read a bedtime story and then it was back to FC in their PJ's!  All of them fell asleep on the way back, so cute!  We had a cuppa with the FC and talked about the day.  She gave us a card and one for the children from her and one from the 'transport people' - the people who took the children to contact, etc.  We picked up all their clothes and the last remaining toys and bits.  The we came home, it was the last time we drove home without them.  We are picking them up tomorrow at 9.30 then bringing them home forever :D xxxxx

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

04-May 2010

Rest day ha haaa!  We were out of the house at 8.30 for the review meeting on our rest day.  It went really well, the foster carer was ace, she gave good and positive feedback.  We and she just cannot believe how well intros have gone and we are expecting it all to go pear shaped at some point soon!  Or maybe it's just meant to be this great.  The FC did point out that they rarely ALL have off days as the same time, so when one is grumpy the others are usually fine.  Everything is still set for them to move in on Thursday :D !!!!!  It can't come soon enough!

so our rest day was a 7.30 alarm call, a meeting over there, back home, finalising shopping, washing, gardening and a review with our social worker (who couldn't make the morning meeting) until 6pm!

Saw them for an hour today, it was very hard to leave.  Tidge screamed the house down when we left, Midge sulked and Squidge wasn't too happy either!  When we got home I got really emotional about having left them and had a few tears of my own.

We don't need to be there until 11 tomorrow, so we do have a bit of a lie-in - our last one for some time!  My sore throat is getting better, so let's hope it's gone by the morning!

03-May 2010

Well, what a week! Best week of our lives - ever! we are just so lucky that we found these children, they are amazing and beautiful and funny and happy! call me biased, I know :D

oh and i never thought i would love anyone more than my husband but there are three little people who might be just a little bit higher in my affections than him!

We were up at 5.30 to get there by breakfast and do the feeding, then dressed and out to come home - without FC!  its was a rainy day so we staying in for the morning.  we visited the new bedrooms again and Tidge seems to have accepted her new bed and wardrobe. Midge is saying 'my bed', 'my new home', and '[name of FC]'s house', this is brilliant, we are so pleased!  Mumma prepared the new curtains and made the beds whilst Daddy sorted the curtain poles. lovely domesticated bliss :D

we then spent the rest of the morning playing with cars.  They play so well together, Midge is a bit boisterous but generally they follow instructions very well.

we made the mistake of telling Midge what he was having for lunch and he said he didn't want it, then he refused to eat it and said he didn't like chicken nuggets. the irony is that chicken nuggets was what he had wanted the other day, which he didn't get and then stropped about not getting them! u gotta larf! the other two ate well and then we all had fruit for dessert. daddy and i are eating much more healthily, at the right times and reducing our portion sizes. we think we have nearly nailed the eating routine, FC says give them a massive breakfast, cos they will ALWAYS eat then and then if they are fussy in the day u wont worry so much.

In the afternoon it was a bit dryer so we took them into the garden to play with the outdoor toys that we have been very generously given by friends. at first we started interacting like we did the other day, then remembered to let them get on with it! midge had a difficult time at one point and Mumma had to intervene, there were tears from him and it was upsetting for all three of us (the little two were playing) but we got there. Mumma and Midge had a kiss and a cuddle to make it all okay. FC says they don't hold a grudge, once they have sulked or screamed they happily get on with it.

Daddy and Mumma got a bit niggly with each other (out of earshot) but that's not surprising given the amount of sleep we have been getting lately. i think we have done very well considering everything we have been thru! its brought us closer together for sure, because we are thinking as a couple not as individuals - but that's what the adoption process forces you into. we are both loving it and feeling happy

We took them back to FC for tea, bed and bath-time routine, Midge stropped because he only had two bedtime stories. we then had a long chat with FC about progress and the lack of concern showed by any social worker. we haven't heard from any social worker in the whole week. as we were talking, our social worker texted me - her ears were obviously burning then!  We didn't leave there until gone 8 and then it was more or less straight to bed when we got home.

Today (Tuesday) is our rest day. I say 'rest' but we have to be back over to near the FC for our review meeting at 9.30, we pop in to see the kiddiewinks for an hour and then have a visit from our social worker at our place at 4pm. we also have to buy a present for the FC and catch up with household chores like washing and some shopping bits. no rest for us then! to top it all, Mumma woke up at 4.45 with a raging sore throat and couldn't get back to sleep :(

Sunday, 2 May 2010

02-May 2010

It was another early morning, picked by Daddy to come to visit the house for the first time, along with FC.  We played with some toys they brought over (and then left here) and we spent quite a bit of time telling Squidge not to touch things in the lounge, so we need to have a think about whether to change it about or leave it and take the pain of constant ‘no’s’.  They loved their rooms, Midge wanted to go to sleep in his new bed!  FC thought they were great too and thought they would be very happy in them.

Then it was time for lunch: a shepherd’s pie, lovingly prepared by Mumma.  And you know what?  None of them touched it  :(  Midge did eventually eat his though, it took over an hour, because he ate his peas one at a time!!  Then we had fruit and yoghurt and they lapped it up!  So I guess at least they had something healthy to eat.  Then we had a lovely afternoon playing cars on the carpet.  Unfortunately, because of the heavy rain it was too wet to go and play in the garden, so we were a little bit stir crazy in the house.  But compared to the size of the FC’s house we did pretty well!

Daddy made sandwiches for tea, and Mumma made her famous five minute chocolate cake, which went down very well.  Lesson Number Four:  Serve up hot food and THEN get them to wash their hands, so that the food has time to cool down!  We realised it was getting very late so Mumma drove them home and brought back MORE toys!

Someone mentioned today that we must be exhausted.  I replied, “Exhausted? That's putting it mildly lol!  After yesterday's activities I found muscles hurting this morning that I didn't know I had! We have to be out of here by 6.15 tomorrow morning to pick them up and bring them home, then will be taking them back, doing the bedtime routine and won't be leaving there until at least 7pm!”

Four more sleeps until they are home for good – we are itching to keep them at home now, it can't come soon enough!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

01-May 2010

We picked up our gorgeous little squirts at 9.30 this morning.  The FC says they are already transferring their affections: when she woke up Squidge this morning she asked if he wanted to go out with Mumma and Daddy and he said nah, so she asked if he wanted to go out with her and he said NAH!  So she asked again if he wanted to go out with Mumma and Daddy and he said yeah!  Tidge doesn’t like loud noises and when the washing machine started to spin loudly before we arrived she cried for ”Mumma” and didn’t want FC!

We drove them back to our home town and a children’s play centre nearby.  We chose this particular one as it is more expensive that the others nearby – seeing as Social Services are paying all our introductions expenses, we might as well take full advantage!

We had our first meal on our own with them and at last Squidge had more than a couple of mouthfuls!  Mumma made her second mistake by giving Midge too many choices.  He couldn’t decide so Mumma asked if he was happy for her to chose for him and he said yes, so she said okay you can have fish fingers.  Daddy went and ordered but by that time Midge didn’t want fish fingers he wanted chicken nuggets.  So we had a sulky boy who didn’t eat his fish fingers!  Lesson Number Two:  Only give them two choices not six!

