Friday, 9 March 2012

A birthday I will never forget

CAUTION: Judging by the many comments we've had in messages about our blog over the last few weeks, the below posting could make you tear up a little.......

Well, we've done it! We've met our sons at last. And they are beautiful! So, I'll start at the every beginning....

A couple of years ago, G & I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet, attached to a parachute. I remember the lead up to the jump well, lots of excitement at the idea of something I've always wanted to, which turned to nervous excitement when we were in the car on the journey to the place we were doing the jump, then as we got closer, that turned to terror, and a feeling of, 'oh my goodness, what are we doing - we could surely still change our minds!'

Then, on the plane, you get a moment where you have to move from your perfectly safe, buckled seat, and for no good reason, sit on the edge of the plane door with your feet dangling out. All you can see is a big drop below. Terror didn't begin to explain how I felt at that point, I knew I wanted to do it, but right at that point the nerves were strangling my stomach, and the realisation of what we were about to do felt huge. I felt sick with nerves, whilst still being excited and more than a little terrified, questioning what on earth we were about to put ourselves through. Then we jumped, and the feeling was amazing, first we went into free fall, a real adrenalin rush, and then the chute opened, and we glided down for over a kilometre, watching with awe at the amazing views.

When back on the ground, we couldn't believe how amazing it was, and right at that point, had the instructor given us a chance to get straight back in the plane, we would have jumped at the chance.

That kind of sums up our morning really!

We drove the 25 minute drive to the foster home almost in silence. We were so nervous and just didn't know what to expect. We weren't sure how to act, what to say to the boys when we first saw them, should we hug them, what should we expect them to do, what would they call us and 100 other questions were going through our minds.

The boys social worker arrived at their house half an hour before us, and called us to let us know she was in position! She arranged things so that they were all sat at the kitchen table, enjoying tea and toast. The foster carers, the social worker and the two boys, with a seat strategically placed next to each of them one for me and one for G. We arrived 5 minutes early and parked around the corner to wait, not wanting to catch anyone unawares!

At our allotted time we drove up to the house, parked, gave each other a little hug of luck, and then walked to the front door. Foster carer J opened the door, we said hi and then could hear two little voices coming from the kitchen 'It's Papa, it's Daddy!'

We walked in to the kitchen to be greeted 'Hello Daddy, Hello Papa, come and sit with us' Our youngest looked up at me and said 'I've seen you on our tele!' referring to our introductions video.

I was sat next to our youngest, and G next to our eldest. They immediately started to scrutinise our faces, and within minutes the eldest was asking G why he had a crooked tooth, and what the spot was on his face! (Great, so already we're being analysed by a five year old!). This was great as really showed how much attention they were paying to us. (In the interest of balance, I should point out that I also got questioned on my lack of hair - it wasn't just an annihilation of G!)

They asked us lots of questions, they asked if they could take the teddy bears we sent them, to bed with them at night, when they would meet the grandparents that they had seen photos of in our photo album, whether they would be allowed to play with Tilly and Toby, our two cats and lots more besides!

After we had finished with toast, I took a wipe to the youngest's fingers to initiate some personal contact. He looked at my analytically and I feared I had gone in too soon. So I stopped. At which point he said 'Daddy, you've missed a bit!'

The eldest was slowly starting to touch G, and then asked if he could sit on his lap. The youngest soon followed, sitting on my lap and taking a good look at my face.

The foster carer asked if the boys would like Daddy and Papa to help to wash their teeth, which we did and then we went into the play room.

We played for about an hour, first with a train set that we helped to build and then played with. The children were instantly quite tactile with us, occasionally stopping to stare at our faces a little bit more. Keen to ensure that we weren't just seen as people that came to play with them, we then got their photo albums out, we need to ensure we use introductions as a chance to reinforce the change that's about to happen, so we sat with a child on each of our laps and looked at the pictures, taking everything in. The boys were excited to look at their rooms, and I was amazed at how much detail they had taken in.

Next they wanted to watch our DVD with them again, so we sat on the sofa, cuddled up and watched the films. They almost know it word for word, so they've clearly seen it a lot this week. They got excited by the puppets, knowing where they were going to appear in the film, and they knew where we would eat, and where their rooms were in the film. On the film, we had shown me playing on a Chugginton game on the computer, and I had said that I may need some help to complete it. When we got to that point, the eldest said 'Don't worry Daddy, I'll help you with that, I'm good at computers!'

We played more games, without any incident, doing a bit of negotiation to help them share and take turns. We had a bit of play with the teddies where they made us kiss them, and then the boys kissed us. I managed not to cry when the eldest said 'I've got a bit of a cold, will you look after me' and later when he said 'Will you be my best friend' and then 'I love you Daddy!'

We then left them to play a while whilst we had tea in the kitchen, but it was long before we heard Papa being called for.

After a couple of hours, it was time to say goodbye. I could have stayed playing for hours, but it's important that we stick to the schedule the experts have set out for us. The boys didn't want us to go, but we explained that we would be back to see them tomorrow. They each asked to be picked up, we kissed and cuddled and again they said "I love you" to which we replied that we loved them too.

I managed to get at least 100 yards down the road before I burst into tears!

It really couldn't have gone any better. We are aware that the affection and declarations of love can't all be real, and could be partially an attempt to ensure they please, which isn't uncommon with children with their background, but at least they weren't shying away from us and clinging to their foster carers, which would have been so much worse. They wanted to come home with us today, which was such a lovely feeling, and in truth, we would have loved to have put them in the car and brought them back with us! But the introduction period is carefully planned for important reasons, and we are keen to do the best job possible.

So we're back at 10am tomorrow - I hope I can wait that long without bursting!

It's my birthday today - I have never had such a special day - surreal, emotional but amazing. We've met our little boys, and they are truly beautiful and I cannot wait to do my very best job to look after, protect and nurture them.


  1. Lost for words! What an amazing first meeting and a birthday to remember! Love ya! S, R, D &H xxxx

    1. Well done guys. Not a dry eye here.

  2. Crying! Liz W xxx

  3. You can probably guess who is crying as well! You are doing well, can't wait to meet them Andrew xx