The family tree is growing and the roots are strengthening
With lots of first shoots appearing and blossom budding the family tree is starting to really build a solid foundation.
We are now out of this bubble when it was only really meant to be us and the boys so as not to confuse them by introducing more people. I must say the first 6 weeks were even tougher as a result. We are lucky enough to have a fantastic group of friends and support network who even though we weren’t able to see them in the early weeks were there supporting us through and through. We have now burst that bubble and it feels great.
The boys have had many firsts over the last two months and it has been beautiful to see them experience these as well as to be part of this journey together with them. Some firsts include:
Meeting both sets of grandparents for the first time, (More on that later).
Going on our first holiday – albeit a long weekend, (More in a future post).
Having our first BBQ together.
Going to a school holiday club for a day for the first time.
Having their first play dates with friends.
Being invited to their first ever birthday party for a child in their class.
Cycling through the forest for 15 km for the first time.
Having their first Friday Disco with us – which is now a weekly tradition.
Meeting key friends and their children for the first time and realising that yes Dad and Daddy do have some great friends.
Going to their first ever theme park.
Learning and recognising the first few letters of his name for the younger son.
Swimming without floats or armbands for the older son.
Going into Dad’s office for the first time.
This list of firsts could go on and on and what we have both realised is we have tonnes more to add to this each and every day. It makes things even more rewarding and exciting and hopefully nourishing and enriching for the boys as we can all experience these together as a TEAM, as our Family. We adore them and we adore building new experiences and family time together.
On waking I ask myself, “What sort of day is today going to be?” – the wake up routine and the boys mood in the first minute of waking helps to clarify this. Will it be the gentle creeping into your room to the then building up crescendo of a quiet whisper of “Dad, Dad.” Combined with a gentle finger poke. Or will it be the thundering elephants jumping in, waking you with a bang and being very very loud. Both approaches bring a smile to my face and make me chuckle inside. The rest of the day is all about the boys, trying to think one step ahead. Do we have everything ready for school? What are we going to do today? Our main aim as we build this new family unit is to provide lots of fun, laughter building attachments as we go.”
Wherever possible we simply try to have fun, laugh and enjoy this newly forming unit and bond. Now that is easier said than done some days when it has not been a good day, the boys are struggling and you are exhausted . We just have to keep reminding ourselves why we are doing this.
I took the boys to their first theme park a few weeks ago. It was hilarious. As it was quiet we got to go on most rides more than once and the water ride ended up being eight, yes eight times! To say we were a little bit wet is an understatement but to hear their laughter, screams and cries to do it again was amazing. Who cares about having soaking wet bums!
Just before Easter the boys got to meet my parents who had travelled up to see them for a long weekend. So as not to smother the boys they stayed the first night at our close friend and neighbour’s house – which we were extremely grateful for.
So the parents arrived and the boys were at school and nursery. We went to meet them and older son ran right up to me Dad and shouted “Hello Grandad.” Whilst proceeding to give him a big hug. Wow that was an emotional moment for me. I wasn’t sure how they had processed the preparation we had done with the boys around our parents, who they are and so forth. It brought a tear to my eye and a massive lump to my throat, so much so that a friend offered me her sunglasses.
We then spent four glorious days together. Playing, building the family bonds, my Dad being the natural that he is with kids, joking, laughing and allowing the boys to explore and be curious as to who these people are.
The visit and time spent together could not have gone better. I was so proud of the boys and how they handled this prior, during and after. They asked lots questions and got to know Mum and Dad by playing and involving each other in activities inside and out. Mum hasn’t been very well of late and whilst I know this frustrated her whilst she was up as she was not as mobile as she would like, I hope the visit, in fact I know the visit, did help give her some respite and allow her to feel the love of these amazing little boys. Knowing just how much we all love and adore her.
The time came for my parents to go home and I was really sad. Sad that they live so far away, sad that they are not just around the corner so they can experience this family unit growing more frequently. I do know that we can now plan more frequent visits and longer visits as this test visit went so well.
Next up was the chance for the boys to meet my husbands parents. We left it 10 days between visits to allow again for some preparation work as well as for the boys to get their heads around meeting all these new people. Well what can I say? This visit also went really well with the bond quickly forming a strong relationship with my in-laws. Again, lots of fun was had, lots of questions and plenty of family time together. Similarly, it was sad when they had to leave as it was only a short visit but we have already talked about when they are coming back an this time for longer.
The boys even helped them with their bags at the station. With younger son putting on his best pretend crying and bottom lip acting stating how much he missed them for the first 20 minutes after their train left.
We have started to slowly introduce our key friends, support network and their children to the boys. Each time they have responded really well and have played so amazingly with our friends children – whether this be at the seaside, in a forest in Wales or at a museum. Our friends kids have also been totally mind-blowing as to not only how they have played with the boys but their understanding of adoption and what it means. We are so lucky to have such amazing people around us.
At times we have sat back and have looked on with admiration and pride just how well they are doing. One of the boys even turned around and said “Daddy – you and Dad have lots of good friends.” At the same time we have tried to not confuse them by introducing too many people at once but bit by bit, week by week the family tree and close network or friends are being established into our unit. Both boys taking all of this in their stride.
Week by week and each day we are seeing massive improvements in the boys and development as to how they handle situations. Yes we still have the regression outbursts, yes we still have meltdowns but they are becoming less frequent and less intense.
Our extended family of parents and close friends have been amazing at helping us to slowly and carefully introduce them to the boys. Allowing for this bond to build and grow slowly and most importantly to help demonstrate to the boys that they have a larger group of people who love and care for them. We are already planning next visits, holidays and outings to help enhance this further.
I am so proud of them and how they have handedly everything in the last four weeks. A solid root structure is now forming and the tree is blossoming.