The Questions #17 A peek into how we do family

Photo by Lili Gooch

Photo by Lili Gooc

How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning?

Pixie usually comes in about 4am either tapping his mouth and saying “Dee” which means his dummy has dropped out and he cannot find it or holding out his arms and making his “pick me up” noise. Either way, he then ends up snuggled in with us for the next couple of hours.

Why Adoption?

Nothing else felt like the right way to have a family.

From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?

One year- and that was with approval panel being delayed twice!

How could it be improved?

I don’t think we had any complaints over assessment or matching. My real issue now is the current legal climate: upper court judges treating adopters like unpaid foster carers and returning children to birth families who have been previously found by lower courts and experts to be unsuitable to parent. Four times in the past seven months, this time last year it had never happened. In my view, no due regard is given to how this will traumatise the children and too much emphasis appears to be given to birth parents’ rights. I think these upper court judges should spend some time on the front line of child protection and talking to adopters about the special kind of parenting these children need. I am very close to being put off adopting again.

What has been the biggest surprise?

How amazing it is. We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, how can we have been this lucky?!

How was the assessment process?

Like free therapy! We did struggle a bit when panel was delayed but overall we had it easy.

What’s your favourite thing to do together?

Anything we do with him that makes him giggle- chasing pigeons, kicking a football, cuddles, tickles, you name it.

What makes you and your family laugh?

Him- so cheeky, he gets this glint in his eye when he is about to grab something we don’t want him to have and then he runs off cackling.

The best thing about being a parent?

Watching the bond between us grow and seeing his trust and reliance on us develop.

The hardest thing about being a parent?

Re point 8- keeping a straight face and not encouraging him by laughing!

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?

Try to keep as curious as you can about your surroundings for as long as you can.

What time do you go to bed?

About 11pm.

The Questions #16 A peek into how we do family.

20140315_120934How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning?

I am very lucky because my daughter is a late riser. During term time I have to drag her out of bed at 7a.m and in the holidays it can be 8 or later!

Why adoption?
I gave up on waiting for Mr Right and decided to look for a master or
miss – right to have the family I’d always wanted.

From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?
I attended a November induction course and finally met and brought home my
beautiful girl 19 months later.

How could it be improved?
I think the time from my daughter moving in with me to her legally becoming
mine could have been shorter. It was 9 long months.

What has been the biggest surprise?
How quickly we settled in to life together and how soon it was before I
couldn’t remember life before she came.

How was the assessment process?
I was lucky, it went smoothly and I had a social worker who was easy to
talk to.

What’s your favorite thing to do together?
Sharing and making up our own stories, baking and hunting for Gruffalos.

What makes you and your family laugh?
She does, she has such a unique view of the world and amazing
imagination and is always saying the funniest things.

The best thing about being a parent?
Seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes and never knowing what will
happen next.

The hardest thing about being a parent?
Being a single parent it can be full on sometimes not having someone to
bounce ideas off or tell you it will be ok.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?
Be yourself. Try not to have to many ‘what ifs’ in your life.

What time do you go to bed?
Later than I intend to – usually by 11 on a school night.

The Questions #15

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow and when does your child/children wake you in the morning?

Our boys are early to bed so it’s always an early start for us. On a good day it’s 6am or soon after, on a bad one – especially Birthdays, Father’s Day (we have two to celebrate) or some such event it can be pre 5am. One of our first Xmas days it was 2.10 – less than two hrs after we had dragged ourselves into bed, we learnt a lot from that experience and have adapted accordingly.

The good news is that it’s always a gentle start to the day, I am usually already up and they come sit with me for an early morning cuddle. So no complaints.
Why adoption?

The simple answer – we were inspired by friends.
The moment we met the wonderful new family we knew we wanted to do the same.
Adoption is a little more of an obvious choice for gay couples. However, we had previously tried for a birth child – to co parent – with a friend, but that decision had been led by our friend.
When that hadn’t worked naturally (well as naturally as when a turkey baster is involved) there was no desire from us to go on a long journey of ‘treatment’ to try to resolve the issues and after one round of IVF (which had very discouraging results), we brought it to an end.
From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?

