Motherhood

So we are 11 weeks into our boys moving in with us. We are three weeks into Andy going back to work and me being a full-time stay at home Mumma!

I have to say….this shit is hard! I don’t think anyone can really appreciate how hard it is unless they’ve been there and done it. And it is proving a lifeline to me to speak to other mums who know. They just get it and understand the difficulties and frustrations, as well as the joy of staying at home to raise your little ones.

We’ve had good times and bad times, but the good generally outweigh the bad. I’m beginning to love my boys, after a short period of wondering if I ever would. I have been so fond of them and care about them deeply….but love? I wasn’t sure. But I think I’m getting there.

They really are such little characters! My big A is so full of life and really is an individual! So quirky and has his own little take on life. I love the way he gets so exited when daddy gets home from work.

Little A is such a cheeky one and a total mummies boy. That little grin would melt even the coldest heart.

The hardest bit of this motherhood malarkey is the loneliness. I love spending time with my boys and appreciate that I can, but also the need for adult conversation and mental stimulation is strong. I have been consciously making play dates with friends and family to ensure I get people to talk to, to save my sanity! It’s returning slowly after a short absence last week.

On the whole we are doing well. And I’m so grateful for what we have. I have wanted it for so long, that complaining about any aspect seems wrong. Although I think that as a women who has experienced the pain of infertility and the desire for a family, we create this perfect little image in our heads of what motherhood will be like once we reach our goal, however it is we get there. Sometimes it takes a little time and a gentle nudge to remember that nothing is perfect and we just do the best we can.

H

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So, parenthood

I am not a regular poster of blogs, mainly as I only really want to post when I have something different to say.

So after infertility, the adoption process, the approval and the matching, I have now been a parent for 6 weeks! After taking a total of 10 weeks extended leave, I have only two weeks remaining and I wanted to take the time to talk about the amazing highs and lows so far …

We have been so lucky with the two amazing boys we have brought into our family, they have already brought us so much joy, but I have to say it has been and continues to be an emotional rollercoaster.

Generally speaking they have settled in really well, it’s only really getting them to sleep which has been a problem, but completely to be expected and I am sure that will improve. When they do sleep they sleep solidly with the just the eldest suffering from night terrors on the odd occasion which is pretty understandable when you consider what’s he has been through.

There has already been one incredibly traumatic trip go A&E, (4 days into transition), but we survived, and more importantly so did both boys 😁

The emotions I have been feeling about the boys have in themselves been challenging.

I adore them, but unconditional love, not yet, and while it’s not expected to be there straight away, I hate that’s it there.

The hardest thing however is that I feel like people now expect me to be happy, and that the heart break of infertility has just disappeared…. but it hasn’t, all the feelings of failure, inadequacy, anger, resentment etc are still there. Yes I have two amazing children, and I work every day at being a good father, but the pain is still there.

I have said in previous posts about how amazing my wife is and what an amazing mother I thought she would be, and I was absolutely right, we are both learning of course, but we talk every night about what went well and what didn’t, so hopefully we are getting through it as a team.

But this is by far the biggest and hardest challenge we have faced, even more so than the infertility. We don’t always agree on how to do things, so we need to ensure our communication is on point, and we also need to ensure we find time to remember who we are without the boys. Finding time for ourselves and making sure our relationship is on track. And guess what, yes our sex life has suffered. We are tired, we don’t feel sexy, and it’s actually one of the hardest things for a couple to talk about. All women believe men have sex on the brain, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that’s probably half true, buts here’s the bit men don’t talk about. It’s not about the act itself (ok a little bit) men want to feel wanted, they want to feel there partner needs them / desires them, craves them almost, so it’s hard when the woman isn’t interested… I know my wife loves me and after spending a whole day being poked, prodded and pulled about by 2 amazing little creatures, of course she’s not going feel sexy, so the rationale part of me understands that. It doesn’t mean the irrational part of me isn’t thinking, why doesn’t she want me…

And here’s my final reflection… people say kids change you, but I think that’s only if you let them. Before kids I loved my wife more than I thought possible and all I wanted to do was provide for her. I also loved my cats more than a lot people understood and I can say with all honestly none of this has changed in me.

I have however found room in my heart for my two sons and I am so excited about the adventures we are going to have as a family. I am sure there will be bumps in the road, but I know me and Heidi are strong enough to cope.

I am also going to try and post a bit more regularly just because I know there are men like me out there , and let’s be honest, as a species we are rubbish at talking about life … just beer and footy.. Come on England !!!

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And We’re Off!

So the transition has started! The above is a photo of “Daddy Andy” from the photo books we made for the boys.

