Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Happiness and The Pain

Just a brief note to all  - Burned Apple Pie does not taste very nice!

Gem did come round yesterday night. She was doing a lot of nervous fidgeting and being a bit controlling, so I suggested we actually do something a bit active to expend some of the nervous energy. We played on the Wii for a while at bowling, and I 'got creamed' by her. Okay, I'm rubbish at bowling anyway, lets be honest here, but that was one ofmy worst defeats ever. It's so bad that I am not going to play that game again for a while, to avoid the memory of it

Gem did talk about her feelings a bit, and we had a long cuddle after our (one sided) match, and scoffed chocolate and sour sweets together. Chocolate and sour sweets do not mix very well, if you were wondering.

She is anxious, elated, and overwhelmed. So anxious for what is to come, for what will happen when Jewel's parents 'find out'. So anxious for what she cannot control, in her world where more control equals more safety. So elated for what she has gained in the last few weeks... the knowledge her sister is alive, happy, that she likes this, hates that..and that her sister thinks of her often. But so sad for what she lost - the losses shown so clearly when her sister talks about her life, that Gem knew nothing of, and the more Gem knows, the more she knows what she has missed out on, through no fault of her own. The Happiness and The Pain go hand in hand. They make for an overwhelming companionship.

It is hard for her to process all this in such a short space of time. But the less she processes, the harder it is for her. The more she tries to process, the more she must confront. Thank goodness she has counselling which I hope will help her through this as much as it has helped her through other issues in her life.

Gem is so strong and so resilient. She amazes me with it, and with her empathy and caring nature. I wish with all my heart that her strength carries her through this, and that The Pain may lessen in time, as she and her sister build up memories together - happy ones

Reunion is a thoughts for everyone in reunion or about to be, or searching still. I do not understand, will never understand, what it is like, but I hope everyone who reunifies and reads this has the reunion they would like to have.

Lilka xx

Friday, 14 January 2011

The lovely month of January...


I know January is always hard for GG, but this particular one is definitely worse than the last! I think this year teenager-hood has actually hit...the combination of a sudden hormone rush, her first real crush (although it is waning a bit now) plus her usual January woes (anniversary of removal from her first mum, so she's anxious) is making living with her a lot harder than usual. And Little Man is of course copying her just because.

An update with Gem - she and Jewel apparently spent ages going through their photo albums and doing as much catching as possible. Jewel only stayed one night with Gem, and then went home late on Gem's birthday night, but Gem tells me they are going to be meeting up again soon, and Jewel will be able to meet Topaz for the first time. I have a lot of photos from Gem's birthday, and I am so happy that Gem will finally have more than two photos of her little sister. Yep that was it - both little baby photos the SW got for us, nothing beyond that. Now she has nearing 100 more from her birthday alone, and Jewel has given her some more photos - at least one from every year of her life, but some years have about 30, others only about 3. So over 300 all together! I think she might be a bit overwhelmed...she want to come round here later tonight. A sure sign she feels a bit wobbly. Her DH works late nights so won't be there

Will update more later... the dinner burning calls...DOH!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Gem's birthday part 2

Well, after the initial shock...

We all got inside, I gave more birthday congratulations to Gem, and then I said hi to Jewel. She is a pretty girl, with a lovely lively smile - just like Gem's! She met GG and LM and both liked her. We got chatting and Jewel asked me questions and I asked her a few questions too.

Her interests are quite similar to Gem's as well, especially excercise which is a biggie for them both. Gem prefers rock climbing, harnesses in trees, swimming, and martial arts - basically, she isn't big on team sports or anything involving a ball! Jewel seems however to like team things - she likes football, hockey, netball, dodgeball - but also running and swimming. She and Gem compared their swimming achievements. She obviously does well in school, lots of friends, confident, opinionated and happy - it was in stark contrast to Gem, who has spent her teenage years struggling with a few qualifications which she passed, and making a few friends, and trying to cope with her PTSD. It made me quite sad sitting there listening to them. What did make me smile was the way they kept stealing glances at each other, whilst trying to look at me and Gem's DH as well! They could barely take their eyes off each other -understandable, they only met yesterday for the first time!

