Tag Archives: me and my blog

Me & My Blog by Last Mother

treeToday’s Me and My Blog is written by Last Mother, who explains why she set up her blog.

What did make me sit down at my computer and set up “Last Mother”, after a few years of thinking about blogging? During that time, something always made hold back. The worry that I would get nasty comments, mostly!

I’ve always kept a diary and recorded life with my children, and I love writing. But my blog hasn’t ended up as an online diary, even though I sometimes post snippets of my day to day life – usually those snippets I wouldn’t feel able to share with my family or most friends. I’ve also always liked talking to people about adoption. I’ve used online forums for years and found them amazingly supportive. I’ve been involved with a few preparation groups and found them quite enjoyable in many ways, although it’s nerve-wracking standing up in front of these strangers and telling them things you haven’t even told some close friends/family members. But despite that, posting something on a blog felt a bit different. More ‘out there’.

Thinking back 8 months, what finally made me ignore my trepidation and bash out the first post was the combination of isolation and a desire to reach out, and an opportunity I received.

Isolation is one the hardest things I have to cope with. Not just the stress of not being able to leave the house much apart from my part time job and shopping and therefore not seeing my friends and family very often unless they come to me, but the emotional isolation you go through as the parents of a child who has significant special needs/emotional and mental health issues. There are few people, and nearly all of them are other adoptive mothers or the birth mothers of children who also have special needs, who are able to understand even some of what it’s like to parent my DD2.

In February 2013 it became even worse, as my DD2 embarked on a reunion with her birth mum, which has been a big stress on both DD2 and the family as a whole. Its blown apart what we had before, and taken DD2 to the huge highs of feeling complete and loved and excited beyond belief, to the extreme lows of an emergency psychiatric hospital admission, anger and betrayal (that crisis would not have happened if she hadn’t been in such close contact with her birth mum). I felt unable to talk about it to most people, and my sense of isolation increased and increased. I was advised by a very wise adoptive mother to disengage mentally from it somewhat, and find ‘distractions’ to fill my time. By April this year, I was trying to put her advice in action.

Late in April Andrew McDougall, author of the blog “The One Hand Man”, posted on Mumsnet that he was looking for an adoptive parent to be interviewed on his blog. Feeling keener than ever to reach out to others in more ways than just an online forum, this seemed like a good way to try it out…I would get a chance to see how I might be received in the blogosphere! And when I answered Andrew’s questions, I found I enjoyed doing it. I had found a ‘distraction’ from home life. Why is writing about adoption a distraction from adoption issues? I’m not fully sure, but as long as I was writing about something other than ‘reunion’, I found myself getting completely absorbed in the writing and forgetting everything else. So by the time he was editing my answers for the first interview post, I was setting up a WordPress account.

About 8 months later, “Last Mother” is still, for me, a way to fully absorb myself in something else than is happening right that second, but it’s more than that. I’ve found amazing people online who understand, I’ve had my posts (and my DD1’s) shared around the internet, and I’ve been able to express my views on a wide range of subjects and find people who are interested in hearing what I’ve got to say. Which feels a bit odd really!  But it’s very gratifying to be told that something I wrote was helpful, or interesting, or gave a new perspective on some issue. I don’t find the time to write as much as I would like, but I hope to be blogging for a few years to come.

My readers are some of the kindest and most understanding people on the internet in my opinion, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you for being so kind and supportive, and making blogging much more enjoyable. Also, thanks to the authors of all the amazing blogs I love to catch up on over a cup of tea. You are fantastic writers, and provide so much support and advice.

My blog is at  http://www.lastmother.wordpress.com

I’m also on Twitter now @LastMum

Me & My Blog – The One Hand Man

1HmanToday we’re sharing the story of how The One Hand Man blog was started. If you’d like to share your own blogging or tweeting story then please do get in touch. For now, we’ll leave you with The One Hand Man

 

 

I was having dinner with my wife and my parents at my folks’ house. I was explaining the latest twist in our journey into parenthood when my mother turned to me and said:
Good lord, it is beggars belief isn’t it? You should write a book about all this…”

The seed was sewn.