We went to see them yesterday for the second time, after our first meeting nearly 2 months ago. It’s fair to say we were both pretty nervous as we walked towards their foster carers house but there really wasn’t any need to be. After a little initial caution towards us, they were soon happy to play and wanted us to run up and down the garden with them. Big A even tried to push/pull us out of our seats if we dared sit down!

They certainly are a couple of little bundles of energy. I was knackered after 2 hours….don’t think I’m gonna need the gym anymore!

I think we are both really pleased with how it went and are keen to go back tomorrow to see them again. Whilst there is no “love at first sight” with adoption as there is with a birth child, I know I certainly feel a connection to them both and that those feelings will come.

We have a nice day planned today, to make the most of our freedom and catch up with some friends, but really….I just want to be there with our boys!

H

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44 days

Life is going to change in 44 days, and I have to say I am so excited about it.

Myself and Heidi have wanted a family for such a long time, and now we are so close to it.

Infertility was incredibly painful, I think it has been the most challenging time of my life. It pushed me, my wife and our relationship to the edge. While we are that much stronger for it now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there were moments where I wasn’t sure if we would make it.

I blamed myself, said I wasn’t a man, wasn’t good enough.

I blamed my wife, and then hated myself for doing that, so once again felt I didn’t deserve her and didn’t deserve to be happy.

I spent time thinking about karma, and all the crappy things I have done in my life o why I deserved this pain.

So basically I buried myself in blame…

And yet, on reflection while incredibly painful we had to go on this journey, to be able to start the next chapter which is only 44 days away.

I am so grateful to my wife for being being by side and being my rock, she is going to be an amazing mum, and I am hoping to learn how to be be a good dad…

44 days and counting

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It’s really happening

A couple of weeks ago, we had our niece and nephew over for a weekend which was lovely, and a bit of preparation for what is now so close I can almost touch it.

After what seems like a life long journey, myself and Heidi have been officially matched to adopt two young boys, which means within the next few months we could get our family.

I have to say, as well as being incredibly excited, I am now more nervous than anything else. Over the last few years I have focussed on what I want, what we want, and now the realisation is kicking in that maybe , just maybe I might get it.. but what if they don’t want me.

Questions like, am I good enough, will they like me, will they hate me, can I cope, do I know how to be a good dad, will I step up and help more, can me and Heidi cope, all these questions are now running through my mind on a daily basis.

I suspect I will be posting a bit more over the coming days as I have so many things racing through my mind, I find just writing about them seems to help ….

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Progress

green-tick

It’s been a while! Since our last post in January I’m pleased to say that we have been approved as adoptive parents!

The panel day itself went well. They really tried to make it friendly and welcoming. Several panel members were adoptive parents themselves so they’d been there and know how nerve wracking it can be. We were invited in, introduced to everyone and then asked three questions. Once we had answered them, we were shown out whilst the panel discussed our application. At this point we were expecting a 20/30 minute wait. But in reality this was no more than 5 minutes before we were called back in and given the good news!

Whilst the approval wasn’t a surprise (they only take you to panel if they are fairly sure you will get through), it was certainly a weight off our shoulders. Our allotted time was at 11am and we had booked the remainder of the day off, so we enjoyed lunch out with a glass of bubbles to celebrate; some new TV shopping and then also dinner out! It was a rather indulgent day, but we feel we earned it!

We had so many lovely messages of congratulations that day. It really made me realise how many people are behind us and keeping their fingers crossed for us. We have so many good friends, many of whom have helped in one way or another along our adoption journey so far. We are so grateful for all the support we have received and will continue to receive in the run up to and once children have arrived.

We are now in the waiting period for a match. Fingers crossed we won’t have to wait too long. I can’t say much at the moment but there is a potential match on the horizon, which we are very excited about. There will be lots of meetings over the next few weeks. If all goes well we could be looking at a matching panel date in the first half of April with a view to start a transition from foster care by the end of that month!

It’s incredibly exciting and we are really keen to get all the relevant meetings booked in and to hopefully meet them very soon! That will be an incredibly surreal day, full of emotions no doubt! But for now, we are trying (successfully so far) to restrain ourselves from buying all the kiddie things we will need for our new family!

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Breezing Through?

Up until today I genuinely thought that I was ‘breezing through’ this whole adoption approval process. When anyone asked how it was going I whole-heartedly answered “It’s fine thanks, almost enjoying it – it’s kind of like therapy”.

I don’t know why but today it got to me a little more. We had our 4th home visit from our social worker, which on the whole, was fine. She basically comes over and we sit and chat about every aspect of our lives from childhood to now and everything in-between. And I mean everything. All the historical stuff I find almost therapeutic to talk through – what happened and how that’s shaped who we are now. Even talking about the difficult stuff, the relationship breakdowns, the deaths and the infertility and miscarriage – whilst emotional, it felt like a good process to talk it all through.

