Preparation Day 2

A tough one today. Mrs D and I are totally drained emotionally…
We had four sessions.

The first was lead by a lady from CAMHS, talking about separation, grief and loss – we thought about the losses a child has – at a time when we are thinking about a gain (having a new child in our family), the child is experiencing grief and loss – of their foster carers, their bedroom, their friends, etc… We thought about how the child would be feeling, and what their behaviour might be as a result – and the various stages of grief. We also thought about other losses the child might have experienced in their short life – many moves, places where they’ve stayed and people looking after them – and the effects on them.

The second session was all about health issues – it was lead by a community paediatrician. We thought about health issues for the children who are currently being looked after – effects of neglect, alchohol and drugs during pregnancy, possible inherited conditions from birth family. We also thought about our health and things which could affect our ability to adopt – and the effects on our health post-adoption!

After lunch, we looked at issues relating to the children who are waiting to be adopted – what kinds of experiences they might have been through to mean they are in the position they are… we had to think about different types of abuse – neglect, emotional, physical and sexual – and what kind of things these children may have experienced under each heading… this was particularly difficult to do – some things really don’t bear thinking about… And then we had to start to think about what kinds of problems / issues we would be able to manage – would we consider a child with mild learning difficulties? What about a child whose mother has schizophrenia? Or a child with hearing problems? Or a child with ADHD? Or autism?

Then we looked at what kinds of behaviour a child may exhibit, having been through these experiences – and how things we may do and think are totally normal may set off reactions we don’t expect in children… We finished off looking at ‘safe care’ and what that means – making sure that we care for the child in a sensitive way – sensitive to their previous experiences. And also that we are safe as we look after the child – particularly thinking about the possibility of a child making allegations against you – and ways to make this less likely.

All in all a really difficult day – lots of difficult issues to think about. It would be easy to let it all become overwhelming… but we need to keep it in focus – these are all the worst possible things / experiences / issues / behaviours – and no child is going to have all of these!

We now have the rest of the week to reflect and think about what we’ve learned and discussed – so a bit of breathing space before next Monday / Tuesday when we have the rest of the preparation.

Preparation Day 1

Well – Mrs D and I have survived the first adoption preparation day.
We joined 4 other couples for the day in Durham – all of us a bit apprehensive and wondering what it would be all about.

We looked at the adoption process in England – the journey children go on from first coming into contact with social services, through care orders, placement orders and finally adoption. We were told about the different types of care for children, including special guardianship, long term fostering, and adoption really as a last resort.

We looked at what the journey would be for us – after the prep days comes home study, which will be a series of about 12 or so fortnightly visits – in parallel our social worker will visit our referees, and also will want to see us interacting with children (do they really want to come to Kidz Klub??!) – this all gets written up into a large tome which is presented to the adoption panel – hopefully to approve us as adoptive parents – around late spring / early summer next year. We then wait for the match – which takes as long as it takes!

We thought about what a child would say, having been with their new family for about a year, when asked how they knew that they were loved…. words along the lines of ‘they spend time with me’, ‘they do what they say’, ‘they help with my homework’, ‘they’re still there even when I’m naughty’, ‘they kiss me better when I’m hurt’…

And we thought about some of the things which were specially important when parenting an adoptive child – the importance of praise and encouragement, of being reliable and consistent, and the need for a constant shower of warmth, love and affection – all things which would apply to any child, but even more so when they have experienced loss, grief and huge upset in the past.

We thought about what our lives were like now by apportioning a typical 24 hours… and then thought about that same 24 hours with a child in our family – very different!

There’s lots more to come tomorrow and then next week too. But it feels like things have finally started to move forward, albeit slowly… but there’s a long way to go!

Mrs D’s knee – another update

Well, nearly a week since Mrs D had her arthroscopy, and things would seem to be looking up. After a couple of days of her knee being really sore, following the operation, Mrs D awoke on Thursday morning being able to walk better than she has for nearly 3 months. The knee has continued to improve – she can fully weight bear now, and can walk upstairs normally (though coming down is still painful). We went for a walk with doglet yesterday – something we haven’t done together for a very long time now…

Mrs D has been poking and prodding her knee, and it would appear that the very tender and painful bit on the outside of her knee is no longer very tender and painful.

Yes, she has pain from the two holes in her knee, but it seems the previous pain is gone. Quite amazing, given that the doctor simply washed it out…

We don’t want to get our hopes up, but definitely a large step (boom boom) in the right direction!

Mrs D’s knee – update

Well, after much faffing around, Mr P cut a couple of holes in Mrs D’s knee.
He looked around a bit, looked some more, poked, prodded and looked one last time.


Well – apart from a healthy knee, that is.
No torn bits, missing bits, stretched bits.

He flushed it out (this conjures up garden hose to me…).

So Mrs D is back home, on the sofa.
Perhaps her knee will get better now. Perhaps not.
She’s to go back in a couple of weeks to see Mr P.
And some physio between now and then.

So we have to wait and see.

Any suggestions as to what might be causing so much pain on the outside of Mrs D’s right knee, would be gratefully received.
Just add a comment.
There will even be a reward for information leading to a successful diagnosis!

Mrs D’s knee

Mrs D has a very sore knee.
It’s been sore since the middle of August.
She says it started during white water rafting
on the Fraser River in British Columbia.

She’s seen her GP umpteen times,
and eventually saw Mr P.
A consultant – he diagnosed
a torn lateral miniscus –
but the MRI didn’t agree!

The consultant
described her

Four weeks of physio followed –
different exercises every week.
But these just made her knee sorer
So back to see Mr P.

Now all of this was on BUPA
Because my company decided to pay…
Mr P decided to operate
But no spaces till mid December!

Now this is quite unsatisfactory
‘Enough is enough’ said Mr P.
So he found some space at Hexham
On the NHS – much quicker you see!?!

So tomorrow, Mrs D
will have an arthroscopy
to see
what Mr P can see.

Hopefully he’ll find the problem
And fix it good and proper.
Then Mrs D will be back at work –
you just try and stop her!

Jesus isn’t Christmassy any more

Apparently so, according to one of Waterstone’s staff.
I only went in for a book token.

They had some difficulty finding a suitable non-Christmassy card for the aforementioned token… flicking through the pile, the employee of Waterstones stopped and said, ‘How about this one – it’s Jesus… he’s not Christmassy any more, is he!?’

Well, there you go.

So what is Christmassy these days?

  • Queuing for hours at every shop from mid-October to get the essential presents?
  • Massive debt?
  • Turkey? Tinsel?
  • The Sound of Music?
  • Snowmen? Santa Claus?

These words by Chris Rice say it really well…

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome Holy Child. Welcome Holy Child.

Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home. Please make yourself at home.

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled.
World now breaking Heaven’s silence
Welcome to our world. Welcome to our world.

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born. Unto us is born.

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God. Perfect Son of God.

Welcome to our world.

RIP Virgin Cross Country

After many weeks of travelling to and fro between Newcastle and Leeds, it was with a tear in my eye that I made my last ever journey courtesy of Mr Branson and Virgin Trains on that route.

For as of tomorrow, the route is taken over by no less than the mighty Arriva Cross Country

Same trains; same liklihood of getting cut in two by the automatically closing doors at the carriage ends; same problems working out whether the toilet door is locked or not; same scrolling digital display above every seat; same staff; same track; same signals; same timetable; same opportunity for delays…

New train colours; new uniform; no doubt new (higher) prices; new script for the endless announcements before and after every station….

Will I be able to tell the difference next week?
We’ll see!