Thursday, 31 May 2007

Inching closer to DTC

We've now got our Notary appointment for a week on Monday, I would have preferred it to be sooner but that's the first date we can all fit it in! Once we've done whatever it is we have to do with the Notary (no idea what we do actually!?!?) then we've instructed him to send the papers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, so they can legalise the papers. They will then be returned to the Notary, who will send them to the DfES, who in turn will send them to the Chinese Embassy. They are then once again sent back to the DfES, and their next trip is to China :-) People have been getting their LID (Logged In Date - the date which indicates your place in the queue) very quickly after DTC, in a matter of days mostly, so at least that part of the process could move quickly!! The wait after LID is the depressing bit - I had myself psyched up for 18 months, then I thought I could handle 2 years, probably can stick it out for 3 years - but FOUR YEARS??? I don't know, I really don't know :-( I keep holding onto a glimmer of hope (not based on any facts whatsoever!) that somehow the wait will start to speed up. I'm not bothered about superfast, racing speed (5-6 months it was at one point!!) just a reasonable 18 months ish would be so nice. It would also be great to have some idea of 'when' so that we can plan our lives!!! The lack of information, or even a slight clue to what might happen is so disturbing - how on earth can we plan our futures if the timings are all so up in the air???

I should be feeling really good about getting to this stage in the process, but I just feel numb and wonder if we are doing the right thing?? No answers, just more and more questions unfortunately.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Mr Messy worked at home yesterday, so that he could look after Little Prince while I took Drama Teen to bowling with her friends from Stagecoach. I didn't actually go bowling - I just dropped her off (paid up of course!!) and then went to the Supermarket to do the shopping while waiting for them to finish. The whole bowling trip was thought up, and arranged by Drama Teen all on her own - she's quite the social diva now :-) They all had a great time, when they'd finished it was about half an hour before one of the friends was being picked up by their parents, so Drama Teen stayed with him till his mum arrived, rather than leave him to wait on his own. I thought that was very thoughtful of her, and I'm very proud of her.

When we got home we arranged for Little Miss Sensible to babysit, while me, Mr Messy and Drama Teen went to see the latest Pirates film :-) Don't worry Little Miss Sensible had already seen the film twice with her friends, so she wasn't being left out! The film was great, quite a complicated plot - but who cares?? It had Johnny Depp dressed as Capt Jack Sparrow - what more does a film need?!?! The film was about 3 hours long, so we all had a really late night. At least me and the children could have a lie in, Mr Messy had to be up at 6am to go to work :-(

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


I read the RQ website (see the links) and this month has been full of really positive rumours of a 'huge' batch that will have people needing to be scraped off the cyber ceiling!! But (you knew there would be a but didn't you?!?!) the latest rumours are pointing to another 6 day batch!! At that rate it will take YEARS for us to get to the front of the queue :-( I was so happy with the positive rumours, and hoping (foolishly it seems) that referrals would start to speed up now - the new rules are in place and the CCAA aren't going to be inundated with dossiers, so they could (if they wanted) speed up. Unfortunately, at this point in time, it doesn't look like that will be happening.

The slow down in referrals was SO sudden and precipitous that I can't help but believe that its due to political reasons, rather than a lack of babies needing adoption. It is China's right to chose if/how many of their own child citizens can be adopted to foreigners, but it seems awful that those choices could be being made for reasons other than the child's best interests. Every child where ever they live should have a committed adult to care for, love and raise them - no child should grow up in an institution, there are NO GOOD ORPHANAGES. Even the best institution is not a good place to bring up a child.

So why was there a sudden drop in the numbers of referrals sent out by the CCAA?? I have no idea, only the CCAA knows the answer to that question - and they aren't talking!! My guess is that there isn't one single reason, but a whole load of intertwined circumstances have come together to make this slowdown happen. It can't all be due to more children being adopted domestically (which is the 2nd best thing for the children - to be adopted in their own country and culture) or a slow down in abandonments - the changes happened too suddenly for that to be a realistic reason imho. But it doesn't matter what the reason is, we will get our referral when we get our referral - hopefully it will be sometime this century!!!

OMG :-)

I've just had a call from the DfES and they are sending our Certificate of Eligibility to our Notary Public TODAY!!! They agree with our LA that we DO meet the new CCAA requirements YES - I've been panicking about that, as we are the first ICA to go through our LA. I've rung Mr Messy and he was 'manly' excited - ie he had no idea what a momentous happening this is, but was excited because I told him it was great news!!!

I heard from a friend last night that they have been matched to their new little one and should be starting introductions SOON :-)

Its all good news at the moment and I'm SO HAPPY :-)

Monday, 28 May 2007


Well we have worked hard all day, with plenty of tea breaks - we are English workers after all :-) Two trips to the tip, huge pile for the charity shop and loads of stuff to get in the attic so my Qi is flowing much better round my house :-) I keep looking round and admiring the empty spaces :-) The dining room seems so much bigger and its great :-) Its starting to feel like my house again, instead of a messy embaressment!! Its a bit sad though that the height of my excitement is tidying up!!! Oh well!!

I've still got one huge cupboard to sort out tomorrow, I'll see if the girls will watch their brother while I get it done. At least next time the social workers come for a visit there will be loads of empty cupboard space to shove things in lol :-) Or 'shock horror' we might not need to hide clutter away - we might actually still have a reasonably tidy house!!!

Mr Messy got all his camera gear out tonight to take the girl's photographs. He has all the backdrops, lights etc to take 'studio' photos and every now and again the girls model for him. Little Prince, unfortunately won't co-operate and usually refuses to have anything to do with it. Its a great pity as he is so gorgeous and I'd love more photos of all three of the kids together to put up round the house.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Spring cleaning madness!!

I decided (in all my wisdom!!) that as the weather was forecast to be raining all this Bank Holiday weekend, that instead of going out anywhere (and having all the hassles of parking) that we'd have a Spring Clean instead!! Mr Messy and the kids just loved the idea - NOT!! But a bit of sulking and pointing out that the house was beginning to look like a pig sty, soon got them agreeing with me.