We all had dinner - it tasted good, and it also felt good to be just sitting having quite a peaceful family meal- for once!! GG and LM know to behave when there are guests round though -they don't want to be in my bad books, and they also want Jewel to like them. Also more space between the two of them stopped little feet trying to kick at other little feet, and start an argument!

Jewel was chatty, and Gem was happy to listen unless asked questions - but there were obviously lots she wanted to ask her sister. Jewel wanted to know about Gem's favourite everythings, and about how she and her DH met and their wedding, and would she get to be an Auntie Jewel soon!!!

After tea LM started to get hyper again, so we all went out to the park for a bit - LM ran around like a maniac with GG, I talked with Gem's DH so Jewel and Gem got some private chatting time.

We decided that Gem's DH would stay with me and the littl'uns for a while and Gem and Jewel would go back to Gem's together, so they got more chatting time. I ran home quickly to get a photo album full of Gem pictures that she and Jewel could take to look at together

Then back at home us remaining lot played on the Wii, and relaxed. When Gem phoned, her DH went home, then LM got his bum off to bed. GG and I hugged and chatted. She knows all of her siblings  -either she gets letters or meets in person. She will not know the gaping hole Gem has had that is left when you do not know if someone dear is dead or alive, healthy, safe, or ill etc.

I do worry about the situation a bit - both girls are young, Gem is emotionally near Jewels age -i.e. under 18, and this is moving fast, was through facebook etc  - I worry because when reunion stories and tips are posted on forums by adult adoptees and first parents, they all advise to take it slowly, and this has not been a slow build up. I worry because Jewel's parents have no idea she is in contact. Whilst I understand why she hasn't told them, due to their obstinate belief that the past can be blotted out, their reaction is not gonna be great when they find out :o

But I am so happy for Gem (and for Jewel) I hope this will be a happy and long lasting reunion for the both of them. I sense a peace in Gem now that she knows about her sister  -Jewel is alive, healthy and happy, which is way way beyond a relief. May the peace and happiness last :)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy Birthday Gem!! (and it wasn't the surprise I was expecting)

Well, I woke up late today, and started on a big loaf of bread and a homemade birthday cake - GG helped for a bit, but then went off to the park to play football (and meet Laddie!). She stayed about an hour then phoned and came home. I am so happy that she is finally able to do normal stuff like this! Earlier this year, she also managed her first supermarket trip alone as well! Although, supermarket is much worse than park, since the park is right around the corner, and part of it is in sight of the kitchen window. But still, it's huge progress :)

Gem phoned about an hour before she was due, to ask if there would actually be enough food for an extra person?! Thanks for telling me earlier I thought! I figured she was either bringing her closest friend, or 'Topaz', who is her younger sibling.

But when the car pulled up, out stepped Gem, her DH and a girl I didn't recognise immediately.. then I saw the huge obvious resemblance between her and Gem, and I realised.. BAM! It's 'Jewel'! Not the surprise i was expecting!

This is big..

Gem has a few younger siblings, all of them are adopted. By the time I adopted Gem at 10, three younger siblings had already either been placed for adoption, or had finalized several years previously. So I made contact with all the families. Most were delighted that Gem had a home, and were happy to be in contact.. all except one set of parents, who had adopted Jewel as a baby. She was well a toddler by this time, and they made it clear that there would never be any contact between us, that Jewel didn't need to know her brothers and sisters..she had new ones...and they basically seemed to want to blot out Jewels biological family altogether. Not healthy.. so neither I nor any of the other siblings families heard anything more of Jewel. It has been a source of great pain for Gem, who cares very much about all her siblings and had a gaping hole where Jewel should have been..Jewel could have died for all we knew!

But..suddenly at the beginning of December I found Jewel's profile on facebook..Gem also found it, and her other siblings. Much ado followed, the outcome being that contact was made with Jewel, who has been texting and phoning ever since. Jewel's parents have no idea...

So my shock when I realised it was her standing in front of me...I nearly forgot to wish my own girl a HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY!!!

more later...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Getting better...

Well, it's gotten better, not worse, thank goodness!

On the 6th she woke up and she wanted to be close to me all day, and needed more reassurance than normal. She also got clingy when we reached school. Luckily her teacher came out to help get her in. In the afternoon I took them both for a bike ride and then did homework, after which we ate a special dinner of Veggie Pizza (GG's favourite) and garlic dough balls, followed by Ben and Jerry's ccookie dough ice cream (my favourite ice cream ever as well as GG's) So both of them went to bed pretty happy and relaxed.