The front of my brain continued with our conversation, inevitably turning to my brother’s exploits abroad, but at the back of my mind an idea was being created with a fury.

Six weeks or so later, I penned my first blog post, having spent nearly four hours on it, and published it.

Back in March 2012 we were mid-way through the adoption process. The thought that had been planted by my mother had now blossomed. The idea of a book was at the time a little long-winded, so having looked into blogging, I started theonehandman. Once I penned the first few pages, the ideas started to flow, and I quickly reasoned that a lot of what I had been through with the IVF and infertility was too good not to write about. It was a very cathartic experience.

It started as a retrospective diary from my first sperm test right the way through to our son moving in, a time period covering close to five years.

Once I had told my story of how I became a father, I shifted the focus of the blog to look at helping other adopters. I felt that the experience we had through the adoption process was more than anyone should go through, so wanted to provide advice, guidance and tips.

I will continue to dispense this advice for as long as people need it, and as long as I feel it is valuable. It is also a chance to continue writing about the teachings of parenting my toddler son, parenting in general, and being a stay at home dad.

My blog has now become a borderline obsession, and despite my failure of A-Level English, it has made me realise how much I like writing; so much so, I am now pursuing a career in it.

I would like my blog to be able to pay for itself, so I am looking and small ventures to monetise it. However, there is nothing better than receiving a comment or email from a reader telling me how much they have enjoyed a post, or how much it has helped them. That is perhaps the most important bit. Without readers, my blog is a page full of words. Yes they are my words, but if they can help other people, or provoke a thought in someone then it becomes a little bit more.

I am incredibly grateful to my readers. There is something quite narcissistic about writing about oneself, and so I am genuinely grateful there are people who continue to read even if I strike a bum note every now and then. I hope I can continue to provide useful information, and indeed improve the quality and usefulness of what I have to say.

To read The One Hand Man’s story and see his advice for adoptive parents, then you can find his blog here.

The Puffin Diaries

Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries shares how her blog came to be…

Puffins

I can’t spell to save my life, my English homework was always covered in red ink. I would never have thought that I would be able to write a thing, and yet one evening I sat at my lap top and decided to start a blog. I blame it on twitter it would never have happened if it wasn’t for that pesky form of social media. I innocently signed up to that “just to have a go” and yet I suddenly discovered lots of adoption types out there, sharing their lives, the good and the bad, all in 140 characters. I then realised some shared more ….on their blogs.

 Reading other peoples blogs became addictive. The content is of course very important but the style of writing and the tone of the blog, the characters, are what draw me in. Some blogs provide you with moments of clarity about your own life, others give excellent advice, most share their experiences and in doing so invite you to join their journey.

With each post I read a seed of intrigue was planted, what was it like to write a blog?

The seed soon bloomed into a fully fledged desire to have a go, so I did.

 I’ve never been one who wanted an adoption blog, in fact my blog started off being about me. I was on a mission to change my life and giving up alcohol for a year was going to be the answer to all my life problems. Turned out that’s not the case but more on that another time.

So there was my first post, where I lay myself on a blogging plate for all to inspect.

I took a deep breath and waited. What would the verdict be? Good it was good, thank goodness, as the bug had bitten me and I wanted to write more. Without thinking my second post was an adoption related post, realistically it was what I had to write about. The lives of my children, our relationships, the story of them and us, began to unfold on the screen of my laptop.

050 It still was not wholly an adoption story, my own experiences of living with depression soon made it to the big screen, revealing the often over whelming depths of my despair. My love for my newly acquired camera also became apparent as I tried to find more interesting ways of photographing my kids without showing their faces. The challenge of presenting a moment in time and an expression, from the curve of a child’s back or the tilt of their head has consumed my photography to a point where I often forget to capture their beaming faces for the family album.