Mumma and Daddy played and played and played on all the equipment and had a very enjoyable, if tiring, time!  Lesson number three:  Don’t automatically believe Tidge when she says she can’t pull herself around in the Little Tykes car – because after Mumma and Daddy did it for hours and then had a rest, she promptly carried on herself – hmmmm!

Then it was back to FC for tea (lasagne!) and the full bath-time routine.  We read bedtime stories and put them to bed.  Mumma and daddy then drove home a car load of toys!  We are tired and achy, and very much falling in love with them!  It was great being a typical family on a day out - literally a dream come true.  We are very happy - another fantastic day :D xxxxx

Friday, 30 April 2010

30-Apr 2010

An early start, we had to be there by 8.30.  They were just finishing breakfast and so we helped feed Squidge.  After more play (a tough job!) we bundled them into the car - they seemed to enjoy being in their seats.  We drove them to a park and played on the swings and slides for over two hours.  It was lovely to be with them and without the foster carer.  This is no disrespect to the foster carer who is excellent, but it meant that we were able to see what it's like on our own.  There were no stinging insects or spilt bodily fluids this time!  AND I had my brand new changing bag with me :D Felt like a proper Mumma!  We went back to the FC for lunch and fed them, then we played until 3pm.

All the children are (after a fashion!) following our instructions and accepting that there are consequences if they don't, so we are really pleased.  They are very trusting of all adults as they just go with us without any fuss at all, which, sadly, makes our job easier - bitter-sweet stuff.  Midge seems okay to let us go because he knows we are coming back the next day.  Tidge really didn't want us to go today, but she doesn't have a concept of tomorrow so we can't explain that we will come back, so bonds are definitely forming there :)  Squidge says "Bu-bye" lots and really loudly when we leave lol

I am starting to really fall for all of them, especially Tidge, she is just gorgeous and she has my eye and hair colouring.  We had our first comment from other people today: a lady in the park commented to Daddy on Tidge and said how gorgeous she is - of course she is!  She also asked if Tidge and Squidge were twins, to which Daddy said no, they are a year apart in age.  She looked us both up and down with that look on her face of OMG!  Inside I was beaming lol

I am getting the measure of Squidge and his screaming tantrums, which only seem to appear when he is tired, so I am pleased I can work that out.  Otherwise, he is a typical 18 month old boy!  We think Midge might calm down when he is here, partly because the house where FC lives is a tiny 2-bed house.  During the day there’s the FC, the three children, the FC’s adult daughter and her baby there!

We have our first full day with them tomorrow, again without the FC during the day. We are still loving it all, in spite of nappies!!!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

29-Apr 2010

Day three in the Big Bro.... I mean Mungo household lol  Today started early for Mungo as he had to travel an hour's drive away to pick up a wardrobe for Tidge, as our local store hasn't had any in stock for a while.  Mary had a lie-in, one of the last probably ever!  I hadn't slept very well last night because I was worrying about being on my own with the children.  We had lunch then went over to the foster carer's house.  Three bouncy children greeted us!  Tidge and Squidge were a bit shy at first and didn't engage very much.  I found that very hard, especially with the FC being stronger-voiced than me.  I felt out of my depth still.  After a short while, they felt more comfortable with us and I was taking charge more.  Squidge is now coming to us for cuddles, so we are very relieved.  It is still going to be hard for him to leave FC.  Midge is calling us Mumma and Daddy pretty much without exception and is even saying "my Daddy"!  Tidge is also calling us Muu and Daa lol

We decided to split our time so that Midge and Mungo played together for an hour or two and Mary, Tidge and Squidge played together with the FC watching on.  Then we swapped roles for a while.  Mungo took Tidge and Squidge out in the car to the local shops to get some batteries (or baaaarees as Midge calls them!) for his Ben 10 pinball game.

Midge showed us his special project that he has been working on with a social worker - it's his life story work.  He has cut-outs of the FC's house and our house, him, Tidge, Squidge, FC, us and my parents.  Then a roadmap from FC's house to our house, but he doesn't know the way as he hasn't been there yet.

Then we had the biggest roast chicken dinner you have ever set eyes on!  It was delicious and filled us all up.  The children eat really well and pretty much will eat what you give them.  Midge did stop in his tracks when he saw cauliflower on his plate and ate some of it with encouragement from FC, Mumma and Daddy.  We then played some more, Mungo played space ships with Midge and Mary played building blocks with Tidge and Squidge.  At one point we heard one of them 'trumping' so we did a nappy change.  Mummy bravely volunteered to change Squidge as we thought it was just wet and Tidge's was 'fuller'.  Well didn't I just get the shock of my life???  So after the FC had picked herself up off the floor from laughing so much, she took pity on me and I watched and took notes lol

It was then time for bed and so we did the top / tail routine, changed them into PJ's and then to bed, kissing them goodnight - bleeeeeeeessssssss!  We then had a quick chat with FC about tomorrow's activities - out on our own without the FC - oooooh!  On our way home we picked up our ironing from a very good friend who has been wonderfully supportive and deserves a special mention!  Now it's time for Mumma and Daddy to go to bed too, nite nite!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

28-Apr 2010

Mummy and Daddy arrived at 11.30 and the children were excited to see us, especially Midge who was bouncing off the walls again!  We played with the cars and their toys that we gave to them as presents yesterday.  The foster carer told us that she had to tell off Midge and Tidge last night because they took the toys to bed and kept themselves awake playing with them!  Both of them are attached to them and won’t let them go – so we are very happy!  Squidge has a little interest in his, but being 18 months old his attention span isn’t the same as the other two!

We had lunch and saw the children eating sandwiches and crisps very, very nicely.  Midge had Marmite and ham sandwiches!  Then we went to the park with the FC.  On the way, Squidge face-planted the pavement, luckily for Mummy and Daddy it was whilst he was holding onto the FC's hand!  Poor little lamb, his teeth went through his top lip and it bled for ages :((  Because we were only going to be out for a while none of us had brought bags / handbags and so none of us had any tissues.  The FC wiped up the blood with her cardigan!  Today’s Lesson Learned: ALWAYS have a tissue or seven handy!

We went to two parks and found wasps at the second one, which Midge didn’t like at all – neither did Mummy, and she was very brave batting them away from Midge.  We played and played for ages, climbing up the big steps and sliding down the big slide!  Climbing up the big steps and sliding down the big slide!    Climbing up the... well, you get the picture!  Daddy did a brilliant job making sure they walked up the steps safely and slid down carefully!  We were out for probably about two hours and were pooped by the time we got back to the house.

We got to see Tidge and Midge sulking today, so it is good to know how they all deal with disappointment.  Mummy asked for her camera back from Tidge, who didn't want to let it go and then sulked for 15 minutes.  Midge sulked for a few minutes when he got told off by Mummy for both running off and running out of the playground without asking.  Baaaaad Mummy!

