Meeting our daughter
Meeting our daughter.
Laura and Daniel* adopted two children a girl aged 7 months and later a boy aged 12 months through the former Hartlepool Adoption Services (now Adoption Tees Valley). Laura tells us about the introduction to her daughter and the first time they met and settled her into their family.
As we were told we would definitely be getting our baby girl we had to plan quickly for her arrival, in particular getting the house ready and baby proofing! I am a nursery nurse and have brought up a few babies from birth so taking home a 7 month didn’t faze me. But after having several failed IVF attempts we had almost laid to rest the idea of having a baby, it was hard to let myself believe this was actually going to happen and keep up hope!
We cannot thank Hartlepool* enough for what they did for us.
We started to prepare for our little girls arrival, in the run up we started a butterfly photo album, we added family pictures of us and grandparents and added a voice message, she still loves looking at it to this day. I started to journal my feelings and each stage, I still write in this for her now and it also really helped when it came to our second adoption.
By the time we came to approval day we had the butterfly album ready, teddy ready and an empty suitcase so our daughter’s foster carers could start to pack.
The teddy we chose was a soft Mother Care one, I bought a couple more too incase she became attached and it became special. Which it did. On the approval night the foster mum put it in the cot with her with a lot of other teddys, she reached out for it and she has never let go of it. She has slept every night ever since that day with it tucked under her arms.
We hadn’t met the foster parents until the approval day and actually the photo we were given of our daughter was so old and poor we weren’t sure what she would look like. We made sure we spoke a lot before hand, after all we were about to spend a week in their house.
So here we were about to meet our child for the first time, there were so many thoughts running through our heads; were we allowed to call her that? I don’t know, no one actually said we could, does that happen we get home? We didn’t know.
We walked into the room and were introduced as our little girl’s parents. Our social worker had done an amazing job preparing us to meet our baby. We made plans for the week ahead with our social worker, the baby’s social worker, foster carers and the head of service, I remember this being quite a daunting experience but we had to be sure we were prepared for being part of our baby’s routine before we brought her home. We planned things like coming to bath her at bedtime, putting her to sleep and taking her out for a walk in the pram. It happened to be father’s day the Sunday of that week so it was suggested we took her home on our own for the day meeting strictly just grandparents.
Everything was ready and we breathed a sigh of relief, few! Off we all went to meet our baby.
Meeting our baby
So here we were piling into the foster carers house, we were beside ourselves with excitement but we also felt a bit on show, everyone looking at our reaction, we did feedback at a later point in our evaluation that it would be nicer if it was more private.
The baby was asleep when we came in, the foster dad woke her up and she gave a huge smile, my first reactions was I had never seen such blue sparkly eyes, she was everything we’d been waiting for. She sat on her Dads knee, looked up at us, touched my knee and snuggled in so tight. Just as if she was waiting for us. Our hearts burst with joy and happiness all at once. I thought I loved her at first sight, but it would be in the days after she came home that I got a sudden rush of love gushing through my body I had never felt before.
So our first contact week was mainly getting to know our daughter’s routine and the foster parents, they were such an easy couple to get on with and this was their first foster child too. We’d been in and out of their house and enjoying being with our little girl when it was then our turn to take her home for the day. I took a photo to put in her life story book and it’s my favourite photo I have of her.
On Sunday night we said our goodbyes to the foster carers, they then had a final couple of days to prepare for their goodbyes. We sat at home tired but elated.
Bringing her home.
Tuesday morning came, it was finally here. The day we would get to bring our daughter home. We didn’t realise just how much stuff would be coming with her, the car was full of her tiny belongings from her short 7 months of life. The baby’s social worker came to sign the paperwork and they left us to it. This was it, this is the moment you are left with taking that baby/infant off the foster parents. With the joy come’s an intense sadness for the foster parents, the next couple of hours were very mixed emotions. Everything we had been through as a couple, this was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. No one can prepare you for taking them out of their hands and into yours, it wasn’t joyous it was bloody awful. This feeling however lasted no more than 15 minutes down the road, the tears kept coming but they were turning to happy tears. Our whole new life is in this car and it starts today.
And so we have our daughter.
Was it everything we hoped? Yes and more! With no regrets at all and never once any doubt. The foster family are very much in our girls life, we think it helps give her an understanding of who she is, adopted children have a past and you can’t ever shut the door on that, it’s important they know their history and we’re happy her foster family are so involved.