We've tackled the dining room - that's it just one room! I cannot believe the amount of cr*p we have been storing for YEARS! The recycling boxes are full, we've filled 2 or 3 bin bags of rubbish and got a huge pile to go to the charity shop. I've now got a whole cupboard all of my own - which I've put my scrapbooking stuff into. Perhaps now that its all in one place, and accessible I'll actually get on with doing some scrapbooking!!

I've also come to the radical (for me!) idea of getting rid of my big and bulky desk top computer, and moving to a laptop!! I'll then be able to get rid of the bulky and ugly computer cupboard and just have a little laptop stashed away somewhere.

My other radical idea has met with unexpected family resistance. I want to get rid of the coffee table and not bother getting another one - we don't use it for anything other than shoving magazines on and its pushed up right against the fireguard so doesn't look great, it would be nicer to have the space for Little Prince to play, its broken and scratched to death. However, Little Miss Sensible and Drama Teen want to keep it, because its been there forever (ie before they were born), it was a wedding present (well it was bought with money we were given by our Aussie relatives), and its got sentimental value - they both learnt to walk holding onto it! I can understand why they feel like they do, but holding onto possessions no longer bothers me - so long as I have my family (people) round me things don't matter at all. Not sure I can persuade them of that though - so we are sticking with the coffee table for now!

Tomorrow we need to get some of the rubbish and recycling carted off to the local tip and I've got one more cupboard I want to empty and sort out. I've also got to get Mr Messy to finish the bits of sorting he has started - as he is currently living up to his name and leaving bits and bobs, half sorted piles all round the dining room and kitchen!! Aaaargh!

Over the last few days we've all been chatting more about having another exchange student, and after going through the profiles with a fine tooth comb (we rejected one because she was too religious, another because she sounded too attached to her computer gaming), we narrowed it down to two - one from Hong Kong and one from Germany. I wanted the one from Hong Kong, but everyone else wants the German (they all said we've had so many Chinese Host students that they want something different) - so that's the one we've decided to request. The local co-ordinator is coming to see us next week to discuss it all with us and that's when we'll find out if this one is still available. If she is then we are put in contact with her, and are encouraged to write/email and get to know each other a little before she arrives at the end of August. Hopefully with this girl being from a fairly close (geographically) European country there won't be the extreme differences of culture that we have struggled with, with our other two long term exchange students.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

My Favourite Poem

I'm too tired to even think about blogging, so I'll just post my favourite poem.

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Getting Better

Well Little Prince is on the mend, his appetite is returning slowly and he didn't need a nap today :-) His temperature is still slightly raised and he is croaky and snuffly, so I'm keeping him off school for the rest of the week. I think he will probably be himself again by weekend :-) I really hope so anyway - firstly because I hate seeing him ill and secondly I'm getting cabin fever being stuck in the house all day!!!

Got profiles in the post from EF co-ordinator, one student sounds like she would fit in and is outgoing, so hopefully would make friends at college easily, and she even has a little sister similar age to Drama Teen. The other student's profile stresses how important it is to her to attend church each week, so while she sounds a lovely girl, we think she would be happier in a more religious family. Mr Messy spoke to the co-ordinator earlier this evening and she is going to contact HQ to see who else is available (doesn't that sound awful!?!?!) and we'll make our decision from their. It sounds terrible to be so picky and choosy, but after our last (dreadful!) experience we are trying to be careful that we get a student that will be compatible with us and able to cope with an English college. Wish us luck - we probably will need it!!!

We've also realised that our planned Florida holiday doesn't fit in with Little Miss Sensible's university breaks, so we are hoping the villa owner can change the dates to the Easter holiday. This could very well be the last Big Holiday we go on as a complete family - Little Miss Sensible may want to be doing her own thing with The Boyfriend once she is an independent student. So we want her to be able to spend this last (???) holiday with us.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Still poorly :-(

My Little Prince is still poorly - no appetite, extremely tired and fed up! He has moments of normality - after he's been dosed up with Calpol and thinks he's better!! He was all for going to the park this afternoon - that's after chucking up this morning, hardly eating anything and drooping on the sofa all day!! Calpol works wonders!!

Little Miss Sensible came home from college after her exam - she doesn't feel well either. Not sure if in her case, its still the aftermath of her party!!

I think the only constructive thing I've managed to get done all day is to talk to the local EF co-ordinator about having another exchange student. After our last experience (absolutely awful) I swore never again, but I'm coming round to the idea that we could try one more time!! We are going to be a LOT more picky about who we have this time, to try to avoid the mismatch we endured last time. I think it is good for us as a family, to learn to live with someone from a different country/culture, and I didn't want our memories of the EF programme to be soured by our last experience. The co-ordinator is going to come round in a few days when she has got some profiles together and we will decide what we are going to do. All I can do is hope (and keep fingers and toes crossed) that this time isn't like last time!!!

Monday, 21 May 2007

Poorly Prince :-(

Little Prince is poorly :-( He woke up late and was very droopy and listless, won't eat will drink if pushed (and I'm pushing!). He had a two hour nap this afternoon. He has a raised temperature. Poor little man, he doesn't like being ill and wants to do everything he normally does (was very upset he couldn't go to school) but he just doesn't have the energy. He just pushed his dinner round his plate and went quite willingly to bed - not like him at all.

Hoping he will be better soon.

The house is still standing :-)

We got back yesterday evening to a beautifully tidy and cleaned house, courtesy of Little Miss Sensible :-) I am really proud of her, and the way she coped with her first grown up (well teenage!) party on her own. There was one minor breakage (a cheap picture frame in the downstairs shower room) but considering how many of them were here, that's not bad going.

