Tag Archives: adoption

How waiting might be good for you… and how to survive it.

Fundamentally, I am a very impatient person.  I do not like to wait for things, and I have an extremely low tolerance for long queues, disorganisation and bad service.  In fact, it has been muttered by those close to me, that I have no tolerance for those things at all.  Unfortunately, my life had abounded in opportunities for me to learn how to be patient and how to wait.  Despite the extensive practice I have had, I am not doing very well at mastering the skill.

impatience

Yes, I do think that waiting calmly is a skill that needs to be developed.  I have a theory (and it is only a theory) that patience is not a virtue… it’s genetic, and that particular gene skipped me over entirely.  It would certainly explain a lot!

I am not saying that I can’t wait.  I can.  I have to.  I am not so petulant as to believe that everything I desire needs to be delivered to me right now.  (Well, okay, I sometimes think that, but I know that real life doesn’t work that way, and sometimes you have to suck it up and just go with it).  The thing that I can’t do is to wait patiently, to wait with grace, and to believe that it will happen (whatever it is) when the time is right.  I really, really struggle with this.

waiting

Luckily, I have a faith.  I really do not know how I would cope without one.  If I can tell myself that what I am hoping for will happen in God’s time, then I find it helps me to control the impatience I feel.  I still get annoyed that I HAVE to wait, but at least, I have the belief that it will happen when God decides it is the right time.  I am thinking particularly here of the “being a Mother” thing which seems to preoccupy the majority of my thoughts at the moment.  I have waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I have moved things along, I have endeavoured to be proactive, we have enquired after children all without success.  On the bad days I begin to wonder if it is all worth it, and I am close to packing it all in and giving up.  On the good days I remind myself that God will provide, if it is the right course of action in the first place, when the right child is available for us.  I will admit that just at the moment, the bad days are outweighing the good ones.

patience prayer

Now, reading around this topic, most of the the good stuff associated with waiting is about delayed gratification.  Certainly, when/if the time comes and I have a small person calling me “Mummy”, I will have the delight of hearing that.  I am also looking forward to all the problems and issues that come with being a parent.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I look forward to them, because it will be proof that I have become a parent, which is my dearly held wish.  Waiting and wanting for so long certainly puts a different perspective on everything.  I think the fact I have HAD to be patient, will mean that I will be profoundly grateful for whatever hits my plate. The good, the bad, the profoundly busy, the obstacles, every last bit of it.  It strikes me that those who never have to wait for anything at all; perhaps they do not actually appreciate what they have?

patient

As for surviving the waiting –  I don’t really know.  Sometimes it feels like I have managed it (usually by keeping myself so busy I haven’t got the time to turn around, or by counting my existing blessings and being fervently grateful for them).  But there are also times when I feel so far from coping it is frightening.  I suspect this is common for everyone.  I read that meditating and trying to attain peace is a good way of keeping things together as well, although very difficult to do.

If you are waiting for something, then join the club.  How do you get through it?  Any suggestions, gratefully received!

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Emotional First Aid…

One way or another, this past 7 days has been one hell of a roller coaster.  There have been some highs, and corresponding lows and frankly, I am feeling a little travel sick with the change from one to the other.  I feel like I have been run over by a steam roller, both physically and emotionally.

roller coaster

Some days I have coped better than others, but as I progressed through the week, a few things became very apparent.  I am a very emotional person.  I deal with stuff with my emotions leading first, and then I can process the emotion and keep going.  Some people might feel (and clearly, from their reactions, some people do feel) that this is a disadvantage.  I don’t.  I think it is a strength, which I hope will serve me well come the point when I have children to look after.  If I can express my emotion and deal with it, then hopefully I can help a damaged child do the same.

Another thing which became apparent, the adoption process is emotionally one of the most bruising things you can ever undertake.  I am not about to give up now… but on several occasions this week I was really close to throwing in the towel and going to adopt another dog and some chickens.  If it wasn’t for the people close to us who have been so invested in the process with us, I would have resigned myself to being childless forever and got on with being an urban homesteader and craftaholic.

1st aid

With these two things at the forefront of my mind… it became clear that an essential in the toolkit of survival is to have an emotional first aid kit to hand.  You might be thinking “What on earth is she wittering on about?” but bear with me.

