Sunday, 20 December 2009

more musings

We had another homestudy this week. Got to the nitty gritty of how Flash and I met, what we thought of each other, what we like about each other etc. It is something that you normally take for granted in a stable relationship, so it is a lovely boost to self esteem and confidence to hear your husband talk about you in glowing terms. And I hope he felt the same about what I said about him. We also had a debrief about prep course and one of the things picked up was that we didn't seem comfortable joining in some of the role play/visual/practical elements of the course. we both strongly disagreed. As lecturers, the techniques used on the course were very familiar learning tools and over the course of our careers we have tried and discarded several of them. So having them used on the course when we felt that other methods of getting the point across would have suited us better was something we commented on. I am sure others on the course found them useful however. I think that just because we did not fully interact in a particular activity does not mean that we cannot see what it means or understand the message behind it. So after a long chat with Bonnie about this I think we were all reassured as to our real understanding. This probably sounds quite vague and confusing, but if you go through a prep course, you will understand.

So to Christmas. Lots of friends visited, (even braving the snow to be sociable) and all pointing out that this could be our last Christmas as a family of 3. And the sudden realisation that approval in April is really not that far away. I am getting a little impatient now and want to subscribe to CWW and BMP but also feel that it would be too much of a jinx on the process to do it too soon. See what battles between head and heart are set off by this process! I showed my mum the BMP website and she was nearly in tears just looking at the short profiles. GOK how she will be when she starts getting more information about what some of these poor kids go through.

Anyway. In case this is my last post before Christmas, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Friday, 4 December 2009

a quiet week

Not a lot to report this week. We were supposed to have a home study appoinment this week but it was cancelled through illness. The common cold has a lot to answer for! Off to London this weekend to see Grease the musical. A birthday present from Flash. Here's hoping we manage to avoid the London Christmas shopping crowds too. We are hoping to add in a visit to the Tate modern too if time allows and I have requested a dim sum lunch in Soho. I don't think he quite knew what he was letting himslef in for when he booked it! My Christmas shopping is going well - via the internet as I really hate shopping, crowds and queueing for the park & ride. Bah humbug!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Final prep course day

Do you know I quite got used to being the student for a change and I will miss the prep group sessions, not least because of the lovely people we met on them. I sent them all the address for this blog so if you are reading guys - you know who you are and hope you are well and things are progressing with home study.

This last day concentrated very much on the types of contact arrangements that we can expect between an adopted child and their birth family. This can range from no contact at all (very rare) through letter box contact (common) to direct contact with siblings/grandparents (reasonably common) and direct contact with birth parent (very rare). Each adoptive and birth family is assessed on their likely ability to manage the different types of contact but of paramount importance is that whatever is decided has got to be in the best interests of the child. The likelihood of the birth family keeping their end of the arrangements is also considered as even if only one letter a year is to be exchanged, an adopted child could be further traumatised if they are expecting a letter that is not received. An adoptive parent came in to explain her arrangements - a combination of letter and direct contact - and it was really interesting to see how it worked and to hear reports of how her daughter dealt with the process. This is an area that we will be considering very carefully and I am sure will be disussed further in our home study visits with Bonnie.

In addition the approval and matching process was explained and we had a little flick through the Be My Parent and Children Who Wait publications. Because we are with a voluntary agency our child is likely to come from out of the area and so these publications are really useful for family finders. But we have a long way to go before we start looking - I think we will wait until Bonnie has finished her home study visits and while she is writing up the PAR, we can busy ourselves with the mags and websites.

Normally at this time of year we would be planning our next year's summer holiday, but we don't quite know what to do. If we go to approval panel as planned in April we could be matched within weeks or it could take months. So do we book a holiday with brother and sis in law like last year (Flash is very keen on this) and take a chance that we will either be matched early perfect (!) child will move in and come with us, or that we won't be matched until after the holiday? The realistic view is that if we are matched in the summer any holiday is likely to be too stressful for a newly adopted child so we shouldn't plan anything. But I do love the sun......!