Obviously I couldn't update while we were actually in Blackpool - so I'll give you the edited highlights. I had a sense of foreboding as we drove over to Blackpool - its so tacky and I think I've turned into a snob somewhere along the way. The hotel we stayed in was part of a chain and was just the same as any other hotels of its type. I'd rung in advance to request a cot for Little Prince, as he can get stressed by strange places/situations and we thought that would help him settle. The room didn't have a cot - Little Prince wanted to try sleeping in a big boy hotel bed, so we decided to chance it. He coped magnificiently and slept really well - good lad :-) We even had a lie in until 8.30 the next morning - unheard of!! After we'd checked in we went out to a nearby pub for a meal - again I wasn't expecting much, just your basic pub grub and smokey atmosphere. Wrong again!! The food was lovely, with a wide range of choices even on the kids meal - not a nugget or fish finger in sight (impressive!!). We spent a good hour or two eating and chatting, we don't see each other that often, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

Little Prince was straight in bed and quickly fast asleep once back at the hotel, while the rest of us read and listened to our iPods. I got extremely irritated with Mr Messy as he had his music on so loud that me and Drama Teen could hear it over our own music!! Despite our complaints he refused to believe we could hear it and didn't turn the volume down. Fume fume!!! And he complains ALL THE TIME about people on the train listening to their MP3 players too loudly!!

The next morning we had a late breakfast and then set off for the Tower - our destination for the day. Inwardly my snobbery wasn't allowing me to get excited about this - I was convinced it was going to be a whole day of tacky, third rate entertainment and that I was going to be bored stiff. Then the entrance price (£43 for all of us) had me groaning - I was paying out all this money, and the day was going to be awful. I am amazed to admit that I was totally and utterly wrong!!! We started off in the well stocked and very clean and healthy looking aquarium - Little Prince loved the Nemos (clown fish to anyone who hasn't seen the film). Then we made our way to the Jungle Jim area - it was huge. The kids all had a ball running round in there for ages. After that we decided to go further up the Tower, to the walk of faith on one of the uppermost levels, this is a portion of the floor that has been replaced by glass and you can see right down to the pavement below (not my cup of tea!!). On the way we passed the famous ballroom - gorgeous architecture in the ceiling and beautiful parquet flooring. Little Prince wanted to just sit and watch the dancing, he said it was so beautiful. Hard taskmasters that we are we eventually moved him on to the lifts to the upper floors. He spent the whole short lift ride clinging to me and declaring (in a loud voice) that it was scary and we were going to drop!! Not the most confidence inspiring lift ride!! Everyone (except me) managed the walk of faith - although Little Prince didn't actually notice anything different until it was pointed out, and then would only stand there holding tight to daddy's hand. Next everyone (except me) ascended the stairs to the open air highest floor - its giving me a queasy tummy just thinking about it!! After all that excitement we had time for a quick lunch - quite a few choices other than burger and chips, again I was surprised and impressed, before queuing for the Tower Circus. I have been to circus shows at theme parks before, and not been impressed. Guess what?? This was fabulous!! Although Little Prince did manage to fall asleep half way through the second half and miss the water finale!! We had already overstayed our welcome on our parking ticket, so we hot footed it back to the car - I'm sure it wasn't that far away when we parked this morning!! Perhaps carrying Little Prince, his rucksack and my handbag made it seem further!

Unfortunately Mr Messy came down with a migraine which meant that I had to drive home - luckily we had the GPS so I did actually get us here!! At one point we did think of stopping at the Travel Lodge at one of the service stations (Mr Messy was being sick and couldn't seem to stop) but we got going in the end. I think I was caught by a speed camera - drat that ruins my 'no points' record :-( I've never had a point on my licence since I learnt to drive, a looooong time ago.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Off to the seaside!!

I've been running round like a headless chicken all day, as tonight (after picking up Drama Teen from Stagecoach) we are going to Blackpool!! We are letting Little Miss Sensible have the house to herself to host a party to celebrate her 18th birthday. I can't decide if I'm mad or stupid or both!!! Answers on a postcard please...

We know the majority of the friends that are coming, they are all fairly sensible and have accepted the rules we've laid down (no drinking to excess, no smoking, no breaking things). But I still have a bunch of what ifs running round my head!! Hopefully I'll be worrying for nothing - watch this space!! If I don't return they've trashed my house!!!!!!

We've got friends in Blackpool that we are meeting for a meal tonight, unless Little Prince falls asleep and then me and him will be dropped off at our hotel, while Mr Messy and Drama Teen go for the meal. He's already sleepy and has spent most of the day sucking his thumb and carrying his blankie around - so I'm not holding out much hope for a meal. I'll probably end up with a McD's brought back to the hotel!!

Tomorrow we are spending the day with our friends, if the weather's good we might go to the zoo not sure what the alternative plans are, we are discussing that tonight at the meal. It can be a nightmare finding something to amuse all the kids as they are such different ages. We had hoped that Little Prince and MeiMei would be fairly close in age, so we didn't have that problem so much - but with the wait for a referral stretching out longer and longer, that's probably not going to happen.

I tried on a pair of jeans I haven't worn for ages earlier today, and was gutted to find they didn't fit any more - they're my FAVES :-( I will have to seriously start cutting down on calories and upping the exercising!! But I've been spoilt by being on the LighterLife diet - I lost weight so quickly that 'ordinary' dieting just doesn't seem quick enough!! I have to get into a sensible mindset and stop expecting the same results as LighterLife, otherwise I just get discouraged. I also have to get motivated - to help me resist my other FAVE - Cadbury's chocolate yuuuummy :-)

Friday, 18 May 2007

Aaaargh!! I missed a day!!!!

Well whatever made Little Prince sleepy and have a ridiculously early night the other day, got me last night - I was in bed, fast asleep by about 6pm!!! And I slept right through till my two legged alarm clock yelled for mummy this morning!!! Hopefully it will just be a huge coincidence and me and Little Prince aren't going to come down with the dreaded lurgy any minute!!