Do you remember when we were little, we all wanted to be grown ups?  Yeah… that was really dumb, wasn’t it!  Adult life comes with stress, hurt and more stress on top.  Some people can totally cope with that and keep on gliding through life unaffected.  But some of us really can’t.  Each bump and scrape we suffer emotionally and mentally leaves a scar.  If you did something to yourself physically, you wouldn’t hesitate to reach for a first aid kit to get a band aid… so why don’t we do the same thing for our mental health?  I think it is too important for people to ignore.  You must look after your mental strength in equal proportion to your physical well being.  Or else bits of psyche will fall off and make a mess.

feel

The first thing you need in this first aid kit is to pay attention to the emotional pain that you feel.  Recognise it when it happens and work to treat it before it feels like it is all encompassing and you get that drowning feeling.  For example, on Saturday, at the Adoption Activity Day we attended, we fell in love with a pair of children.  They were delightful and we could have happily become their Mummy and Daddy.  Unfortunately… it wasn’t possible due to geographical constraints on their adoption.  I was heartbroken.  It would have been easier to shrug off and say “Oh well.  I only met them for a little time, it isn’t right, move on”.  15 years ago, that is exactly what I would have done.  But instead, I acknowledged the raw, painful realisation that it was a loss, an actual emotional wrench for them to say no (again) to us becoming parents, and I dealt with it.  It felt overwhelming for the first few days after… but I am still standing now.

change your perspective

The second skill for your emotional first aid kit is the ability to redirect your gut feeling when you fail.  This is something I am really, really bad at.  I set myself really, really high standards, and if I do not reach them, I will beat myself up something awful.  Of course, when you set your standard at perfection, and perfection doesn’t exist, then you will always be disappointed, won’t you?  So, I learnt a lesson from the wonderful FlyLady (www.flylady.net) – It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be done.  I tell you, that phrase has revolutionised my life.  When I am cleaning the house, when I am gardening, when I am doing a craft project – it doesn’t need to be perfect.  It can have faults lying about.  That is okay.  That is normal.  That is life.  Redirecting the guilt I feel at not being perfect, means I actually give myself permission to be a normal human being.  That is really quite freeing.

inner critic

Of course, if you are a recovering perfectionist, you will often find your inner critic doing a good job of making your life miserable.  In order to tell my inner critic to sit down and shut up, I find myself thinking about what I would say to a friend who was dissing her/himself.  I would tell them to stop it and be compassionate to themselves.  Cut themselves some slack. It is important that you monitor and protect your self esteem and don’t let your own inner gremlins get you thinking that you are not worthy.  This is the next little trick to have in your arsenal.  Of course, that compassion needs to take a positive form – unfortunately, I seem to have developed a bit of “self medicate with junk food” habit, so I am trying to break that by giving myself the chance to knit, sew and cross stitch when I need to.

negative to positive

How many of us have a negative thought soundtrack going around in their head?  I do.  It is only in the past few years that I have made a conscious effort to stop being a negative Nelly and look at the positive of life.  I posted something on my personal facebook timeline the other day about how God only gives you what you can cope with, and that apparently God thinks I am a bad ass.  That was my way of taking the positive out of a really bad day on Wednesday.  It doesn’t matter how you do it… but finding the silver lining in every cloud is a fabulous way to cope.

loss

Sometimes, we have to make a really hard decision and you need to come to terms with loss.  I am doing this all the time with the children we have been enquiring about re potential matches (25+ now) and it does not get easier.  So, I have started to try and find a meaning in the losses.  It is easier on some occasions than it is on others.  I have a lot of internal conversations with myself about the needs of the children that we have not pursued and how it is probably the right thing that we have stepped away from the match.  Sometimes I even manage to convince myself!!  Sometimes, I really don’t.  On the latter occasions, I fall back on my faith.  God has a plan.  There is a reason why we haven’t found our match yet.  We just don’t know what it is.

confessional

The next emotional first aid skill is something that, as a cradle Catholic, I totally SUCK at.  That is to not let excessive guilt linger.  Now, if I were a better Catholic I would go to confession a lot more regularly than I do, and actually I suspect if I did, I would have a convenient valve to allow the guilt to escape.  Hmmm.  Easter is coming up.  I need to make some time to head to the confessional and unburden myself.  I hope the priest has an armchair and some popcorn!

emotional wounds

The final item in our emotional first aid kit is personal knowledge.  Learn what treatments for emotional wounds work for you.  This is as individual as you are.  Although my go-to treatment is junk food, that has some seriously negative consequences, so I need to think of better ways to make myself feel better.  Naps have often helped me, so does being creative in some way.  I like to sit in a room with some classical music and a really good book. Sitting on the garden bench and looking at the garden, being out in the garden doing some work, a decent old movie and a cup of hot tea also works.  Whatever it is… make sure you know what work for you and do it regularly.

