Today we meet blogger ‘Suddenly Mummy’ – a foster carer and adoptive parent. You’ll find her amazing blog here.
Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….
Book – at one time in my life I would have had plenty to list here but not much time (or inclination!) for quiet reading these days. Most recent read was ‘Home for Good’ by Krish Kandiah, and currently slogging through ‘One Thousand Gifts’ by Ann Voskamp although it’s getting on my nerves quite a lot.
Music – all previous musical preferences of mine have now been replaced by ‘A Million and One Annoying Nursery Rhymes for Toddlers’ or something like that!
TV programme – Loving ‘Call the Midwife’ these days. Apart from that, anything that doesn’t require much brain power, so mostly re-runs of comedy shows on Dave! I also like to re-watch old faves that I’ve seen over and over again, like ‘The West Wing’, ‘House’, ‘Poirot’, ‘Morse’ and, yes, I’m going to admit it, ‘Star Trek’!
Food – there just isn’t the space to do this topic justice! Currently half-heartedly trying to re-lose all the weight I lost pre-children, but having the attempt sorely tested by the temptation of peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
Pastime – Currently decorating my lounge one wall at a time – it’s been about three weeks so far working around naps and bedtimes. Used to love scrapbooking, but all the stuff for that is still packed from the house move last year, pending office re-organisation. Similarly a variety of musical instruments are gathering dust in various cubby holes around the house. These days, once the little ones are tucked up I normally just use up all my Candy Crush lives and then go to bed!
What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
For me the biggest challenges are presented by the fact that I’m going it alone. When I first talked to a good friend about the possibility of fostering I sensed that she was holding back a little and she eventually admitted that, while she knew how much I had longed for a family, she wished I wasn’t going about it in such a hard, hard, way. And this before I had even considered the possibility of adoption.
Sometimes it is unbelievably hard, I have to admit it. It’s in the little things that it comes home to me – never having a second pair of hands to help with getting us all out of the door when OB can’t get his coat on and Baby Girl has just filled her nappy, or having to be super-organised because there is nobody to nip to the supermarket after the children’s bedtime to get more milk for breakfast tomorrow. When I read about other mums getting the odd afternoon off to have coffee with friends or go to the hairdresser I do get a bit jealous, I admit it. I had my hair cut last week for the first time in 10 months, and I haven’t had my eyes tested since I before I started fostering – not sure how long these glasses can last but I’m determined to test them to their limits!
My whole family lives abroad and, while I have a wide network of incredibly supportive friends, they all have their own families too – it doesn’t seem fair to ask my friend to babysit so I can have a nice coffee afternoon with friends when she’s already babysat for her own grandchildren several times that week. Saturdays are my worst days by far. On Saturdays, all the activities that fill out our weekdays are closed, and all my coupled-up friends are with their own families doing family things. Saturdays can be long, lonely days.
What do you think is your biggest source of support?
Having said all of that, I must big up my marvellous support network. During my most difficult times, they have really been there for me, coming round with meals in plastic tubs when I was struggling in the early days of having NB and OB together, taking OB off for hours at a time when I was stuck in hospital with Baby Girl, babysitting, playdates, it goes on and on. And more recently, I am increasingly coming to value the online community I’ve discovered through The Adoption Social. I don’t have any real-world friends with adopted children (although I think that may change in the future), so it’s good to connect with others who are living through some of the same things as me.
Reward charts yes/no?
I tried a reward chart once with OB. It was for potty training. He got a star every time he successfully used the potty or toilet and when he collected ten stars he got to choose a new toy from a box I was keeping specially for this reason. He quite liked putting the stars on at first, but at the point when it was time to choose his 4th toy, he declared that he didn’t want any of them! We all sort of lost interest in it after that. I don’t think reward charts will be the way forward for us!
If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
Travelling with OB is one of the things I dream about in our future, and one of several reasons why I will be home educating to give us that freedom to just go off whenever we want to (finances permitting!). Although I have always loved the idea of travel, I was never one of those intrepid single people that went everywhere alone, partly because I always think that these sorts of experiences are so much better when they are shared. I can’t wait to share them with OB. I have an ambition to travel with him to somewhere on every continent, and would certainly love to do Italy, the Baltic countries, New England, and the US West Coast with him. We’ve already flown quite a bit to see my family – he’s a well-travelled boy for his age! – and I hope to take him to Romania before long to see all my friends there who have never met him.
What makes you and/or your family laugh?
OB is developing a cracking sense of humour and is quick to create little jokes of his own. Right now he is enjoying changing the words of songs to amuse himself. The current favourite is a version of ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ where the ending of the last line is completely up for grabs. If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to . . . eat him . . . tickle him . . . lick him . . . and, rather worryingly . . . take all your clothes off! Well, maybe I have a childish sense of humour but I find all of this hysterical, especially watching his delight as he thinks up each new ending and then laughs at his oh-so-funny joke!