065 It would never be long until a family passion for food crept into my writing and image making, and the same can be said of our love for the outdoors. Living in such breath taking surroundings (my humble opinion) we often reach to the outdoors for family solace and inspiration on how to move forward. Incredibly the natural habitat often obliges and offers renewed vigour to our sapped life.

 So The Puffin Diaries has evolved to what it is today. I love writing my blog but I am a little sporadic.

Life unfortunately gets in the way, and when times are tough I actually find sharing it all too difficult.

I write very much from the heart and when I feel vulnerable and exposed emotionally, as my life and adoption can make me feel, putting it all out there doesn’t always seem right. Sharing food and photos at these points also seems frivolous in light of the darkness I’m living in, so yes the blog does get neglected at times.

 However, I am extremely grateful for the amazing opportunities writing my blog has delivered to me and all the wonderful new friendships I have forged through blogging. Writing is now something I love to do and technology (spell check) means no more red ink, but if the odd miss-spelt word does slip through, please forgives me. 

Here’s how to connect with me…

Tweet : @puffindiaries
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ThePuffinDiaries
Blog : http://thepuffindiaries.com/

Me & My Blog – New Pyjamas

New PyjamasEver thought about blogging? Not sure how or why to do it? Here New Pyjamas shares why she blogs, and why she took the leap into Twitter…

I have previously blogged around a common theme of crafty, creative, baking, scrapbooking, sewing stuff and loved it. I had joined in with a few blog hops, even ventured into a few online classes, loved it, learned loads, had fun and found loads of really, really, creative and talented people to connect with and to be inspired and admire their creativity. I loved it.

Mostly, at the time, I connected with bloggers from across the pond – as this was several years ago and “bloggyland” seemed a little smaller here in the UK, at the time. Then, I began my journey towards adoption and found that my time was swamped with preparation and assessments and I blogged less and was perhaps less creative with all the crafts and also felt that with privacy, I couldn’t write about my adoption plans on my blog and my blogging stopped. 

Fast forward for the last few years of deciding, being accepted by and agency to adopt, preparation, home study, approval, searching, matching, panel, Introductions, my creativity seemed to go into getting a room ready and Introductions books ready for the adoption.  Then PJ arrived and whilst I have real friends and connections with some who have adopted, I began to miss the connection I had once known through blogging. 

I missed the outlet I had once known for expressing my thoughts, inspiration, my learning – my journal or diary, my voice or my desire to be heard and listened to was lacking and silently shouting out to be let out once again.

This was my story, my song and I needed to shout it out. I missed the opportunity to learn and share ideas through blogging and at times felt isolated. After thinking and chatting with friends, I decided to blog again and to write about adoption – my story, as I am adopted and our story – my journey and life with PJ, my little girl I have adopted. So, at the start of the year 2013, New Pyjamas was born. I needed to set it up on a different platform to my previous blog but felt that I have my own story to share, a chance to reflect through the art of journaling through a blog and who knows, my words might help someone out there too?

I am a single adopter and sometimes the feeling after bedtime of being all alone is a negative one.

In an attempt to break the isolation, blogging helps. I have quickly connected with other bloggers who are on their journey to adopt, adopters who have adopted and have found a great sense and strength in finding others who understand, those whose experiences who are similar. I have found some great ideas, shared experiences, shared joys and disasters, blog hops, fabulous linkys to join in with and had some lovely and needed and valued encouragement along the way, so far. The power of isolation has lessened its’ grip and a sense of community is growing.

Twitter is very new to me. I am a slow learner and I had always thought I was too much of a twit to tweet. I have begun to dip my toes in, tentatively. It could so easily be all time consuming, so I try and pace it alongside life, PJ and doing the washing up. It is another great community and can be a quick connection for ideas when you don’t have time to blog about your problem you would dearly love to be fixed!

I have been so encouraged by finding others through the #WASO that has now grown into The Adoption Social and am learning all the time. There are some great Ambassadors here who I honour and admire their honesty, tenacity and their writing skills.

 

Click here to go straight through to New Pyjamas. Or find her tweeting at @newpyjamas on Twitter.

