Chapter 4 – Moving Back to London
The decision has been made, and Rich does seem like a massive weight has been lifted, the constant traveling back and forth was too much for Rich but until you are actually living in the situation you will never really know exactly what it is like. We owned a holiday home near to where we moved and we of course loved every minute of it, a break from the city with many beaches and the weather always seemed to be lovely. Most of us can admit to wishing they lived somewhere we have been on holiday as you only see the good side to it, we didn’t think the traveling would be a big deal as we just saw a lifestyle that we would enjoy. Well at least we can say we gave it a try and who knows we might end up living back there one day, but for now Richard’s health and wellbeing is far more important. I think my own feelings towards the decision are mixed as we have been living here now for two years and I do feel settled, the boy has started nursery and thinking about it I have been able to create a new life as I am here most of the time, whereas Rich is only living for the weekend and we don’t want to lead such separate lives during the week.
First things first, let’s break the news to our parents who I’m sure will be over the moon that we will be moving back to the area and prepare ourselves for them to be worried as usual about us as their sons having to go through the whole moving process again. Instead of planning a big trip to see them all and have the sort of awkward conversations face to face and avoid any sort of told you so, we decided to give both sets of parents a call now. We start with my Mum, as they have sort of been planning for their retirement to be located on island with us, so expect her to be a little shocked but as soon as I told her, she just laughed and said “lucky we didn’t buy that house we saw on the island then” so that was sorted. Rich now has to call his Mum, which he is a little nervous about as they do come and stay quite a lot but I am sure she is going to understand.
I can see in Rich’s face that he is really nervous about calling, as he is standing up on his mobile which is usually something he does for work phone calls, it’s just one of them signs that you get to know about each other and I can tell he is currently a little anxious. As soon as his Mum answers, he doesn’t mess about at all, he goes straight in with “Mum, we are going to sell our house and move back” and while his Mum is clearly responding to him, I can see his eyes filling up and he replies “don’t cry Mum” as his Mum was that happy that we were going to be moving back and tell him that she never really wanted us to move, but was only being supportive as she wanted to do her best for us but now she just wants us back. They chat for a little bit and end up talking all things houses, designs, areas and even specific roads to look at before saying bye. We them embrace, with a hug that sort of seals it for us, as this is not just a decision and change, that we are going to be making by ourselves but we have the full backing, as always, of our wonderful parents.
The family now all know, as we have given our parents the task of telling everyone, so we don’t have to explain it over and over again to everyone but now we know that the only person left is Gemma and in all fairness, to us she is one of the most important people to tell, as she is the person who can tell us how this will or will not affect the second adoption process. We have a home visit with her planned for Friday, so we decide to wait until we are face to face to break this news and hope it doesn’t change much or that she feels like we are messing her around and wasting her time, as we really are not.
Putting the impending conversation to the back of our minds for now Rich calls a few local estate agents to book valuations so we can hopefully get the house up for sale, as soon as possible. This is Richards world being a mortgage advisor, he can put his work hat on and really forget about the emotional side to the move. I am also worried about the boy and if the move is going to unsettle him as we will be living in a new house, which will turn mean a new nursery. In the adoption workshops this would probably make a great case study on how not to do things, but for our family in the long run this was right decision for our situation and we are confident will lead to the best possible outcome for the boy too.
In my head I had already chosen the new nursery I want him to go to, as it’s linked to a primary school and if all goes well, we can still get him a place at this late stage of the application process. His cousins already go there, so this was top on my list of things to make happen and because the boy is classed as a looked after child for life in terms of his education, he should get some sort of priority treatment and hopefully get the place that we would really love him to get. It would just make me feel much more at ease, if the nursery he starts in September will be with his cousins, as should make settling down a whole lot easier for him as he will have people there, he already knows.
Time is an important issue though as the new school year starts in September and it is currently March and selling a house is very unpredictable, especially a house with a swimming pool, so this is of course sending my anxiety through the roof. We need to be back living in the area sooner rather than later so the pressure was on, this is normal for me and Rich, as whenever we make these random decisions they always happen at the worst time. Although weirdly, we seem to both thrive on the pressure when working together and usually always seem to get the job done in time, at least we always have done in the past, so hopefully we can do it again and roll on Friday.
The past few days have been a bit weird, as we basically have been doing all this stuff related to moving but worrying about Gemma at the same time but thankfully today is Friday and Gemma is probably on her way by now and bless her she is unaware of the bombshell we are about to drop on her. I just hope she understands the reasons behind our decision and will not be disappointment at us for moving the boy again. I know the boy’s adoption is completely legal and we can do whatever we want but I am a worrier and I would hate her to think we didn’t listen to any of the advice given to us, but at the same time life happens and you cannot control these things. Gemma has been visiting while the boy is at nursery so he doesn’t hear anything which may lead to him getting excited or nervous about the idea of adopting a sibling, especially this early on.
Gemma pulls up onto the drive and Nutter goes crazy at the sight of her, so Rich is ready by the door to welcome her straight in, biscuits and kettle preboiled of course, which I am sure she must laugh at, as she never accepts the biscuits and always opts for the healthy specialist tea that we know she likes and then watches us tuck into the whole packet of biscuits. Maybe she knows its part of our coping strategy. We then sit in the usual spot around the dining room table and before Gemma has said a word Richard says “Gemma we have something to tell you and we hope you will understand”. Feeling myself awkwardly smiling at her I just look at Richard as if to say “JUST TELL HER” and so he does “we have decided to move back to London to be closer to our family and friends and limit the amount of time commuting, as I feel I am missing out on time with the boy”. Gemma looked at us both, smiled and simply said “that’s the best news you could of told me, I bet your parents are over the moon”.
