Chapter 26 – It’s time to get to know him
Up early today, due to both being so excited to get back to Sally’s house and start the transition of taking over the boy’s care, as at the end of the week we will be bringing him home. We have to be there in time for his breakfast routine and observe, letting him get used to us being around and fitting into his normal daily routine. We’ve got our pad and pen ready to take notes on absolutely everything Sally does, to make sure we do not randomly change anything to throw him off and make him feel unsettled once we are fully in control of his daily life. According to the navigation on my mobile phone, it takes around an hour to reach Sally’s house and this takes traffic into consideration but knowing our luck with the roads, we are taking no chances and leaving at least an hour and a half before, to help combat any last-minute unpredictable changes or traffic jams. Richard not wanting of offend Sally with her food offerings has cooked himself a bacon sandwich this morning, as we simply cannot have any of his “foody” moments creeping in, whereas I have decided to just have a black coffee, as I was nervous enough without having to worry about whether she has a lock on her bathroom door or not. The realisation of meeting the boy yesterday has given us both a bit of a bounce in our step today and he is the topic of every conversation, but we have to keep bringing ourselves back to the reality that he probably doesn’t know who we are yet and will not even be expecting us to be coming back today. We crack on and get showered faster than normal, hoping this may speed up time and I am specifically impressed with how fast Richard has got himself ready. If only I knew this was a way of getting him fully washed, dressed and out the door faster, then I would have brought up the idea of adoption a lot sooner.
In the car ready to go, with Rich in the driver’s seat as I simply cannot cope with driving to places I do not know very well and obviously Richard does love to be in control and certainly isn’t the best passenger, as he is one of those annoying passengers who still think they are driving the car but without the pedals. A short pause and soppy moment of eye contact, before Rich says “let’s go see our son” and pulls off the drive. The thought of having a son has not really sunk in yet, but I suppose after all of the work we have put in and roller coaster of emotions we have been on, we are possibly still be holding back, well I know I am but Richard on the other has already ordered him his first Football kit with his name on the back. The drive down is so far actually really smooth, no surprise traffic issues and we are making good time, the satnav says we will be there twenty-five minutes early. Great, this means more waiting around which will drag no doubt but at least we will not be late and mean more time for my phone to charge in the car, as today I need it at 100% as I plan to take loads of photos and videos. The area we are in is unfamiliar to us, but this is normal when adopting as they try to not place a child into a new family from the same area, to avoid any difficult meetings with the birth family. It is also advised to avoid the area that the birth parents are from once it has all properly gone through, which totally makes sense when you consider why some children are unable to remain with their birth parents in the first place.
We arrive at Sally’s house and park in the road adjacent and play the waiting game, focussing on about three different clocks in the hope that one will be faster, as knowing he is so close is such a weird feeling. “Right, that’s it, I’m not waiting anymore we are going in” says Rich, about ten minutes early which is totally breaking his normal rules of following the schedule, so we get out of the car and giggling like a school girl I say to Rich “I can’t feel my legs, they won’t move, I am so nervous” but Rich just continues marching on, so I have to get a grip of myself and sort of float along the street. We can see the front door, so start picking up the pace as Sally’s front door is up about ten steps and it sort of becomes a jokey competition of who can get up there first, which I made sure was me but was too nervous to actually ring the bell. So Rich rings the door bell and a few seconds later Sally opens the door and greets us with a hug and says “you came back then, I knew you would” with a cheeky smile, then invites us in and apologises for being slightly behind schedule as she is only just making his porridge.
We both step into the kitchen and his chubby little self is sat in his highchair screaming in a frustrated way and Sally hurries in and explains that he doesn’t like being kept waiting when its feeding time. Looking at us with his big blue eyes as if to say ‘you are the reason I’m not eating my breakfast’ we both laugh and wave at him saying hello, then just sit looking at him in awe. We are literally watching Sally feeding him his blueberry porridge with each mouthful being swallowed down in one, clearly enjoying his food, so Rich says “he likes his food doesn’t he” laughing and Sally says to him “go on you feed him the rest”, knowing I would be completely jealous Rich turns to her and says “I think Lew might not talk to me for the rest of the day if he doesn’t get to feed him first, as I picked him up first yesterday”. Sally laughed and said that made perfect sense, sarcastically laughing and handed me the spoon, so I moved to her seat. Staring straight at me looking at the bowl of porridge, I scoop up a spoonful and delicately place it into his mouth and rather pleased that he took it Sally says “you’ll have to be faster than that, he’s not going to break”. He finishes off the bowl of porridge and then eats a handful of chopped up blueberries and dates, which apparently help him go to the toilet. I then wipe his mouth which he really doesn’t seem to like too much and Sally tells us to take him out of his highchair as it was now play time for him. Rich then takes over with play time and gets down on the floor, rolling around like a silly child himself but the boy seems to love it, just hope Sally doesn’t think Rich is going too far with his childish play as it’s only day two.