Just to catch up - yesterday was cycling proficiency again. The kids are still doing great, very confident and competent riders in the main - which makes my job a heck of a lot easier :-)

Today there was supposed to be a village-wide power cut, between 9am and 4pm. So we dutifully turned off the computer and I didn't do any washing/drying (it stacks up quickly with three kids!). But guess what??? The power hasn't been off at all!!! Frustrating - I could have got loads of washing done and kept up to date with my websites/message boards and blogs!! The upside is that it was nice to not have that oppressive humming noise in the background though, I hadn't really noticed how pervasive it was until it wasn't there!!!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

STILL tired!!!

I didn't sleep very worrying about having our medicals done today - what if they find there's something wrong with me?? What if I've put on even more weight than I think I have??? Lots of what ifs!!! Managed to completely muddle up the time of the medical and arrived an HOUR late - greeted by an extremely irate doctor, who seemed mightly p'd off!! Argued that we were there at the time we were told and she did, eventually, calm down. Trouble is when I checked our calender at home - she was right!!!! I feel awful!!! Apart from that nothing else went wrong - we are fit and healthy and the doctor says so!! She even commented that we only seem to go into the surgery for Adoption Medicals (4 so far!!).

After that we went out for lunch at the local garden centre, which was full of crumblies but they do exceedingly nice cakes :-) From there we whizzed off to a neighbouring village to see the new headmistress of Little Prince's school. The older two went to the same school, but all the teachers that taught them have left for one reason or another, so we went to suss out the new head and chat to her about Little Prince's complicated background. She seemed very open to learning how to deal with his 'adoption stuff' and is arranging a meeting between us and his new teacher so we can discuss his particular needs and how to deal with them. We asked about how the school deals with race issues and at the end of the talk she said she would be very interested in me becoming a school governor, with responsibilities for multicultural issues!!! That completely threw me - after 19 years as a housewife (OMG has it been THAT long!!) I'm not that confident about being anything else!! But I do feel these issues are very important, especially given my family's composition now and in the future and I don't feel that our school (despite great intentions) gets it right. Race/multiculturalism is something wheeled out for 'special occassions' (Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid etc) which is a great start - but they don't think about the faces in children's reading books (mainly white), the dressing up clothes (Disney princesses & superheroes), music heard in school etc. If I was invited to be a governor (and was brave enough to take it up) that is the sort of thing I'd want to be changing - so that the whole underpinning of the school was more multicultural. Lofty ambitions or what?!?!

Next thing was to drop off the completed medicals with Admin at our LA - she needs to get the LA Medical Advisor to check and sign the forms before everything can be sent back to the DfES. Luckily the LA Med. Ad. is at SS offices on Monday and Admin will get them signed there and then, and sent off on their merry way back to Darlington!!! Where hopefully they will be acceptable to DfES and it won't be too much longer before we are at the Notary stage!!! Although I'm keeping my fingers crossed and not counting on anything yet!!!

I took Little Miss Sensible with me when I drove to the LA offices, and we had a good long chat about her plans to volunteer in India. She lived up to her 'name' and listened to my concerns and said she will think about all that we talked about before making a firm yes or no decision!! I really AM the mum of an adult :-)

And an update on Little Prince re his mega early night last night! Thankfully he's fine - no rashes or spots or temperatures or anything else vaguely 'sickness-y' so I've no idea what was the matter with him last night. And I'm not really omplaining - its one of the nicest things about being a mum - cuddling a sleeping child :-) Bliss :-)

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Short post - very tired

Took Drama Teen for her 6 weekly appointment at specialist orthodontist (160 mile round trip). Five hours drive for 20-30 minutes appointment! I know its worth it, as they are specialists in her congenital difference - but it aint half tiring!!

Her regular orthodontist wasn't available today, so we saw her husband. We don't mind as he is one of the premier professors of orthodontistry in the region - and besides he's told us he always does exactly what his wife tells him to, so that he won't get in trouble :-)

Not sure what's the matter with Little Prince, but he fell asleep after school at about 5pm and has been in bed since. He is a bit wriggly now, and he's spoken to me when I've been in to check on him, and we've been listening carefully over the baby alarm system. He's probably coming down with something - I'll let you know what when I find out!!! His little friend who came to play last week was ill (snuffly nose and sleepy) so it could be that, and there's chicken pox going round his school (so could be that too). Poor little man :-(

Lastly I want to send my support to my friend Rosie, who has had a hard day today (on top of being ill and tired). I'm thinking of you Rosie and sending you all my love and best wishes - wish I could give you a big hug xxx

Monday, 14 May 2007

Productive day :-)

I didn't think today was starting well, when at 9am I tried to contact either Boss Lady or Admin at our LA - neither were available as Panel were sitting today!! Its just the way my luck runs really!! Was feeling quite bummed out about it and decided to keep busy and get on with lots of other jobs round the house to keep busy and diustracted - it worked :-) I eventually got to speak to Admin in the late afternoon, and by then she had already read and acted on the email I'd forwarded from the DfES - very impressive. Even more impressive when you consider how slow my LA usually works!! The offending letter was already in the hands of the secretary to the ADM, and Admin said she is confident she will have the revised version by Wednesday afternoon when I take our completed medical forms to the offices. YEAH :-) She will then get everything sent straight back to the DfES and hopefully our papers can start their merry journey to China again - with no mistakes this time PLEASE!!!

Little Miss Sensible has been looking in more detail at her two favourite options for volunteering in India and is leaning more towards the smaller (one man band) organisation rather than the slick bigger one. The only trouble is, she has found out her holidays from University probably aren't long enough - volunteers are asked to commit to 4 weeks in India and her hols are only 3 weeks long!! She is waiting to hear from both organisations whether they would allow her to do a 3 week placement. She is also talking about going over there in the Christmas break - so she would be away from home and family, for the first time in her life, over Christmas. I'm not sure how either she or the rest of us will cope with that!!

