It’s been ten days since we were told we have been matched with our gorgeous baby boy and it has been all action stations, going over the top with every kind of gadget and safety precaution we could possibly find. Our house has been baby proofed and even we are finding it hard to open most of the kitchen draws and cupboards, but we are not taking any chances, so have just transformed our house into a giant soft play area. We really should be having a chilled Sunday, being the day before we get to meet our boy for the first time but obviously this is just way too sensible for us. Instead, we have arranged a ‘Welcome to the Family’ party, which I suppose is a little like a baby shower, except we know the gender, name and what he looks like already. It was a funny one to explain to Gemma, as she had never heard of this and actually thought it was a party that would involve our boy, which would have been way to overwhelming for him and she would have had to advise us to cancel it. Once we explained it properly, she thought it was a really great idea and said she will now be telling adopters in the future to consider the same sort of thing. As hard as it is going to be, to keep everyone away for the first few weeks, we have decided for ourselves that is really important for us two as a couple to work together and ensure we get the best possible bond we can and focus on the boy fully. Rich was going to have a full 5 weeks off work, so we want to make the absolute most of it and start to create some memories with the boy straight away. Which brings us back to the whole reason for throwing the party, so we can see everyone all together to celebrate him becoming part of our family but also to help make them all feel an important part of it all, as we are basically going into hiding for a few weeks. I think I have also secretly loved the arranging, planning and excitement of today, as it has helped to keep my mind occupied and not been able to worry too much about the fact that tomorrow, I will get to see my boy’s face for real.
We have gone all out for the little man and he has no idea about it and will not feel the love and excitement he has already created within our family, but we wanted to create this amazing memory to share with him when he is old enough. It will give us something cool to look forward to, when showing him all of the photos to help him realise that he was truly wanted and loved before we even met him. We have hired a section at a local cocktail bar and ordered a load of balloons and fairy lights to fill it with and as Richard is so fussy as you know, he has chosen all the ‘HOT’ food that will be served with a special section that features no cheese. To us, this is like throwing a birthday party for the first time, so we have gone a bit crazy with a two-tiered cake surrounded by cup cakes which had an edible picture of his gorgeous little face on top. The funny thing is that a lot of the family will not have seen a photo of him or even know his actual name, until they arrive this afternoon for the party. The last thing we have prepared is a special message book for everyone to write a welcome message to him, for him to read when he is older and will form part of his memory box that will come with him filled with little memories of his 9 months so far.
It’s now time to pick up the balloons and head to venue, where we have made sure they have extra bar staff compared to a usual Sunday as there are so many people coming. Mainly because Richard has such a massive family and everyone wants to come to support us on this huge step in our lives and relationship. We sit in the car on the way to the balloon shop and have a little laugh to ourselves about how we were so worried about telling our family that we wanted to adopt a child, then now we are more worried about whether we have enough food or a big enough venue, as they are all so excited to be there with us to celebrate. It’s quite overwhelming knowing that for something that we have probably dealt with for most of our lives and felt quite lonely about, as we never thought children was possible and just didn’t have anyone to talk to or look up to about it, so we feel very lucky to have such great support around us now. Having collected all of the balloons and somehow managing to fit them in the car, we arrive at the venue, struggling to get through the door with so many bags of stuff for the party. We are still not sure if the bar owner really understands what this party is all about, as he has seen a couple of the photos on the cupcakes and cannot quite work out that the boy isn’t ever with us. The balloons were so tangled and twisted, which is just not what I want them to look like, so I task Rich with sorting this as I was getting a little flustered, but I put this down to nerves, as this is the first family party we have actually hosted. The staff are amazing though, take over and they literally have it sorted within seconds, which either proves that I was flustered or just incapable, but I will stick with flustered. Richard then goes out to grab the cake and sweets for the sweet table, comes back in looking wide eyed with nerves but is controlling himself whilst starting to display the sweets to a very high standard of precision, which is silly because we all know the kids will come in and trash them within five minutes but it is keeping him occupied and not panicking. Obviously both sets of our parents have arrived super early, as they did not want to miss out on anything and wanted to ensure they did all they could for their newest grandson before they get to meet him and everything is set up and ready to go, so now we sit and wait with that nervous feeling that everyone has when throwing a party ‘is anyone actually going to turn up’.