We’ve now moved on to discussing children. I was quite excited initially to start talking about our future children – what we would like, what we think we could cope with, what would be too much for us. But actually, it didn’t feel particularly good. I felt very judgmental and very selfish specifying exactly what kind of child we would like and what we wouldn’t. I feel like a horrible, shallow person for admitting that I don’t know how much I can cope with when it comes to learning difficulties and that more or less any physical disability is a no for me, because I like to be active and outside and that wouldn’t fit in with me. It feels pretty selfish.

I understand why we have to go through this and at the end of the day the agency don’t want us taking on a child or children that we are not able to give our all to and the placement subsequently falls apart. But it still doesn’t make me feel good disregarding some of the children that most need a home.

We now have another three sessions booked in over the next 10 days and that should be it for the home study. Our social worker will then write-up our Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) and submit it to the panel ahead of our approval date on February 14th. Then begins the long (or hopefully short) wait for a suitable match. Which I am sure will be excruciating and probably the hardest bit so far. As in the title to our blog, we are not patient people and this will probably be the biggest test to our patience so far! Having jumped through all the hoops put in front of us, to then still have to wait will no doubt feel like torture!

H

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Excitement… stress…pain

This last few days have been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. My job has a large number of benefits, I know how lucky I am, but right now it’s a pretty stressful environment, and now more than ever I am struggling to leave the stresses at home.

Myself and Heidi are so excited about the next few months and what they will bring, but I know she is worried about me, and I am too a little. When my focus needs to be about adoption and our future family, my mind is pre-occupied.

Yesterday I sat in a hotel restaurant reading the above book, and it’s so interesting and useful, but add in the fact I am not a good reader at the best of times, and work, I kept getting distracted.

Even now, when I write this blog post, I am distracted.

For the last 4 years, all I have thought about is starting a family and how I would prioritise that over work, but right now I am certainly struggling with if I can manage it.

With adoptive children, we’ve been told how important engagement is, that they need to know their adoptive parents are 100% engaged and focussed on their needs, and I am so scared of not being able to give them what they need… but, and this is the important bit, this is not me giving up, this is not me saying it’s too hard, this is me saying I need to change and I need to work harder at my family.

Distractions need to be reduced at home, I shouldn’t be wasting time watching TV or sitting around, not when I can be engaging with my wife.

At work, I need to be 100% focussed when I am there. More efficient than ever, so that I don’t need to bring work home, and if this can not be achieved, then work will need to change as my wife and future family will be my priority.

I have such an exciting period of my life ahead, and I don’t want to miss one minute of it

A

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Stress

Sometimes I just want to scream! This post isn’t about adoption, it isn’t about infertility or the struggles of the journey. This post is about the life that gets in the way of this.

I am incredibly lucky to have the job that I have. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get it through luck, I worked hard and I still work hard… but, since focusing on starting a family, I am finding I am stressing more about work than I used to.

I am not stressing about the business issues, the things that I usually stress about. I am stressing about ensuring I will be able to continue to provide for my wife and future family. Every wrong turn I take I worry, what if I lose my job, what if I can’t provide for my family?

These are things outside of my control, but these are the things I find I worry about.

Common sense says worry about the things you can control, not the things you can’t……but when did common sense ever play a part in how the subconscious works?

So, what do I need to do? Stop, take a step back. Remind myself what I can do, what I can’t, and more importantly don’t stress about things I cannot control…

Easier said than done!

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Still waiting …

So, where are we …

We are 4 days of adoption training down

We sent off our letter to proceed to phase 2 almost 4 weeks ago

And guess what, we are waiting………

We were initially told we would hear within 5 days of them receiving our letter. After 2 weeks I chased and was told it’s with a manger and we should be assigned a social worker shortly. A week later I chased again.. to be told we’ve been assigned a social worker, but they may be on holiday so if we haven’t heard back in 2WEEKS !!!! to chase again.

I was never under the illusion this process would be quick, and I assumed there would be frustration along the way, but for it to start off this slowly has really knocked me back.

I find myself more emotional than I have been for a long time (although as always I am hiding it), I get angry, not for me, but because I think to myself my future children could be out there right now going through a terrible time, and all I want to do is make them feel better, but I have to get through this process.

When we first started trying for a family, I like everyone else never imagined it this way. Some days are easier than others, I don’t get sad about the fact that I won’t have biological children anymore, although the pain is always there. I literally just ache for family I don’t know.

We’ve been spending a lot of time with kids lately as we build up some experience. Nieces, nephews, god children etc. It’s been really rewarding and allowed us to really establish bonds with these kids, that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. But every time they leave I am painfully reminded of what we don’t have.

Today, and I never know why, has been a bad day, there have been a lot of good ones.. but today is not one

A

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