What’s in a name

Little Legs had lived with her foster family for practically all her life when we met her. She was three and a half years old. I had spoken on the phone to her Foster Mummy a few weeks before intros were due to start and had a lengthy discussion about how much Little Legs knew and understood about her planned adoption. Her Foster Mummy felt that Little Legs didn’t really have much of a grasp on what was about to happen. Her Social Worker hadn’t really done any preparation work with her and there was […]

The path we chose – home education and adoption

We didn’t always intend to home educate. Neither of us had ever met anyone who had been home educated or who was home educating. Both of us had grown up within the mainstream education system. However we made a significant geographical move as our first child turned one and were suddenly immersed in a friendship circle of adults who had been home educated and families who were home educating. We had some great friends who were home educating from the start and whose children were such positive examples of a different way of learning. Our […]

Our kind of support

During Stage Two of our pre-approval adoption process, our Social Worker talked us through our ‘Ecomap’: a strange document that required us to construct a map format of our support network. I remember us looking at the template and being unsure how to complete it. Who to place in what space. How to describe and differentiate our relationships with our family and friends. We spent significant amounts of time trying to make sure our Ecomap was representative of our lives at the time. We have some family locally (my Dad and my sister and family), […]

Water’s helping hand

I’ve been thinking this week about milestones. Little Legs was three and a half when she came home. Despite lots of her development being delayed, we met her too late to experience most of her small person milestones. She hadn’t been walking independently for long when we met her, though you wouldn’t know it now to see her legging it around after her sisters! She was still in nappies when she came home, and pretty much toilet trained herself over Christmas last year. We still have the dummy to work through and get rid of, […]

Blending birth and adopted children

One of the things I have found difficult to learn about, read up on, get ahead on during our adoption journey has been blending birth and adopted children. There are a few books, such as ‘Oh brother!’ and ‘Adopting a brother or sister‘ . But nothing that really floated my boat, or that I thought would work for our girls. I’ve mentioned before that we prepared our girls by reworking BAAF’s ‘We are fostering’ workbook. I contacted BAAF at the time and they were happy for us to use their workbook as a template for […]

Together into the unknown

Fight, flight or freeze…our Little Legs is a proper feisty little monkey! Ever since she came home just over a year ago, Little Legs’ response to a threat, an unknown, a lack of sleep, an emotional experience, has been to fight. Now she isn’t a violent child at all. We get rumbling low level aggression, usually targetted at one of her big sisters, occasionally at me or Mr Six.  Mostly hitting, scratching, hair pulling, some biting. Her go to for expressing her fear is usually raging meltdowns. Screaming, spitting, crying, shouting. Bless her, she often rages […]

An afternoon out

This weekend we spent a wonderful afternoon at a stunning National Trust property not too far from home. We’ve been there once before a couple of years ago and the grounds are just beautiful. We met up with long time awesome friends of ours, who live on the other side of the country and who we meet up with maybe just once or twice a year. We have seven kids between us, all aged between 4 and 11, so they all have buddies to play with and giggle with and tell secrets too. We have […]

Forging family relationships

This last week we had our first direct contact between Little Legs’ Foster Mum and Little Legs. I’ve been chatting with her lots on WhatsApp and sending photos and updates regularly, but there has been no direct contact with Little Legs for the year she has been with us. Rightly or wrongly, we have been feeling our way to find something that feels right. For Little Legs, for our family and for theirs. There is so much advice out there about continuing contact with foster families, initiating contact with birth families, and maintaining relationships with […]

When people just get it

Little Legs has been going to a pre-school (Ducklings) swimming class since late September. At the time we were offered the place, we weren’t sure whether it was too soon. She had only been home for about ten weeks and was showing lots of separation anxiety from me. But we decided to give it a go and see what happened. I spoke to the swimming coordinator and explained enough detail for her to make sense of Little Legs’ story and she asked for permission to share what I had shared with the swimming teacher who […]

Honest lessons

We’re now about nine months into our journey with our beautiful Little Legs. The bit of the adventure since she actually moved in as part of our family. The biggest things I have learned so far are mostly about myself. My character. My personality. My strengths. My weaknesses. Oh my weaknesses! I am less patient and more selfish than I had ever realised. I was always fully aware that I am not perfect. But my character flaws have been rammed home harder than ever in the last six months or so. Because of her early […]