Me & My Blog by The Boy’s Behaviour

me and my blog

 

 

The Boy’s Behaviour is written by Vicki, who adopted her son Mini, then became a birth mum to Dollop a few years later. This is why she blogs…

 

 

 

We got to our lowest point. That’s how it all began.

With this low point came the overwhelming need for help, and it wasn’t just a low point, we were critical I think. As Mini turned 5 he was no longer under the jurisdiction of the awful health visiting team, and so I approached our GP. This was the turning point for our family, and the moment when I decided to start recording the details of Mini’s behaviour, my feelings, and our family life.

I knew this would be a long journey, and I needed to write it down.

I’d been dipping in and out of Twitter, reading the odd blog – desperate to find others like us. I knew there must be others out there, and I wanted to read more than just 140 character snippets, or paragraph long forum posts. I found Sally Donovan’s blog, and after reading for a while, identifying with much of what she’d written, I knew that blogging was the way I wanted to go.

Blogging is amazing. I see it kind of like an open diary that I don’t mind if you read. It allows me to empty my head of all the crappiness, which lets me concentrate on the important stuff (and the boring daily stuff) I have to do. Writing it all down helps me order my thoughts and digest things. It enables me to share some really difficult times with people who care about us…I struggle to do that in real life, tending to put on a brave face instead.

I’ve encountered a few awful comments, I’ve had a small family argument after a post was misconstrued, I’ve had to consider risks to our identities, and I’ve had to think about how much I share and how Mini will feel when he reads it all someday. But mostly, I have found THE most supportive community ever.

This group of strangers is incredible. There is almost always someone on Twitter for me to talk to, or listen to. They read my blog and give advice, or just virtual hugs. I have found people that not only read, encourage and support, but they do so knowing how I feel, because most of them have had similar issues too. And amazingly, other people have read my blog and had to courage to reach out for more support for themselves. I’ve even been nominated for awards, and shortlisted for one too just for writing about my life…how incredible is that?!

I’ve become more than just another parent blogger. I’ve become one of a growing number of adoptive parents reaching out to each other via the internet. Some are fast-becoming good friends, and I’m looking forward to meeting many of them.

Along with writing The Boy’s Behaviour , Vicki is also co-founder of The Adoption Social. You can read more about Vicki on our contributors page, or on her blog. She’s also on Twitter @boysbehaviour and Facebook – www.facebook.com/theboysbehaviour

Me & My Blog by Life With Katie

Life With KatieToday’s Me & My Blog post is written by Gem at Life With Katie. Here Gem shares how she got into blogging and why it’s so important to her now…

If you want to share your own blogging story, please do get in touch with us here.

Until about 3.5 years ago blogging wasn’t particularly on my radar. We had gone through the adoption process and had been matched with Katie. I had met a wonderful group of amazing fellow adopters through Babyworld and had the opportunity to join in with their meet ups and meet real life adopted children so I didn’t particularly look elsewhere for information or support. I kept an online diary through Babyworld but that was about it.  

‘Life with Katie’ started life as TwoBecomeThree and was primarily a diary tool for writing about our introductions so that my friends and family could keep up to date with all the exciting news as it unfolded without the need for phone calls at a time when we were exhausted.

I’m so glad I kept that diary because the days of introductions are a blur and I love re-reading that special time. It will also be a lovely legacy of memories for Katie as she grows up.

Fast forward a year and my adoption group (The A Team) were pondering how to support National Adoption Week. I had signed up with our LA to be a media representative but knew that we weren’t really a newsworthy adoptive family. We’re really rather ordinary with nothing to single us out so I turned my attention to my blog, dusted it off a bit and decided to promote it to raise awareness of adoption. I was concerned about how much negative press there is about adoption and wanted to share our ordinary little family to show that adoption can be really positive.

But how do you promote a blog?
Ummmm Twitter!

