Well I don’t think I have slept for longer than a couple of hours on and off last night, but every time I woke up and looked at Rich he was sound asleep, so he is either not worried at all about the big day ahead or was in such a deep sleep dreaming about it all that he was out for the count. It’s not such a mad rush this morning a we are meeting at ten o’clock, as Sally is going to get to give him his breakfast and have him fully ready for the drive home. I cannot believe that we now use the word home when we talk about him, it’s just such a lovely thought. We are both showered and dressed today, looking a lot sharper than we have for the rest of the introduction period, which was all about feeling comfortable. But today is not a normal introduction, it’s a big thing for us today and we want to make sure that we have made an effort. It’s been a really busy morning though, as it feels like we have spoken to nearly every single member of our family in the space of a couple of hours since very early this morning, as they wanted to with us good luck for the big day. Rich has just popped out to the shop, in a bit of a rush as I did a quick check of everything we have indoors and noticed there was a couple of things we don’t have. The main thing being blueberries, as the boy seems to have blueberries with his lunch and dinner nearly every day, so there is no chance we could cope with not having them today. I’ve sorted out his day bag, which is literally so well organised and I no doubt look like one of those annoying parents today who has everything in its place, but we know this is probably not going to last so will enjoy it while it does.
Rich is now back and has bought enough blueberries for about a month, clearly showing that he doesn’t do much shopping as the use by date is tomorrow, so absolutely no chance of nearly eating them all. We load up the car and head out, but Rich pulls me back inside and hands me a little piece of paper and says “a little something I want you to know, before we go and get our boy”. I take it in my hand, open it and it’s a yellow post it note that has been cut into the shape of a puzzle piece and simply reads ‘found my final piece’. We have a lovely embrace before then heading outside in the car before leaving the house to make our way. The drive is going well, we have managed to avoid much conversation about how nervous we are but instead are trying to concentrate on all the fun things we have to come like holidays and breaks away as a family. It’s clear we would both love to take the boy away to a nice relaxing beach holiday, enjoying getting in and out of the pool all day with him. I mean it would be absolutely nothing like the holidays we have been used to, but we are so ready for this different kind of enjoyment. I have made it totally clear to Rich that the main place I want us to go and maybe have an annual pass is Disneyland, he simply laughs it off but deep down I know how gets just how much I would love it there and have the excuse with a child.
We are here but are both a little hesitant, we have been so confident lately but it seems today we have gone back to square one with nerves all over the place and feeling rather anxious. It’s so hard to explain the feeling, as we are both so excited to get him home for good. It maybe just the fact that we know today is the last time we will have Sally to call upon at any time, even though she is so lovely and has offered to be at the end of a phone whenever we need. I am the one who has the courage today “come on Rich, let’s get the boy and take him home”. We both get out of the car and walk towards Sally’s, rather slowly as in a weird way we would like to let her have her special morning with him and enjoying her last breakfast routine before he officially moves out. Rich knocks on the door as this has become a bit of a tradition this week, but I am first to go in when Sally opens the door, while holding the boy is full dressed and looking very smart, she has dressed him up a bit for the occasion which is just so lovely of her. He puts his arms straight out to me, so I take him off Sally and she says “you see, he is ready to go with you now” with a loving smile. I replied with “yes but he is really going to miss you” as I know she is really going to miss him too, but it will only be a few weeks and she will be coming to ours for some lunch to see him for his settling in visit.