One of Drama Teen's teachers rang this evening to let us know that she is being put forward for a place in NAGTY (National Association for Gifted and Talented Youth). Little Miss Sensible is already a member, and Drama Teen is overjoyed to be able to follow in her footsteps. It has given her a HUGE confidence boost, which is great, as her outward confidence is only a thin veneer over a lot of anxieties. She is also planning to take part in a 26 MILE walk with friends over the Summer to raise money for charity! I did point out that she complains bitterly about the school sponsered walk that is 1/5th the distance!!! We will see....

Following advice from the OASIS conference on Saturday, I gave Little Prince another 'transitional object' (we already have a comfort blankie - well actually we have several as it does occassionally NEED washing!). The advice was to find an object he could 100% associate with me, as he had his blankie while he lived with his foster carer, so he doesn't totally associate that with me, even though he finds it extremely comforting!! I was told NOT to take blankie (or blimDAR as he is currently known!! His own emphasis!!) away, or try to replace it - but introduce the new object as an extra. Anyway, he finds it very funny when I call him my bunny rabbit (among many, many pet names, this seems to be the one that appeals to him most) - so I chose a small cuddly bunny rabbit (definitely portable lol)!! I explained to him that I was giving it to him to remind him he was mummy's bunny rabbit - and that every time he looked at it he could think of mummy. He insisted on carrying it in his hand to nursery, blankie was placed in his book bag as usual - and he was still carrying it when he came out of nursery!! He also went to sleep with bunny on his pillow, as well as blankie in his hand and sucking his thumb, as normal. He is SO going to hate me for writing all this when he is older!! Hopefully this will help alleviate the last vestiges of his insecure attachment and help him feel more stable and calm when things get a bit overwhelming.

The other thing we are working on is his 'pincer grip' he still holds his pencils/crayons/paint brushes in a 'fist' grip and his nursery teacher has advised us to try to encourage him to use the pincer grip instead. Last week he was very resistant, but today he tried really hard and was getting there :-) Teacher has also given us a triangular shaped gripper that slips over pencils to help him learn the correct grip, this is one of her own from home, while we wait for the one she would really like him to have, which is soft mouldable plastic and apparently feels nicer. But school have only just noticed they haven't got any spares so they are on order at the moment.

Well its getting ridiculously late and I meant to go to bed hours ago, when I'd finished emailing my friends. But I couldn't resist a quick check of my fave websites and then realised I hadn't blogged today. Night night everyone, sleep tight :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Not a lot to say!!

Well why am I writing then you ask?? Mostly because if I start to get lazy and miss days I'll end up stopping writing, and then I won't achieve my wish to be able to look back and find out what was going on the day MeiMei was born.

I'm English what do I talk about if I can't think of anything else?? Why the weather of course!! Its been pouring down with rain ALL day - it hasn't stopped and its quite depressing after all the lovely weather we've had lately. Mr Messy took the HOST student back to the station this evening - after they had watched the Grand Prix of course! Even Little Prince enjoyed watching the race (no matter how hard I try he's turning into a stereotypical little boy) - I presume he just saw it as a real life version of Disney/Pixar Cars (little does he realise its the other way round lol). Italian student was very impressed that Little Prince wanted the Ferrari to win :-)

Ha - I thought I didn't have a lot to say!!! So this looooong post is quite impressive :-) I'm easily impressed!!

Little Miss Sensible has decided she would like to do some volunteer work abroad either this Summer before University (and in between exams and backpacking round Eastern Europe) or during the Christmas break. She says she realises that she has had a very priviliged upbringing and has had most things handed to her on a plate, and that she would like to help children who haven't been as fortunate as she has been. She has found two opportunities she would like to investigate further, both working in India teaching children English (either in a village or orphanage), although she sensibly acknowledges that it will be very hard emotionally to cope with either situation. And given her faddy eating, it will be difficult for her to cope with the diet! I am so proud of her though - she has turned into a very beautiful, very compassionate young lady and I wish I could take more credit for that - but I can't she's just like that naturally :-) I am a very lucky mum :-)

Its making me incredibly nervous - the thought of my BABY going half way round the world ON HER OWN!! But I also know that I have to let her (and yes she still asks permission, even though she is old enough to make decisions like this herself), she needs to experience the big wide world and learn to be independant and self reliant. But on the other hand she is MY BABY and I will miss her and worry about her the whole time she is away. I know she's eighteen (for goodness sake mum - as I keep being told!) but I still can't help it I'm her mum.

Well I have waffled on a bit haven't I? I thought I didn't have a lot to say - it must be my inner chatterbox coming out!!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

OASIS Seminar

Spent the day at the OASIS Seminar today and it was great. The speaker was excellent, she spoke both as a professional and as an adoptive parent (or a parent who's child joined the family through adoption) with great enthusiasm and humour. Much of what she said can be applied to Little Prince and helped me see some of his behaviours in a different context and hopefully I can now respond more as he needs me to. And of course all the valuable advice will be very useful if we ever get a referral from China for MeiMei.

And the highlight of the day was seeing all the new mum's and dad's and the baby photos (they are SOOOOO CUTE) and the almost new mum - referral should be in the next batch :-) It was very exciting listening to their travel plans - and wondering if we'll ever reach that stage. It was great to be able to put names to faces I've seen posting on the various UK groups too, people seem much more real once you know what they look like :-)

Not sure what happened at home while I was away, but I keep finding Little Prince's toys in some very strange places!!! He's already said he wants mummy or Little Miss Sensible to go and get him out of bed when he wakes up - I think he missed me :-)

Friday, 11 May 2007

They've done it again!!!!

Got an email from DfES letting me know why they considered our ADM letter to be missing from our dossier. The signatory didn't explicitly SAY they were the Agency Decision Maker acting on behalf of Panel - un-bleeping-believable!!!! If the wording of the letter is SO IMPORTANT - why weren't my LA informed of this??? Why isn't it mentioned anywhere in the guidelines??? BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP!!!!

I think I feel better now :-)

AND to top it all - the email arrived after LA offices have closed!!!! Aaaaaargh!!! I've forwarded the email to LA Boss Lady and I'll be ringing her first thing on Monday, to see if we can sort this out.

Why oh why is it never simple????????

