Chapter 5 – London, did you miss us?

July 21, 2020Richard and Lewis

It’s been a month since we have been living back in London and it turns out moving back into the house, we were renting out was the best idea ever. We were able to move back gradually giving the boy a longer time to get used to the idea and I have even been driving him back and forth to his current nursery on the Kent coast, so he could finish his first year with all his friends. I have already seen a massive improvement with Rich as his once ninety-minute drive every day for work, is now only ten minutes there and ten minutes back. The mornings and evenings are completely different, I actually cannot believe now how we coped for so long. We can all have breakfast and dinner together, without any rushing about or worries of being late for work. The boy is also really loving how close we live to his grandparents and cousins, as we have already seen them all more since being back.

I am missing the lovely evening dog walks along the beach, followed by a morning stroll in the countryside, which has now been replaced with rows and rows of houses and shops, but in the grand scheme of things this is really not important. We just have a slightly grumpy Nutter who probably misses all the freedom off the lead, so it now means longer weekend walks for him and probably quite a few day trips out with him tagging along a bit more. Both families are very happy we are back, as they can now just pop in for a cup of tea or coffee, instead of having to plan longer fewer visits to us and it has also opened up more babysitting opportunities, which is amazing for us to spend some time as a couple and maybe, just maybe get in the odd date night here and there. The house sold really fast which we were not surprised about as it was lovely and it was nice that a couple with young children bought it, as we know they will have so much fun there and hopefully create some lovely memories just like we did.

The boy has also got his place in the new nursery which has taken a lot of stress and worry from our minds and hopefully this will be him settled in education until secondary school but there is no need to even think about that yet, because based on how often we move we may be somewhere totally different again. I am only playing though, as it already feels like it was ‘meant to be’ and although we will miss certain parts of our seaside lifestyle, we are city people at heart and Rich is absolutely loving the buzz of it all. The plan, yes we do love a plan, is to live here for two years and then decide what we would like to do in terms of long term future, as although this is a lovely house, it probably would not have been our first choice but that is something that can change as and when needed or wanted.

The most important plan to be worrying about at the moment is our second adoption process, as this was placed on hold following our conversation with Gemma who we have been keeping updated on how the move has gone. We have set a date in the diary for next month for Gemma to come and see us here and hopefully we can continue on with the process, as we are now even more excited at the thought of having another family member. We have been honest with the boy on the reasons why we moved and explained that we wanted to be closer to our family as they are really important to us and of course he was more than happy with that, which child doesn’t want to be closer to their grandparents and cousins.

The boy has been making it clear when asked, that if he was to have a sibling it would have to be a sister, which is a complete shock to us as we thought he would want another boy to play with. I personally cannot say I’m not over the moon about it though, as the thought of having a little girl in the house would be amazing and I know you should never expect your children to be a certain way but all that’s running through my mind is Disney and Princess and make up and all those things that girls dream about. I would just want to make them all come true if we are lucky enough to get our own little princess. Rich and the boy have a really amazing relationship, as they have really similar interests like anything sport related and in particular football and Rich’s beloved Chelsea, I mean the boy has already got the actual kits. I do make sure that I show an interest in whatever the boy enjoys doing though, even if football does give me flashbacks to school those dreaded P.E lessons where I was always made to be goal the goalkeeper. I could never understand this decision, as I was probably the worst at saving any shots, as all I was worried about was getting out of the way of the damn round thing, they all go crazy for and chase around. Obviously, I know having a little girl doesn’t necessarily mean she will be into dancing or Disney, but for now it does give me a few butterflies of excitement.

We know from the boys adoption process that every child will need their own room which is ready and waiting, currently still filled with unpacked boxes from the move but I think a part of this is because once it is empty, it will stay that way until we know more about a possible match. We also do not want to confuse the boy and have this fully decorated bedroom with no child, as he would then do that thing that kids do and just continue to ask us “who’s room is that, who’s room is that”. The plan for now is to have a much-needed junk room as Rich calls it and just wait until we can choose which shade of pink we want, or just go full blown Disney princess. The rest of the house is fine and we won’t do any major work as we are still unsure what we will decide after the two years is up. We also want to treat this house differently and instead of going straight in, changing everything and then regretting some of the rushed decisions, we want to take our time and really work out what we would want and then get it done.