Christmas plans continue and it feels strange that this could be our last as a family of 3. I try not to think too far ahead however as there are no guarantees of a quick match.

The next task for us to do is to finish off the prep group homework ready for our next meeting with Bonnie - a life story book to do for a hypothetical case, a few more bits on support networks etc.

But for now, I am off to do a bit more internet shopping for Christmas, with the Thanksgiving NFL matches playing in the background - packers currently winning against detroit but we still have the second half to go.

Friday, 20 November 2009

a funny week

It will be our last day of prep course tomorrow and I have been thinking a lot about what we have learned so far and how it will finish off tomorrow. Flash has finally calmed down after his individual interview with the SW, during which he pointed out what he perceived as weaknesses in the prep course.

With Children in Need on tonight, it has made me think how lucky most children are in this country and how much society in general tends to try not to think about the darker side of life. At lunch today a colleague was talking about a session she had just taught on child abuse. She teaches on an allied health programme and the students need to know about how to spot the signs of abuse in the children they see and what causes the types of injuries. To do this she used a lifesized baby doll and demonstrated the force with which babies can be shaken, how twisting of limbs (like chinese burns) can cause spiral fractures, not to mention the general beatings they can suffer. She also talked to them about sexual abuse and at the end of the session several students complained aboput the graphic nature of the images and examples she used and that upsetting stuff like that should not be taught on the course. Very wisely she understood that some of them may have encountered abuse themselves and has referred them on for support, but for several it was genuine shock that kids could be dealt with like that. So should we not teach about cancer becuase it might be upsettiung for some families? And should we not teach them about death, dying and bereavement in case they get upset - let alone think about the patients who may get upset! I have been teaching and working in my field for over 20 years now and even with increased media coverage of such issues, it seems as if some young people today have a very sanitised view of the world. 20 years ago I learned to take it in my stride that such things could happen and it was my job to learn how to deal with the victims of the abuse, not shy away from dealing with it. I hope that they take on board their lecture from today and view the Children in Need appeal in a different light, and also deal more empathetically with their patients in the future.

Anyway to round off a morbid post on a lighter note, I am off to see New Moon with my teenage nieces and nephews tonight. Oh, and my sisters also have to come along to chaperone - nothing to do with the muscle bound bare chests we are expecting to see in th movie.......!!!!

Have given up on keeping the Packers scores - seem to be disappointing me too often!:(

Monday, 16 November 2009

prep course day 2

For the second day of the prep course we looked in more detail at the types of abuse that children suffer. A couple of horrendous case studies illustrated exactly what a lot of these children go through. There was some more group work and we also learned the fundamentals of Theraplay. This was useful up until the point we were asked to try out theraplay on each other. It just doesn't work between 2 adults and so turned into a weird session. One of the things that was disappointing was that we were told self esteem and understanding why looked after children have so little of it is one of the fundamental things we will have to address with a new child. But we only spent 10 minutes on it. I am wondering whether it was genuinely a time issue or whether it was glossed over on purpose so that we didn't think about it too much and back away from the process.

Flash is not finding the prep course useful - not enough theory and too many 'silly games' for his liking, and I tend to agree that some of the content could have been delivered in a more constructive way.

A busy week all round - took part in a fundariser for the Willow foundation which raised over £900 went shopping, visited the in laws. I have come back to work for a rest!

Friday, 6 November 2009

start of prep course

Today we started prep course, which has made it a busy week as I had my individual homestudy appointment yesterday as well. I will start with that one first. We went into my childhood in a lot of detail; talking about my earliest memories, what sort of parents had mum & dad been, what sort of things they did with me and my sisters. We talked about how that has influenced the adult I am today and what impact some of the losses in my life had had. It got quite emotional at times, but apparently that is a good thing, becuase it shows that you can let your emotions out, rather than hold them in, which could be quite damaging if, when a child is placed with you you start to internalise the emotions they bring out in you.