Shouldn't be on the computer!!

We've got a student arriving this evening (via HOST I'll get around to some more links soon) and I'm supposed to be tidying up - so what am I doing?? Reading messages on the computer of course!!

I've got a huge pack of permission slips/forms to fill in for Little Prince to start full time school (reception) in September and I haven't done that either.

Not a very productive day really!! Oh well!!

Excited about the OASIS conference tomorrow, the talk should be very interesting to hear. And I get to see Kate and give her Whatshername's pressie - and see the photos maybe (fingers crossed).

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Booked our medicals YEAH :-)

Our GPs Practice has just rung - and both our medicals are booked for next Wednesday, that's much quicker than I thought we'd be able to do (and both on the same day - I thought we'd have to have one in a couple of weeks and the other a few weeks after that) :-) YEAH YEAH YEAH!! Just got to get hold of Mr Messy and check the date is ok with him - keeping my fingers crossed!! Update - IT IS OK :-) We can have our medicals, get all the forms filled in and signed and get them back to Local Authority's offices all in the same day :-) They will then send the paperwork back to DfES Recorded Delivery and hopefully we will be back on track then!!! Phew!!!

Little Prince had one of his friends round to play - which he was very excited about, he's been asking since 6.30 this morning was it time for his friend to arrive!! Was lovely to chat to friend's mum, unfortunately little friend wasn't very well and ended up nearly asleep on the sofa watching Cars on dvd, so they had to go home. I hope little friend gets better soon. Well it was almost time for Little Prince to have his lunch ready for nursery, so it wasn't too bad, they did at least get some time to play. Only got a short time at home now I've dropped Little Prince at nursery, as I'm back up at the Primary School helping with the cycling proficiency again - don't the weeks go by fast!! Well it was a windy day for riding bikes, but we didn't get anyone blown away PHEW :-) The kids seem to be picking it up really fast this time, we just need to work on minor things (sticking closer to the kerbs and positions at junctions - ok that's not so minor but at least they all know which side of the road to ride on!).

Spoke to Nursery teacher about Little Prince's homework too (yes HOMEWORK in nursery!!) he has brought home the class cuddly toy in a bag with a camera and a book. He has to take some pictures of cuddly, and draw & write in the book. He is an amazingly bright little lad (can recognise letters and numbers, starting to string letters together in proto reading, has an amazingly wide vocabulary) but he doesn't like writing/drawing. He has only just started to draw recognisable faces - not got to bodies/arms/legs stage yet. He can only just 'write' if he is writing over the top of something pre-written for him. This 'homework' was way beyond his capabilities. Teacher already knew of his difficulties/resistance to writing/drawing and it is noted in his records. But she said he will have to learn to write/draw, he can't do all his schoolwork on a computer word processor - so he has to produce something. Fair enough - but each page in cuddly toy's is labelled with the relevant child's name and I'm not sure I want all the other parents to know/see that Little Prince is having difficulties in this area. I'm not ashamed of him in any way - but why should EVERYONE have to know??? Anyway we sat down together tonight after the parents evening, and managed to get a drawing of cuddly toy's face and to write the toy's name over one that I'd already written. It will have to be enough - I'm not prepared to do battle over this at FOUR and put him off/make him feel inadequate!!!

Went to Drama Teen's parents evening and all her teachers were pleased with her work and attitude (she's very polite) - one even said its kids like her that are the reason they are in teaching :-) I don't care if that is a standard, keep parents happy phrase - its good to hear :-) Her form tutor, however, has noticed that Drama Teen won't push herself and is capable of a lot more than she is presently giving (which is a concern of ours too) so she is going to circulate a message to all subject teachers asking them to push Drama Teen a little harder so that she actually works to her abilities and not let her carry on coasting. English teacher said one of the 'problems' was that Drama Teen is sat with a good friend during lessons and can get easily distracted with chattering - so she will be moved to sit next to a boy who is also coasting. Drama Teen has been very, very upset with this decision all evening and has had quite a few bouts of tears about it. Me and Mr Messy are in the bad books too as we agreed with English teacher and didn't argue about Drama Teen being split from her friend. Oh well I'm her mum not her best friend - and I have to strive to do what's best for her, not necessarily what she wants!! A mother's place is in the wrong :-( And I know that she knows that we love her to bits - whether she wants to acknowledge that at the moment or not!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

New Little Ones

I've just seen a photo of Kate's new baby and she is ADORABLE :-) Absolutely, totally gorgeous and I'm not one of these people who think every baby ever born is beautiful (sorry but some aren't!!). And I've also seen photos of a family in China now adopting their gorgeous son, he's a similar age to Little Prince when we adopted him and it brings back so many happy memories.

It makes all this faffing around with missing bits of paperwork seem worthwhile - and makes me believe (a little anyway) that one day it could happen for us too WOW what a thought :-)

No Progress yet

LA Dept Boss Lady rang this morning, she was very apologetic that we hadn't been advised to have the Adult AH Medical forms completed. I told her it wasn't her fault, neither of us realised, and we are sorting it out now. She also said she had spoken to DfES this morning and confirmed that the ADM Letter was in the dossier all the time, and that we would forward everything back to them once the medicals were completed.

Still waiting for a call back from the GP's Practice - hopefully they'll ring this afternoon and we can get everything sorted out and back to DfES.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

More updating

I've rung our GP Practice and they have to get hold of the doctor who's turn it is to do medicals this month, then see when they could fit us in, and then get back to us! Why is nothing easy?!?!?! Hoping they will ring back this evening, and that they will be able to fit us in quickly. Got fingers, toes and everything crossed!!!


Rang and rang and rang the DfES helpline as soon as it 'opened' at 1.30pm!! They finally answered at 2.10pm - and believe me I had them on constant redial!!

The first thing we sorted out is that, despite it not being on the list of documents needed, China insist (according to DfES) on having the AH Adult Medical Form. So we have to get hold of the forms from our LA, get the appointments booked, and get the completed forms back to our LA - added to our dossier and sent back to the DfES!!

