Thursday, 15 March 2012

Day 7 - their first visit home

After a rest day yesterday, where we got a chance to finish off the final bits of work to the house (talk about skin of our teeth, we still had wet paint at 8pm last night!), we called the boys to find out how their day had been, and to tell them that we had been thinking about them and had missed them lots. Joe seemed quite surprised by that statement!

This morning was like starting over again, introductions were moving to our house today, and the relatively short session was the first chance for the boys to see their new house. The foster carers stayed with us, all part of the plan. We were both very nervous this morning, we were up at 6 cleaning and getting everything ready. I then logged in to work and was able to distract myself for a while, whilst G wore a groove in the kitchen floor, pacing in anticipation!

It felt like a major hurdle today, we were keen to give the children the right impression of their new home, and I guess you fear rejection of it, the boys could have sulked, clung to their foster carers, or not liked the house.

As their car arrived we went outside to greet them. We hadn't seen them yesterday and so we weren't sure how they would react. They ran out and hugged us, delighted to see us, which was great. We unloaded four suitcases of toys out of their boot, and walked inside. Because of the intro video they have seen 100 times already, they were already surprisingly familiar with the house, and it only took Joe 2 minutes to spot his name plaque on his room at the top of the stairs.

We went up and he was chuffed to bits with his room. He could barely take it all in, I think the roadway rug we have put on the floor was by far the best bit though! (also the bit that only cost £20.....)

Charlie asked to see his room and that got a similarly great reaction. Of course they were more interested in the toys we had put in their rooms than they were anything else - honestly, can't the appreciate the co-ordinating accessories.....

The foster carers were taking it all in too, it's a lot for them to adjust to and I think in truth most of our prep was for their benefit, we definitely want their approval, and so far, so good!  We emptied out the cases of their belongings and asked the boys to help us put things away so that they got to take ownership of the experience - claiming their own respective spaces in our home.

After lots of playing upstairs, we sat down for lunch together, which went well. We bought all the same food as we had at theirs on Saturday, so that everything felt very familiar to them. They ate well and we had some calm at the table.

There was a lot of excitement today, lots of running in and out, lots of door slamming and lots of unwillingness to share! In a way it was hard for G & I as it did feel like we spent most of the session setting down rules and saying 'no.' Joe is very good, and once told he is fairly happy but Charlie is really pushing boundaries. I think we found that quite hard today, with a birth family, you set rules and guidelines gradually as your child slowly explores each new thing, with two ready made little boys, we've got to deal with everything in one fell swoop, and I don't think that's going to be easy.

Joe told G that he didn't want to go home, which was a great sign, but also that he didn't want to come back here tomorrow because that would be sad. He's a brave soldier, doesn't really cry, and bounces a long like he hasn't a care in the world, but it's all going on in that little mind of his, and he's obviously a troubled soul, sometimes I can see it in his eyes.

The foster carers also reported on the meeting Joe and Charlie had with their older half sisters yesterday, which was by way of a 'good bye for now' session. Apparently the girls, who are both fairly troubled and who haven't been adopted, were trying to tell the boys not to call us Daddy and Papa, but to only use our first names. The foster carers soon put a stop to that, and spent most of the day reaffirming us, I really don't know how we would be coping with all of this if we didn't have them on our side!

It's felt very empty and a bit odd since the kids left this afternoon, we've been reflecting, and over analysing and working out our plan of attack for tomorrow. We have them for most of the day here tomorrow, so we want to make sure we do some fun family stuff together, so that we don't end up spending all day saying no!

Overall though, we couldn't have asked for a better day - we thought it was going to be either very sad and withdrawn, or very hyperactive, and fortunately it wasn't really either, they both did well, and I hope we did too!

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