If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A walk through 2014.

So 2014 nears its end and we ready ourselves for 2015. I've never really been one for New Years resolutions as I have never been able to keep them. I find that to be able to make a change in my life it has to be because I really want the change to happen. I gave up smoking when I fell pregnant with child 1 one April, I lost 2 stone in the 8 months leading up to a holiday with family and friends in Spain, I was determined to wear a bikini and not be mortified and I have attempted to make time for me since we knew that child 4 was an his way.

So today I have been thinking back over the last 12 months, smiling over the good times, thinking about how I could have handled the not so good and wondering what 2015 will bring. We have had lots of family gatherings, the usual celebrations of New Year, Easter and Christmas, there have been adoption orders, baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, 18th birthday parties, GCSE and AS results, acceptances to Uni and college. I have photos of trips to the beach, the zoo and the farm, days full of sunshine and picnics, rain and muddy puddles and cold winter walks followed by hot chocolate, topped with squirty cream and marshmallows. As well as child 4 moving from a cot to a bed, him coming to me crying when he hurt himself rather than just getting on with it and he now sometimes cuddles his doggy when he goes to bed. On the alternate side we have dealt with those who haven't understood our need to adopt or the fact that once child 4 moved in he became one of us, which of course has meant that some of our celebrations have been marred by disgruntled and intolerant behaviour, child 4 himself exhibits some aggressive and angry behaviour and we have asked the SenCo to come in and support at nursery, child 2 has struggled in school over the last 4 months but is coming out the other side now.  Over all though I would say the good far outweighs the bad. We have so far dealt with everything life, family and school have thrown at us and I think we are all the better and stronger for it. As a family unit we have become stronger, more loving and more tolerant. We are learning to leave behind baggage that weighs us down yet share the load of the stuff that is important to take on our journey, sometimes we have to unpack and repack, folding and sorting the important stuff in a different way to ensure that we can still carry it, sometimes we unpack, re-fold, re-sort and repack many times before we can move forward, often one step forward and two steps back.

I know we need to rethink some of our parenting Sally Donovan would say "the inner parent" and I agree with that sentiment, we need to remain strong, sticking to the path we traverse when facing those who just don't understand the need for therapeutic parenting, attempting to re-educate them where possible or by passing them when they are unable to be open minded but at the same time we have to willing to take an alternate fork, which usually looks like it has been much less travelled, forging a new way, stumbling over obstacles, no doubt occasionally getting whipped in the face by the overhanging brambles that we didn't see because we were watching our footing and not what was right in front of us.

Would any of us change anything? I think not.  So 2015 bring it on, we are hopefully ready for you and whatever you may bring and if we aren't so ready we will adapt.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A response to those that don't want to understand

As the year comes to a close I have been thinking about all that has happened, much of it has been amazing but occasionally there have been very difficult times and interestingly they haven't been caused by the children. So before I share my final thoughts to 2014 I wanted to share this.

Since we started our adoption journey we have come across those that just don't want to understand why we chose to adopt our fourth child. Fortunately there are not very many of these people yet I have found that they are very vocal and often angry or derogatory about our decision! As if they think that they have to prevent us from making a terrible mistake and that this gives them the right to vent their opinions as they see fit often without any thought as to how their words and actions affect us. So here is my response.

Dear Reader,

In response to your question "why would you want to do that?"

I don't really know, all I know is that we are not done yet, we have space for one more. Please trust us when we say that we know what we are doing. We have been on training after training courses, we have read all manner of books and research and we have had fortnightly one on one sessions with a professional, some one who is trained to check that we are ready and suitable to adopt a child.

We know that we already have three children and they are well rounded and happy, we know that we are asking a lot of them, to take on a sibling that comes from somewhere alien to their background. We have spoken to them, answered the questions they have asked and made sure that they have been in an environment where they are comfortable to discuss their concerns.

We do not take this journey lightly, we have learnt all about the worst case scenarios and know where to go should we need support, knowing that the support for post adoption is under staffed and lacking in finance. We know that there "will be trouble ahead" but we also know that we can handle it and do you know why? No? Well we do, we can handle it because we love him. We love our child 4 despite/in spite of his anger, his throwing and the disturbed nights, we love the cuddles, the laughter, tickles, story time, walks with the dog. We love the baking, dinner times and bath times. We love a house full of noise and chaos it makes us feel alive, part of a family, part of something really special.

You may not understand it or even worry about what we are doing and that is absolutely fine, all we ask is that you accept that we are capable of making our own decisions and we are very aware that we have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Bad advice is bad advice, negative comments are negative comments and constant questioning of our decision is not supportive and a waste of time and energy. It is your fears, your ignorance that make you so angry and frustrated with our choice. We have made our decision and because of it we may be exhausted and at times frustrated yet we are stronger, happier and more fulfilled than we ever were before. Would we change anything? NO NO NO! Why not? Because we fell in love and the changes we make to our lives are fine. Do you want to know why? Because we love him!!

Maybe we are a little mad, not very intelligent, selfish or foolish or maybe we are brave, good people or special, I don't really know and actually I don't really care all I know is that by opening our hearts, our arms and family to our little boy has given us back ten fold what ever we have put in. If you cannot see that or if you don't want to be part of it then sadly you are the ones missing out.

