15th February 2016, the day we were approved to adopt! I  remember this day like it was yesterday, and it got me thinking about some of the other big memories and thoughts/feelings of the last year. So much has happened in 12 short months, it’s definitely been a year I’ll never forget. Below are some of the memories/thoughts/feelings I’d like to share.

  • Waiting more than an hour before approval panel & then them asking some really strange questions, not really appropriate to the panel & not the questions we had thought they’d ask.
  • Being nearly crashed into on the way home from approval panel.
  • Being cryptical as to what we were celebrating when we went for a meal to celebrate approval as we only told a few people about adoption.
  • Endless checking of LinkMaker & hoping each discussion might be ‘the one’
  • Seeing her smiling face in her profile on LinkMaker & asking our family finder to enquire. I was out of the country at the time in holiday. When I landed back in the UK I had a conversation with our social worker & and read her CPR in the car. As soon as I got home husband & I talked & agreed to take it further. From there everything happened so quick.
  • Making lemon drizzle cake & the social workers taking it with them, they didn’t eat anything else, maybe my baking persuaded them to say yes?
  • We watched a DVD of her & because it was really hot that day we had the windows opened. It was also bin day, so the noisy rubbish trucks were going up the street. I remember not being able to hear the DVD properly & now every Wednesday when I hear the rubbish trucks coming I think back to that day.
  • Waiting the whole day at work to ring our social worker because I was too nervous to do it alone at work in case they had said no, i needn’t had bothered, apparently they’d decided on the train home after seeing us
  • Being exhausted that weekend, all that nervous energy
  • We just happened to be matched and needing to attend a meeting with the medical advisor & foster carer (4hrs drive away) in the two weeks that I was the only qualified OT in the Ward. Luckily I had a very supportive manager who said I could be off on the day I needed. After all, it was only me who was going to be picking up the pieces the next day anyway. Typical that everything was happening at once when work was really stressful
  • Social workers loved our intro video book, they got so excited
  • Choosing & building  furniture & decorating her room. Hoping she’d like it & hoping matching panel would say yes after all that effort. We only had about a month to do it all, and this included emptying a room full of computer equipment.
  • Almost being late to matching panel, the most important meeting of our lives and we were nearly late. Struggling to park & knowing every minute that ticked by was another minute we might be late. It was also the hottest day of the year which added to the stress. We got really grilled at matching panel, even the social workers say the level we got was unusual. I remember feeling quite emotional as I knew she really would fit well with us, and I felt it was my job to make the panel agree this, and to show them how much I wanted this.
  • Enjoying a night in a posh hotel to celebrate being matched & our last treat to ourselves. We were exhausted, so slept most of the afternoon.
  • Training for the GNR before & after being matched & how it provided a welcome distraction during quite an intense time
  • Actually running the GNR, just the weekend before we met her. I raised money for our adoption agency. It was emotional as I was really doing it for a cause so very close to my heart. On the day it felt like every step towards the finish line was a step closer to her
  • When we bought her car seat & got it fitted in the car, it felt more real, but it was strange driving round with a seat but no child for a few days.
  • The placement planning meeting, where we talked about the details of intros, think it all felt much more real then. This was really going to happen.
  • Meeting her birth family, such mixed emotions there, but I so admired their bravery and strength to do it & will be forever grateful. Can’t wait to tell her some of the things they told us.
  • Meeting her, standing at the foster carers door & hearing her run up to let us in. She had her favourite doggy friend we have you & she knew it was mummy & daddy.
  • Getting to know her those first few days. Getting soaked through that first day. Her walking between us holding both our hands & just grinning.
  • Her finally coming home for good in our wedding anniversary, it was like it was meant to be.
  • Lots moments of real joy with her, but also lots of really hard times too. feeling like every time it doesn’t go right, that I’ve failed because she deserves better. Also realising that I’m never going to be perfect, and I’m certainly not going to have it all together just a few months in. Learning to relax a little more and enjoy being a mum at last.
  • Struggling to come to terms with the huge life change, particularly around loss of work and change in role. Feeling a bit alone and lonely at times, but so very grateful for supportive family, some good friends, and an amazing church. Grateful for an amazing husband who is just great, we work so well as a team. Our social worker is also amazing & we really feel she’s looking out for us. Grateful we went with a voluntary agency who will be a contact for support post adoption order.
  • Being grateful for lots of outdoor space nearby, and some fab free activities to do locally. Our children’s centre is amazing, just what we needed.
  • Loving watching her get to to know our families, they adore her, and she adores them.

So that’s a bit of a collection of my memories and thoughts/feelings of the last year, and today, a whole year later we finally completed the paperwork ready to send the application for the adoption order off, so February 15th is yet again a significant day!

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