Tidge was reluctant to be near Daddy yesterday but after a short while this morning she was going to him for cuddles and things, so that has worked out brilliantly.  Midge just bounces all over us, which needs to be monitored, so we shall see how he settles in when he comes home.  He seems happy to call us mummy and daddy and he responds well when the FC calls us that too.  Squidge is attached to the hip of the FC and always goes to her, he strops when he can’t see her.  We see this as our biggest issue to deal with over the next few days – and to be fair we knew it would happen, it’s just brought it home to us actually seeing it.  It is going to be very confusing for him and he shall have to have a bit of tough love until we get him home.

We ran out of time and had to rush away at 3.30, which we felt terrible about.  We had to meet with our social worker to give her an update and get Daddy’s car from the garage.  So we felt like we had done a runner!  Midge knew we were coming back tomorrow, so he was fine.  Tidge didn’t want us to go and Squidge just waved at us lol

Overall we had a much more relaxed day and we are very happy! xx

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

27-Apr 2010

How LONG I have waited to type this post?!!

The Inter-agency meeting took from 10 to 12.30.  The very small room was packed full of people and was very hot!  We talked through and agreed the Adoption Placement Plan and all the support we would need from social workers, who to contact when and so on.  That took two hours!  Then Mungo had to feed the parking meter and it was onto introduction planning for the last half an hour.  We will have 10 days of intros, including today and then they move in on the 6th May :D wooo hooo!!

We were able to meet the social worker who removed the children and she told us a little about what it was like and how everyone reacted.  It was lovely (well, not really, but you know what I mean) to hear her memories and help us to piece together a little more of their history.  At 12.30 we said goodbye to everyone and went to the car for lunch.  We had an hour to wait so we went to a local country park where one of the intro days is going to be, so that we could get an idea of what it’s like.  We went for a walk in the sunshine – it was very hot – and nice to relax and chew over the meeting.

Then it was time, we couldn’t put it off any longer lol  We met with the children’s social worker outside the house and rang the doorbell....

Wow what a whirlwind of children!  Midge hugged each of us as we walked in the door and held my hand!  Tidge was shy at first and didn’t want to engage.  Squidge was asleep and then woke up a few minutes later. Then we played with their cars and Ben 10 Etch-a-sketch-type drawing board.  Midge was VERY chatty, bouncy and in your face.  Tidge slowly got used to us and after about ¾ of an hour she was sitting in my lap with the drawing board.  Squidge was determined to get into the cupboards where the toys were and Daddy had to help intervene.  We got to see what he was like having a tantrum, so that was really useful – but we didn’t run away!

We gave them the toys we had put in the pictures of our introductions books and Midge and Tidge wouldn't let go of them all the time we were there - yayy!

Midge and Daddy spent ages taking pictures with my camera.  We talked to Midge about when we were going to come back and the foster carer said “One sleep!”  So he got very excited again!  He asked me about my necklace and I asked him what he thought it was made of, he didn’t know so I said they were called diamonds.  He said “No, they are squares!”   So in the end we compromised with 'square diamonds' lol

At first Midge called us Mummy and Daddy, then he said ‘they’ and then he said ‘my other Mummy and Daddy.’  Every time, the social worker and foster carer corrected him into saying ‘forever Mummy and Daddy’, so it will take him some time to get used to it.  We will drop the ‘forever’ in time.  He is having ongoing ‘Life Story Work’ with a social worker to work through this with him, so he will come around.  Tidge didn’t really say much, she was very quiet but still bubbly when she got tickles.  Mummy is official tickler!  By the time we left (we had been there 1.5 hours) she didn’t want Mummy to go!  We didn’t want to leave either!

It was surreal, like it was happening to someone else.  I kept trying to be involved with their playing but I just wanted to watch them - it was simply amazing and goosebumpy.  We are really looking forward to spending lunch with them tomorrow!

Monday, 26 April 2010

26-Apr 2010

One more sleep!!!  Have we finished doing everything?  Pretty much everything that we can do has been done.  Stair gates, cupboard catches, beds, wardrobes, clothes, fire guard, bathmats, pram, changing equipment, car seats, car, curtains, bed linen, socket covers, coat hooks, blankets, muslins, medical kits, step-up stools, storage boxes, toy boxes, etc, etc, etc!  And this is just the stuff we CAN do.  There is lots still to buy that we don't know about until we start introductions, such as high-chairs - we don't know whether Tidge is in a high chair or not.

Not sure how well I am going to be able to sleep tonight!  Will try to keep you all updated with our progress as we go through introductions!  Yippee!!!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

22-Apr 2010

Only five more sleeps!  Eek!

DVD.  In response to a thread on the AUK web site I posted a script of our DVD that we made for our little ones and thought it might be useful to share on here.  This is the DVD that the social worker and poster carers use to help the children get used to us before our first meeting.  We didn't film the bedrooms because we had to shoot this before matching panel.  As we weren't allowed to buy anything before MP the rooms were empty, so we made it a guessing game for them.

Location Paper and photo with "Hello Midge, Tidge and Squidge, from your forever Mummy and Daddy."
Camera Film for 5 seconds

Location Mary and Mungo standing outside the front door of the house, wearing shoes and jackets.  DO NOT FILM THE HOUSE NUMBER
Mungo Hello Midge, hello Tidge, hello Squidge. I am Mungo and this is Mary.  We are your forever Daddy and Mummy.
Mary This is the house where we live.  This is your new home where we will all live together.
Both Waving to the camera.
Camera Zoom in to our smiling faces.
Camera Stop.

Location Shoe rack in hall
Mungo Here is where your shoes will live, so when you take them off they go here.  Let's Daddy take off his shoes.  [Mungo takes off his shoes and puts them on the rack]  See, Midge, there is plenty of space for your shoes.
Mary [Walking to cloakroom]  Here is the place where we all hang our coats.  Shall Mummy take off her coat?  [Mary takes off her coat and hangs it up]  Look Tidge, can you see where you can hang your coat?
Camera Stop.

Location Kitchen
Mungo [Making two bowls of Cheerios]  Here we are in the kitchen where Daddy is making the breakfast.  Mummy is having a bowl of Cheerios.  Squidge, do you like Cheerios?
Mungo Now Daddy has finished making the breakfast, I wonder where shall we eat it?  Midge, shall we sit at the table and eat it?
Camera Pans to table with Mary already seated.
Mungo [Off camera]  Oh look, Mummy is sitting at the table ready to have her breakfast.  [Walk to table with the bowls]
Mary Thank you Daddy, mmmm, very nice.  [Takes a mouthful of cereal]
Camera Stop.

Location Camera walking through the lounge looking at the TV with 'Dora the Explorer' on it.  Then moving to the fish tank, pause for a moment and then outside into the garden.  Mary and Mungo are sitting on chairs outside, with Duplo (tower), skittles and football.
Both Wave and smile at the camera
Mungo Here we are, Mummy and Daddy in the garden.  We will have lots of time playing games outside.  Midge do you like football?  [Picks up the football and kicks it around a bit]
Camera Pans to Mary at the skittles
Mary Tidge, would you like to play skittles with me?  [Throws the ball]
Camera Pans to Mungo at the Duplo tower
Mungo Look Squidge, look at the tower Daddy has built [continue building] do you think Daddy can make a tower as tall as you?  Wow, Mummy, isn't that a VERY tall tower?  [Mary comes over to look]
Mary Oh yes Daddy, a VERY tall tower indeed, well done!
Camera Stops.

Location Landing looking towards the bathroom.  Bath is full of suds and has their names in the sponge lettering around the top or on the tiles.
Mary Here is the bathroom.  What do we do in this room?  Yes we have baths in this room
Mungo Look the bath is ready with lots of bubbles.  (Surprised voice)  And look at the bath, whose are those names?
Mary [Reads the names]  Let's have a look Daddy: Squidge, Tidge, Midge.
Mungo [Yawns with hand over mouth]  Oh dear I am feeling sleepy.  After we have a bath it's time for bed and to go to sleep.  Mummy, is it time for everyone to go to bed now?
Mary Oh yes Daddy, it IS time for everyone to go to bed.  I wonder where all our bedrooms are?
Camera Pans to bedroom doors partially opened.
Mungo Well Midge, Tidge and Squidge, there are lovely bedrooms here just for you.  When you come here the first thing we are going to do is find out which of these rooms are your bedrooms.  I wonder if you will have the one on the left or the one on the right?

Location Paper with photo "Midge, Tidge and Squidge, we are your forever Mummy and Daddy."
Camera Film for 5 seconds.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

20-Apr 2010

Shopping!  Yes, we have spent more money that we don't have lol  We now have stair gates, fire guard, bedding, clothes, toys, books, wardrobes, chests of drawers, beds, car seats and a new car aka THE BUS!  This thing is huge!  And it's got five more seats than my old car - at which I cried when it was driven away :(  So Mungo is going to be in flat-pack heaven over the next few nights lol  We also have the drawer and cupboard catches to fit and then I think we are pretty much done.  It's getting very exciting.  There is plenty more to buy when we are in introductions as we can't buy it all yet because we don't know what to buy, e.g. high chairs: we don't know if Tidge (middly) is in a high chair or a booster seat.  We don't know what toys, clothes and personal belongings they will be bringing with them either - we are assuming nothing much.  So one evening after we are part way through intros we will be off shopping again.  The list really IS never ending!

Books!  I don't think I have said much about books on this blog, which is silly really as I have been reading loads.  There is one that I am currently reading and would recommend above all others is "The Science of Parenting" by Margot Sutherland, of whom some people on Adoption UK message boards think is a goddess lol  It is a bit sciencey at the start, but not too much, bear with it and as soon as you get past that first bit the rest is so extremely readable that it even make sense to me lol  There are lots of pictures and little case-studies to make it real and understandable.  It gives practical advice, specific words to say and actions for everything you might come across: tale-telling, time-in, clinging, tantrums, sticker charts, sibling rivalry, family rules and so on.  It's great to read from cover to cover and will be excellent as a reference book as the children get older.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

17-Apr 2010

We had an email, a phone call and a letter in the last two day advising us of the Decision Maker's decision - which was a YES!  So, all social worker boxes are ticked and there is nothing stopping us going ahead with this match - yippeee!  Which is good really because we have S H O P P E D!

So who is the decision maker?  The DM is a senior person within the Local Authority or Voluntary Agency.  As with approval panel, the panel makes a recommendation to the Decision Maker who then has seven working days in which to make the final decision.  The recommendation / decision may be 'no', 'deferred' or 'yes'.  The DM may make a different decision to the panel's recommendation, which is rare but can and does happen.  I know two couples who had a different decision from the DM compared with the panel when they were being approved to be adopters.  With both of them, the 'no' and 'deferred' decisions by panel were overturned into a yes!

Our friends G&F have been having intros with their little on for the last couple of weeks and he has now moved home for good.  We are sooooo excited for them and pleased that everything is going well.

It has been a year since our friends R&A met their little one and that year has just flown by.  She is so settled and just adorable, big hugs xxx

So now we have just 10 sleeps until the Inter-agency meeting on the 27th, where we will be planning for introductions that will start the same afternoon.  Mary picks up her new car on Monday and is spending the week picking up clothes, books and outdoor toys that she has asked for from Freecycle and friends.  We realised that we couldn't afford to buy everything that we needed so we are buying brand new safety and hygiene items, like mattresses, car seats, nappy bins and so on.  Everything else we are asking for donations from people.  We have been inundated with offers, everyone has been so generous, it is overwhelming!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

13-Apr 2010

I think it is finally starting to sink in that we are going to be parents.  We do still keep having to pinch ourselves from time to time.  So we have been shopping!  I have been buying all sorts of things online and tomorrow will be buying from real life shops too!  My changing bag arrived today - from Pink Lining.  It is GORGEOUS!  If you are looking for a treat and a practical and smart bag then look them up.  We also got a nappy bin and cartridges (thanks R for the tip!), a heat sensitive bath mat, purple spotty muslins and a changing mat.  The two best and cheapest sites we have found are (not which is a US site) and  As I was unpacking it all, like a kiddie on Christmas Day, a neighbour who I used to work with popped over with about 30 books and some toys and nursery rhyme cassettes!  I have also been onto Facebook and begged my friends for cast-offs and have been inundated with offers.  I am totally shocked and amazed at everyone's generosity!

We got a form in the post from the Local Authority who we are adopting through, asking us to give feedback on how panel went.  I would really like one to fill in asking us to give feedback on how matching with these three children went!  But we will be professional, and anyway we might need them again in the future!

My (Mary's) car gets picked up today by the new owners :'(  I know I am going to blub, just like I did when Mungo told me it was sold.  We went out in it for the last time last night, very sad occasion.  It has served us well and we have had so much fun and happiness in it.  It has taken us to some wonderful places and has never let us down.  It has been a part of the family for six years and today is a sad day.

On a happier note, I get to pick up my new car on Sunday, yayyy!!!  It's a seven-seater with sliding doors, so it will be great for the kids.  As soon as we pick it up we will be off to the shops to pick up the wardrobes and beds that we have earmarked.

Paperwork!  We have also handed in our application form for a place at our chosen school, sent off the application form for child benefit payments and spoken with the Child Trust Fund team.  We have also spoken with our dentist, doctor and optician about how we register the children as new patients.  We learned something new: children don't need to get their eyes tested until they are 5!  Of course that is unless they have eye sight issues, which our children don't.  So there you go, we didn't know that!

About three weeks ago I finished my NVQ3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development and I got a Distinction, getting top marks in all ten assignments.  I am so thrilled and pleased that I finally got through it - with a lot of pushing from Mungo I might add.  Without him I wouldn't have finished it.  So here's a big THANK YOU to Mungo!  Sooooooo now what do I do in my spare time?  I have taken up crochet and crocheted a baby blanket.  Actually its only a small one made out of 30 squares so really it's a doll's blanket!  But I don't care because I actually MADE something!  Now I have got to think what to do for my next project.