The 1st day of prep course today was starting to learn about the issues that affect the adopted child. We covered attachment theory, family dynamics, child development stages and the highlight of the day was when an adoptive mum came in to talk about her experience of the adoption journey. This was particularly useful for Flash - he said that taught him more than the rest of the day put together. We have both come away buzzing with ideas, thoughts, fears, emotions - you name it I think we have felt it today. So we rounded off the day with a bit of retail therapy to calm us down, of course in the toy department of our local big store. Whether it was as a result of today I don't know but I think our nieces and nephews are going to find that Santa has been very generous this year!!

Between this post and the last we have also been busy with our 'homework'. we have now done our family tree and I have done my individual career and education histories, and my family networks as a child. Not that it stops there. We now also have homework from prep group, all of which goes toward the prospective adopters report (PAR).

The other adopters on our prep course are fantastic people, all with different backgrounds and reasons for wanting to adopt, and yet we all felt like we recognised each other from somewhere. I actually think we recognise the same place in each other, something in the background that binds us together on this journey towards parenthood, but who knows? We are all looking forward to next week!

So the packers lost last weekend, but then so did Flash and Flip's teams so we commiserated together! Tonight we are staying in out of the rain and tomorrow will be a day in the garden followed by an evening with fireworks. At least this year I have convinced flash that we don't need to do our own, so it's off to an organised display in big wellies and woolly hats!

Monday, 26 October 2009

support networks

We had our second homestudy visit last week, the themes of which were support networks and health and safety.

The health and safety check was not as bad as feared, with the vagaries of our old house taken into consideration. We have a checklist which needs completing by approval, so ages to get things done. Many of them will be dependent on the age of the child: socket covers, door and drawer locks won't be needed for an older child for example. But we do have to get a fire extinguisher and blanket, our smoke alarms work but we don't know how to test them so we're going to replace them. And we will need to show our insurance and MOT certs for the car to prove it is roadworthy. The one thing I need to think about is my kitchen. I am a keen cook and have my knives in a block next to the cooker where I can reach them . I am a bit precious about keeping them sharp and for that reason don't relish them being chucked in a drawer. Having raised one child with no incident this is one of those 'common sense' areas for me, but of course if the SW wants it, I am sure I will comply!

Bonnie questioned us in detail about our support networks and especially the 'grandparent' generation. We are lucky to have our parents fit and healthy with mine living nearby, but my dad especially is very set in his ways and perhaps is going to take some time to understand the needs of an adopted child. Let's just say his bark is worse than his bite, but he can bark very loudly at times!!

Had a brilliant day out at NFL London yesterday and we formed part of the USA flag during the national anthems. Game went as expected with the patriots outplaying the bucs. Also had a good result from the Packers again this weekend.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


I pity poor Bonnie. She gave us some homework to do which was to write about significant life events which have contributed to us developing as the people we are today. I got quite carried away, and have ended up writing nearly 7000 words, or about 15 pages of A4 word processed in Arial font size 12. What I tried to do was to describe each event, reflect on what impact it had at the time and explain how it shaped the current me. Flash is not surprised at the length as he reckons that I am as gobby on paper as I am in real life ha ha! His is a mere 5000 words - not that it is a competition or anything! I have to add here that this is just what we did and is not expected at all by the sw. I think it is the academic background that makes the words pour out of us, but short lists of info are fine.

Having read each other's musings, it is interesting to note the different styles. Flash has concentrated very much on events, with a little detail about the people involved whereas I have briefly described the event and focussed much more on the people and emotions involved. I don't know whether this is a male/female thing, or whether it reflects our personalities. A couple of reminiscences regarding bereavement still have the power to bring me to tears and writing about them was very emotional. Reflecting on the breakdown of my first marriage was also interesting as I have read such a lot on theories of attachment and trauma in preparation for our adoption, that I can now see certain behaviours in a different light. I now wonder whether a lot of the issues my ex husband had with relationships (and still has to my observation) have their roots in the way his mother treated him as a child.

The other task we were set was to watch children playing. This is something that I will have to admit did not get done as I had the mother of all common colds last week which kept me in bed for 3 days and not feeling up to a trip visiting Flash's brother to observe their younger children. And of course, the weather was not great over the weekend which meant that the neighbours kids were all firmly in front of the telly rather than running around their (and our!!) garden as usual.