We then see Dawn in the kitchen, so we have a little catch up with her while Sally disappears upstairs for a moment. Dawn then quietly explains that Sally has been fine so far this morning, but she is going to stay with her once we leave to give her the support she needs, as she feels she is going to be quite upset. Dawn explains this to us in the same way that we learnt all about ‘loss’ in our adoption workshops, so we now feel even more sad for Sally, as she is so lovely. The thought of us being so happy at home with him tonight is a little bitter sweet for her, as she will be in some ways grieving a little bit for the little boy that she has basically brought up. Dawn could tell that we are a little sad for her, but reminds us that Sally is a foster carer and is totally used to the process. She explains that Sally really enjoys having babies, as she loves spoiling them and buying all the new stuff for them each time, they are placed with her, so she will try to focus her on being ready for a new placement as they usually don’t take very long. Sally then walks into the kitchen, holding a very large box that says fragile on the side of it. She then says “I’ve got you a little present, well maybe not little, but you cannot open it here as I will get upset”. Rich replies being very thankful and nice about the whole situation of this morning, he is really good with stuff like this, whereas I can feel myself inside ready to burst out into tears at the whole thing. It feels like we are at the top of the rollercoaster and about to go over the edge, that part where I think most people are having a total meltdown about the thought of even being up there, knowing you cannot get off and turn back, but also wanting it to hurry up so you get the full excitement of it all. Dawn then interrupts our chatting and advises us that we shouldn’t really have a drink or anything, as the normal protocol is for the foster carer to sort of handover and say their goodbyes, as it is helpful for the boy to not be confused with what is going on or witness any upset about the situation as for him this is one of the most important and special days of his little life so far. We say our goodbyes and Sally gets a little cuddle with the boy, before we head off on the biggest ever adventure, with our boy now officially moving in.
Wow, we are in the car, the boy is with us and we have no plan to come back tonight, this is so weird. I say to Rich “well that’s it now babe, he lives with us” and he replies with a sarcastic “oh yes, tonight our lives will change forever and we will find out if he really sleeps through all night”. We both start guessing what the present could be from Sally and we have decided that we think it is going to be a photo of us while at hers during the introduction period, but cannot wait to see. I have asked Rich a couple of times now to stop on the way home and let me open it, but he hasn’t agreed yet as Sally specifically said to open it once we got home. It seemed to take a while to get home today, which is weird as there wasn’t any traffic at all, but it’s always the same when you want to get somewhere quickly that it seems to take longer. We are now home though, we get everything indoors and make sure the boy is settled and used to his surroundings, which he certainly does, as he heads straight to the living room where we have kept all of the toys in his little corner. Our perfect little boy just seems at home already, so I decide to go and get the present from Sally and bring it in. We open the box and inside was such a lovely and thoughtful present, it wasn’t a photo of us but a beautiful framed personalised piece of art work. It spelt out our three names in scrabble, achieving the score of a love heart, which really tugged on my heart strings but then I look closer and read the wording used as the heading ‘we loved you before we knew you, even where there was just hope of you’ and that was it, I was a total mess with tears streaming down my face but trying desperately not to show the boy that I was upset, as these were happy tears. Rich went out to the kitchen to get some tissue for me to wipe away the tears, but seemed to take a little while to come back, so I grabbed the boy and we head out in the to the kitchen and there he was having a little emotional tear to himself while trying to be the strong one. We all hugged, the three of us, as this was how it was going to be from now on, our own little family always being there for each other no matter what.
The time has flown by this morning and its nearly time for lunch, which means I need to drop the bombshell that in the under stairs cupboard we have a brand new high chair for the boy, that is exactly the same as his one at Sally’s and that Rich now needs to set this up. It actually goes down quite well, I’m glad I explained this today rather than last night now. Thankfully the high chair was quite simple to put together and was up in about 10 minutes, without the need for Rich to use any bad language due to being unable to work out the instructions. Rich then says “as I have put together the high chair, I will give the boy his lunch and you can give him his dinner” which I was slightly jealous about but couldn’t really say no, as after all he did just go along so well with the highchair situation. The boy then of course takes his lunch without even as much as a murmur, which Rich claims was due to his skills but we both knew full well that the new high chair was a hit and that the boy was super comfortable and probably felt like there was nothing different for him. We then take him out for his lunch time bottle and put him down for his afternoon nap in his cot, which will probably only be a short one as he slept for some of the way home this morning.