Friday, 9 April 2010

09-Apr 2010

The juiceman from del monte he say.....   ....YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a unanimous yes!  They were very impressed with our commitment to the children and how much we have lived and breathed them in the last year.  We have handed over the DVD and introductions books and the social workers loved them!  They think they will be great and the children's social worker said she can't wait to start working with the oldest one to prepare him for meeting us.  We are just overwhelmed with emotion and relief!  Mungo says I can now go shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wooooooooooo hooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

I would say you don't know how much we have wanted this but I doubt there is a single soul reading this who doesn't know our story and I think you all know how we feel right now!  I say again what I said in my last post, thanks to everyone who has supported us in one way or another.  Signing off a relieved and extremely happy mary and mungo who are now parents!!!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

08-Apr 2010

Today we got a phone call from our social worker to say the birth family had moved from our town back to the town where the children come from - so they aren't two miles away like we were told!  we are over the moon and sooooooo relieved. that was the one thing we were very worried that the panel might defer or say no about.  She also said that intros have been put back by a week so we wont be meeting them until 27th or after.  Grrr...  Not very happy about that but hey it gives us more time to SHOP!

We have also been told that we WILL get an adoption allowance, a settling-in grant and they are considering a lump sum payment too!  This is more than what we expected so we are very happy indeed!  It means that I will not have to go back to work as soon as we had expected.  This will only serve to help the children attach and settle in much better and defer any money worries for longer making us happier bunnies - wooo hooo!

We have today finished the introductions books and the DVD (eek!)  Mungo is finalising the DVD and could be up a while!  I did the introductions book, it was the Tomy Talking Photo Album and is fantastic for children of all ages.  i did one for each child, named the books so they know whose is whose and we took it in turns to record the messaged with each of the eight photos, so they can get used to our voices.  We did pictures of:

- Mary and mungo by the front door
- The outside of the house
- Us in the kitchen / diner eating breakfast
- Us in the lounge watching the fish tank
- Us in the garden playing with toys
- Us in the bathroom with their names in sponge letter on the bath
- Their new granny and granddad playing in the park
- A close-up of us - so they can see mary's spots and mungo's warts lol

Each of the pictures is slightly different so their books are unique to each child and in total they all have 18 photos of us.  We also bought a little individual toy for each of them and they are in most of the photos too.  I even crocheted scarves for the toys and embroidered the children's initials on the scarves so they know whose toy is whose.  The toys will be their presents to them when we meet them for the first time!  The DVD followed a similar format to the pictures but without the grandparents.

I am still a bit fazed by everything that has happened and I don't feel that I can relax.  I think it's all the problems we have faced to get to this day.  And many, many times I never thought we would.  It hasn't been without its struggles and downright despair too many times. but through everything all our cyber friends - that's you! - all have kept us going.

Here is a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who has been there for us, who has supported us and has cried with us.  To everyone who has commented on our blog, sent cyber hugs / choc / wine, to everyone who has wished us well and given us advice, who has been in the dark with us and who has yippeed when things went right - this goes to you:  THANK YOU!!!

We seriously couldn't have got to today - or tomorrow - without you all.  So it's time to switch off the lappy and try to get an early night's sleep, ha ha!

Monday, 29 March 2010

29-Mar 2010

We had a meeting with out social worker this morning and she was of the opinion that all would be well, that panel MAY have questions about it and that it is her and the childrens' social worker's job to convince them that we have investigated all possible avenues and that we are okay with it.  The thing is we are not, we are still unsure but we at least are thinking the same.  These ARE OUR CHILDREN and we will do whatever we can to ensure that we adopt them and we have to convince everyone that we CAN manage the situation.

The paperwork was completed and signed off ready for panel in eleven days.  We are going to spend the time finishing off lists of things to buy and working on the DVD and introductions books.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

25-Mar 2010

We had a phone call from our social worker later yesterday to say that the paperwork for matching panel needs to be back to the Local Authority by Monday afternoon so she has re-scheduled our meeting for Monday morning, not Tuesday morning.  And the most important piece of paperwork that we have to give our best attention to will have to be completed in two hours.  So the 10 days we are supposed to get have disappeared into the ether.  Apparently they 'forgot' to send the paperwork to our social worker and were chasing her up on it.  She said well it would be nice to be able to send it back to you but we haven't had it in the first place!  Not very happy, this happened to us for approval panel too, grrrr....

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

24-Mar 2010

Mungo phoned our social worker after hearing nothing and she was very matter of fact about it and said it was manageable. she hadn't heard from children's s/w who was going to speak with bf yesterday and then going to call her so its all gone a bit flat.  So I sent an email to our s/w asking lots of questions and she rang me saying she's going to meet with us on Tuesday and get either the children's s/w or the family finding s/w to come out and talk to us about it.

Both our and their social workers don't seem that bothered - probably because they can smell the money!  but who knows what panel might think and who knows if we think we can manage it on a daily basis? no-one seems bothered about that!  So I'm still confused and not really sure what's happening now, Mungo is very dubious about the whole thing too. Urgh.

We have received and sent back the forms for means testing.  The LA that we are applying through do not automatically give out an adoption allowance even for three siblings so they means-test you.  You basically have to give every piece of financial information to them for them to decide whether you will get anything.  It could range from a few pounds a week to hundreds and will continue until the children are 18, in full time education or until your circumstances change.  We are not expecting to get anything but if you don't ask you don't get, so we shall see.

Monday, 22 March 2010

22-Mar 2010

Today we saw the Medical Advisor from the Local Authority where the children are placed.  It is their job to assess all the medical reports and provide their opinion as to what medical issues there are and may be in the future.  They can advise what practical steps can be taken to assist children and yourselves in dealing with children's issues.  In our case, there is very little additional support that we might need and there was certainly nothing brought up that we didn't already know about.  In fact, most of the talk was about how we are going to be able to cope practically in the first few weeks and how our local Health Visitor and GP might be able to assist.  It was certainly a fascinating and very informative discussion.  The children's social worker and our social worker were there too and they were all so supportive and helpful.  It was a lovely meeting.

As the meeting came to an end, the children's social worker advised us that it had just been notified to them in the last few days that a birth family member lives two miles away from us.  At the moment we don't know how often they are in contact with the family and when they last saw the children.  We don't know whether or how often the birth family member they are connected to comes over to visit.  We don't know if the children might recognise these people or if they might recognise the children.  We therefore don't know how this may have to be managed in the future.

We always knew that the would is a small place and that there is always the possibility that we might bump into birth family anywhere at any time, even if we were at the opposite ends if the country.  But we felt that being as far away as we are, not hundreds of miles away, but still far enough, would drastically reduce the possibilities of an accidental meeting.  Now we have the potential of our own town not being far enough away.  We also have to weigh up the reality of bumping into them - how often do you bump into people you know in town?  As it happens, we don't go there very often but it was one of the places I was going to take the children regularly, as something to do.  There are also public parks and children's play centres that might be out of bounds because these people have a child of a similar age.

One thing that will come out of it is that we were happy to send the birth parents photos of the children as part of annual letter-box contact.  So that will be a definite no, because they might show the photos to the birth family and ask them to look out for them.  This is on top of the fact that they might post them onto Facebook or any other internet site and get people to look for them.  The risk is too great.

This is a big, big issue and could potentially be a show-stopper - what you might call a 'curved ball'.  So we have to really think this through and decide where to go with this, our social worker might suggest we break it off - in fact that's the first thing she said after they had gone, that we had the option to pull out now.  Of course, the decision might be taken out of our hands as we don't know yet how Social Services will react in terms of whether the link should continue and whether panel will approve the match because of it.