We had a lovely meal out with my mum and dad last night to celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary. To me they just don't look old or decrepit enough to have been married so long - mum must have been a child bride and mother lol!!

So we have our next visit from Bonnie tomorrow, the first to the house and I think we will be going through the health and safety checklist. I was debating on whether to offer cake or biscuits, but my conscience got the better of me. At our first meeting she had admitted to being a fellow weightwatcher, so at the meeting last night I bought a box of Rich Toffee bars and another of Peanut bars - only 1.5 points per bar! Was happy to have only put on a pound this week, despite all the cough sweets and comfort eating. Back on the wagon today!

Elsewhere, another good win for the Packers this week and I got 89 points for my fantasy team - the best of the season so far. It is NFL London on Sunday where I will be rooting for my second favourite team, the New England Patriots, not that I think they will have much of a problem beating Tampa Bay given current form!

I think Maggie has gone through the menopause - yes, my little ginger chicken has stopped laying and can look forward to living out her days in relaxed retirement.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

another hurdle successfully cleared

Today is a day I have been putting off and dreading for a couple of weeks. I work in a predominantly female environment, but with a male boss. Out of a staff of 23 (of which 4 are men) we have 3 on maternity leave, one due to go off in a months time, one just starting 3 weeks paternity leave for adoption and one literally just back from maternity leave. We have also had redundancies, staff leaving and not being replaced and so working up the courage to tell my boss about our adoption plans has been something I have not looked forward to. Anyway, I have just come back from meeting with him and he seemed genuinely pleased at our news. All that stress for nothing!! It seems silly, but I really feel that I can throw my heart and soul into the preparation work without feeling guilty for being yet another person to abandon the team. I tried to talk to him about time off for meetings and prep course and he was very laid back and said, whatever, so long as we know. This is such a different response to what I know other adopters have had (not with him, with their own managers elsewhere in the uk!!!), and it gives me confidence that I will be well supported throughout the approval process.

I have now ordered a couple of books from Amazon regarding attachment and parenting and will be going to the library later this week to get out a couple more - one of the benefits of being on the staff at a university is that you get to keep your book loans for about 8 months unless someone else requests them!

I have a really bad cold at the moment, passed on by my mum and dad who have just returned from visiting family in Ireland so will be going home early to get wrapped in a duvet and sip a lempsip or hot toddy, whichever feels most beneficial. I know which is better for me physically, but mentally the hot toddy might just nose ahead!!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

First home study appointment

Yesterday we had our first appointment with our new social worker. Am going to call her Bonnie. She is a lovely lady with about 15 years experience in adoption work and made us feel very comfortable straight away. We didn't really know what to expect of the meeting, but in the end it was very relaxed. She spoke to us a lot about our reasons for wanting to adopt, why we had decided not to try for our own baby and a short exploration of our parenting experience and general experience with children. This took about 2 hours at the end of which we did our CRB forms and made our appointments for 6 more visits. Oh, and we found out that our prep course starts in early November and that Bonnie is trying to get us to approval panel in April!! OMG, it is really starting to happen now!

We have also been given some 'homework'. We have to write quite a long piece on the story of our lives (individually) from birth, including any life events, major or minor that shaped us into the people we are today. We also have to put together a family tree, do a diagram representing our social network, a chronology of where we have lived since birth, a chronology of education since birth and we also have to observe some children of the age we want to adopt to get an insight on how they interact with each other and the adults around them (how they play, how long they spend on a task, what attitude they have to a task etc....). Well, how will we fit in work?? Which brings me on to the next topic. Bonnie questioned us quite carefully regarding the adoption leave and what we thought we would have to take and whether we thought that we would need to go back to work following the leave period. We are in a stable position financially, but wouldn't be able to have one of us as a stay at home parent, so we have a bit of thinking to do as to how to manage that. But nothing that has made us feel worried or anxious. We also got our first look at the publications Children Who Wait and Be My Parent. It is hard to stay objective when you see page after page of lovely smiling children and it is hard to imagine what they have been through that has meant they have ended up in the care system. You feel like you want to take them all home, but of course that is unrealistic.