But wasn’t that a place full of faceless, slightly odd people? I decided to dive in and give it a go nonetheless, after all I’m slightly odd at times too. I nervously signed up for an account, started following people who showed up under the word ‘adoption’ in the search criteria and started tweeting my blog around. Slowly I found other adopters and gained some retweets of the blog from Adoption UK and BAAF. I made a point of tweeting well known adopters and got very excited when Sinitta retweeted a link to my blog and people replied to me. That was the point I was hooked. I felt like I was starting to do something to promote adoption.

But then something else happened. I started to find other adopters and adoption bloggers. We started to chat and share stories and support each other.

A whole community evolved on Twitland, a world of lovely and very real adopters who laugh, love and very often struggle on a daily basis. We share information and insights and support each others blogs. We share highs and lows and daily tidbits.

Life with Katie also evolved from being a promotional tool to being a part of my family. I process most of my emotions and parenting decisions, both positive and not so positive through my writing and the blog has held my hand through some difficult times as has the online adoption community. I’ve learned so much from reading other blogs and the comments I’ve received on my own blog. The community online are fabulous and we are always happy to embrace new adopters to our clan so if you’re reading this and still at the lurking, very nervous of dipping your toe in, stage don’t be shy. Come and say hello.

Nearly 2 years ago, now a seasoned blogger (and adopter apparently), we decided to adopt again. Aside from the fact we were going to actually put ourselves through the adoption process (something I swore never to do again), it meant I could no longer be TwoBecomeThree online. The obvious progression was ThreebecomeFour (you can see I’m nothing short of original in my thinking) and the blog eventually changed its name to Life With Katie.

For National Adoption Week in 2012 I hosted a week of adoption stories from other bloggers and friends and worked more closely and was supported by not only Adoption UK and BAAF but Coram and a host of other agencies. Life with Katie is shared by agencies with their prospective adopters and people contact me through the blog and it’s been wonderful and a privilege to support several people through their journey towards becoming parents.

The online community shared in every moment of our adoption process and celebrated as we were approved and matched with Pip, Katie’s half biological brother. Nearly 7 weeks ago Pip joined us, aged 7 months old and our world has become far more hectic than ever before as I get to grips with his routine and job of juggling two children. It’s been a big adjustment and has been totally wonderful but not without some trials and tribulations and has left me an enormously tired and with reduced daily time for tweeting and writing (how dare the life I’m writing about interfere with the time I have for writing about the life I’m writing about!).  

I’ve been neglecting my friends online woefully but I know these are the people who understand the most and will forgive me. I am missing writing as much as I did and all the friends and community that Life with Katie is now a part of but hope to find my balance again soon.

Do come and say hello to me either on Twitter (@threebecomefour) or at the blog Life With Katie and keep my fingers actively tweeting (and help save my baby-tired brain from total atrophy). In fact thank you to Vicki and Sarah for asking me to write this and helping with that very condition.

Me & My Blog – Grey Street

Lindsay from Grey Street

 

Lindsay from Grey Street is an adoptive mom and step-mom living in Canada – this is why she writes…

 

 

 

 

I started blogging about our family’s everyday happenings as a way to keep in touch with extended family and friends who live far away. But when our plans for children came to a crashing stop and we entered the adoption world, I found myself scouring adoption blogs to find information and get the non-social worker, nitty gritty low down answer on what adoption was really like. What were we really getting ourselves into?

And so as our journey evolved, so did my blog and my writing. Instead of just reading what others bloggers were doing I joined in and found a great adoption blogging community

You see, if you don’t know already, adoption will pull and stretch and sometimes kick you into dark cobwebbed closets and it will bring you to the top of the highest hills in the brightest sunshine. It’s hard. And wonderful. Sometimes in the same moment. And sometimes we need to shout from the rooftops how in love we are and sometimes we need a place to cry and say ‘help’.

Adoption bloggers understand those highs and lows and they don’t brush you off and say things like ‘all kids do that’ or ‘it’s just a phase’. They say things like ‘I’ve been there’ and ‘Read this article, it helped me when we were going through the same thing’. 

