Journey to a Forever Family (UK) – Our Life Together Begins

From Laura From Laura2From Laura 3 The Introductions: 

The next three weeks were very long and emotional as we waited to finally meet our little girl during the introduction process that would take just over a week.

Finally the first day arrived and began with us attending a meeting to confirm all the details of our 8-day introduction programme. The preparation meeting dragged on for 1.5 hours but after a short break we drove straight to the foster carer’s home to finally meet our daughter – ‘Liddle Miss Gorgeous’ (from herein LMG)! We hadn’t seen any recent photos at this point so we were unsure as to how much she would have grown or changed. We had given in a photo book with sound recordings of our voices to the social worker when we went to the matching panel, so that LMG could see and hear us. This had been shown to her for the previous four days so that hopefully she would sense that we were familiar.

We were supposed to only have an hour with her for this first meeting but we were incredibly lucky that it actually ended with us having well over two hours with her. And what an absolutely gorgeous and wonderful little daughter we met!

My husband felt nervous at first but as soon as LMG sat on his lap he just fell in love instantly. I don’t recall felling nervous but I was wary of trying being too full on and wanted to let her take the lead. I was instantly drawn to her beautiful eyes and hair and to how focussed and independent she was for one so young. We did lots of pictures with her, played with her toys talked with her foster carer about how she had been over the last 6 weeks since we had spoken and about routines and urgent items we needed to buy. The time flew by and it still didn’t feel we had long enough before it was time to say goodbye. As soon as we went to go she grabbed me and sobbed and it broke my heart to leave her. That was when I knew she was ours.

The next day we spent 5 hours at the foster carer’s house. We played, gave her lunch and went out to get her measured and weighed. She was fine in our car seat and loved the drive. When we got back we played again and gave her some milk whilst discussing with the foster carer which toys she will be bringing to our home with her.

On the third day we arrived at 7.30am and got LMG up, fed her breakfast and got her dressed. After some playing and filling in paperwork with the social worker we got to finally go out alone with our daughter! We went to a soft play centre and had lunch out with her before returning to the foster carer’s house to sort through more clothes, books and toys. It was fabulous to finally have time as just the three of us…our first proper family day out!

Day four began with us arriving at lunch time. Again we got to take her out by ourselves and she loved the car seat so much that she fell asleep after just 5 minutes! It was a very wet day so we went to the shopping centre. We took her back to give her tea and then spent more time playing before giving her a bath for the first time. This was great fun and Daddy was great at changing and drying…as well as splashing! We then stayed for supper and LMG was still awake when we left at 9.45pm as she was so excited by it all. We soon found out that this wasn’t far off her normal bedtime!

Day five was very exciting as we got to show our daughter our house which would soon be her home. We were feeling a bit anxious and just hoped she would love it and her new bedroom and would feel at home quickly. We collected her and her foster carer and brought them over for the morning and lunch. The social worker joined us at lunchtime to ensure all was going well and then took the foster carer back home so that the three of us could be alone together until after tea.  We had so much fun and lots of playtime. We explored every room (and drawer!) and spent time in the garden. We had our first panicked “What’s that she is eating?!” scare (followed by a tantrum as we tried to remove the piece of toy packaging from her mouth) and discovered that the television is as mesmerising to our daughter as it is to her Daddy! We had tea together and then took her back to give her a bath and milk before putting her to bed.

On day six we got to spend an entire day (13 hours) with our daughter. We spent the morning shopping and bought LMG’s first ever pair of shoes. We then went home and watched lots of her favourite TV programme in the afternoon. She had her first bath at our house which turned out to be quite scary! She was really keen about it but as soon as she got in she started screaming! A grappling hug – where she jumped at me and wouldn’t let go – helped us to realise that she didn’t like the non-slip bath mat as she didn’t have one at the foster carer’s house! But after we resolved that she enjoyed her bath and we changed her for bed and took her back. Sadly it was all getting a bit too confusing for LMG at this point. Her foster carer was so excited to see her that two hours later, when we left, she was very unsettled and got very confused about who she wanted, ending up with her pushing us all away. We were quite upset as it was a difficult end to a wonderful day.

Day seven began with our arrival at 7.30am. We had another lovely day relaxing at home and playing. We even went for a walk with LMG’s new reins. The last week was beginning to catch up on us all and LMG and I both fell fast asleep on Daddy in the afternoon at one point! We took her back to the foster carer’s earlier than previously, at 5 pm, her foster family wanted to give her a small farewell party. She was upset when we took her back but everyone soon made her happy again. Hubby and I then decided to have a meal out – our last as just the two of us!

Day eight was from 7.30am-9.30pm. We had a review meeting in the morning and everything was signed off with the social workers and we had another lovely day spending time together, going out and playing. She was really calm when we took her back for bedtime and to spend some final time with her foster carer.

Finally on day nine we picked up our daughter and brought her home forever! We were so pleased and excited, although also filled with nerves and worry like any other parent.

After all the thinking that it would never happen for us, our life as a forever family had finally begun…