Another massive weight felt like it was lifted off our shoulders, especially for Rich as secretly I think he is worried that his decision might have a bad effect on the second adoption. If I’m honest, I am really worried that this may cause a problem at panel but surely by showing that you have recognised how important being close to your support network is, then this shows you are good at making the right decisions for your family and essentially for a new child. I then explain how I feel to Gemma and as always she reassures me and explains that family life is not based on a textbook and most of the time neither is the adoption process, there are specific criteria that must be met but on the whole it is case by case and she feels we have a good one, even with the recent move in the mix. It’s always good for us to hear Gemma out loud and face to face, as you really feel like you are being listened to and no question is a silly question. Even if sometimes we may not like the answers, they are delivered in such a way that we understand the reasons and get on with it.
I do feel a little sad that we will be leaving this house which some people would dream of having, where you have sea views from the front window, walks on the beach every day and a swimming pool in the back garden, I mean what more could you want, but we have never been materialistic people and we will always choose our happiness over any house. We absolutely love being married to each other and being parents to the boy and want to grow our family, so the move is something we will face head on and compromise on things like the pool and sea views. Realistically, we can go swimming in a leisure centre whenever we want and drive to the beach whenever we want, so just need put things into perspective really. We then go on to talk more about the other reasons we have decided to move back and what plans we have already made, like getting in touch with the estate agents to get the house valued and up for sale as quickly as possible. Gemma was a little surprised, but at the same time not shocked as she knows us well enough now that if we have a plan, we like to go at it full steam ahead.
The conversation then went down that route of Gemma delivering difficult news, that we wouldn’t like, but that we were both completely expecting and that was that we would need to put our application on hold until we have moved and have properly settled into our new home. Once we are settled and this included the boy, who they would ideally like to be settled into his new nursery by the time of us reapplying, they would then come out and complete the visits, as they would obviously need to be in the home that the prospective new child is going to live. Gemma followed this not so great news, with some really lovely comments about how she felt the boy has a completely secure attachment to us both and that she doesn’t feel the move will have any effect on him, but to just be prepared and reach out for support if this was to happen.
So that’s it, once again we are starting another life changing list and things are already starting to be ticked off, we will be moving house, our adoption is on hold, but still happening and everyone was onboard and positive about it. This leaves one very important problem, we now need to find a new house to live in. For anyone who has bought a house, you will know it is known as one of the most stressful experiences you will ever go through, and this was the third time in four years so you would think we would be experts in it but the truth is we are both quite fussy about houses and of course we have completely different taste. Rich would have modern and minimalist, whereas I love old traditional features and lots and lots of stuff everywhere, so now the search really begins.
It’s now been a couple of weeks since Gemma visited and our house is officially up for sale with a few viewings but no offers just yet but we do have a second viewing today and we have looked at a couple of houses in the area we want to live in ourselves, but so far, we haven’t seen anything we wanted to make an offer on either. I have had an idea which is to move into the house we are currently renting out and that way we won’t rush into buying a house we didn’t really want, which will allow us to settle back into the area and get the adoption complete and then decide what we want to do next. The current tenancy is due to come to an end, so timing wise it worked out possible but I know Rich will feel terrible about it, as he will have to tell the people living there that it will not be extended but when I broached the subject with Rich, he was surprisingly really onboard with the idea. We are both happy we have sorted out our big problem but like normal we have done it as a team and come out on top like always. I do love how when we both set our minds to something we can work so well together with minimal arguments and get the job done. The journey to adopting our second child has changed our lives already and they are not even here yet, but I suppose being responsible for another tiny human was never going to be easy and we need to ensure their needs come first. So, we have now told the tenants and agreed on the date they are moving out, which means in my head I have already agreed the date that we will be moving back in, but Rich doesn’t know this just yet.
It’s nearly time for the viewing to arrive and as we like to let the estate agent do it all, we decide to take a walk to the beach the weather is rather bright today. The boy is super excited as whenever we all go to the beach together, it always ends up with some “crab hunting” which has become the boys favourite new game. He basically walks along the beach, lifting up any stone he can and look to see if there are any crabs, but of course there hardly are any, even though he loves to pretend that at least nine times out of ten that he saw one. Once we are all crab hunted out, we walk along the beach to a little sweet hut which we always get a hot chocolate at and the boy chooses an ice cream, even in the winter months, yes he still has an ice cream, whilst Nutter runs around dipping in and out of the sea.
As we start walking back with our hot chocolates, Rich looks down and I know what he is thinking, as we have loved living this way of life but realistically it is not possible for us and if we didn’t make this decision now then it would be a lot worse in the future. I tell Rich that we love him more than any house, beach or heated swimming pools and our happiness as a family has to include all of us, so that is exactly what we are going to do. We have already created so many amazing memories here that we will never forget, but it is now time to move on and make some more. Let’s not forget the reason we have even thought about moving back, it was because we want to become parents again and once, we have moved back and settled this will be possible. To lighten the mood, we all sit down on the bench looking out to sea and I decide it couldn’t hurt to ask the boy a question. “If you could have a brother or a sister, what would you like?” and without any prompt or persuasion he stopped licking his ice cream looked up to me with a huge cheeky grin and simply said “SISTER”. Both of our faces are beaming and the stress and strain of the situation just melted away, as the only important part that we should be focusing on, is that hopefully in the near future we will become parents all over again and give the boy a lovely little sister for him to look after and a gorgeous little princess for us to call Daddy’s girl.