The Urban Wild Baby

He is here at last, we have a little boy in the house!

About two and a half years ago the UWM household decided it might be nice to start our own little family. We looked at the different options and decided upon adoption; there are plenty of children waiting for parents, we didn’t feel the need to propagate our own DNA so that’s what we did.

After a few hiccups and frustrations with the various adoption services along the way, we now finally have a child. When we started, people talked about “fostering to adopt” as a new way of adopting, but nobody really knew anything about it. It was recommended for people that were desperate to have a baby but did involve some potential issues. 

The idea is that the baby comes to you on a fostering basis first and, while the legal position is being sorted out, you can start caring for him or her, avoiding the need for additional moves and transitions. After everything is sorted, the placement changes into an adoption placement. This permanence is thought to be highly beneficial for a child, because it is only moved once instead of to a foster carer first and only to the so-called “forever family”after the placement order comes through for adoption. Sounds great, but this does mean that during the fostering period there are chances that the birth family sorts themselves out which might mean the baby goes back to them. As a foster carer, you are also expected to quit your job and you would have to facilitate contact between the child and its birth family in this period. 

All this meant that initially we agreed that, even though we’d like a child as young as possible, fostering to adopt was not necessarily right for us so we went into the process for straightforward adoption. We got approved as adopters in April last year and started looking for children straight away. And then nothing…either no suitable children or, even worse, suitable children but not for us due to location or other requirements.

But, in September we had a visit from our social worker, telling us about this newborn baby that they were looking to place and would we be up for being dually approved, so that we could foster to adopt? In April last year legislation had changed, making the process of fostering to adopt equal to normal adoption and a lot easier, so we said yes, of course! I mean, what are the chances of having a newborn baby? So we fast-tracked the approval process for foster carers and got approved in November. Unfortunately, by this time he had already been moved into foster care so we wouldn’t be the first and only move, but hey, we could live with that and I’m sure he won’t remember! 

After the (un)necessary delays, he finally came to us this week, five and a half months old and a dream of a little boy! 

We are very happy with him and he seems quite content with us, but the transition is total; from drinking, going out when we wanted to, doing what we want to do when we want it to being utterly and completely focused on him and his needs. Feeding him when needed, rocking him to sleep, going for walks, listening to him breathing and coughing in the cot next to us, worrying something is wrong or will go wrong, our lives have changed dramatically. I know this is just a period of transition for the getting used to each other and establishing new routines. Pretty soon it will become normal and the worries will subside (a bit) and we can get on with whatever remains of our lives, but for the moment it is all-absorbing. I have got three weeks off work so we can form together as a family properly which is great. At least we have each other for help, advice and relief for three weeks, before I go back to work. 

It is strange though, sitting at home, trying to figure out what to do. The house has probably never been this tidy, we are on top of the washing and the dishes. Yes, there is a lot of extra stuff that comes with a baby but it doesn’t mean the house has to become a tip, especially if the two of us are at home together.

So for now, slightly weirded out but very happy and I will report back soon with progress!