You really are worth taking care of.

Why oh why is this still an issue?

Before I start my post, which will become something of a rant (what?  I know my faults!) I want to wish my Mum a very happy birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

It is the first birthday she is celebrating while living so close to us, and so I am going to try and make it a great day for her.  We are off to Chatsworth in Derbyshire, and we are stopping at a fabric shop in Chesterfield on the way home.  Then this evening, I am making dinner, and a birthday cake for her.  It is going to be a lovely day!  (And it appears the weather is even behaving itself!)

Yesterday, I had some exciting news.  Hubby and I had expressed interest in two sets of siblings via our social worker and the social worker of one of the sets of siblings came back and thought, judging from our profile on one of these database whatsits, that we would be a potential match for them.  Cue excited squeaking noises.  I will confess to doing little jigs and a couple of excited jumps as well.

excited

So I called our social worker and made sure that she was ready to send our report to the children’s social worker.  It turns out that the Adoption Panel wanted to have some more information than they got from our panel interview.  Okay, I said.  What can I do to help?  What followed was a 30 minute interview on the telephone, including the last item which was about my weight.

whaat

Oh yes indeedy, that old chestnut again.  Sigh.  I hate this.  I loathe the fact that I am continually judged by the people in “authority” by the way I look and by a number on the scales.  Yes, I am bigger than “average” or “normal” whatever the hell that means.  But I am also healthier than anyone I know.  I certainly have more energy than anyone I know and I am capable of working as fast as anyone requires me to do.  Just ask the people who have stepped into my former jobs when I have moved onto pastures new.  The muttered phrase of “How the hell did she get THROUGH it all” has been mentioned on numerous occasions.  And if you take a look at my to do lists, and what I can get through each day, one of my closest friends has said that my energy levels make her feel like she is part sloth.

So once again, I need to get focussed on what I put in my body.  Since coming back from our holiday I would say we had relaxed our focus somewhat, but we are a long way from being slovenly diet wise, and not all of our bad habits had crept back.  Some of them had, certainly.  But not all of them.

I will also admit to getting more than a little defensive with our social worker as well yesterday.  I have been approved as an adoptive parent.  The adoption panel medical adviser had cleared me as being fine.  My own cow of a GP admitted (through gritted teeth) that there is nothing that can stop me from being a fine and proper parent.  I do hope they are all listening as I say the next bit through a loud hailer, right by their collective ears.

loud hailer

STOP ASKING ME WHETHER MY WEIGHT STOPS ME FROM DOING ANYTHING.

IT DOESN’T.

GOT IT?  GOOD!!

Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Forgive the Latin, but I do feel the need to say sorry for not having posted for over a week. In my defence, it was one of the busiest and most stressful weeks I have had for a while, but now the dust is settling, I want to get back into the habit of posting at least three times in a week. It is a good habit to have, and keeps the old writing muscles in trim.

sorry

So what was happening last week? Well, it started with a marathon drive from Nottinghamshire to Wiltshire in order to pick up my Mum. Then I drove her back up here and we were ready to unpack all of the boxes which were very efficiently moved by the removers. Then Wednesday and Thursday and Friday we unpacked boxes and relocated furniture and that kind of thing. Saturday we had a rest from the flat and then yesterday my husband and I took Mum to Ikea to get some much needed items of storage and spent the afternoon putting the flat packs together. I learnt some stuff about myself. I am rather short when putting cupboards together, I am adept at reading the “instructions” which come with Ikea flat pack furniture and I really rather enjoy doing that kind of work.

flat pack furniture

If that was it for the week, then it would have been busy but manageable. We also completed the sale of our old house and the purchase of the one we have been living in for 3 months or so. Everyone knows that selling houses is one of the most stressful things you can do, and so we were on tenterhooks all day on Thursday just waiting to hear if the completion had gone through successfully. I am pleased to tell you, yes… it did! So we are now officially owners of our detatched 1920s 4 bedroomed house with a garage and a HUGE garden. I can really start to get the house the way I want it to be now. I am so excited about it. I have plans almost as big as the house itself, and it all needs to be done on a budget. Watch this space people, watch this space!

sale

And yet still… that wasn’t it for the week. Oh no. It was also the week we attended our Adoption Panel. Long time readers of this blog will know that this has been something we have been working towards for some time, and the day finally came. Needless to say, I was nervous as a kitten and had spent a good few days beforehand more or less convincing myself that the answer was going to be no… as part of my sort of coping mechanism if indeed the answer was in the negative. I am pleased to say… it was resoundingly positive.