GG had therapy yesterday, which I think went well. She is still talking about Laddie, but at the same time, I think she has gone off him a bit. I wonder if this is more of a ten year old type crush which lasts a week, rather than a teen crush which lasts ages? Especially since emotionally, she is about 9 or 10. Either way, I'm relieved, but of course there will be a next time, as much as I don't want to think about that (understatement of the year!), and all the issues are still there...

On a bright (but also scary!) note, MY GEM IS 25 TOMORROW!! I can't believe it! In August, we will hit 15 years together, and no way does it seem that long!

She phoned me this morning very excited to confirm when her and her DH will be over tomorrow, but she also said there is 'A surprise!' I pushed a bit, but no more information was forthcoming. Is she Pregnant??!! Any other ideas? I kinda hope not, because then if I get pregnant later this month, my grandchild will be older than my final child. Plus I won't be able to be around to support them as much as I would like. But still.. being a Grandma...the idea makes me happy :)

We'll see... by this time tomorrow i'll know....

The kids and I spent today doing fun stuff! I made a timetable of things which helps both of them. After breakfast we had another bike ride and took lots of photos for the albums (we have quite a few big albums full to the brim with photos!). Then LM wanted to go back to his train set, with which he is obsessed, and GG and I decided to make things. She is very very crafty, good at making just about anything. She wants to be a clothes designer when she's older, but today we started on a mosaic instead. I love them, although it is a lot of work.. all the pieces are very small, and going wrong is a bit of a disaster. But we have done quite a bit today. Then we made lunch... Hot baguette and butter, and I had smoked salmon as well.

We have just finished doing more of the mosaic, and GG is watching TV. LM is now doing lego, and I'm relaxing in front of the computer.. ah, bliss!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Rollercoaster of Emotions!

Well, the holidays were great - in fact, one of the best christmases ever in 'The Crazy Camp' as I affectionately call it -but it had to end.

January is never a brilliant month anyway if i'm honest. It marks the anniversary of GG's removal from her first mother, and her behavior always takes a turn for the worse therefore. Not good memories for her. Then the return to school is always disruptive because of the change in the holiday routine I set up. And of course I'm depressed because christmas is over (yes, it's stressful and hyper, but it's always been my favourite holiday, and I love turning the living room into a mini Santa's Grotto!)

BUT - yesterday was dreadful even by our standards! It was the first day back at school for both GG and LM. So I began my 'school routine' again. Up at 6, make myself my much needed moring tea. Usually I then get half an hours kids free peace before waking them up, but today LM decided to bound down early. He ran straight into me, and my scalding hot tea goes all over me (luckily didn't hit him, he's good at dodging). He did apologise but then he ran back upstairs and started running around making really loud airplane noises and woke up GG. Big Mistake. "SHUT UP" yells the newly wakened 'Grumpus Maximus'. So I did 'Operation Distraction' to great effect. Managed to get LM to change and calm Grumpus down again.

From there, getting them to school was pretty normal -they were both excited about going back, GG wants to see her two friends and LM loves school full stop (although it was different story a year ago!) It was such a moment stepping into an empty, child free house! I spent the morning cleaning and tidying, then made the dinner for the evening (Spaghetti). Come afternoon I relaxed, phoned up my best friend 'Z', put my favourite music on and then went for a short walk. BLISS! All too soon, it was time for the school run. Luckily, they are both close to each other, so I picked up L, who chatted nineteen to the dozen about everything he did and said that day. When I picked up GG, she wasn't impressed with LM's chatting and pouted and huffed the way back.

