I wish I had been there.

I read a post the other day describing the days of a premature baby in a neonatal unit and my heart broke. Not because Daniel was born at 26 weeks because my little fighter survived, but because I wasn’t by his side through it all.

How crazy is this that I’m torn inside by a grief, a guilt for a time I didn’t know. For a time when I didn’t know my boy. The idea of him facing what he did without me by his side breaks my heart.

The whole time before he came my son is one I cannot focus on. I cannot bare to think of the symphony of emotions he had to face alone.

I have read his medical file and my heart just tears, 26 operations before we met him. 26 anaesthetics, 26 procedures, 26 times I wasn’t by his side holding his hand.

I know it’s crazy and deep down I know it’s not my fault and I do just have to have trust in the journey but I honesty wish he hadn’t had to face one step without me.

I get frustrated when people tell me that he shouldn’t be as clingy as he is. I honestly ask them to walk his pathway and see if you didn’t want to hold on tight.

When the world has been full of procedures and strangers. Pain and suffering. When you cannot see who is picking you up tell me you wouldn’t hold on tight to the one you know, the ones whose arms to trust.

I’m so proud of this clingy I want my mom stage, because this means he knows I am always there. That in my arms he is safe.

I adore the way that when he is ill he only wants me it’s further testimony to our bond.

Mother and son.

I cannot change the past and that’s something I do have to let go. I’m just so thankful that he came to us and that his heart fitted perfectly inside mine.

The future isn’t mine to see and I will not make promises that I cannot guarantee but what I do know is that why my heart still beats I will be by his side, whenever he needs me that’s a promise.

Celebrating the gift of motherhood.

Mother’s day is a day of celebration, a day where we honour the bond of a mother and a child. The period of time you are a mother is irrelevant. Physical birthing isn’t a necessary. Motherhood is about loving someone more than yourself. Living and breathing for their dreams to come true.

I adore being a mother, from the moment I knew I was carrying my first child in my womb my heart has loved hard. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve messed up and I’m sure I still will but my children are my life, my world.

One of the hardest things I have faced as a mom is letting go, watching my children grow and flourish and become Independant and assured. Seeing them bravely love, suffer, face heartache and rejection. The overwhelming urge to take them away from painful situations, to stop them before they try. