Three and a half years ago, four hearts became one family and our life on the Beehive rollercoaster began.
During a very difficult time in our placement I started a diary to help me to take a step backwards and see the bigger picture but this is the first time I have written a blog so please forgive me if I ramble from time to time.
This is our story and how we got to where we are now.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamt of becoming a mum and having my own family. To anyone who knows me, this would not come as a surprise because they know that I come from an extremely large family on my dad’s side and my mum’s side, although small were very maternal and nurturing. So I can honestly say I had never in my wildest thoughts, dreamt that I would come to motherhood through adoption but here we are and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I met my future husband ‘Bumble’ at a Gala Ball in 1999, and after a year of messing around, driving our friends completely nuts we finally realised that we needed to be together. At first our relationship started off as a long distance one, which very quickly turned into me having to make one of the biggest decisions of my life – moving hundreds of miles from my childhood home to support my then boyfriend while he underwent Chemotherapy. We have now been together for 12 years and we have just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.
Very early on in our relationship we knew that because of my Bumble’s treatment, having biological children was going to be difficult but not necessarily impossible, so we approached the local fertility clinic to find out what they could offer us if we chose to try IVF. At the time we were advised that the chances of us conceiving were very slim and after 2 failed IVF attempts. The suggestion of donors was raised with us and we did go away to think about it and at the same time started to look into Adoption. In the end I decided and Bumble agreed that we couldn’t bare the idea of having a child that was not biologically both of ours, when there were 100’s of children out there desperate for a safe and loving home, that we could give them.
Once we had made the decision to stop the IVF, I knew that I needed to be the one to go back to the clinic, thank them for their support and dedication and inform them that we have decided not to go any further. It broke my heart and I couldn’t bare how sympathetic the staff were but I knew that I needed to have that closure before I could move on and become the mother I have always wanted to be.
Shortly after we finally approached the local authority’s children services and enquired about adoption. From our initial enquiry to finally being approved for up to 2 children aged 0-6 by the panel took us 18 months. We then endured another 18 months of waiting, and had several matching interviews but were always the bridesmaid and never the bride.
The waiting and rejection was torture and everytime the feedback was the same ‘you don’t have enough experience’ (Really? Did I mention that I grew up in a large family and have always been involved with the children in the family! No experience. It was so funny, it made me cry everytime). Our family placement SW could see our distress and frustration and suggested that maybe we could get approved as foster carers to gain the experience everyone seemed to want us to have. At first we were reluctant and more so me. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to cope with bringing children into our lives and then having to let them go again. She then suggested becoming respite foster carers because although I would still have children coming in and out of our lives it would be very short, so I would find it easier not to become attached to the child/children. We finally agreed and were approved a short while later. Through our time as Respite carers we had so many wonderful children come into our lives and enrich it, and I hope in some way we were able to enrich their’s too. Most of the children we cared for were sibling groups and despite my fears I didn’t find handing them back to their foster carers at the end of their short stay as heart wrenching as I expected. Well, that is actually not completely true. There was one sibling group of 2 brothers who I became very attached to and it broke my heart every time I had to pass them back or leave them. Little did we know then that just over a year down the line we would become the lucky parents of these 2 gorgeous boys.
In 2008 I was asked to babysit for a foster carer while she attended meetings relating to a sibling group she had placed with her. This was my first respite placement since becoming approved and although it was in the FC’s own home, I was both nervous and excited. When I arrived I was met by this beautiful, blonde haired, blue eyed, feisty 2 year old with a colourful selection of vocabulary and my days with Buzzbee were, shall we say, ‘never dull’. I didn’t meet his older brother until a couple of visits later and after it had been agreed that the boys would come and stay with us for 2 weeks while their carer went on holiday (the boys couldn’t go because they were having twice weekly contact with birth family). The first time I met Beeswax, then 6, he arrived home from school and the moment he walk through the door and was directed to say Hello, I could feel the anxiety bouncing off him as he demanded to know what his brother had been doing all day. He was a very guarded child but had a beautiful, if somewhat forced, smile but what really caught my attention was his eyes. They were possibly the saddest eyes I had ever seen in my life and something there and then made me want to be there for him and Buzz. Bumble did not meet the boys until April.
I felt a strong connection with them but we knew that because of the proximity of their birth family, we would never be allowed to adopt them (and at that time it had not been decided what the plan was for them both). The boys stayed with us regularly and we grew closer and closer. At the same time decision were being made about their future. Sadly the wheels were very slow turning for various reasons and the longer a decision was taking the more we could see hope fading in Beeswax’s eyes that he would ever have a family again (Buzzbee was much younger and in his mind Beeswax was his family). Waxy started to believe that he was too old to be adopted and was terrified he and Buzz would be left ‘on the scrapheap’ or worse still they would take his baby brother away from him. Something that we all agreed could not happen because of the incredibly strong bond the boys had.
At the same time as Beeswax seemed to be giving up, he was also subconsciously sending out signals about being part of our family. He stopped saying ‘who have you had staying in the bedroom I sleep in?’ and began saying ‘Who has been sleeping in my room?’ During life story work he created a wish list which had key details that most children wouldn’t put on their list but matched our lifestyle.
Finally the decision came to free the boys for adoption and they were advertised in the LA family finding newsletter. With the encouragement of the boys’ foster carer we finally approached their social worker and told them how much we wanted them and asked if there was any way we could adopt the boys ourselves. Our argument was we already knew the birth family through contact and so knew what the risks were. Shortly before my birthday we were told that it had been agreed that we would be considered for the boys. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
It took several more months for everything to be sorted out and they were the longest few months of our lives. Every time we saw them it killed me because I could see Beeswax giving up hope of ever having a mum and dad again, and all the time knowing that we were going to become just that.
Almost exactly a year to the day that Bumble first met the boys, they finally moved in with us formally and our lives began.
This the part where you may expect me to be putting how the last 3 and a half years have been the most memorable and wonderful years of our lives. I can’t do that because while everyday has been memorable and we really do have many beautiful and happy memories. We have been on a very difficult journey to get where we are now and are only just now coming out the other side and are finally waiting for the green light to become a ‘forever family’ legally.