Second thing I wanted to check was what to do about our China specific medicals (dated 21st & 28th Sept and only valid for 1 year). After checking with someone the DfES man said he couldn't tell us what to do or not to do, but would advise keeping an eye on the processing times and if it looks like it will be a close shave in getting our papers to China, then to redo them then. He kept saying it all depends on how quickly China process LIDs once our papers arrive at the CCAA - I reminded him that it also (very much!!) depended on how quickly DfES process our papers!!

Thirdly I wanted to check the "returning your adoption application" wording. And YES they have sent the WHOLE THING (all our precious papers!!) back to our LA. For goodness sake!!!!!! I expressed my surprise and frustration at this - nicely honest :-) Didn't really get any answer as to why they would do it this way though. He did acknowledge how frustrating it must be, which is something I suppose.

Lastly - what do we do about the 'missing' Agency Decision Makers letter. I said I'd already spoken to our LA and they insisted it was in with the rest of the papers. And that DfES are now saying it isn't - I'm stuck in the middle!! He said he could understand my predicament, but that it really had to be the original letter that was included - copies maybe wouldn't be accepted by CCAA and then that would mean our application would be rejected.

Next got on the phone to Admin at our LA. Admin confirmed that they had received the whole dossier back in the post this morning - and was just as shocked as we were that this is the procedure!! On checking the document list - Agency Decision Makers letter was listed and was in the second folder all the time!! At least that solves any problems of having to get hold of either a new letter or an acceptable (to CCAA) copy.

Admin also said she had already put 3 copies of the AH Adult Medical Form in the post to us, first class. And that Dept Boss Lady would be ringing me later. Admin was very apologetic and couldn't understand how this has happened. We agreed that we hope everything goes smoothly from now on!!

Local Authority and DfES

I'll be updating this throughout the day, as I speak to the different people involved and find out more about what is going on with our papers!!

Firstly, I spoke to Admin at our Local Authority this morning and they were adamant that one of the missing pieces of paper (Agency Decision Makers letter) WAS included with our dossier, Admin knew how important it was and put it right on top of the pile. I believe them, I remember having a conversation with Admin and asking had we really passed Approval Panel, as we hadn't received the ADM's letter and I was getting a bit panicky. Admin replied that of course we had passed and she had been holding onto the ADM letter as the original had to be sent to DfES with our papers and sent me a photocopy.

Admin also said the UK Medical form wasn't requested in the list of papers to send, and that our LA has the policy of asking the applicants GP if they feel a medical is needed. Our GP (who has done quite a few adoption medicals for us in the last few years!) obviously thought we didn't need another one, and the Agency Panel Medical Advisor obviously agreed with him - so why do DfES have a problem with it??

Admin said she would check what post they've received from DfES and get back to me. We are both worried by the wording of DfES letter "returning your adoption aplication to Local Authority"!!! Does this mean they have sent ALL the documents BACK to our Local Authority!?!? Or that they have written to our Local Authority and asked for the missing documents to be forwarded onto them? I'm hoping its the latter, as the first has such potential for EVEN MORE documents to go missing!!!!

I've sent an email to DfES pointing out all of the above, and received the automated out of office reply - bleeping frustrating!!! I'll be on the phone to them as soon as the line is open again!!!

Monday, 7 May 2007

Child missing in Portugal

A not so fluffy post! I've been watching the news reports of the 3 year old little girl kidnapped while on holiday in Portugal, and seeing/hearing the anguish of the parents is heartbreaking. I cannot, in my wildest nightmares, imagine what they are going through at the moment and my thoughts are with them. I hope that the little one is found safe and well VERY VERY soon.

However, I feel very uncomfortable with the reports of how the child (and her 2 year old twin siblings) were left alone in the holiday apartment, while the parents went for a meal. I know that the news reports say the parents checked on the children every half an hour, and that the restaurant was only yards across the street and that they were staying in a family friendly, fairly exclusive resort. Its also been reported that the family were holidaying in a group with other families and that they chose not to use the resort's creche services. Why not - was it more convenient to leave three children alone? Couldn't the group have taken turns to babysit each other's children? If the restaurant was so close couldn't they take their meals back to the apartment? I cannot fathom how an obviously intelligent (both doctors) couple could think it was safe to leave three children of that age ON THEIR OWN. I presume, given their ages, all three children could walk - what if they had woken up on their own and gotten into mischief? A much more plausible happening than the current traumatic events, which probably couldn't have been imagined.

Another thought - what if this were Wayne and Waynetta Slob, who just popped over the road to the local pub, leaving three children locked in their council flat? Would they be getting all this sympathetic, wringing hands "How could this happen?" press? Or would they be roundly condemned for their bad parenting choices and have social services knocking on their doors??

One last thought - a relative of the parents has been quoted saying that the children were born after IVF treatment, and so were more special than if they had been conceived naturally. This REALLY got my goat!! We were lucky that we didn't have any fertility issues when we had our birth daughters, and I consider them SO SPECIAL that I never left them alone in a locked house, so that I could have a meal!!

Despite all that ranting, I honestly hope and pray that the little girl is returned safely to her parents as soon as possible.

Lol I was right!!!

I couldn't post anything else yesterday as Blogger thought I was a virus!! TOLD YOU I'd jinx things by trying to be all technical!! So I'm just going to do plain, ordinary posting today - just in case!!!

Anyway Little Miss Sensible is still in University Town with The Boyfriend, I'm hoping she can manage to get all of her trains home on time, as her mobile phone is flat (she took the wrong charger!!) so she won't be able to let us know if she misses one!!

Drama Teen has gone off with some friends to a local ish Theme Park. We've just had a text message to say she's been on a really scary ride and feels sick - oh dear! Glad she's coming home later in Mr Messy's car rather than mine lol

Little Prince is running riot in the garden and having a whale of a time :-) Dashing round in his Little Tikes red and yellow car (I think EVERY child I know has one of them!!), throwing and kicking balls and digging in the mud :-)

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Getting Technical!!

