Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Presentations, Tumble Dryers and... Kylie...

Yesterday, Dylan and I were asked to give a presentation to a group of adoption professionals.

When we agreed we thought it would be a small, informal affair - the sort of thing we are used to doing - chatting to would be adopters about our experiences. But a couple of nights before we were told by the organiser that we should pass her our powerpoint presentation and a transcript of the speech... what?!

I had intended to 'wing it' but that wasn't going to be possible. There were going to be a lot of important people there from adoption social workers, to senior family judges and head of adoption charities. Suddenly it was very scary!

So we worked over the weekend (my birthday weekend) and put together a half hour talk accompanied by various images and 'bullet points' - Dylan likes bullet points...

We turned up at Somerset House, a beautiful historical venue in the heart of London - although we were an hour late due to a nasty traffic jam - although we had missed a couple of other speakers we weren't on until later - that didn't stop my heart from beating at a furious pace though.

Eventually we went up and stood in front of this large group of people.

I said my opening lines, 'Good morning, my name is James and this is my partner Dylan... I talk a lot - he doesn't - you might say he's the Bobby to my Cilla...' (I have no idea where that last bit came from - it wasn't scripted but it went down really well). I had huge laugh - I don't think there had been much to laugh about before then. I went on saying how we chose our adoption agency after being turned down by so many purely on the basis that they offered us cake - this also seemed to go down well. After that the script was out of the window and we chatted openly about our experiences, about the ups and downs of adopting siblings and the help they needed - especially the input they required post adoption. As I said, just because the adoption order is signed doesn't mean that any of the problems miraculously disappear...

We spoke (yes, Dylan spoke too) for a good 45 minutes and sat down to a nice round of applause whilst the next speaker came on to talk about data input... as he was sorting out his powerpoint I was asked if I would like to sing something, maybe by Cilla - I was sorely tempted...

We couldn't stay after lunch (childcare is still not really an option for TJ) but we also didn't get to eat anything as so many people wanted to chat with us.

This morning I received a lovely couple of emails from speakers who followed us, both saying how they had changed their prepared speeches in order to reflect on what we had said and to continue to press issues that we had raised - mainly about the availability of good therapy and proactive post adoption support. All too often these areas only come into being when the adoption reaches a crisis.

We came home last night exhausted when Papa passed me a little red envelope - a belated birthday present.

I had made the mistake of saying that we needed a tumble dryer a few days ago and saw Papa frantically tapping away online. So I expected the gift to be the delivery date for the dryer. I have had numerous white good for birthdays before - I once got a Hoover because I 'admired it in the shop window' - I now only 'admire' Bulgari... not that any of that has come my way.

Still I was surprised to see that the envelope didn't contain a receipt for a tumble dryer but instead there were two tickets for tonight's concert by Kylie Minogue at London's O2.

I don't think I looked particularly overwhelmed as Papa said, "But it's not a tumble dryer and we're going to stay the night in a hotel - I've even arranged for the baby sitter to stay over."

Maybe I'm just too old for concerts now... eek! Maybe I just don't like surprises anymore - there is something to be said for anticipation... or maybe I just looked at the huge pile of washing I'm trying to get dry... and wished I had a tumble dryer...

I can be quite difficult to please sometimes...

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