Tuesday, 24 May 2016

THE Day has come! Intros day 1

The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived! I don't think you need to be in our situation to appreciate how nervous we both were! I have had a few share of exams, near death hospital memories, met a few heads of states and royals, had pre-marriage vibes...etc but nothing comes even close to the level of nervousness I felt all day. It culminated during the drive to the Amazing FC house!

(From now on I will refer to her as the Amazing FC because she goes way above and beyond her duty in everything she does for us and for the boys! A few nights ago she recorded a short video on her phone: she made the boys say good night to us and that they are looking forward to meeting us soon! As I said: AMAZING FOSTER CARER!)

We were supposed to meet the SW outside the house and go in together. We both arrived sooner (guess SW was apprehensive too!) and the kids were not back from school yet, so we waited patiently in our car. Hubby even said that the boys have seen our car in the DVD so they might recognise it, but by the time we figured we should park elsewhere the FC's car pulled up. We tried to hide, but those clever little monkeys did recognise the car and practically jumped out of their car and ran towards ours. The excitement on their faces!!!! Those huge smiles!!! Their wide eyes!!! Their silent shouts!!!! (ok, I wipe my tears again and continue in a minute)

That's NOT how we intended the first meet to happen; on the streets, in front of other people! But once they spotted us there was no turning back! So we quickly locked the car (managed to leave all my stuff including phone and tissues inside), quickly grabbed the flowers, cake and the 2 soft toys and walked over to them!

Snoops (7) could not speak; he was just smiling at me with mouth hung open. It was an awkward moment. I managed to say 'Hi' before he said 'hello mummy, it is so nice to meet you'. Hubby just came over and by then Snoops recovered so he ran to him and hugged his legs saying 'hello daddy!' We both swallowed our happy tears and ushered them into the house.

Goofs (6) was inside, a little more apprehensive, nonetheless he blocked the entrance and would not let us in without a hug! Both boys were soooo excited they literally could NOT contain themselves. We expected this... when I say 'we expected this' I mean we were told this might happen; we paid attention during the trainings; we understand their difficulties in regulating themselves, but it's one thing to know in your head and an entirely different thing experiencing it! We were excited too - no question about that! But nothing like them!!! We tried to match their level of excitement; we jumped up and down with them, ran around the rooms, tried to speak louder than them (if possible).

They didn't even realise the SW was there, too, she had to ask for a hug! SW managed to take a few pictures of us for the Life Story Book, it was incredible how easily they cuddled up with us for a photo! Snoops is a quiet and shy little boy - or so we were told. In reality he was in my face and could not shut up! :) He wanted to say soooo much all at once he really struggled to say the words; it was utterly cute! Goofs, the extrovert took an instant liking at the introvert daddy and within minutes he was climbing up on him, pinning him down to the floor and engaged in play fight! Poor hubbs has bruised ribs already!

We of course had to watch the DVD together. They were over the moon, kept on saying to us 'wait for it, daddy will show up in a second!'or 'look, there is you in the kitchen' or 'pause, look, this is my bedroom!' as if we have never seen it before! It was quite endearing!

Our original 1 hour stay flew by in no time. I didn't even notice when the SW left; apparently she said 'we were all so natural together that she didn't need to stay'. I asked the Amazing FC if we should leave; she encouraged us to stay for tea. It was difficult to get the boys to calm down a bit to sit down around the table to eat!

Goofs already started to push the boundaries. The Amazing FC told her to put his feet down; his response: 'I  have a new mummy now, you don't tell me what to do!' I tried to intervene and said to him 'I agree with her, you need to put your feet down!' Surprise, surprise, he disobeyed me too! Dinner was quite chaotic; they were utterly goofy, mischievous and often straight out silly. The Amazing FC had to tell them off quite a few times. She said 'you both have lovely manners, stop showing off now!' This worked for about 2 minutes then it started again!

During dinner we went from 'new mummy' to first name basis to 'hey you' to stepmum (where did that come from???) and back. We are completely OK with this! Poor kids, it must be so confusing to them! The Amazing FC is doing a superb job; she prepared them wonderfully and on the surface they are able to call us Mummy and Daddy, but we are unsure how deep their understanding goes at this point. In the heat of the moment we are back to first names, until a grown up refers to one of us as Mummy or Daddy, then they slip back. We expect this to be the case for a while...

