Showered with love…

When we first began telling people we were adopting, we had no idea how they would react. To us it was as exciting as the news, “we’re pregnant!” But we didn’t know if other people would feel the same. And certainly, some people asked why we wanted to look after other people’s children instead of having our own, some people asked if we got paid, some people told us horror stories of a friend of a friend who told them about a friend of a friend who adopted and then was murdered by the child. But on the whole, people were generally interested in the process and excited that we were going to be parents.

We were really touched by relatives ringing up to offer stair gates and by friends asking regularly if we had any news. In fact, as we approached panel, we spent most Sunday mornings at church answering questions about when and where the panel would be and receiving prayers and best wishes. We were actually quite overwhelmed by how excited our church family were to meet the latest members!

But it wasn’t until this Friday that I realised how many people were behind us. Friday was my surprise Adoption Shower! I’m not sure if that is a thing, but it is now apparently! I had absolutely zero idea that it was going to happen, but later found out that it had been planned for a very long time, before we even went to panel for approval! Most of the ladies from my church family were there, as well as relatives – some of whom had travelled 6 hours, with a 6 month old baby in tow!

It was a little bit different to a baby shower in that nobody discussed childbirth (phew!) but otherwise we played games, ate cake, talked, laughed and prayed together. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved as I did on Friday night. Surrounded by my dearest friends and family, celebrating my children. For a long time, I had thought that might never happen.

It was certainly not the reaction we were expecting when we first started telling people. The way we have been completely embraced in our journey so far reassures us that our children will be too, whatever their needs. And the support and prayer we have received so far gives us comfort that we won’t be on our own when it’s tough.

We are so thankful for our three families – his family, my family and our church family – and I don’t know how we would manage without the love and prayer and support. The importance of a good support network was really stressed when we began our journey and it has made such a difference to us so far, we don’t even have our children yet!

DSCF4910.JPGThe highlight of Saturday evening was opening two blankets. It has become a tradition in our church for all the ladies to knit squares which are crocheted together and given to whoever is pregnant. We’re not having a baby and so I never expected that I would get a special baby blanket, but I have two! They will be treasured in our family forever as will all of the people who created them.

End of soppy post.

 

Our wonderful social worker (and the cake she never ate)

After a confusing rejection from our local council, we contacted Home for Good (a Christian charity that promotes adoption and fostering) to find out what next. They pointed us in the direction of Adoption Matters (our adoption agency) who straightaway arranged to have a social worker come and visit us in our home. We were so nervous! We’d had a home inspection when we adopted our second cat from Cats Protection, and that was bad enough!

We cleaned the house from top to bottom, we considered in great depth the placement of every cushion, every photo frame, every coaster. We told ourselves our story over and over to make it sound as good as possible. We meticulously planned who would open the door, who would sit where, who would make the tea. We baked the cake. It was the most carefully baked Victoria sponge in all of history. I made the blueberry jam from scratch that sandwiched it together and then we displayed it on my beautiful cake stand on the kitchen worktop.

SCake.jpghortly before she arrived, I started to worry it looked like we were trying too hard. Should we just hide it and give her biscuits? Eventually we decided the best thing would be to eat some of the cake. Then she could still be impressed by my marvellous baking, but wouldn’t know we’d baked it just for her! She’d think we were the sort of family who have fresh, home baking casually!

Well when she arrived I was completely knocked off guard – she was nice! She seemed to really want to help, to really get to know us. It didn’t feel at all like we were being judged or tested, she didn’t mind the cats trying to get into her bag. And she was so young! Now, I watched Tracy Beaker as a child so I thought I knew what to expect, but this was not it!

Then came the big moment, “would you like some cake?” And then, so simply, so casually, my last wall of defence, my last big pretence came crashing down with three words, “no thank you!”

Well, apart from feeling a little bit devastated, somehow my need to put on a Desperate Housewives type performance left.

I realised it was OK to just be ourselves.

Throughout the process, our social worker has worked so hard to get to know us, how we think and feel. And then to use that to help us be the best parents we can. We’ve never felt like she’s trying to trick us or trap us. It genuinely feels like she wants us to succeed! This has really helped us to be open, which means we’ve learnt more about ourselves and each other and have been able to really think through how we can be a more effective team.

I always thought that once we were approved we would sign up to all of the magazines and websites and trawl through profiles until we found our children. Now, after months spent with our social worker I feel so differently. I trust that she wants the best for us, and for our children. I am confident that she is very competent at her job and knows much better than us. I know she has worked and will keep working really hard because she believes in what she does. And so we trust our social worker completely to find our children for us, and this, I think is one of the best compliments we could give her. We thank God every time we think of our wonderful social worker.

Even if she didn’t eat the cake.