Got homework and dinner out of the way fine, and left LM with his train set, so I could supervise GG on facebook. She got chatting to 'Laddie',the nice boy from the road over she has got a crush on. She had spent the day before doodling their names together and doing those little 'compatibility tests'. It is getting to the 'asking out' stage now. But GG does not relate normally to her peers, especially not boys, due to her past. She knows she likes him, but can't quite tell the difference between 'like' and 'love', nor can she tell that just because she feels one way means he reciprocates those feelings. She insisted that they are 'in love' Then she talked about going out with him. Normally first date is cinema, restaurant, ice rink or something like that, right? She talked about going all the way with him, then about putting a video online. She just has no idea of boundaries and she still thinks that sex=affection, that that is the only way to show someone you love them :(

I should have handled it better, so it was a lot my fault. I corrected her about her idea of first date, etc etc, but I was too confrontational - also she was too hyped up, and I should have known that talking to her then would do no good. But I did anyway, and she kicked off. And boy, did she kick off! Stamped, Screamed incoherently, sobbed and beat her fists against her door. Which made LM start crying and going hyper again, running around wailing at GG to stop. I desperatly phoned Z again, and begged her to take LM out to the park or somewhere else, because GG was shouting explicit things I didn't want him hearing. Thankfully, being teh super duper friend she is, she dropped evrything to come help! Which left me and GG. She took about an hour to calm down, and lay on her bed silently. Z came back with LM, and I did his bedtime routine - bath, bed and story. He was worn out from his runaround and complied and didn't try prolonging it

Then I went to GG and apologised for earlier. She said nothing and was obviously still  upset, so I left it and gently suggested having TV time in her PJ's with a hot chocolate. So we curled up and watched a wildlife program together. Then she went to bed. I made myself a cup of tea, and felt so guilty. I also wanted to chat to some adults so I chatted for a while with some people in adoption chat - it made me feel so much better getting it out. Then I heard her get out of bed, and call for me. So I closed laptop, then went to her - and we talked for about an hour. She wanted to apologise, and she was calm, so this time we managed to talk about her feelings for Laddie properly. Lots of hugs, reassurance etc, and she sort of got what I was on about when I said we don't know how Laddie feels himself etc. Then she went to sleep and I collapsed in bed myself - the most tiring day i've had in a while emotioanlly speaking.

Today was much better and on Friday GG has therapy, so keep going until then!

Lilka xx

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Several things happened today

GG has discovered boys, meaning that a boy from the next road over has caught her fancy. She has spent quite a bit of today doodling his and her names together in love hearts. She insists that she 'loves' him. Whilst I am sure she loves him as a friend, I cannot make her understand the difference between love and a crush. She plans to ask him out when they go back to school. I'm happy for her, but worried about her at the same time. Natural I guess, but she is quite emotionally behind her actual age, and she hasn't quite worked out the rules of relationships yet. She doesn't really know how to relate with boys. So i'll be watching her closely, but she also has to make her own mistakes. Which isn't a fun thought.

Someone I know also expressed their not very welcome thoughts on our contact with X, who is GG and LM's first mother. Whilst in reality the contact we have is personal, some people are under the impression that it is public for discussion. This person basically said 'oh why would you write long nice letters, why would you keep in contact with her, she doesn't care, she isn't a 'real' mother, why would you even want your children to love her, there's a reason they don't live with her' blah blah blah. I just love how people who know nothing think they know everything!

So here's the truth. She is a real mother, she loves them and GG certainly loves her! Why should I object to that? I am not an insecure person in general. We are not in competition. As I say, we don't compete against each other, we complement each other! We have different roles, important to our children in different ways. And what arrogance and stupidity to say that our children should not love her! Love is perhaps the greatest thing in the world - the more people love you, the better off you are. I want the best for my children, therefore I want them to be loved, and I want them to love both themselves and others. Lack of love is a terrible thing. Rant over.

On a brighter note, the grey-hair-hiding dye has worked! I have had several compliments today, and i'm feeling good!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I can't believe how fast 2010 went... and at the end of it I realised that I don't really have any record of how life is to look back on and I wish I did.  I also want to support other parents and parents to be who are travelling through adoption land.

Masses of progress were made by all three this year - from GG's first supermarket trip alone, to Gem making lasting friendships and LM's seperation anxiety is lessening every month. I've got to the stage where i'm trying out hair dye with the sole intention of getting rid of the grey. I know its futile but i'm going to pretend to be young! My goals for this year are to guide my Gem through contact with her younger sibling - they have just made conatct and the siblings parents don't know yet which is turning into a nightmare.  I am also trying to have a fourth child (my first biological one) and in a month the insemination will go ahead hopefully and a while after that i'll know whether i'm pregnant or not! I'm VERY excited about this! It's gonna be a busy year...