Six years ago we adopted a pair of cats (since sadly deceased) from our local animal sanctuary, and looking at CWW and BMP brought back memories of walking around the cattery, looking at the profiles of each moggie and trying to decide which ones we might like. A decision that was taken away from us as soon as we set eyes on Winston and Meggie - we just knew they were the ones for us. And I am sure, that once we seriously start looking, it will be the same for our child. He or she is out there somewhere.

Our day finished up with a wonderful evening in the pub, taking part in the send off for my colleague and his wife who start the introductions to their new daughter on Monday. They are so excited, but nervous and anxious and so full of emotion it is unbeleiveable to think we might be in the same position in the not too distant future. One of my hobbies is card making so I tried to get the creative juices going and made a card for them (pictured above). They were so thrilled to get one specifically related to adoption it was really sweet.

So today I was going to start on some of the homework, but Flash has taken all the paperwork to work with him, so I guess he must be keen to get started.

Elsewhere, lost 2lb this week, the packers lost to minnesota and the chickens aren't eating very well cos they don't like autumn.

Friday, 2 October 2009

busy bee

It is the weekend at last thank goodness. I work at a university and this last week has been induction week. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE meeting the new students and welcoming back the old ones but it is a frantic week where even a quick trip to get a coffee takes ten minutes if you are wearing your ID badge, due to all the "where do I find ..." interruptions.

Last weekend we threw a dinner party for 12 as friends of my parents are over from America. We haven't seen them since we went to Myrtle Beach 3 years ago so it was fantastic to catch up in person rather than by facebook or email. We really need to learn Skype!

Seven days from now we will officially start home study with our new social worker. Suddenly I am feeling nervous, what will she ask, will we get on with her, will she like us! The only other thing I can compare to how I am feeling is getting up the courage to get to Boots for a pregnancy testing kit. What if it is positive - will I be able to cope, what changes will it bring to my life and am I ready for them? And if negative - how will I feel, will I be able to carry on and try again? Only time will tell and I really should not get into the bad habit of predicting how the meeting will go. One of our friends should be coming to stay that weekend, so we have planned to meet her off the train after the visit, then straight to the pub for a meal, a pint and a debrief.

This coming week is also a very special one as a friend and colleague of mine has been matched with his new daughter and starts his paternity leave next Friday! It will be fantastic to watch his new family bond and of course I will be prying as much information out of him as possible regarding the adoption process as ours proceeds. I know he and his wife were particularly commended on the quality of their PAR so will be interested to find out what made it stand out.

Here's to a good weekend of painting, gardening and a new haricut!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

health and safety on my mind....

In 2 weeks time we have the first appointment with our allocated social worker and on the phone she told us that one of the first appointments after that would be to look at health and safety issues at home. this could be a traumatic process. Our house is 300 years old with a 140 year old extension. We moved in 2 years ago knowing that there would be ongoing restoration and renovation needed but nothing urgent. The first room we tackled was the bathroom (Top right as it was, top left as it is now). Started in January and still not quite finished. Just some painting, a shelf and a mirror to go up and a blind for the window, oh, and the suffolk latch for the door - the old one crumbled when the door was stripped and I am having trouble finding one the right size to fit. So that is our first H&S issue - no lock on the bathroom door.

Next is all the steps as the house is on different levels, and the doors that fit the frames sometimes in the year but not in others. Various bits of rewiring to do that can't be done until we lift floorboards etc, which we won't do until we are ready to treat the woodworm; rotten window frames that can't be replaced without listed buildings consent which still hasn't come through. Oh And I must remember to unplug the dishwasher before every visit as it is currently plugged into an extension block which sits on the worktop next to the sink because we can't get at the original plug point for the old one unless we rip out and put back the worktop.... I could go on. Our H&S check will be very interesting!!!