And so writing my experiences not only helps me process all the highs and lows adoption brings to my life, but it connects to me to others who understand and make me feel not so alone in this crazy journey.

You can read Lindsay’s blog here, and see her link-up regularly with The Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

 

 

 

 

Suddenly Mummy

Suddenly Mummy biog

 

Suddenly Mummy is a single adoptive mummy and foster carer, here she shares why she blogs, and what blogging means to her…

 

 

Even before I formally applied to be a foster carer, I decided that I would have a blog documenting the whole experience and that it would be called ‘Suddenly Mummy’.  I’m not sure what motivated me at the time and it was actually months after I was approved that I got around to making that first post, but once I got my first comment, I was hooked!

I guess my imaginary future blog was a bit like my imaginary future child.  I had thought about it and named it, but hadn’t really got any clue as to how that might work out in real life!  I was new to blogging, had no idea how to get my blog ‘out there’ and not much desire to find out really.  At first it was only about writing (which I love), documenting moments I didn’t want to forget, and keeping distant friends and family in the loop with what was happening.  I thought that if nobody else ever saw it, that would be fine with me.

Yeah, well, that didn’t last long.  Pretty soon I noticed that my stats page would tell me how many page views I had, where my readers had come from, and which of my posts were most popular.  I started checking . . . it got addictive! When I started getting the odd comment, I found the feeling of connecting with and hearing from the outside world strangely exhilarating.  I wanted more!

Then I was introduced to the blog of a friend of a friend, and through that, to #WASO.  I had never even heard of a linky before and had to ask for tech support to work out how to put the #WASO badge on my blog!  But once I started linking up each week, my page views, comments and other stats practically exploded.  Even better than that, I discovered a whole host of other superb blogs.

I had found a community I didn’t even know I was looking for.

I suppose there are some who would think it a bit sad to get so much out of an online community. Why don’t you go out and meet some ‘real’ people?” they might say. Easier said than done!

I am a single parent and carer. I have one adopted child, and I also foster children aged 0-3.  That means that during the day I am running around like a crazy woman, and in the evenings I am tethered to the house.  I do get to meet other foster carers at mandatory training and things like that but, although I spend a lot of time with other families with young children, I don’t actually know a single other family who have adopted a child within the last 20 years.

It takes a lot of time, perseverance, effort and kind babysitters to get out there and meet brand new people.  Thankfully, my laptop isn’t so high maintenance.  Sitting here in the evenings, blogging and reading blogs, I get to ‘meet’ adopters and adoptees from all walks of life, with all types of experience, and from all over the world – impossible for me to achieve in the ‘real world’.

Added to that, I’ve found that connecting with adopter bloggers has not only given me an insight into adoption (and everything I’ve got to come!), but has also opened up a whole new dimension for me as a foster carer.  Now, when I’m preparing a child to go to their new adoptive family, I have such a clear idea of the experiences that family may have gone through; their hopes, wishes and dreams, their heartaches and yearnings.

I have known the longing of childlessness, but I have never tried to have a birth child.  I have never been through the dashed hopes of infertility, the trauma of miscarriages or the indignity of infertility treatment.  I adopted my little one after I had fostered him for a year so I have never had to leaf through a magazine of heartbreaking images of children’s faces, looking for ‘the one’.  I have little in common with many adopters, but through reading honest and open blogs, I can add the experience and knowledge of so many others to my own.

Now, when I’m preparing to meet that new adopter for the first time, I have a clearer picture of where they have come from.  I can let myself walk in their shoes a little, understand some of their anxieties, prepare myself for their questions, and even answer the questions they might not ask.

 Hopefully that makes me a better foster carer, and a better parent.

 When we choose to connect ourselves to others, to learn from them and embrace their perspectives, then we all come away enriched by the process.  As I continue blogging, I discover that what was meant to be just an outlet for me has become much more than that.  And if anyone thinks that’s a bit ‘sad’, then I’m ok with it!

You can read Suddenly Mummy’s blog here, she’s also a regular contributor to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out.