We are feeling confident with the second process and feel it may even be a little bit easier as we now have experience as adopters and parents, but the stomach-churning feelings are creeping back in which I think is completely normal. The journey with the boy was extremely hard emotionally but in terms of the actual process it went smoothly, so I guess this maybe something that could throw us. I keep thinking about how Gemma describes the boy’s adoption as a “fairy tale adoption”. I have to admit we are a little surprised that we have to go through approval panel again, as we have already been approved but the reasoning behind it was totally understandable as it’s not just about assessing us for being adopters it is now also about assessing how well we have done actually being parents and whether we could handle another.

The fact that we have one adopted child and have managed to get to a place where he and us are settled and happy doesn’t automatically mean it will happen again, so the second adoption being a ‘walk in the park’ was clearly not going to be the case. The most important part of it all is to make sure the boy is happy throughout and to address any concerns he may have before we even think about the matching panel, all his securities and bonding could come crashing down if this goes wrong and that is the last thing we would ever want to happen. The council may decide that they do not think it’s a good idea for us to have a second child and then we will have to deal with their decision, which would be a hard one to take, as we know we can give a good life to a child in need. I guess if this happens, I would feel a little robbed, because as a family we have naturally come to that stage of wanting to try for another baby but as this is not physically possible, we need to put the outcome into other people’s hands. This is always a hot topic of conversation with adopters from all different backgrounds, as knowing that there are so many children out there that end up in the care system it kind of feels like these thorough checks should be in place for everyone who is considering having a child, but of course we know this is just not possible.

Over the past year we have been asked to attend open evening events for potential adopters and just talk about our experience, which is always followed by question and answer sessions, where prospective adopters want to ask people who have been through the process and come out the other side, without the pressure of asking questions of the social workers directly. We have always been positive about attending these sessions, as remember just how daunting it was for us and we want to explain to people how the process truly feels, with the emotional rollercoaster, the times of stress but ultimately the biggest reward at the end of it and how it positively changes your lives. We also know just how many children out there are in need of a loving forever family, so if we can do just a little to help more of these children go to loving homes, then we will feel like we have done our bit. I have to admit that Rich actually does most of the talking at these events as he is far more sensible in those settings and I normally just add stuff as and when I feel it need to, which often ends in me rambling on about how wonderful the boy is and completely forget about talking about the process.

I will admit I have recently been looking at a lot of pink bedroom items, clothing and baby bits but I am worried I will jinx this whole situation if I buy anything, but it’s only natural, I think. I never thought we would ever be a parent to one child let alone two, so I don’t feel bad for getting so excited. “Maybe the full-on Princess carriage bed is a bit much though” for the moment at least, but Rich has said on a couple of occasions that secretly his head is spinning with ideas for a little princess. He is a forward thinker and loves organising situations practically, I am surprised he hasn’t been out and got all the stuff we may need in preparation.

The one thing with adoption that you just don’t get to choose is the name, so we have been playing the name game quite a lot, guessing at the sort of name the little girl we hope to adopt might have. It is strongly advised against changing a child’s name unless it is needed to under extreme reasons or for protection, which is quite a weird situation as naming your child is always something so special but when we first heard the boy’s name, we instantly loved it and it could have potentially been a name we may have suggested anyway. It is a weird to be thinking we will never choose our own child’s name, but we did put thought into his middle name which kept a tradition on Richard’s family going. I always said if I was going to have a daughter being a massive Disney fan, I would call her ‘Belle’ but I know that will never happen unless it was a very strange coincidence.

Typically, we are already getting ahead of ourselves at this moment in time as we are on hold until Gemma visits and gives us the green light to continue. The boy seems really settled already though and has his Nursery place, so when she comes, she should see quite easily that he has settled in to the new house and routine. The boy has a really strong character and has taken to us really well, we are all completely attached and as long as we have each other around we feel completely comfortable. We have been on a few holidays and he has always slept fine and not had any episodes which we have been worried or concerned about. He does have such a natural caring nature, so we think he will thrive even more in the role of big brother and being given that responsibility of ‘head nappy fetcher’ or some job like that. We just need to be ourselves, be honest and know that hard times are coming with the process and that at the end of the process whenever that maybe, if we are as happy as we were with becoming the boy’s parents, then it will all be totally worth it.

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