Monday, 31 December 2012

A Year in Reflection

It's New Years Eve - I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering where the year went and looking back at, what turned out to be, such a momentous year for us as a family.

I guess that today's entry has to be a reflection on the past year and a look at both the high's and lows of our adoption story.

At the beginning of the year we can safely look back and say that we were at our wits end - Papa and I couldn't cope with the kids - their behaviour's were off the scale, school couldn't cope, we were losing friends, Papa was stressed beyond belief and I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. Trying to hold together a family is tough. Especially when we 'inherited' the issues that were given to us. To have had no adoption support at that time was particularly hard and it wasn't until February that any provision was really given. To be honest , we had to prove that we were on the verge of 'disruption' - which is a term that essentially means the adoption is not working - in order to get any support. Despite that support being promised to us over a year previous. But I really want to reflect on what we achieved, rather that what failed, so I wont dwell on the issue of support.

We went to Singapore in February, as planned, although it was a strange trip - we wanted to take the children and introduce them to our friends and Papa's family - but in our hearts we knew that they may not stay with us, that post trip they may have had to go back into care. Our Singapore trip was a little muted I think. We didn't spend too long with Papa's family - and they, I believe, chose to keep a short distance, in order that they would not get too attached to the kids. We took Granny with us for support - and Papa and I even had a couple of night's out by ourselves. I took Papa out to see the musical 'Wicked' which was in Singapore at the time and for one night at least we could forget about the kids and the decisions that needed to be made.

We came back in March to a full therpeutic support package with some financial assistance granted and our lives became immeasurably better. I won't say that therapy is a 'cure all' for anyone and I was a little cynical, but for our children it was a relief. somewhere they could share their emotions, discuss their past and the abuse they suffered. They didn't have to discuss it with us - and to be honest, they still don't - not yet. But KC has told me that one day he would like to tell me what happened. By having this outlet for their emotions, they calmed down in school - Although I was (and still am) constantly called in, the issues became less - and we felt we were dealing with a manageable situation. It was around April that Papa and I sat down with our social worker and agreed that we could allow this adoption to happen - but only with continuing support. With that in mind we needed to move home. The children couldn't share a bedroom and our old house wouldn't allow for TJ to have a big enough room of his own - so we found a new build house near the children's school and began the fun process of selling and moving!

In April we sold our house, put in the Adoption papers and we placed the deposit on our new build... Things were finally moving.

In May the house sale fell through for the first time... Everything was on hold - but at least the kids were settling in. They chose their new middle names and we waited for the court dates.

In June the house was sold again - phew!!!!!! It was about that time we were informed that the support would only last for three years - which is the statutory time for the placing authority. After that we would have to re-apply and prove our need for support beyond that with our current authority. We consulted lawyers. We were told to postpone the court dates for three months whilst the complaints process ran its course. We did... the authority went mad. They insisted on regular meetings etc (which they never had previously) and came to our home to question our committment to adopting the kids. As we pointed out - if we were not committed then there is no way we would be dealing with this - we would simply put them back into care and go back to our previous 'care-free' lives. We aimed for a court date three months away - in September... and we waited.

July - the house fell through again - but now were committed to the new house - we had paid the full deposit and were suddenly back to the stressed position we began with. If we couldn't move house then the chances were we wouldn't be able to keep both children. Then Papa was stressed financially, I had to practically give up work as I was either in school or attending therapy with one or the other children and suddenly we were a one income family with massive expenses. I made arrangments to hand my business back to the franchisor and one of my employees made arrangements to take the business on - I may have had a huge amount of debt to clear but at least the business I had spent 5 years building would be in good hands and I wouldn't be losing any more money.

August came and the complaint reached its final stages - the council were found to be at fault and therapy was to be made available until the children reached 18, compensation was discussed - finally, we thought we could see a light at the end of the tunnel - we were now up to our ears in debt. But the good news - we sold the house again! And this time the buyers wanted to buy our furniture as well - So we rushed out to buy lots of lovely new furniture for our lovely new house and the amazing new start we were going to have as a family!

What do they say? If you want to make God laugh simply tell him your plans....

September came and we went ahead with the adoption - despite the court battle (see previous posts). There was suddenly loads of interest in my little blog and we were talking TV series and book deals... very exciting... On September 28th (my birthday) we moved into our new home. On Sept 29th the buyers of our old home pulled out.... We were now left with two mortgages, one income and a huge set of bills.... And to cap it all... the council decided that no compensation was necessary - they just apologised for the poor service and said they would make sure that they didn't let something like this happen again in the future. I now had to contact our MP and the Government Ombudsman and the whole thing started again.

October... October just kind of went by in a blur. We settled into the new home and things calmed down even more. They seeemd so much more settled here. I think the fact that we left our 'visitors' behind in the other house also helped.

Then came November and we decide to let our old house out - financing two mortgages whilst waiting for it to sell was just too much. And we knew that no-one would be looking to move until the New Year. But we were lucky. In came a lovely family who took our home and have made it their own. Whilst relieving Papa of the financial burden. so now we are landlords. Scary... We also had the children baptised and held the Adoption Celebration in our local courthouse both were really lovely celebrations with friends and family who had supported us throughout... It was a busy month but one that cemented us as a family unit.

Then it was December. We decided to go back to Singapore for Chinese New Year - but this time there will be no 'maybes' or 'what ifs'... the children are adopted - we all have the same name and we will go to see the family as part of their family. There wont be any embarrassed silences as people ask if we are going to actually go ahead with the adoption - its done. And we are going to love it. So we got on with preparing for Christmas

Christmas this year has been lovely - calm, relaxed with family. New Year is just us... and thats how I want it - A new Year, a new family and new start. Isn't that what New Year is about?

I'm not saying it will be plain sailing and I know 2013 will be just as challenging - the difference is that this year - I know we can face those challenges... but we have so much to look forward to. Papa's 40th, Chinese New Year in Asia, My sister's wedding and that's just all in the first four months.... However don't quote me on the 'tell God your plans' line I used earlier!

Mind you, today the kids were watching The Muppets Treasure Island movie and I overheard KC saying to TJ - see the frog and the pig are like Daddy and Papa - one is skinny and cute and the other is fat and bossy... I let it go - I know it was a bit disrespectful but it did make me smile... Its not every day I am compared to Miss Piggy - but don't tell Papa... I want him to think he is the boss!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment