So there we were, sitting in a hotel room 10 miles and 12 hours away from finally meeting our kids – tomorrow was the day we have been waiting for all our lives (or so it seems at this point). Our journey had given us much to contemplate…. the highs and lows, including training, interviews panels, deep reflections on ourselves (YIKES) and even swiping right for kids.
It had been an experience that neither of us would forget (but hopefully never have to endure again) but now it was ‘go’ time – we would finally get to say hello to our kids and after all the hurdles we had jumped through, we could not wait…. they would finally be real.
To help us relax the night before, S and I decided to go out for a meal (our room had a kitchen, but who could cook at a time like this) in the main hotel. We left our room and headed over for a delicious steak with a pint. It had been snowing the day before, so we decided to drive the 200 yards to the hotel car park, as our apartment was down a steep driveway – the thought of getting snowed in when we were so close was unbearable so every inch closer mattered! It was a nervous dinner as we both were half thinking about the next day.
How would it go, would they like us, would they cry, would they reject us, would we say or do something wrong which they would remember and hold against us forever………brain in over-drive????
MY TIP – If you have a trick to turn your brain off, use it (and also tell me how you do it 🙂 ), if not the pint and banal conversation wasn’t a bad option.
The thoughts and doubts were running amok in our minds, so we were glad that we have the distraction of a restaurant to keep us entertained (and this could also be the last time we have a quiet meal together for 18 years lol). It was also nice to be able to share a glass of wine together over the meal (don’t tell the social workers, but we are NORMAL).
After we left the restaurant we walked back to our room with a heavy snow fall starting – yikes, that added that to my list of worries – will we even be able to get there the next day? How would that look? The most important day in our family’s life and we do not even turn up. Why oh why did this have to be added to our stress levels…..? Breath Ralph, Breath…..
After a very restless night, we woke extra early to make sure we were showered, dressed (looking good…) and ready to get there in plenty of time.
We both remembered to use our ‘special’ shower gels and deodorants (it was not really special, but we had been told to make sure we smelled consistent over the first few months, we had stocked up on one smell – i.e 5 of one shower gel and 5 of one deodorant to ensure we did not run out… and yes we might have over done it…. The funny thing was that S had forgotten her shampoo, so had to use my shower gel – and as she had to stay consistent while the kids got used to us, she was going to smell like me for a while. Lucky she can carry off any smell so well (did i mention she rocks 🙂 btw at this point she is rolling her eyes at me )
MY TIP – While we were told that we should make as many of the smells as consistent as possible, I would not over do it. Our home has a dog, so everything will be different anyway. In our home, we felt that the only one thing that ended up really important at the start was the washing powder.
As we drove down the slippy roads following the sat nav (thankfully we made it out on the road, but it was dicey – good call to move the car), both S and I were very quiet. Even the beautiful country villages and thatched cottages could only give us a brief distraction from our nerves, and we could not even muster enough energy to play the ‘I wonder how much it costs to live there’ game (one of our favourites).
We arrived in the town and found the street after only one wrong turn (Maybe a record for me). We realised that in our panic not to be late, we arrived 40 mins early – which might be considered a bit too early. So after a slow drive by (to ensure we knew which house it was but not look too much like stalkers), we went into the town centre to park and have a cup of coffee (herbal T for S of course). We looked around the village and the lovely shops thinking what a nice a place it was. After our tea and coffee we felt ok enough to finally review house prices in the area and what we could afford (is this just us who do that?) and in no time it was time to head back to the house – GULP.
MY TIP – Like life, better to arrive early than late.
We re-arrived at the house 3 mins early (that is ok, right?) to see that the kids had made us some signs and stuck them to the car and along the drive way. We followed the “This way Mummy and Daddy”, to the ‘Almost there, see you soon’ and finally on the front door “Just a quick ring away” – it brought a tear eye – and a lump to my throat (posting these pictures has just brought another tear to my eye – soppy Ralph).
So after I had managed to re-compose myself, it was time…
The door opened…….
….to be greeted by two sets of sparkling eyes peaking round the legs of the foster mum. Thankfully there were HUGE smiles showing on their faces – they wanted to see us – YEAH!.
“Hello, you must be XXX and you must be XXX, we are so pleased to meet you. I am your Daddy and this is your Mummy.”
I have to say, that speaking something so new and strange, never felt so Gooooooood.
We stepped over the threshold and into the house. The next stage of our journey as a family was just about to begin….