Five months in and we have been so busy building a family, developing trust and focusing on helping our boys develop a sense of permanency and unconditional love that it dawned on me that we have not really sat back and appreciated just how far we have all come in this short space of time. Just how well the boys are doing and the massive amount of change and new things they are embracing each and every day.Nor have I found any time to sit and write.
We have all experienced many firsts together, some funny, some hilarious and some so difficult to deal with but we have. I wanted to share some of these special moments – but the list is so long I won’t cover them all.
- The first time they call you Dad and Daddy – something I will never forget at the doorway of the foster carers,
- The first time you hear those magic words ‘ Dad I’ve finished, can you wipe my bum?’ – and the pride you feel that you have completed this task without gagging.
- The first time they spend the night overnight at your house – are they still alive? Are they breathing? Are they scared?
- The first time you have a day out together, a full day, during introductions – you suddenly get this warm feeling combined with the strongest sense and fear of responsibility.
- The first time you bathe them – appreciating the fact just how grown up they can be – wanting to wash themselves and using more shower gel than you would in a week.
- The first time you cook them a full meal, putting in way too much effort and hoping they will eat it all, only to feel confused and slightly rejected when they don’t touch anything on their plate. ‘ What are these green things?’
- The first time your youngest son, who is going through the usual boy’s fascination with a certain part of their anatomy stage, takes ages in the loo and you walk in only to find him rubbing it on the cold wall! ‘Because it felt nice.”
- The first time you hear them laugh and giggle uncontrollably and with such gusto you can’t help but laugh along.
- The first time they ask you ‘ When are we moving to our next house?’ – illustrating just how their background. has affected them and how their little minds are thinking. Your heart sinking as you feel helpless.
- The first time you discuss this with them and talk through becoming a forever family and they say clearly they are happy or super happy. However, the understanding ‘forever’ is a long way off in their minds.
- The first time you sit down and read them a story at night. All four of us in one room, snuggled, warm and engaged like a true family.
- The first time you take your eldest son into his new school for an intro couple of hours and the first hour goes well, the second hour he decides he wants to smash up the teacher’s smart board and wreck the place. A sharp exit ensued.
- The first time your eldest asks ‘ Can I watch this film Dad? Star Wars?’ Yes you absolutely bleeding well can son – get your duvet we are in for the ride.
- The first time you see your son stand up in front of everyone in a school assembly and speak his lines, only weeks after being placed with you. The desire to cry and fill up with pride being stronger than ever.
- The first time your son asks you if you have breasts and what these things are- to which you then reply nipples and he spends the rest of the day shouting ‘Nipples.’ at everyone.
- The first time each them start talking to you about their past, their birth parents and how clearly some memories are coming to the surface. You then proceed to encourage this discussion with curiosity and love. Trying to not be fearful of what welcome next.
- The first time the boys meet your parents and go running up to your Dad shouting ‘Grandad, Grandad!’ – the tears filling up in my eyes.
- The first time you are in the park after school and your son comes over saying ‘ Dad, I need a poo.’ To which you reply ‘Right ok no problem, we will need to go home now.’ As he cheekily smirks on his face, makes a quiet satisfied groan and proclaims ‘ Uh oh it’s too late.’ This also happened to be the very first time you had been to the park without the ‘Dad Bag’. which normally contains wipes, spare pants and plasters !
- The first birthday party invite your son receives and you discover this truly is the first ever invite to a birthday he has received before.
- The first time you teach your sons your Dad’s favourite Cornish phrase ‘ Don’t matter do it!’ and they then decide to shout it all week when things go wrong in their best attempt at a Cornish accent.
- The first time your son plays with his play Black And Decker play set and decides that drilling the real wall is more interesting.
- The first time you have a birthday in the house and it is your birthday and your sons suddenly realise that yes Dad is a bit obsessed with Star Wars.
- The first time your husband does yoga in the garden with the boys watching in awe, in silence and in a strangely chilled state. Youngest son then proceeds to copy and the tears fill yet again in your eyes seeing this wonderful family moment.
We have had lots of fun, outings, family days out and also sneaked in a few long weekends in the latter part of the past five months. These experiences have brought with them many ‘firsts’ for both us and the children.
- The first time you go on a longer journey and the kids ask after 1.5 miles ‘ Are we nearly there yet?’ Your heart sinking as you know you have another 2 hours to go.
- The first time they share a room together – Will they get to sleep? Will this work? Despite a few instances of kids being kids they go down well and sleep like a dream.
- The first time you take them to the beach. The wonderment on their faces at the sand and sea and the joy this brings. Flashbacks to your own childhood as they paddle in the sea fully clothed only to end up 5 minutes later in just their underpants. All of this in the North Sea !
- The first Easter you spend together as a new family. Us both putting lots of effort into the event, buying refillable plastic eggs and trying to limit the amount of chocolate they get. Yeah right!?! Like that is easy.
- The first time you are invited away with close friends to join them for a weekend in the forest. Will this go ok? How will the boys be? As it turned out they were amazing – throughly enjoying the forest ranger walks, endless cycling, den building and pine cone collecting for the squirrels.
- The first time you go on your first family bike ride and realise ‘Wow these boys can really cycle and have tonnes of energy’ – completing a 16km route – albeit it on the flat.
- The first time your youngest cycles without his stabilisers on – making it look like he has been doing it for years with this amazing look his face which shouts ‘ Told you I could do it easily.”
- The first time the boys go on a plane. We decided on a short domestic flight to test the water and to visit my parents. We watched a video on YouTube showing the security process at the airport and then practised going through security in the kitchen, using the door frame as the scanner and having some fun. This prep really helped. The boys were AMAZING both going through the airport and on the plane itself.
- This led to then another first – the first time you realise after adopting that yes you can consider booking a holiday abroad again- something that felt archived for some years – being concerned about flying with them. I no longer have to be staring at planes in the sky thinking you lucky buggers going away on holiday.
- The first time the boys have been to a theme park. Seeing the sheer excitement and joy on their faces. ‘ Which ride first Dad? This one? That one?’ I know let’s choose then that is furthest away on the map!
- The first time they ride a roller coaster – hearing the giggles, screams and the laughter.
- The first time we go on a river rapids ride – getting soaking wet bums and then deciding to go on it a further eight times!
- The first time we go to one of the many farms and children play farms near where we live. Eldest son decides that all he wants to go on is the pedal tractors and then proceeds to ‘own’ them – not wanting to relinquish his tractor to anyone.
This list could, and will, go on forever and I am sure you are bored by now. I know that we have plenty more ‘firsts’ to come and I can’t wait. Seeing the boys blossom in the first five months has been the most amazing part of all of this. We have tried to not introduce new people too soon, for fear of them thinking it will result in another move or change. We have focused on building some key family attachments, memories and in trying to help build further the sense permanency for the boys. Whilst having loads of fun along the way.
Oh and there is one more ‘first’ I have missed off. The first time you sit back, look at these wonderful children in front of you with your husband and after months of hard work, trials and tribulations and you think with confidence and love ‘ Wow. We are a family now. The magic has happened”