Pen and pad at the ready, I start to ask Sally which brand of porridge she was using and if he had any preferred flavours, how much milk does she use to mix it, how does she cut up the blueberries and how many does he normally have. I mean, anyone would think that I have totally lost my mind, as surely there is only one way to properly make porridge and cut up blueberries, but I want to give a good impression and show that we are taking it seriously. Sally didn’t seem surprised by my approach and questions, it was as if she gets asked this stuff all the time, she tells me what I need to know and then explains that as much I am being very organised which is great, there is no need to write everything down on paper as being a parent is nothing like reading from a textbook and following all of the steps. Sally being so lovely is then very reassuring about how she can already tell that we are going to be great parents and that we need to just relax a little, as we seem a little tense and possibly over thinking everything. She explains that she is not there to judge us but to support us in getting to know our son, what he likes and what he doesn’t like, to ensure that he has the best possible transition and that in a few days’ time, she will be expecting us to tell her how we might want to be doing things. I felt so much better within seconds of this little conversation, it was a like a little heart to heart with someone who you don’t know very well but you have that one special connection, the gorgeous little boy who is currently rolling around on the living room floor with Richard. The boy has a load of toys which were scattered around, so I join them on the floor and start playing with him and you can tell that he is loving all the attention but probably not us both waving random toys in his face, to try and get that two way interaction with him. I also think we must have said his name about a hundred times already and we are both loving how comfortable he seems to be with us. We may have spoken too soon though, as he starts to cry and crawls towards Sally. Who thankfully says “he’s fine, he just wants his morning bottle and will then have a little sleep”. I then grab the pen and pad again quickly, but awkwardly put it back down after the little chat we had earlier but Sally jokes “oh no, you need a pen to write this one down”. I take down all the instructions of how to make a 7oz bottle and how many a day he currently has, along with the times and the brand of formula. We then watch how she feeds it to him and realise that he has a little blanket, which seems to be comforting him while he drinks every single drop, so I make a mental note of this and will get buying some online tonight that’s for sure.
The rest of the day we help Sally with her routine when she asked us to, as today we are really supposed to be observing to ensure we know what to do when we eventually start taking over gradually throughout the week. We enjoy lots of play time with the boy today, with him clearly becoming a lot more used to having us around. I mean he must be loving it, as at the moment he has basically got these two blokes turning up for him to simply play and do every single thing that he wants for him. Towards the end of the afternoon, he starts crawling up to us and making some noises like he was telling us what to do, which was really lovely and made us feel like we are really starting to build that bond. Rich is clearly getting a little bit more of the attention, but mainly because he is the more playful one and just wants to get involved, whereas I am trying to be a bit more practical and ensuring we understand everything about his actual needs like the bottles and food. I mean in a few days’ time, we will be at home with him on our own and will not have Sally there to ask every couple of minutes what we should and shouldn’t be doing. Just before we were about to start getting ready to leave, I notice his face turned bright red, looking like he was in pain, so I shout to Sally that something seems to be wrong in a little bit of a panic, to which she replied “he’s doing a poo darling” which was slightly embarrassing, but we all laughed as she comes over to get the changing stuff ready. Again, another occasion where I needed the notepad to take down the brand and sizing of the nappies, as we really want to ensure we match everything he has now, to ensure that he is comfortable in what he is used to when he moves in with us and the only new thing is his surroundings. Sally seemed to change his nappy and have him clean within a few seconds, but I could so tell on Rich’s face that he was a little worried about how it looked like a military operation and was probably dreading having to do it himself soon.
It was coming to the time where we had to say goodbye and I have to admit that I was really starting to feel a little sad about it, but at least we have got quite a few photos and videos today, which will help us tonight when at home, as we can watch them over and over again. Sally explains that tomorrow we need to be there for the whole day, which will include breakfast, lunch, dinner and the bedtime routine. She also mentioned that we might even all take him out tomorrow to her local shopping centre and we could choose some clothes she needed to buy him, which sounded super exciting. We finish playing the game of building towers out of blocks for him to smash down and we both give him a cuddle and kiss goodbye. It felt like we said bye a good few times today, mainly because we were trying to extend our time with him for as long as possible, but Rich then says “come on babe, it’s time to go, it’s been a lovely day”. I wanted to just pick him up and bring him home, but obviously that isn’t how it works and although that is what we would love to do, we know that in the long run this way was the best for him. We say our final goodbyes for the day and give Sally a hug, leave him and walk slowly down the steps that we had raced up this morning, feeling a little down about leaving him behind. Rich puts his arm around me and I tear up, as today has been amazing, our gorgeous little boy really liked us and wanted to play with us so much, which means the world to us. We get into the car and start the journey back home talking about all the little things we think each other might have missed and just in general cannot shut up about how lovely he is. The conversation then turns a little sad though, as Richard’s brave face in Sally’s was all a front and he breaks down a little bit about how he doesn’t understand why we have to leave him, but I comfort him by explaining how today has been everything we could have wished for and more, with only six days to go before we will be bringing him home with us forever. I put my hand on the back of Richards neck and just comfort him while he drives us home, both feeling a mixture of emotions of being super excited for tomorrow but inside missing our little boy and already feeling lost without him.