At the moment I can't see a good way for this to end.  Signing off, a very cross and sad Mary.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

15-Mar 2010

The meeting on Friday went very well indeed.  We met the foster carer and Midge's nursery school teacher.  They had loads to tell us and answered all our questions.  The teacher brought Midge's file with her of all the work he has done since he has been there and we got to see lots of photos of him doing his work and seeing how he writes his name.  We even got to keep a copy of the DVD - which we are not allowed to have but I think they have taken pity on us as the process has taken so long!

It was great to finally meet the foster carer and for her to share stories with us of what they are like.  It really feels like it is all falling into place and the children are more real than they have ever been.  I watched the DVD four times in a row when we got home!

When the meeting finished we had to be 'escorted' out the back of the building because birth Mum arrived at the front of the building for her meeting with them!  Our social worker has given us approximate dates for introductions, which are likely to start as soon as 11 days after matching panel.  You have to wait up to 10 days for the Decision marker to make their final decision before introductions can start.  So we could have them permanently home with us by the first week in May!  When we got home we felt so high and like it was all coming together at last!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

11-Mar 2010

Many, many congratulations to our friends G & F who were matched with a little boy yesterday.  We are so thrilled and excited for you!  You are going to make a wonderful family :) hurrah!

P.S. We are going to meet the foster carer and nursery school teacher tomorrow, for definite, yay!

Monday, 8 March 2010

08-Mar 2010

Had a phone call from our social worker today to provide a date for meeting the Medical Adviser from the Local Authority that we are adopting the children through; it's a week on Monday. We will also be getting the judge's summing up paperwork today and the minutes of the meeting on 22nd February where we discussed the viability of the match.

I also asked that the 'Life Appreciation Day' meeting be requested.  This is a meeting where the foster carer, health visitor, social worker and other professionals gather together to go through in chronological order the history of the children and what happened to them.  A social worker will take minutes and this document will help to form information that can be shared with the children in later life.  This information meeting usually happens for older children so we are not sure if we will get one, so we can but ask!

We have the meeting with the foster carer and nursery school teacher on Friday, times still yet to be agreed.  It's on the same day as a LAC (Looked After Child) review so everyone will be at the Local Authority offices anyway.

Our friends G & F go to matching panel on Wednesday for a little boy, so we are keeping our fingers firmly crossed for them.  They will make wonderful parents and their little boy sounds just lovely; can't wait to meet him!

Friday, 5 March 2010

05-Mar 2010

Wow what a meeting!  We went through every emotion imaginable!  First of all, the children's social worker didn't arrive and when we eventually got hold of her she was still in her office having just come out of another meeting, asking whether or not to come over.  We were holding our heads in disbelief that the meeting wasn't going to go ahead.  I was getting very angry!  We managed to persuade her that she should come so she had to drive the 45 minutes to get to us.  She ended up being an hour and a half late!

In the mean time the family finding social worker had got a list the list of questions back from the foster carer that we had asked for, which was brilliant and we hadn't expected to get them back.  She answered all our (97 - yes 97! Thanks everyone on AUK who contributed to the list!) questions and this gave us a wonderful 'picture' of what the children are like.  You may remember that the information we have on the children is a year old, so we were expecting some changes.  Most of the changes are positive, like Tidge's (the middlie) feeding issues have improved and so on.  A couple of things have surprised us, such as thinking Midge (the oldie) is in school but he is in fact in nursery.  Also, Squidge (the littlie) is certainly no baby any more, as he is running around!

As we were going through the list, the children's social worker arrived and Mungo made more tea!  Then they ran through all the questions that were asked of us back in July when we first met the family finding social worker and the children's previous social worker.  A couple of minor things had changed, one of which was the school choice we have since made.  As we haven't yet met with the nursery or received a nursery report we can't make the final decision anyway.  We also talked about whether we wanted to meet the birth parents and we agreed that we would.  The last contact between the children and their parents is coming up soon and we are disappointed that it is going to be held in one of our favourite photo-taking places.  But at least we know and we will ensure that we never go there by accident and risk bringing up lots of sad memories.  Bit sad really.

Then came the time for our social worker to do her stuff!  (Yes we had three social workers around the table all at the same time!)  She asked lots of questions about the paperwork that was outstanding and meeting dates that still needed putting in the diary.  The children's paperwork still needs to be updated; the CPR's for Midge and Tidge are done, just need Squidge's completing.  Their annual medicals are due this month so we are hoping that they will be done before we meet the medical adviser, so we can discuss up-to-date information.  We have a meeting pencilled in for 12th March (a week today) to meet with the foster carer and a representative from the nursery. And last, but by no means least, a date for panel.  They confirmed that we will be going to matching panel on 9th April!  Yay!  Let's hope it is third time lucky!

We also talked about finances and what support they are likely to give us.  Basically, it is likely to be £250 per child as a settling in allowance and expenses for introductions.  Their adoption allowance (like Child Benefit) is means tested so it is unlikely that we will get anything.  Our social worker said she might try to squeeze them on that, because I have given up work and intend to do so for a few years and the more money we get in the longer it will be before I have to go back to work and that's a massive benefit for the children.  They might pay for a cleaner for a month or two and they might pay for Mary's Mum's petrol for the first few weeks as she will be coming over to help out.  So we shall see what of that we will get.

We also talked about feedback from the judge's summing up after the Care order and Placement Order were granted and we have been allowed to have it shared with us.  So we are just waiting for our social worker to send it to us, for us to read and ask any questions on.  The judge has asked that we be asked if we would be prepared to meet up with and have contact with the children's half siblings and we have said it would need to be properly risk-assessed for the benefit of the children and we don't mind either direct (face-to-face) or indirect (letterbox) contact.

It was then time to do a tour of Mungo Mansions lol and show the new social worker around the place, explaining where the kiddies bedrooms will be and how bed and bath routines will work.  She was very impressed - we have a big house!  Whilst Mary was doing the tour, Mungo asked the family finder approximate dates for introductions and they suggested that after waiting up to 10 days for the Decision Maker's official response, introduction planning could start as early as the week beginning 19th April with intros starting that week.  They are likely to take about ten day to two weeks and so the children could be moving in at the start of May!  Still speculative, but very exciting!

Then came the special bit that will make you go all goose-bumpy!  They had photos and video of the children for us to see!  After the technology learning curve(!), we all sat around the TV and watched these three amazing children making paper aeroplanes with their foster carer!    Because the photos we did have of them were photocopies of poor quality pictures that were a year old, they looked completely different.  I wouldn't have recognised them if I bumped into them in the street!  They were beautiful, happy, contented and very well looked after.  They looked so much like us it was unbelievable and the two boys looked just like my younger nephew - it was spooky.  In terms of looks, we couldn't have had a better match!  I was in awe of these three little people and I did have a couple of 'cold feet' moments when I thought OMG we are going to be responsible for all three of these children!  They were so bubbly and chatty, playing very nicely, it was a joy to watch.  So we watched it again!