Yipee!

Huge sighs of relief all around, I can tell you. So, at sometime in the future, my husband and I are going to be parents. Goodness only knows when that will be… but we have just cleared one of the biggest obstacles in our way.

 

And now… I need a lie down and to try and come off the adrenalin high that sustained me through the whole of last week. Oh… and I also need to go into battle with Utility companies on behalf of my Mum. But that is another post entirely.

Welcome to our new theme!

I was greeted with an email on Monday evening from WordPress saying that  my theme was going to run out and how they wanted me to pay for the privilege of keeping it.  Sadly, I am not in a position to pay for anything just at the moment, so I have hurriedly changed the look of the blog to something else and will see how we rub along with it.  Let me know if you like the set up and colours.  I must confess to not feeling overwhelmed with glee at some aspects of it, so there might be a further change in not too long!

changes

Yesterday was a very, very busy day around my house.  Not only did we have two of our three adoption referees around to meet with the new social worker in the morning, as well as 3 sons on one of referees (thank heavens for dogs and boys.  Match made in heaven!) but we also had our parish priests over for a meal and so they could bless the house.  I worked out that I cooked for and fed and watered 16 people yesterday.  And there are leftovers as well!

 

All in all it was a great day.  The meetings with the social worker went well and I am in the process of setting up the third and final referee meeting.  And the House Blessing?  Well, it was great!  We had lots of laughs and fun over good food and drink and into the bargain, our house has got a blessing.  Apparently it is not often that they get called on to do house blessings these days.  But in my family it is a tradition to get every house “done” and it is one which has stood us in very good stead.

house blessing

My husband commented that the House felt different somehow, and I can tell you, it really does.  It feels… lighter.  I haven’t even cleaned the windows yet, so it can’t be that.  It has always felt like home, but somehow the fact that God is now officially part of it, from the “foundations to the roof” as it said in the prayers, makes it feel even more like home.

 

After two frantic days of getting the house ready for guests and preparing food, I am going to have a more restful day.  I am off to collect my Mum from the train station later today as she is making a flying visit, to begin preparations for her big move up here, and that is the only job I intend on completing.  I need some QRT – Quality Recovery Time.

QRT

I hope you can fit some QRT into your day today.  Please let me know what you think of the new theme for the blog.

 

STRESSED to the maximum

We all know that stress is bad for us.  If you search on Google for remedies for stress you get over 22 million results back.  (At least 2 of those might be former blog posts from here, though I suspect it would take some searching to find)  However, as much as I try and lessen the stress of life and otherwise general existence, sometimes it just overwhelms you.  Today is one of those days.

stressed

When life gets to this point there are several things you can do.  First of all you can look at exactly what is stressing you out and see if you can do anything constructive about it.  So, for example, if you are in a traffic jam and are running late for a meeting, is there a chance of calling your appointment (hands free of course) and warning them that you will be late?  If yes, then hoorah.  If no, then tell yourself there is very little point in worrying about it because it is outside of your control.  (This latter thing may not be very helpful.  It usually doesn’t help me much!)

 

Assuming you have already done what you can about the stressful event, I sometimes try and think about it in terms of looking back from 5 years hence.  Will anyone (including yourself) actually remember this event that is totally stressing you out right now?  Is it one of those life changing events (in which case a level of stress involved is fine, but try and stay positive, or at least get positive out of the event) or is it one of those little things which are completely inconsequential in terms of life, the universe and everything?  I find that most of the things which stress me out fall into the latter category.  Sometimes, with this view, I take a deep breath, metaphorically pull on my big girl knickers and get on with it.  Other times, even this doesn’t work and then I know that this is a real stresser.

relax

So you get to the point that none of the tricks have worked, your shoulders are somewhere up near your ears and you feel like one little thing will set you off crying for hours.  What now?  Take time out, go and sit somewhere quiet and consciously relax all your body.  From the top of your head, right down to the tips of your toes.  Pay special attention to the jaw, the shoulders and your back.  These are the three places I really hold all my stress, so if I consciously relax these areas, it really helps.  And also, if you feel like you need to weep and wail a little bit, go for it.  Nothing wrong with a little bit of “get the stress out and have a paddy” regardless of your age.

