A bit of background for those of you who don’t know me…

7 Jul

7 years ago [2003 if you’re crap at maths], aged 32, I found myself single and feeling particularly crappy about being single! Was bemoaning this fact to somebody who said, quite cruelly I thought at the time, ‘Get over it! You might be single for the rest of your life…deal with it!’ Hmmn. Well this turned out to be the best thing they could have said to me [obviously at the time I wanted to ensure they suffered some uncomfortable affliction and never darken my door again]

It got me thinking. And what I thought was…I COULD live by myself for the rest of my life…I really could! I like myself if I’m honest! Let’s be clear…if a fabulous guy DID enter my life then the door would be flung wide open and off its hinges…but…if that never happens/ed I felt/feel perfectly at ease about it.

I didn’t, however, feel perfectly at ease about never being someone’s mummy.

And so I started doing a bit of research. Should I go the sperm donor baby/turkey baster route? Should I go clubbing and chance my luck at getting up the duff? Neither of these, after serious and meticulous consideration, seemed the best course of action. No. There was already somebody on the planet whose family weren’t quite working out for them…I want to be THEIR mummy.

Remember…this is 2003!

In the Winter of 2007 I was approved to go ahead and be assessed as a prospective adopter and attended training and hadassessment sessions. Then I was assigned my assessing social worker in Spring of 2008.

In the meantime I’ve talked to friends and family…got out of rented accommodation…re-assessed my career [I was going to go the senior manager route in teaching…realised I prefer teaching!]…re-assessed my life and have begun the process of figuring out exactly what I could offer a child and what kind of child would thrive with me.

The Social Services assessment process to get me to panel was approximately 12 months start to finish. First panel in Oct 2008 I wasn’t approved because they wanted more medical info [a botched medical at the GP surgery, amongst other things] Felt pretty downhearted to say the least but bounced back and was approved in Feb 2009.

The time for matching me with a child was now here…and it stayed for a while! I went to ‘Child Fairs’ as I call them…lots of boards with pics of children on them with a number. You write down the number and take it to a desk where they give you an A4 profile of the child. If you’re interested your Social Worker then follows it up. I have browsed ‘Catalogues’ again with lots of pictures of children in them…you just let your Social Worker know about any you’re interested in. The same children appear again and again And behind the scenes your Social Worker is looking at possible matches on their books.

In the meantime you keep meeting your SW… keep looking for a child…and this goes on and on. I never got emotionally attached to any of the children I was looking at…how could you? I read details on sooo many. The first dozen or so I read [after the ‘Fair’] I felt…numb really. Overwhelmed by what so many children have to deal with.

Anyway…I DID get emotionally attached when my SW [a new one by the way…my original one took a 6 month sabbatical] gave me the details of a little girl. The picture was bloody awful! But there was something about her. I read the report [quite a lengthy document outlining not only the child’s history but the parents’, grandparents’ etc. ‘History’ includes medical details, mental health, abuse, neglect, hisory of the child coming into care, etc] and was smitten. Born in 2008, at about the time I was starting my SS assessment! [SS = Social Services for those of you who were worried there for a moment]

When I’d read all the other reports I felt a kind of anger towards the birth family – which I felt guilty about. Let me explain…you first read of the terrible life the child has had and the abuse or neglect inflicted upon them by their birth parents…and you feel angry. But then you read the history of THEIR childhoods…then I felt guilty, sad and sorry for them. But if I’m honest, I mainly felt anger because of where the child now was.

But this report was different. I didn’t feel anger towards any of the birth family…I just felt very, very sad. The terrible conditions in which these people have found themselves in in terms of abuse has been going on for generations. How did the birth parents stand a chance at being good enough parents themselves given what they had to contend with as little ones? The same can be said of their parents and so on. It was clear then, and still is now, how much the birth family love this little girl…they just don’t know how to care for her in the best way, how to keep her out of harm.

Anyway…this is the edited [HA!] version of the last 7 years!!In June this year, exactly 8 years since the death of my mam, I met my daughter for the first time!

‘Squidger’ is now asleep in her bed…she woke up crying a while ago…nothing particularly unusual in that…a cuddle is all it takes to get her settled again…but tonight, for the first time after a bad dream, she called out, ‘Mummy!’

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