The social workers said the foster carer was very experienced and would be brilliant at preparing and moving them on.  So we are very relieved, as we have heard horror stories about how some minority of foster carers don't want the children to move and and so don't prepare them properly or go out of their way to mess up introductions.  It's shocking, as moving on the children is part of their job that they get paid to do.  Like I said, it is a small minority and we weren't sure what she would be like, but now we know and we are very happy indeed!

Whilst we were watching the video, I showed our social worker the plans I had for the introduction books for the children.  My feeling was that they didn't think much of them and gave me lots of other ideas, so it's back to the drawing board.  The 'Tomy Talking Baby Photo Album' was mentioned and that has been mentioned numerous times on the Adoption UK message boards so I think some more investigation is needed.

They also asked us if at any time we had wanted to pull out and we said no but that the process was very long and we suffered emotionally quite a lot when there were long gaps between activity.  That was the hardest thing to do and we said that we think they shouldn't have contacted us so early the second time around.  Let's hope they bear it in mind if they are in the same situation again.  Then we asked if we could have copies of the photos and video and they said no because we haven't been to matching panel yet.  I was very sad but knew it was the right thing to do.

They finally left at 6.20 after the meeting was supposed to start at 3pm and then our social worker asked us some questions like how did we feel now we have seen the children and are we happy to proceed - um that's a big fat yes lol  After wrapping up, our social worker left at about 6.45 and we got our shoes on and walked to our favourite restaurant where we celebrated with a lovely meal and glass or two something rather nice :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

03-Mar 2010

Schools!  One thing I didn't mention is that when our social worker came to see us on the 8th February she said we could start looking for a school for Midge.  Midge is of school age and currently in school full time, so when he moves in he will need to go to school pretty soon after.  We have been looking at schools in and around where we live and there are a few he could go to.  For those of you reading who are new the the schools adimission policy, looked after children or children in care go to the top of the waiting list for school admissions and schools can and do take these children even when the school is full!  So remember that!

It was brilliant visiting the schools and talking about 'our children'.  It was wonderful and exciting to finally be doing something specifically relating to these children.  It was amazing to feel and sound like a Mum and Dad - goosebumps!  It also felt really fake talking about children that we have never met as if they have lived with us forever.  Such bizarre feelings!  In reality in our minds they have been with us for several months, we just need to get them here physically!

Introductions book and DVD.  Yes, that 'gulp' time!  Our social worker also discussed with us that we need to start making an introductions book and DVD.  These will be the books that each child will have that introduces us to them.  So, for example the oldest one will have sentences and pictures in their book, the middle one will have basic words and pictures and the baby will have mostly pictures.  The pictures will be of us, our house, car, kitchen, bedrooms, local park and garden.  The DVD will be about five minutes long and be of us in and around the house, with lots of talking and actions.  This will get them used to our voices as well as our faces.

The third thing we will do is find out from the foster carer what is their favourite soft toy / character and buy a brand new one of those for each of them.  Then we will live with the toys and put our 'smell' on them - take them to bed and cuddle them whilst watching TV for example.  This will be most important for the little one as he is still quite young.  Of course, whether these items are successful or not will entirely depend upon whether the foster carer does their job properly and uses them appropriately.  The are supposed to use them between matching panel and introductions - about two weeks, I imagine.  I have lots of stories of people who have walked into the foster carer's home for the first time to meet their children and one of them looks directly at 'Daddy' and his very first words to him are: "Daddy, you're in my book!"  Or "Daddy, you're on TV!" Bless!

I have already started on the books and we need to do a script for the DVD, but for now we have put that on hold until we have a date for matching panel.  If it's not until May then the garden will look greener and more inviting in a few weeks time so we can hold off taking pictures until nearer the time.  Well that's it for now, roll on tomorrow when we hope we will have some more information to tell you all.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

23-Feb 2010

We had the meeting with our social worker and her peers yesterday.  The first piece of news to tell you is that matching panel is definitely cancelled and has not been rescheduled.  Because there are still all these meetings to be booked and held, it may not be rescheduled until April or May as the local authority only holds matching panel once a month :(

The meeting went very well.  All the social workers had read the (old) paperwork and were up to speed with the facts as we know them so far.  We discussed how good a match it was (looking at what the children need and what we can offer) and they all recommended that the match was very good.  We looked at why those children and what we like about them.  We looked at the support packages that we want the local authority to provide - obviously some negotiations to be had there!  We looked at theraputic packages (e.g. theraplay / counselling for the children and us if needed), financial packages (e.g. settling-in allowance - a one off payment per child such as £200, adoption allowance - £10 per month per child), expences for introductions (e.g. hotel, petrol and subsidence costs) and so on.  By the way the figures quoted are just ideas, we may get more or we might not get anything!

The local authority is obliged to provide what has been agreed in the support package for the first three years after placement (when the children come to live with us).  Then any support needed after that comes back to our local authority.  just because it has been agreed doesn't automatically mean we get it - we have to prove that it is needed and that's where our agency will be able to support us with that.

So we left the meeting happy that the match is a good one and disappointed that we had no further dates in the diary.  A yawning abyss in front of us.

Then on the way home Mungo's phone rang, it was our social worker to say that during the meeting the children's social worker had emailed her a date for us to meet up!  Wooo hooo!  At last some more movement!  We are to meet Midge, Tidge and Squidge's new social worker on 4th March - she has been their social worker for three months now and we havent met them yet!  Apparently the delay was because she had to UPDATE the paperwork, not read it.  The CPR (info on the children) is a year old, so we actually dont mind the delay because there's going to be some benefit for us.  We have been waiting for the updated paperwork since November and it is a show-stopper, in that if we don't get to read it then we will refuse to go to matching panel.  We don't know how the children have changed in a year.

We are still angry that matching panel has been put back but we are happy that the link is still on. We just hope the new social worker likes us when she meets us!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

17-Feb 2010

After the meeting with our social worker on 8th February we were expecting a flurry of phone calls and meeting dates to get the ball rolling.  Well, we have heard nothing - we are not surprised but very disappointed.  Mungo contacted our social worker yesterday to ask what was going on but she was out of the office so he called her back this morning.  She has advised that she has heard nothing at all.  There are no dates in the diary for any meetings.  She also conceded that the panel date of 5th March was looking dodgy.

The children have a new social worker and apparently they need more time to read the paperwork.  Now here's the thing: this social worker has been their social worker since December as far as we know.  They took the case to court in February for the Care Order and Placement Order to be granted.  So what on earth is it that they need to read that wasn't pertinent for the court case??!? <--- The amount of punctuation show the amount of anger and frustration we are feeling!

We found out some interesting news about half siblings: following the court case, the judge wants us to maintain contact with them and we are happy with that as it will only be letterbox.  Put it this way, if it's face-to-face then we will say no, because these half siblings apparently still have contact with birth mum and we need to keep the whereabouts of Midge, Tidge and Squidge safe from the birth family.

We have a meeting on 22nd February with our social worker and two of her peers, to go through the paperwork we have and identify anything that might be missing or identify anything that might be a show-stopper to matching panel.  Some movement at last.