Nearly 3 years.
We had a major hurdle to overcome when somebody in our lives tried to derail us with a vicious email to our agency declaring us to be unfit – and listing varying reasons why. Our agency were fantastic and worked with us to overcome the problems raised.
It did however all go into our report and when our agency had no siblings and we needed to look around other agencies we met with a lot of silence and immediate rejection which caused big delays.
How could it be improved?
We have no issues with the process, we feel speeding it up is a mistake, it’s a huge undertaking and time gives you a chance to assess and re assess your decision.
What has been the biggest surprise?

The immediacy and intensity of the love and the fact that we have never considered them anything other than our sons – 100% our sons – from Day 1. We had really expected to have to grow into that.
How was the assessment process?

Understandably intrusive and surprisingly emotional.
What’s your favourite thing to do together?

Holiday. That may be a little obvious, but having time to be together makes anything we do feel special.
However, If you ask the boys they would no doubt say going to the cinema – as much as I love the cinema (although I am rapidly reaching saturation point with ‘kids’ movies) sitting in the dark, staring at a screen doesn’t exactly feel like ‘family time’.

What makes you and your family laugh?

Silliness – usually me clowning around.
However, If you ask the boys I am sure they would say something terrible to do with willies, bums or passing wind (somebody please reassure me they grow out of that).
The best thing about being a parent?

The love and being so completely needed.
The hardest thing about being a parent?

Realising that you are not as good at it as you expected.
The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?

Be generous. With your time, with your love and with your understanding.
What time do you go to bed?

We aim for 10.00, but are often asleep on the sofa before that.

The Questions #14

Photo by Lili Gooch

Photo by Lili Gooch

How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning?
between 6.15 and 6.45 with a kiss and I love you mummy, open your beautiful brown eyes.
Then about 2 minutes later – get my biscuits NOW please I am so hungry……. please where is my milk, get my biscuits… open your eyes, get up….. and eyes get prised open. Good morning …. then there’s a race to the loo to see who pees first.
Why adoption?
I wanted so much to parent and raise a child to send off to enjoy life and to help in that journey in any way I could, not being able to have a baby myself.
From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the
process take?
From assessment to my 2 year old being at home – 13 months.
How could it be improved?
My process was easy enough once I found the right agency (compared to many of the nightmare stories Ive since heard via the network) – but that was 5 years of making that connection. All the LAs I had contact with were not good, and with 2 frankly horrific.
What has been the biggest surprise?
Dont want to speak too soon – but how easy it all is. Its just great…… (and that’s having completed a day travelling, cars, planes, trains….)he’s just a great companion.
How was the assessment process?
I think I was a swot. I got in all the papers way ahead of time, probably talked too much. My SW seemed to get me and the final report was pretty spot on. Of course it was tedious at times, but at least I got my electrics checked and found all was great- useful when selling a house!
What’s your favourite thing to do together?
Just hanging – chatting – laughing – anything we do together is just fun. He’s great company – little adventure walks always have a great narrative. We just share stuff.
What makes you and your family laugh?
Silly voices and faces – he does great accents for a 3 year old. And tickling of course.
The best thing about being a parent?
The fun and the love and actually our own way of understanding and knowing each other. At 3 he reads my mind – its amazing…he finishes sentences.
The hardest thing about being a parent?
when at 830 he’s not asleep, and I need time out. when he plays up and up and wont listen till I feel I have to lose it with him. To worry about what might make his sad or upset. But luckily I haven’t had to experience much of that yet….Hes just so happy. (well the sad and upset – the playing up – well…. he’s full of character as they say..)
The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?
The one that’s hard to follow, but makes the most sense, now more than ever. Live in the moment and enjoy every day, being fun and kind to those around you. And understanding of those that upset you and don’t harbour bad feelings. Smile!

