Princess Lollipop's arrival ended an almost ten year quest to adopt two little girls from China!!! Our first application was stopped when (now ex!!) friends of ours totally trashed us when they were interviewed as one of our referees! We fought the decision to not allow us to continue our China adoption application, but despite support from all quarters were unsuccessful. We took time out to consider our options and decided we still wanted to grow our family, and that we still wanted to adopt. We approached our Local Authority and applied to adopt domestically from foster care. This is one of the best decisions we made as it eventually united us with our wonderful son Little Prince :- ) We knew we didn't want him to be the only adopted child in a family with two birth children, and we also didn't want him to be the only non-white member of a white family (although he currently looks white). So after much thought we decided to once again apply to adopt from China. We had many reasons for this some of which were: we wanted to adopt a non white child, and were worried that social workers would insist on only matching us to a child with a similar ethnicity to Little Prince if we applied domestically (which would probably take years as there don't seem to be children needing families with his ethnicity); due to Little Prince's competitive nature and insecurities we wanted him to stay as the our special only boy, and 95% of adoptions from China are girls; Little Prince was only 3 years old when we applied to adopt again, and due to our Local Authorities strict rules on no adopting out of birth order, and having around 2 year age gap, we were limiting ourselves to the most sought after children in UK domestic adoption; we felt that a child matching our desires in UK foster care would not have any difficulty finding a home, and we could even end up "competing" against other (younger, childless) families, and didn't think we would be chosen; we felt that a child growing up in a Chinese orphanage "needed" us more than a similar child needing adoption in the UK. So we duly went through the whole long winded UK process to apply to adopt internationally, and 19 months later our papers were Logged In at the CCAA offices in China. However, during that 19 months it had become apparent that adoptions from China had changed dramatically, from a 6 month ish wait for a referral after Log In when we first started, the wait time for a referral had sky rocketed and showed no sign of ever speeding up. There were fewer and fewer children being abandoned, more families adopting domestically within China, so less and less need for overseas prospective adopters. We did not want to have our lives held in a waiting limbo for what looked like it could extend to years, so we started looking at what else we could do. After considering all our options we decided to apply to adopt from Ethiopia, a very new, not well trodden path for UK adopters. It took a long time and a lot of stress to persuade our Local Authority to allow us to do this, but 12 months later our papers were sent to Ethiopia. Just over a week later we were referred our Princess Lollipop, and three months after that she joined our family forever :-) Once again the path we thought we wanted to travel (adoption from China) was not the path we ended up travelling, and I can't imagine not being where we are today, with the two precious children we adopted. Perhaps both our children needed to have a similar background story for their adoptions?? I have no idea, but I know Little Prince and Princess Lollipop are the perfect children for us and I couldn't imagine any others in their place.
All this waffling is to say that I had FINALLY got my long held hearts desire, two adopted children and a complete family of four children :-) So why have I spent the last few months feeling so down?? Princess Lollipop is an easy, delightful, loving child and so easy to love, and yet I still feel down??? She is the worst sleeper we have had out of the four children, and I don't think she has slept all night through without needing settling in the wee hours, for a whole week on the trot since she has been home. So perhaps the tiredness from constant disturbed sleep, on top of the demands of raising Little Prince has just got to me. I just can't seem to shake it off :-(
Since bringing home Princess Lollipop we have also had the added strss of Mr Messy not being able to find a suitable new contract. This has lead to financial pressures and money had been getting tighter and tighter and the situation more and more worrying. Unfortunately me and Mr Messy haven't been dealing with our worries together, and we need to find the energy to begin working together again. Which is almost impossible with the lack of sleep we are both getting, coupled with Mr Messy working long hours and driving four hours per day and me dealing with the the children and Little Prince's issues on my own during the day. After having four children, we know that a new arrival (birth or adopted) is a stressful time and that we will get through this and become stronger for it.