This should be a fantastic part of the process, very exciting and nervy, but we are angry and frustrated; it is getting us both down and we are really struggling with it all.  :(

Monday, 8 February 2010

08-Feb 2010

Today saw the visit of our social worker for the first time in ages - basically because there wasn't anything to meet about! Well now there is :D !!  We talked about the next step and the likely dates for introductions (early April).  We have meetings to attend and an introductions book to make.  This is the book that the children (who will get one each) will be given to introduce us to them.  The foster carer will be given them after matching panel, for her to use to help them to get used to us.  They will be the children's own books for them to use as much as they want.  We had lots of questions to ask and we had a lot of them answered.  There are some that the social worker and family finder will have to answer too.  And we have a list as long as your arm of questions for the foster carer!  Roll on 5th March!

Friday, 5 February 2010

05-Feb 2010

THE CARE ORDER AND PLACEMENT ORDER HAVE BEEN GRANTED!!!!!   Wooo hooo!!!  You don't know how happy and relieved we are!!!

The final hurdle of matching panel is pencilled in for 5th March.  We have a meeting on Monday to plan meetings with foster carer, eldest's school, new social worker and pediatrician.  Hopefully, we will have all the meetings before matching panel.

Thanks everyone for all your support and best wishes.  Have a GREAT weekend!!!!!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

04-Feb 2010

Still waiting for the phone call.  Nothing to report.  Very frustrated and at the end of my patience.  Wondering how we will cope with having to deal with this over the weekend if we don't hear anything tomorrow :(

Friday, 29 January 2010

29-Jan 2010 part two!

Our friends G&F found out today that they have been officialy linked to a little boy!  They are going to be parents, how exciting!!!   Congratulations to you both, we are soo pleased and very proud of you; you will be fantastic parents and will make a wonderful family!!!  Yippety doo dah yippety ay, my oh my what a wonderful day!  Plenty of sunshine coming your way.  Wonderful feelings, wondeful day!!!

29-Jan 2010

We have had a couple of phone calls from our social worker wanting the homework she asked us for in December.  Remember that she said in January we wouldn't be asked for it until after the Placement Order has been granted?!  But hey they have it all now.  The court hearing is due to start on Monday and it will be one day next week, we hope, that we find out if the Placement Order has been granted.  If it has, then we are planning to go to Matching Panel on the 5th March with introductions later in the month.  If it is not granted then we will have to assess what happens next, depending on the reasons for it not being granted.  Let's hope it's the former!

Friends of ours G&F have been visited by social workers about a child and are hoping to hear today if they are going to go forward with the match.  Fingers crossed!

R&A have now been to the Celebration Adoption Court Hearing earlier this month, which I was priviledged to be a part of.  It was a brilliant morning :)  they are now getting on the with task of being a happy family and not having and social workers visits - hurrah!

A&I are still waiting and waiting - we know how that feels!  They have snippets of news and flurries of activity but nothing concrete just yet.  We are rooting for you!

Goose and Gander are hoping to hear this month about being accepted and starting prep groups, let's hope you hear sooner rather than later!

Lindyloodles and co are knee-deep in home study and all the trials and tribulations that brings.  We feel for you, it's so intrusive isn't it?

Moonpiglet is having a home visit from social workers this month to decide if they will be accepted by the agency to go forward from prep groups and home study.  Let me know how it went!

Monday, 25 January 2010

25-Jan 2010

The title of this update should really be 'Bored!'  Boring, nothing happening, no news (which I assume is good news), no activity, nothing.  Just picture tumbleweed whistling through a deserted street and you get the idea. Boring, boring, boring and I'm really bored too :(

Monday, 11 January 2010

11-Jan 2010

We had some news given to us on the 8th from an 'unofficial source' that the birth family has withdrawn their opposition to the adoption!  We think this is over and above the news we heard in November, but we are not sure, so we are a bit confused.

Our social worker rang Mungo today.  She said that the hearing on the 23rd December was very negative about the birth family.  She also said that it will all go quiet now (!) and we won't hear anything until after the final hearing on or after the 1st February. Then there will then be a flurry of activity and a very short time to get everything ready for Matching Panel.

So this update is very vague and quite anti-climactic.  We were expecting a gush of positivety but this has left us feeling rather deflated.  Which in a way is a bit silly because everything we have heard is positive.  But we are deflated, angry and fed up with this whole process.  It's really getting us down and we don't know how much more we can take.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

03-Jan 2010

We spoke with our social worker on 30th November and it's official: we have now stopped family finding!  Wooo hooo! We were due to go to a massive family finding event hosted by the Adoption Register on the 2nd December, so we have declined their invitation.  A shame really, because Mary was planning to meet up with some friends who are going.  To G&F and A&I we hope all goes well and you find your little ones (if you haven't already!)

We have picked up the paperwork that we gave back to our social worker when our link failed.  In the paperwork was a rather poor photocopy of a photo of each of the three little ones.  Now I have something physical to 'hold on to'.  I have taken a sneaky peek at them from time to time and it feels so natural to see them.  I really want to share the photos, but of course we just can't do that.

This remind me of Facebook.  I would dearly love to share our photos of our kiddies when they come along.  Share them with you and the whole world.  Like when birth parents spash their kiddies all over their profiles.  But we will never be able to do that.  Not at birthdays, Christmas or holidays, for fear of the birth family finding us and trying to take back the children.  Mungo feels this more than I do because he can't protect us all whilst he is at work and if he worst happens that they somehow find us it is most likely me that will be confronted.

That shows another reason to keep this blog anonymous and be ultra-super-careful when commenting on public message boards.  It is a hard balancing act: one the one hand you want to share your news and tell people names, share photos, and so on, then on the other hand you have to protect the anonymity of your children and let them tell their story to whoever they want to - whilst you try to keep them safe!

Our social worker has given us some dates for our diary: 23rd December the paper assessment of the birth family’s final plan is to be heard in court.  She advised that it would be unlikely to hear the outcome before Christmas.  4th Jan is when the Care Plan has to be updated and submitted.  1st Feb for the final hearing to agree the care plan.  If all goes well, the social workers will apply for the Placement Order to be granted at that hearing.  The hearing may take several days.  5th Mar for Matching Panel and introductions will take place some time to be agreed after that.

We have been given some homework too!  To be completed and sent back to our social worker in mid-Jan is an update to our finances, a bank statement, an update on our childcare experience, an update on Mungo’s work and promotion, and an update on Mary’s relationship with her sister that has been difficult in recent years but is improving by the day, it seems!  We will also have to meet with the foster carer and the medical adviser some time.  Our social worker feels that they may have to be held before the court hearing as there will just not be enough time for everyone to do everything within a month.

We had some pretty distressing news to deal with aside from the adoption, during the first three weeks of December, which meant we put everything to one side to deal with it and support our family.  As such, a phone call from our social worker on the 17th focussed us back on the situation.  She advised that due to the agency shut-down over Christmas and the annual leave of the family finding social worker we would most definitely not hear anything about the interim court hearing on the 23rd December.  What she was able to tell us was that “the social workers had had sight of the paper assessment and it was very negative about the birth family.”  Whatever that means!  Anyway, it is good news for us and meant there was less pressure over the holiday period.  We should hear the outcome on or after the 4th January.  That's tomorrow!