Other stuff: wrenched my back yesterday so having a miserable day today; weight stayed the same this week so not too disastrous. One of the chickens is laying soft shelled eggs so need to increase grit in diet. Flip has a cold so that means I will have one just in time for induction week next week - my busiest week of the year:( But sis is coming to stay Friday night so an excuse to buy in a few bottles of red....:)

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Monday after the weekend before

We hosted a small party for Flip on Saturday as a belated 18th - we were on holiday for the actual day. Only 4 close friends over, so nothing too difficult to handle we thought. I cooked them meatballs with spaghetti, and pizza, so a sort of italian theme but purely accidental. I had said to Flip that I was happy for them to have alcohol so long as they steered clear of the spirits and I was in charge of doling it out. Why did I think that him agreeing would mean they would stick to it? So there was only the one vomiting episode (out of the bedroom window onto the grass so at least easy to clear up) and the toilet stayed unblocked. But I have decided that my son definitely takes after my ex, his father, in being a belligerent know it all when drunk. Kept telling me he wasn't drunk whilst weaving along as he walked. Didn't have a hangover except he hardly said a word all day Sunday and hardly ate anything either, cheering up by about 10pm Sunday. I don't think that he realises that you don't have to feel sick and have a headache to be hungover! Ah the joys of youth. So he was most upset when I wouldn't let him out on his moped until late Sunday afternoon to ensure maximum clearance of alcohol from his system. But on the whole it was a fun evening, and I am so glad he decided to keep it small!

Packers lost this weekend, to the Bengals - I ask you!!

Friday, 18 September 2009

up to my elbows in it

Woke up to a blocked toilet this morning. This has happened on a fairly regular basis since the new bathroom was fitted 6 months ago and we are sure it is to do with having a 6 litre flush (old stylee used to be 11 L) and a dodgy u bend. We know it is not the soil pipes as they were all replaced with brand new and my BIL (who is in the trade) was very careful about 'fall' and diameter of pipes etc. After a very patronising phone call with the Bathstore technical desk - must be the pipes as it is a woman on the phone so of course she doesn't know what she is talking about - I finally convinced 'Rob' that actually he was talking a load of s**t in trying to avoid replacing a faulty toilet. It really should not take 2.5 hours, drain rodding equipment, countless bucket loads of water, and finally, in desperation, the Karcher pressure washer to clear a blocked loo! - There's an idea, maybe I should phone up Ideal world and give then a new use for the Karcher to demonstrate......

Anyhow, BIL is coming over tomorrow to dismantle the loo and have a good look down the pipes. Am v glad that it is clear at the moment as Flip is having a belated 18th birthday party tomorrow and the last thing I need is a blocked loo plus a houseful of drunk teenagers.

Let's just say that I won't be putting the Karcher away until after the party....

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

american football

Sorry for posting again before the week is up. Just checked scores as the Packers was a late game on Sunday and had forgotten to check until now, and they won the first game of the season agains chicago 21-15.

Green Bay Packers is my team - can't bear soccer unless am watching my nephews play. Will be off to NFL London in October, a brilliant evening's entertainment if you have never been. Jessica Simpson may have slept in her Tomy Romo shirt before they split up. I share my sleep with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre..........oh those lycra leggings!

some limbo ramblings

Well, it's about a week since I wrote the first post and nothing much has happened adoptionwise, other than some lovely comments (thanks Ali, Goose, Mamumi!!) about the first post. We had our medicals a fortnight ago and were pronounced basically fit and healthy, although, as I mentioned before I have a feeling that my BMI will get mentioned at some point during home study! Unfortunately the one thing the medicals did do was leave the bank balance less healthy. Yes folks, one of the downsides of going with a VA is that you have to pay for your adoption medicals - £80 each, and of course dearest Flash conveniently forgot his chequebook when he went so I had to cough up! But then, it's a good investment when you look at the journey ahead and relatively cheap compared to the other expenses involved with child rearing!

