Well as T (DH) commented the other night, you cannot say that our year has been uninteresting. We started of the year with our social worker appointed (one we knew as she had been leader of our prep course) and the first home study meeting pencilled in for February. We end it having had our first family Christmas and with our son appearing to be very settled some 10 weeks 3 days into placement.
It has been a rollercoaster ride with the process turning round and confounding us more than once. At the end of the prep course in November 2012 we expected to hear from LA about our SW early in the New Year, so starting this year with her appointed was the first point of acceleration. We still expected it to be early 2014 for placement given that we thought it would be a year from end of prep course to matching and that would then be too close to Christmas.
- January was a quiet month with just the first get together of our prep group at the end of the month when we all discovered we had social workers and 4 couples were already started on their home study. We did manage to get the SEF finished however – was I ever grateful to my sister for giving my her chronology as it saved me a lot of discussions with Mum & Dad about what happened when in my childhood (we moved a lot – the move to our current house was my 11th move – and my 11th house as we brought my parents house when they moved south). All I had to ask Mum was when we moved the first time when I was young – knew it was before my 2nd birthday.
- February was when the home study started eventually following a couple of delays due to illness. Looking back at what I wrote at the time it is interesting to see that we started of talking about us as a couple – how we met and just clicked. I also realised in this month quite how much my teaching load was taking out of me – although it was agreed that I would not supervise MSc projects as there was no guarantee I would be around to finish them.
- March: home study continued – with the SW and I realising after our first individual meeting that my childhood meant we needed another session unlike T who finished in 2 hours. I continued to somehow survive the busiest semester I have ever had since I started lecturing in Sept 2002. I also was dealing with the fact that big changes were approaching at work and trying my best to give my bosses some sort of clue of what was going on. Plus we had a late snowfall which meant the next meeting of prep group at our house was a little smaller than expected due to 2 couples not being able to get there.
- April was when T finished the home study – I had one meeting in May following our week in Cyprus to finish the individual part. We had three weeks of 2 meetings a week to make up for some missed ones due to snow, Easter and illness. That made what had been a busy semester get worse as I was effectively working 4 days a week. Somehow I survived to the end and got my marking done – mostly by using one day of holiday to do so. We also found out our panel date at end of July – because of delays by other couples our SW ended up with three PARs to write at same time.
- May: I finished home study and our SW took up references. Work finally calmed down as teaching had finished so I could draw breath again. Our week away (April/May crossover) helped a lot as I spent time relaxing and not doing very much. Well ok we went exploring ruins etc. but that is relaxation for me,
- June: started as a very hard month. I made the decision to have my cat of nearly 16 years (when I finished UG degrees) put down as she was dehydrated and already had diagnosis on slow kidney failure. It was the right decision but it did hit me and then I lost my grandmother 6 days later. Not unexpected – Grandma had not been my Grandma for some years due to dementia and had been failing for some time. It made June a funny month between work meetings (assessment committees and boards of examiners), an extra SW meeting due to a potential safeguarding issue with father of one of our friends (and referees) and a funeral at the end.
- July: we got the PAR which seemed a very fair reflection of us with just a few minor factual and spelling changes required. SW also gave us a shock when she asked if we could meet to look at potential child profiles before panel. So that was 25th July when one profile jumped out at us and we made the decision to go further with that. 29th July was approval panel which went well and the unanimous decision pleased us no end.
- August: the waiting game month as our potential link’s social worker could not see us till end of month. So we spent the time thinking and waiting till we met her which seemed to go well. One of our prep group couples had their son placed with them. It was confirmed we were officially linked on 27th. Month ended on a high note as we were linked and a great friend celebrated his civil partnership. We were able to share a lot of joy that day.
- September was one roller-coaster of a month. We started month expecting a matching panel at end of October with Intros to start in early November. This all changed on 4th September when we got the phone call to say could we go to panel on 30th Sept and start Intros on 7th Oct. This was to save Sqk going into respite care over half-term holiday. After a bit of phoning work for both of us we got it sorted although I did leave my work the conundrum just over 2 weeks before teaching started of getting cover for the 2 modules I had agreed to teach over first 6 weeks. Sqk’s SW got the paperwork done in quick time and we signed it off the day before the deadline (no 10 days consideration time for us). Then I met medical advisor and we both met FC which gave panel 2 easy questions at panel which once again was a unanimous decision.
- October was a month of strangeness as we went through the 12 days of Intros and the bond started with Sqk. I did three days solo as the one condition T had from his work was that he had to work Eid as getting pharmacist locum cover around then is nigh on impossible around here. Sqk moved in on 19th October and life has never been the same since.
- November was another month that seemed a bit bizarre as T didn’t work a full week till the very end, and I got used to not working. To be honest I have not really missed it although I am just starting to want to get back to my academic reading. Sqk has brought real joy to our lives. The first LAC review went really well and everyone was positive.
- December: Sqk and I got into a routine as Daddy worked 5 days a week and we all got used to each other. We decided Sqk was grieving at night in his sleep and we have ended up co-sleeping with him at times when he wakes us up with his crying out. A few times that has been due to him getting himself into a strange sleeping position and then getting stuck. Our first Christmas went well – someone doesn’t really understand it all properly yet although we did have a grieving episode Christmas night as the last time he had presents was his forever family party 6 days before placement and leaving his foster carer who he had been with since 5 weeks old.
As the year comes to an end I can look back and say that for moments 2013 reflects 2006 when T and I first met in early February. We celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary on Monday (6th Jan) and as we both have said what we have with Sqk is similar to what happened when we first met. Within a few weeks we could not imagine life before and without each other – and that is how it is with our son.