I have just applied to join a Web Ring!! I've correctly cut and pasted the HTML code all by myself (I didn't ask for help from Mr Messy or the kids!!) and I am feeling pretty pleased with myself!! Not bad for a dumb blonde :-)

Of course now I've gone and got all cocky about how great and technical I am, it will all come crashing down round my ears!! You watch!!!

Now I want to do all sorts of other pretty things with my blog - no idea what or how!! So watch this space (but just in case - don't hold your breath!!).

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Retail Therapy :-)

Well I had a lovely afternoon mooching round the town centre, while the Drama Teen was at her Stagecoach club. Mr Messy and Little Prince stayed at home, so I didn't have to worry about trying to find a Disney Car that we don't already have - we have them ALL, but try convincing Little Prince of that!!

It was lovely to browse through the baby clothes in all the major high street stores - I had to find THE perfect outfit :-) I don't do much 'baby browsing' while out with Little Prince, as it makes him feel a bit insecure - so I really appreciated the chance. And it was good to be able to buy something and not feel like I was tempting fate - this wasn't for our MeiMei (who still feels like an 'if' not a 'when') it was for Kate's baby, who is a real, live, actual baby referred from China :-) See it DOES happen :-)

Feeling a lot more positive now and I'm hoping I can enjoy the rest of the long weekend, and put adopting to the back of my mind for once!


I thought everything was pootling along fine - slowly but fine!! Ha!!! What did I know!!!

We received a letter from the DfES this morning - ooooh exciting we finally have some communication from them!! NOPE!! Its to say there are bits missing from our paperwork dossier and so they've returned our application to our Local Authority. Hopefully that doesn't mean they've sent the whole kit and kaboodle back to our LA, with the potential to lose even more bits of paper!!!

And with it being a Bank Holiday weekend - I can't get in touch with anyone till next Tuesday. Why do these things always happen at a weekend?!?!

To cheer myself up I'm going shopping for something pink and pretty for Kate's new baby :-)

Friday, 4 May 2007

Introducing The family

Mr Messy aka Hubby. He is the world's most untidy man!! Which as a basically tidy and organised person drives me insane, but I've learnt to live with it :-) He works in IT as a Professional Interferer otherwise known as a Project Manager.

Me - Janet This is my blog, written by me and only me, so all the opinions are all mine! I'm a housewife and very lucky to be Mum to the four most gorgeous and wonderful children in the world.

Little Miss Sensible is our eldest daughter and the world's most sensible teenager. I can take none of the credit for this strange turn of events - she is just inherently like that!! She is away most of the year studying psychology at university.

Drama Teen is our younger daughter and the world's most determined teenager, with ATTITUDE!! Her current goal is to go to university in America and to become a criminal psychologist and to live and work in America as an adult.

Little Prince is our only son and the world's most energetic and loving little boy. We adopted him in the UK when he was almost 2 years old. His favourite things are Power Rangers and playing at the local park.

Fraulein is our exchange student from Berlin, for the academic year 2007-8. She is quiet, studious and an all round lovely girl. Although Fraulein has now gone back home to Germany, she will always be a part of our family. Miss you Fraulein xxx

All images made at
Try it its LOADS of fun

A New Day and A New Blog!!

Well call me fickle, but I wasn't getting anywhere with the old blog so I thought I'd try a different provider - and voila this one suits me a lot better. The controls seem much more intuitive and I've managed to do more with this in one morning than I did with the other one in two days, and its so much easier :-)

The Little Prince is off at nursery now, so I've got an hour or so to play with my new toy, I mean blog :-)

Little Miss Sensible is off to University Town tonight to visit The Boyfriend, so I'll be dropping her off at the train station later. Little Prince will be upset 1) That she is seeing The Boyfriend and he isn't 2) That she won't be here to play on the PlayStation or the Wii with him!! He's going to be a grumpy boy!!!

Today's Thoughts and Wonderings

I’m hoping I can keep up with this blogging, so that one day (in some far far distant future) will be able to look back and find out what I was doing/thinking when our future little one was born. Wouldn’t that be magical?

Well today was pretty ordinary! Swapped the new phones over at the supermarket, hopefully the new set will actually work and we won’t have to run round the house trying to find the one phone that actually does function!! Spent the afternoon helping to train the local primary school kids in their Cycling Proficiency skills. Its fun when its a lovely sunny day like today, its the cold, wet and windy days that its a pain! Its always a bit bittersweet too, as this will be the third year we have done the training without my friend, she died. I still miss her, but its times like this that it really hits me that she isn’t around any more.

That’s a bit of a depressing note to leave it on - but I can’t think of anything else to say!!

Hello World!!

Thought I’d have a go at this blogging stuff and see how it goes :-)

We are applying to adopt from China, and have been ‘in the process’ since January 2006, and still aren’t even at the starting line! We’ve completed our homestudy, passed Approval Panel, and our papers are at the DfES waiting to be checked. China brought in new rules, that came into affect yesterday, and although we, our social worker, our Local Authority and Approval Panel think we are ok with the new rules, we now have to wait and see if DfES agree!! Nerve wracking!!! Keep your fingers crossed


25th May 2009 - See New Child again & Court Date

23rd May 2009 - Fly back to Ethiopia

26th March 2009 - Fly to Ethiopia :-)

3rd March 2009 - Dossier Arrived at Orphanage

26th February 2009 - Dossier sent to Ethiopia

22nd December 2008 - Dossier back at DCSF

28th November 2008 - Certificate of Eligibility ISSUED

6th October 2008 - PASSED Approval Panel

7th July 2008 - Homestudy Update Started

28th Feb 2008 - Told LA we wished to change country


Formally withdrew from the China Adoption Programme 17th July 2008

LID (Logged in Date) with CCAA 16th August 2007

Documents to China 10th August 2007

Passed Approval Panel 5th March 2007

Homestudy started 6th June 2006

First Contact with our LA 1st Jan 2006