Sure enough, everyone starts to arrive in their droves and it feels like everyone has pretty much arrived at the same time, all excited and asking to see a picture of the boy, so they are directed to the cupcakes, most of them looking confused about this but then they start to turn to us with that smiley face of ‘OMG he’s soooo cute’. We continue to welcome everyone as they arrive and make sure that we speak to them all on an individual basis for a bit, as they have all made the effort to come on a Sunday afternoon at late notice as we could only arrange this after we were approved at panel. Everything seems to be going fine and people seem to be enjoying themselves, so I find Rich and tell him that the food has now all been and gone, to which he replies ‘but I haven’t eaten anything’ and I laugh and say ‘it wasn’t really for you babe, you can eat later’. I then explain that I feel we should do the toast now while everyone is still here and not wait right until the end as we don’t want to miss anyone that has to leave early. So, Rich then turns on his sensible work head and asks the barman to turn the music right down, and he starts by thanking everyone for coming. He is just so good at doing things like this, whereas I am not really the best when it is to people that I know but I stand next to him. Literally everyone is looking at us and smiling with their drinks, which feels so lovely. Rich then continues with his little speech but gets a little bit emotional, as he explains a little bit about how we feel so lucky to be meeting our boy tomorrow as we never thought this would really be possible. He finishes with a little tear in his eyes by saying ‘please raise your glasses to our wonderful son, who we already love so much and cannot wait to meet tomorrow’ and as you can imagine, everyone then starts to get the tissues out as there wasn’t many dry eyes left in the place, but it was lovely and I was so proud of him. I then take the over and give a very simple few words of “you can now help yourselves to the cakes and enjoy the last half an hour of the bar, thank you”. A few minutes later Rich’s Nan comes over with one of the cupcakes and says “I’m not going to eat his little face, so will keep that bit until I get a proper photo, we are so proud of you two”. I know this was such a lovely moment for Rich, as he really does have a great relationship with his Nan’s, as I did with mine and I know that she would be looking down on me now, as the proud Nan of her fun-loving Grandson who is about to become a Daddy.
The party comes to an end but people are still finishing off their drinks, so we start to say our goodbyes to everyone and they all seem to understand that they wouldn’t be seeing us or get to meet the boy for a while, which we were worried about, as normally when a new baby is born in the family, you are all there in a flash for cuddles, but this is obviously different. The boy needs to build the bond with us and needs to know that we are the ones who are always going to be there for him when he is hungry, when he needs a drink, when he hurts himself and just to be there for him and love him unconditionally. We also need him to gradually realise that we are his forever family and that this is not going to be a short holiday before he moves on to somewhere else. We have done so much work and preparation leading up to this, that we need to make sure we put it all into practice and give this boy the best possible chance in life that we can.
Everyone has now left, so we say thank you to the bar staff and pay the owner who then gives us a bottle of Champagne on the house to take home, as he only realised during the party that this was all for a lucky little boy who we have not met yet and that he wanted to do just something small as a token of good luck with it all. Normally, we would have been taking the champagne with a big cheeky grin thinking ‘oh yes let’s get this open’ but instead we were a little choked up by it and gave the guy a hug and thankfully he gave us one back and didn’t think we were complete nutcases hugging a stranger. We head home with our parents, brothers and sisters for a little private toast to our new beginning and exciting day ahead tomorrow, before they then all leave, just as it was getting dark for us to chill. We then sit down together on the sofa all snuggled up to watch a bit of rubbish, before we get to see him tomorrow for the first time, hear his cute little voice and maybe even get a little cuddle in the short 30 minutes that we get with him tomorrow. All we can hope for tomorrow is that he likes us and doesn’t cry when we walk in. What if he is scared or nervous, what if we freeze in the moment, all of these worries are now going around and round in our heads. Surely, after all this time building up to this moment, it is actually going to turn out to be the most amazing day we could have ever wished for. So bring on tomorrow.