After dinner it was time for the daily reward chart and stickers. They tried to convince me they deserve stars for 'eating breakfast nicely', but when the Amazing FC coughed from the kitchen they both quickly changed their version to 'OK, maybe not today' :) We looked at the calendar together. The Amazing FC wrote onto the calendar what we will do each day and together we counted down the next 10 days at which point they will move in permanently! On the surface they seemed excited about it...

As a matter of calming them down we tried to suggest we play with Lego. Snoops was happy to comply and ran upstairs to pull out the box. Goofs thought that was silly and wanted to play a different game, but he wouldn't say what. He ran out of the room upset, then came back after a few minutes and spilled out that he wants to play 'Tickling'. I was amazed how openly and honestly he is asking for a human touch! Sadly we didn't think it was a good idea so close to bed time and eventually he joined his brother and Daddy in building a Lego car.

Before we left we asked them if there was anything they wanted to send to their new house. We ended up taking a bike (my goodness, they ARE big!!!) and a scooter. Without me prompting both boys told me they will be 'good boys tonight and will go to bed nicely!' (I suspect the Amazing FC had something to do with this!?) Will see tomorrow!

We said our goodbyes, we were back to Mummy/Daddy and 'look forward to pick us up from school tomorrow'. We managed to crawl back to the car, closed the doors and just sat. Daddy's only comments: 'Wow. I have 2 children!'

On the way home I opened a dictation app on my phone to record the day> 'This is Captain Mummy on stardate 23rd May 2016: Today we...' We discussed the day, the feelings, emotions, little things we picked up on, already some concerns we might need to address soon. When we got back home we recorded a few "supplimentals' (all hail Star Trek!) and were ready to crash into bed around 7.30pm.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Stuck in the hard place between Matching Panel and Intros

Matching Panel took place last week. I am still shaking. But the reason is different now.

We were told the usuals: 'we wouldn't take you to panel if we weren't confident it will be OK'; 'this is now just paperwork'; 'we just need to cross every t-s' and such. It was the same when birth mum was contesting: rationally you know it is going to be OK, nevertheless you are super nervous and you worry yourself sick. I couldn't sleep or when I did I had nightmares (mostly about rejection or approval but then epic fails and rejection from the boys during intros).

Panel was debating our case for about an hour before we were called in. By then I could hardly walk. We went in, I looked at the Chair and before I sat down I heard myself asking her directly. She was all smiles, said the magical YES and asked me again to sit down. She was supposed to give us the reasons for the recommendation, but she only said that panel 'had a good feel about us'. She admitted this wasn't very professional and I do wonder how these were recorded in the panel minutes...

Apparently they weren't even debating us, rather the boys' past and the reasons why their first adoption failed. They asked if we felt we were fully informed about everything. Well... 'Can I please know exactly why their previous adoption broke down for starters???' I did ask a few more questions and of course we also discussed the post adoption support package, which is undoubtedly robust, but only time can tell how well it will work for us, and more importantly, if it will be enough!

We handed over the This is Your New Mum and Dad DVD we filmed a few days before. (We had asked a friend to film us as we walk around the street and the house before we sit in the sofa and talk directly to the camera. The entire filming was all a good laugh until I had to utter the words to the camera 'Hello boys, I am your new Mummy'. And then my entire composure fell apart... The gravity of the situation has hit me there and then!)

The SW will meet the boys to show it to them 'tomorrow'.

So we wait. Tomorrow is almost here. But then we get an email from the SW saying 'after careful deliberations we think we should NOT rush this whole thing!' Until now they kept on saying 'since the boys are older once they hear the news things will go fast because, frankly, why wait?' It made perfect sense to us back then.

But suddenly the goalpost started moving...
We started the entire process in November 2014 and we have waited patiently, we complied with all their requests and we relied completely on their words and expertise. I appreciate that this is a long process, but when you are so close to the finish line even a silly little thing like postponing a meeting for a few days makes a huge difference and upsets the delicate balance that is in our heart!

Luckily it's only a few days; first they will share the news with the boys, then the SW will return a day after to see how the boys are taking the news and if it's all OK she will share the DVD with them. And then we can start thinking about having a planning meeting, which will hopefully push us out of this hard place of waiting...