Had a not so good week with the diet this week. Just couldn't stick to Ryvita and OD'd on Tiger bread - something I normally don't have a problem ignoring. Add in a couple of takeaways and even 6 hours of gardening and a round of golf at the weekend wasn't going to make a difference at the scales. So a pound on this week and trying to ignore the box of choccies in my desk that I was given today.

My sister is organising a fund raiser for the Willow foundation in November and so has asked me to sell some cards again. I started making them as a hobby and sell them for charity now in order to decrease the pile at home. Flash reckons I ought to put up prices and try to make some profit, but that would change the emphasis and mean I would have to start doing stuff that other people like, rather than what I like. He thinks I should be getting something for my effort. I have tried explaining to him that you don't get a return on money spent on beer (one of his hobbies - not to excess any sw's lurking!!) so why should I expect a return on mine? I will try to upload some piccies of my work when I get more handy with this blog business.

Babysat for my sis at the weekend and yes, you've guessed it - "when is he coming home?" Nephew has firmly decided his cousin will be a boy and will like football and haribo (not necessarily in that order!)

I think I will try to update weekly unless anything exciting happens in the meantime.



Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Introducing us and the start of our adoption journey.

Just a short introduction to get started. I met Flash 10 years ago on a blind date, introduced by a mutual friend who thought we would get on very well with each other. He was right! My then 8 year old son (let's call him Flip) was there for our first and second dates - a good start I thought! We married in 2005. In our ten years together the subject of adding to our family has come up a few times, but in the earlier years it just wasn't the right time - work, sport and general family life needed to be put behind us first. So by the time the topic was seriously discussed again, we both felt that with a now 18 year old son and the pair of us straddling 40 (me the wrong side, him the right side!!) adoption rather than birth child was the way forward. We have enough nieces and nephews to have satisfied the cutesy-baby-turns-into-terrible-tot years and both feel that an older child would 'fit' well within our family.

Our journey so far - and we are not very far - has been relatively simple. I rang two local adoption agencies, one local authority and one voluntary. The local authority phone call left me feeling that they weren't really interested. The VA call however was much different. After a half hour conversation which was hugely helpful they said they would get some info in the post to us and would very much like to meet us. A couple of weeks later we had our first meeting with the agency manager. A hour and a half later we walked out of the meeting feeling as if we didn't know much more about adoption and the agency concerned than our research had already told us, but that the agency manager knew a heck of a lot about us! Which I guess is what it is all about.

Fast forward a couple of months and our medicals are done, our referees have submitted their references and our first meeting with our allocated social worker has been booked.

This is where I explain the title of this blog. We met several weeks ago with each side of the family to tell them of our plans and to ask a couple of family members to be referees. My 8 year old nephew was fascinated by the conversation and had his own questions, which went something like this:

"are you having a baby?"

No we want to adopt an older child. It will be a new cousin for you.

"Why don't you want a baby?"

Because I'm a bit too old now ( stretching the truth a bit to reduce length of explanation).

"Where will my new cousin come from?"

Well, some children have to live away from their old mummies and daddies because they weren't looked after properly, or their mummies and daddies might have died and so there is no-one to look after them. So we will adopt a child who needs new parents.

"Oh. So do you choose who you want?"

No, we have lots of meetings with people who decide what sort of child would fit best with our family and then together we try to find one who would fit in well.

"So will it be a boy or a girl cos I would like a boy cousin"

We don't mind. We will have to see.

"Oh. So when is my cousin moving in?"

And every conversation since then where the progress of our adoption is mentioned we get "so when is my cousin moving in?"

So that is us: Lindyloodles, Flash and Flip. Hoping to add to our little family and in the process provide a loving and nurturing home for "my cousin".

I hope you enjoy following this diary. It will probably gather a fair amount of non-adoption detritus along the way, but I reserve the right to ramble on about (in no particular order) American football (yes, the season starts again this week - go Packers!!) Horseriding (just been on board again for the first time in about 15 years and could become my next obsession!!) weightwatching, cats and chickens. I also reserve the right to add or subtract from this list according to league positions, soreness of bum, pounds on or off and relative cuteness respectively.