There may be trouble ahead,

But while there's moonlight and music and love and romance,
Let's face the music and dance.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Medical history

1.45 am Boxing Day morning I call NHS Direct, child 4 is struggling to breathe. After answering the chap at the end of the lines questions, he asks me to hold the phone over child 4's face so that he can hear him. Then he tells me that he has called an ambulance and I need to put on all the lights at the front of the house so that they can see us easily. The paramedics arrive and check him over,  his blood sugars are ok, his temperature is fine (probably because of the calpol we gave him 2 hours ago) but his oxygen stats aren't good, so off they go with Mr L to the hospital - oxygen masks and blue flashing lights I am told later, they waited until they got to the bottom of the road so that I didn't panic as I was left home at 3am with child 1,2 & 3 to wait. 

Our problem as with many other adopted children is lack of medical information. Many adopters will have the red books that are given to children when they are born but that just gives known information, weight at birth, which immunisations they have had etc, it doesn't say that they've had chicken pox or that they are susceptible to chest infections. With the older three, I know their past, I've lived it with them. I know child 1 suffers with her throat, child 2 when little had a nasty chest infection and for years would always have croup when he caught a cold. Child 3 is rarely poorly, so if she has a temperature it means something nasty is on its way, her Achilles heel is stomach cramps caused be stress. But with child 4 I just don't know what to expect, despite him being with us for over a year we still haven't experienced enough to be sure of what effects him and so in the last 6 weeks we have had an ambulance take him to hospital twice. Firstly, he fitted, just febrile Convulsions but having never experienced them I have to say that they terrified me and now a severe chest infection that affected his breathing. Both times he has bounced back although this time it's a slow process and the giving of medication takes 3 of us. Yes I have tried all matters of bribery!!!! Of course even if we had had him from birth these events would have potentially still occurred but I think that we would have picked up early on the need to calpol to reduce or prevent the temperature quicker if we knew that when he was ill his temperature would spike, thus hopefully preventing the fits in the first place.

What we have learned over the last few weeks is to carry the calpol sachets around with us, in case of a high temperature and now we will watch his breathing like a hawk just in case he has a pre disposition to asthma. Never a dull moment here. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014


Only 5 days until the end of term, not that I'm counting or anything! I think that December is by far the busiest month of the school year, it's packed full of carol singing, nativity plays, gym shows, Panto and Christmas Parties. Then, all of a sudden it stops, term finishes for the little ones at lunchtime on Friday and the older two at 3pm. There are no more after school activities, no more packed lunches to make and no more baking at 10pm.

Everything almost stops and all that is left is family and close friend events, the ones where you can just be. It doesn't matter if one or all the kids have a meltdown as everyone just takes it all in their stride which is perhaps why they don't.

The Christmas holiday is by far my most favourite, I have since childhood always loved the magic and now as I grow older I appreciate all the preparation, I love the buying and the wrapping of presents, decorating the tree and the house,  the making of mince pies, stir up Sunday and icing the Christmas cake and most of all I love  the fact that the excess of life kinda stops, leaving us with nothing but time to spend with those we love.

Christmas time is about family and close friends, we spend our days meeting up with those we love, eating together, walking the dogs, playing board games or cosying up in front of a roaring fire, eating chocolates and watching a family movie. These are the gifts of Christmas I want to hand down to my children not the gifts that cost money but the gifts that are worth so much more - time, love, laughter, and of course cheating and fighting over Pictionary!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


I've been watching Dan Hughes over the past couple of weeks and today he was talking about rituals you know bedtime rituals, weekend rituals and holiday rituals. I've been thinking about rituals as the Christmas season is nearly upon us. We already have a few rituals, ones that I had as a child and that I have passed on, others new and evolving as each of our children made their appearances.

My mum has made each child for their first Christmas an advent calendar, which we fill with chocolates and gifts, nothing expensive - key rings, Christmas tissues etc, we attend the Christmas Eve service at our church and after spend a couple of hours at a friends home drinking mulled wine, eating party food and catching up with old friends. When we return home we hang our stockings and leave out a mince pie, a glass of milk and a carrot for Father Christmas and his reindeer. Christmas morning is us all snuggled up in the living room opening presents.

Last year we decided with two other families to arrange a lunch on the Sunday before Christmas, we host as we have the space and I make starter/snacks and the veg for the main meal, another family bring the main course and the other desserts. We pull crackers, play silly games and just have a wonderful time.  We are planning our next one for the 21st.

As child 4 has now been with us for 15 months I have been thinking about new rituals, ones triggered by his needs, so I have wrapped a few books, some old, yet not often read and 4 new ones. I saw the idea on Facebook, 24 books throughout December, finishing of course with The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. I've not gone the whole hog as we have the fantastic calendars but I have wrapped a few for those days when it all becomes too much and we need a moment of quiet time, cuddled up on the sofa to ease away the chaos. And for Christmas Eve I have filled a box with new  pyjamas, a family DVD well the Indiana Jones Trilogy plus the last one and popcorn, I am hoping that this will provide peace for a couple of hours in the afternoon and a reason for the two youngest to happily wear their new onesies to church and onto the party so that they are already for bed on our return.

I don't know if Christmas will be difficult for our youngest, for the time being he seems to take all the  excitement in his stride. This year of course he is old enough to enjoy the excitement, to take part in the carolling, the baking, the house decorating and the meeting of Father Christmas. I guess we should enjoy the good times and worry about the not so good when they happen. After all certainly for us right now it really is a most wonderful time of the year.......