 

And this is where I find myself this morning.  I have spent several hours today trying to find all of the identity information that we had already provided for the Adoption Agency at the beginning of the process and more besides, as well as trying to co-ordinate at least three different peoples diaries to set up a meeting with our Social Worker so that he can interview them.  In the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t that important, and 5 years from now, I am going to look back on this and think “Ah… it was a minor blip”.  I have done my mini relaxation retreat thingy, and yes, my jaw was fiercely clenched but it isn’t now.  I don’t really want to have a cry, I don’t think, but these days I seem to be a moment away from it at any given point, so that might not be much to go on.

 

This whole day so far has shown me two things.  1) I need to get the filing system a bit better organised and 2) the Adoption Agency might benefit from a wide scale Internal Audit to show them where they are going wrong and what they can do to sort it out.   They might well become one of my first paying customers!

 

And one final thought…

desserts

Luckily I made home made ice cream yesterday!!

 

If Plan A doesn’t work out, then break out plan B. And Plan C. And so on!

I have just finished re-reading my blog from Wednesday thinking “oooh… yeah… I need to do one for today too”.  Again, I nearly forgot to post to you folks, so once again, I apologise.

 

I do have an excuse though.  Not only have I had a rare and lovely chance to spend a day with my husband who is taking a day off today, but we have had our minds taken up with some other stuff as well, and there is light at the end of that particular tunnel.  It is still a long way off… but I will take it!!

good news

You remember when I posted about our social worker being ill and our adoption panel date in July being at risk?  Well, the bad news is that the poor guy is still not very well and is not going to get back and get on with our report.  I really feel for the guy and hope he gets better soon.   So our case has been booted from the July adoption panel as we expected.   The good news is that the adoption agency is going to hire an independent social worker who will do our assessment from the beginning.  Some people might be irritated that they have to go through the whole process again, but me?  I am THRILLED.  They are really pulling out the (pretty darned expensive) stops to get us to the August panel instead.

obstruction ahead

Of course this plan will come with some pretty large logistical difficulties.  These things always do.  However, with the help of a diary, a calendar, a willingness to get this done and a large dose of help from God, I am feeling confident that we can get this done.   We are so close  I can almost TOUCH it.

 

This whole process has taught me so many lessons.  First is stickability.  It is not an easy process.  I suppose it is not meant to be.  However, there have been times when I would have been happy to call the whole thing off and get more animals to fulfill my need to look after and care for things.  However… tenacity is a good thing, and I am in this for the long haul.   If I think about it, plan A was having a baby naturally – nope.  Back to the drawing board because I still wanted to be a Mum.  Plan B was infertility treatment – nope, not even the fertility treatment allowed by my religion – but I KNOW my vocation is to be a wife and a mother so, Plan C it is.  Adoption.  Not easy, but the right course for us.

tenacity quote

The second lesson is the power of positive thought (and prayer!).  This time last week, I was just crawling out from a pit of doom laden potential horror and wondering if we were going to make it to the finish line.  And now?  I am positive that we can get there, but it is going to take a lot of hard work.  This would not have happened unless my dear friend Elaine had reminded me to think positively, pull on my big girl knickers and get through it, and if many other friends hadn’t been praying their little socks off.  The Big Feller is showing us the way to get to where we want to be.

 

The third lesson?  Well, probably the fact that if it came easily, would we appreciate being parents?  If it came easily, would we whine about the early wake ups, the endless laundry, the behaviour problems, the total revolution of our own routines?  Probably.  But having experienced problems time and time again I hope we won’t.  These are the kind of things that we must revel in.  I personally can’t wait to experience the hassle of getting the little one(s) ready to get to Church on time.   Or experience the sleepless nights, monsters under the bed, temper tantrums, teething even.  I know… I am nuts aren’t I?!  But I have been waiting for this for so long.   I HAVE to want to experience it all.  Only then will all this bother be worth it!

keep on

Keep on keeping on people.  It is the only way to get to your goals!