Well enough of all that, what else have I been up to?? I broke two bones in my foot and damaged my back at New Year, which was the worse time it could have happened!! Mr Messy started back at work, LMS moved out and I had to cope with it all while hobbling around!! Luckily I drive an automatic car (and injured my non driving foot) so I've been able to get Little Prince to school and nip to the shops etc. My back only twinges first thing in the morning (especially if Princess Lollipop has spent the night in our bed) and I can now wear my trainers tied loosely, instead of just being able to wear Crocs! So I'm slowly getting better :-)
I had a major falling out with Postlady over what started as a trivial issue and was blown up out of all proportion. Postlady stopped speaking to me, would run across the road rather than have us meet on the path and banned her daughter from playing with Little Prince outside school. This devestated Little Prince as he has always loved Postlady's daughter and values her friendship above all others :-( I really can't understand grown ups dragging children into an adult's argument, and this (and the original reason for the falling out) have really soured my opinion of Postlady. LMS's American Boyfriend met Postlady when he went out round the village photographing, and apparently she said she missed me and hadn't wanted the situation to go this far! Seeing as she was the one who was doing the avoiding and not speaking, I'm not sure how she didn't want it to go this far!! After getting this message I got in touch with Postlady and things initially seemed quite cordial. Little Prince's first request once he knew we were speaking again was to invite her daughter to come round to play, this is when things seemed to go awry again!! At first an evening was arranged, but then Postlady changed her mind and was too busy all week for them to play together. Then her daughter started saying things to Little Prince like "Your Mum is my Mum's last friend" and when Little Prince tried to invite her to play again she told him that "Mum says I can't go to your house until we are 10." These seem odd things for her to have come up with on her own, so I'm presuming Postlady still has some issues about me and/or Little Prince (and I know she has huge issues with Mr Messy). I've been very hurt by Postlady's behaviour, but even more so that she is hurting my little boy, to me that is unforgivable behaviour in an adult. I've talked to Little Prince and told him that I don't know why his friend's Mum won't let her come to play, but that her Mum is in charge of where his friend can and can't play and that we just have to accept that. I've been making a huge effort to invite other children round to play instead, its tiring and hard work, but its so worth it to show Little Prince that he has other fun friends even though he can only play with Postlady's daughter at school. I am so sorry that mine and Postlady's arguement has hurt Little Prince and wish there was something I could do to rectify the situation, but it would take effort from both me and Postlady and she doesn't seem to want to try and mend our friendship. I have decided that I have too much stress in my life to keep dealing with this drama and am trying to move on. I do feel very lonely as Postlady was the person I spent most time with, apart from my family. But just like Little Prince I do have other friends and need to spend time with them, instead of just relying on Postlady. So I am joining three other Mum friends on a trip to an Ethiopian/Carribean (!!!) restaurant after the next school holidays. I'm really looking forward to it as the restaurant has rave reviews and spending a hopefully relaxing and fun time with my friends :-)
The other major thing bothering me is my weight gain :-( I put on loads during our stressful battle with our Local Authority to change our application to Ethiopia and even more since our return home with Princess Lollipop :-( I've just been too tired to think properly about what I'm eating and have just been grabbing whatever is easiest, which is usually junk :-( I know my crappy diet isn't helping my mood, but don't have the energy to sort it out. Urgh!!!
Things haven't been totally bleak!! There have been goodtimes too, honest!! We (me, Mr Messy, Little Prince and Princess Lollipop) had a lovely few days break with another international adopter and her child. As her child is Chinese I was a little worried before we met up, wondering how I'd feel meeting her child, given that we haven't adopted from China twice now! Would I be upset, jealous, or what? I needn't have worried :-) Friend's child is absolutely delightful, but I must have really let go of my dream of a Chinese child of my own as I didn't find it hard at all and we had a LOT of fun :-) We'll have to do it again this year :-) We had another short break at a Youth Hostel with adopters of children with special needs. That was another fun break, especially as we didn't have to explain Little Prince's unusual behaviour and for once he didn't stand out as different :-) Another one that we'll have to repeat :-)
I'm hoping that my foot will be healed enough to take Little Prince and Princess Lollipop swimming in the school holidays and then once Little Prince is back in school to start attending a Baby swimming class with Princess Lollipop. My only worry about this is how it will affect her hair!! I am having real trouble keeping her hair in good condition and don't want to make it worse! But it will be a good opportunity to meet other Mums of children Princess Lollipop's age, even if I am the old fogey of the group lol!!