What time do you go to bed?
930! time to go now…..

The Questions #12 A peek into how we do family

Photo by Lili Gooch

Photo by Lili Gooch

How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning

Daughter shouts “mum, mummy, MUM, MUUUUUMMMMYYYYY”. Son babbles to himself or cries if his babbles aren’t responded to in time.
Why adoption?

We had a still born baby girl following IVF and wanted to do something worthwhile instead. Also my husband is adopted.
Mainly we wanted a family.
From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?

16 months
How could it be improved?

We started the new short assessment but due to lack of resources it still took nearly a year to be approved despite us being described as straight forward adopters.
What has been the biggest surprise?

How much I’m enjoying it. And how supportive others have been.
How was the assessment process?

Good, interesting and reassuring.
What’s your favourite thing to do together?

Outdoor play in a park.
What makes you and your family laugh?

Playing together. Tickling and rolling around cuddling.
The best thing about being a parent?

Rewards of seeing how the children have progressed. Meeting new people.
The hardest thing about being a parent?

Frustration that we do everything we can to make them happy and they don’t understand that and have tantrums.
The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?

Just to let them be. For them to be honest in asking for what they want.
What time do you go to bed?

10.45 – 11.00 but it’s too late and we are always tired.

The Questions #11 A peek into how we do family.

Photo by Lili Gooch

Photo by Lili Gooch

How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning
Children 2 & 4 wake 7-7.30am

Why adoption?
After years of IVF then a break of 4 years we moved to adoption.

From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?
12 months from start of stage 1 preparation / assessment

How could it be improved?
Better communication and feedback re child finding. More easily accessible support during introductions and before/ after ao.

What has been the biggest surprise?
Expecting the worst case scenarios having heard all the negatives during prep and then finding we have thankfully not experienced any in the year our children have been with us as well as they children settling fast and easily.

How was the assessment process? 
Blessed with a meticulous, professional and flexible social worker who made the process excellent. Since we have had serious issues with our children’s SW/ LA which are on-going despite being 6 months post AO being granted.

What’s your favourite thing to do together? 
Outing to the park, beach, playing together or cuddled watching a movie.

What makes you and your family laugh?
So much. Our children are very funny and come out with endless things that make us laugh, plus the terrible toilet humour. Watching Wallace & Grommet together.

The best thing about being a parent? 
The joy of seeing your children doing the simplest things and be so proud of their achievements. The cuddles, the hugs, the kisses and fun.

The hardest thing about being a parent?
The feeling of guilt that you could have handled a situation better, the tiredness and the feeling of being powerless when your child is in pain and all you can do to help is offer comfort when you just wish you could take their pain away.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?
That there is no perfect childhood/ life and not to let childhood difficulties become a barrier to having a good life/ future and not to let it be an excuse not to move on and do your best at anything you enjoy and that you happy.
What time do you go to bed? 
kids 7pm us 11/12pm

The Questions #10 A peek into how we do family.

Photo by Lili Gooch

Photo by Lili Gooch

How and when does your child/children wake you in the morning
Our LO is woken by our alarm and is normally grumpy about it. Sleeps on air bed next to our bed.
Why adoption?
birth children did not work, mostly Mum’s age
From start of assessment to bringing your child home how long did the process take?
Assessment started half a year after first enquiry and then it took just over 1.5 years
How could it be improved?
Hope new process is better, assessment to approval was less than a year and then we were looking for the “right” child. At the moment key improvement seems to be availability of children, judges need to make permanence decisions.
What has been the biggest surprise?
We found out loads of things about us.
After half a year with us it feels like we’ve always had our LO.
How was the assessment process?
Good, we felt it was sensible, appropriate and professional.
What’s your favourite thing to do together?
Eat
What makes you and your family laugh?
LO’s enthusiasm
The best thing about being a parent?
How happy our LO is
The hardest thing about being a parent?
When LO is not happy and we can’t understand why and repetition.
The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child?
Slow down
What time do you go to bed?
By midnight