It feels like the rest of the day has literally flown by, with so much fun playtime and thankfully no injuries or crying sessions, so we must be doing okay. The boy also had a really successful dinner with no complaints, all thanks to the new high chair and I am now heading up with him for bath time, while Rich gets everything ready for the bedtime routine like his grow bag, bottle and the all important ‘in the night garden’ television show that Sally watches with him every night as what she calls calm down time. It really does seem to work for him and means you get some lovely snuggle time, before he finishes his bed time bottle but will it be that simple for us tonight, as we have never put him down in our house and he hasn’t ever watched it here on our sofas. All washed and his little baby grow, I bring him into the living room where Rich is all chilled with the grow bag, the lights dimmed and the television setup as if we are about to sit and watch a movie but really we are going to watch a children’s programme and just enjoy that very special moment of the first time we get to put the boy to bed in his family home. We push play and sit the three of us all on the sofa, with the boy in the middle sort of going from one to the other but gradually you could tell he was getting more and more tired, so Rich went to sort the bottle and brings it back in for me to give it to him. He takes it really well and he seems to be so relaxed that he is drifting in and out of having his eyes open while drinking it. So as soon as he finished, Rich gives him a little kiss on the head and I take him up to bed. I put him down in his cot, turn on his little caterpillar and he is basically drifting off straight away. I couldn’t be happier right now, my own boy going asleep and looking like he is so comfortable already living with us but at the same time secretly worrying about whether he is getting us into a false sense of security before being awake for most of the night. I’m quite sure he is asleep now, as I have done at least ten verses of ‘twinkle twinkle little star’, so heading down to Rich now and tell him just how much I already love our gorgeous little family.
I get to the bottom of the stairs and Rich is already glued to the monitor and l can tell he has been watching and listening the entire time I have been upstairs with the boy. I put the monitor on the window ledge so we can keep an eye on him and listen out of any noises, but we can see him dreaming away fast asleep. I say to Rich what does he fancy watching on the TV knowing full well whatever it is we won’t be taking it in as we both are concentrating on the screen, watching the boys every movement. I laughed and said to Rich “we can’t just sit here staring at it all night” and just then it turned off, panic stations set in and Rich presses the button which indicated the screen and it came back on. Confused about what had happened I googled the online instructions to which it stated, that the screen will turn on if the child makes a sound which will set the monitor off and the screen will turn back on. “That is rubbish” said Rich as we want to be able to watch him continuously just in case it’s faulty or misses any noises the boy makes, so I continue to read and finally find the setting which leaves the screen on all the time. I suggest we go up every thirty minutes just to physically check he was ok and breathing. We both gradually trust the monitor and settle down relaxing on the sofa both feeling proud that we had got him sleep without a fuss on his first night in his bedroom, it is an amazing feeling to know our gorgeous baby boy felt secure and happy to drift off to sleep. After about an hour, I am fighting to stay awake but nervous to go to sleep as the thought of not hearing the boy cry or make a noise was so scary but Rich reassures me that this must be a normal feeling and that we will just get used to in time. We head up to bed and both tip toe into his room and I whisper “goodnight, sweet dreams our gorgeous boy” and enjoy the moment that we have worked towards for the past eighteen months. Our family was all sleeping under the same roof and we just cannot believe how amazing this feeling is, even Nutter made an appearance and sniffed the cot and we like to think this was his way of making sure everything was safe. We head to our room and set the monitor up once again on my side of the bed and switch the TV on, which is pointless as volume is so low that we cannot hear what is being said and we are both fighting to stay awake. We decide to just get some sleep as it would be morning faster that way and we will get to wake up and enjoy our first family breakfast together. A soppy moment together in bed with no noise at all in the house, cuddled up and not quite believing that we have finally brought our baby boy home and tomorrow we begin the crazy journey of actual parenthood.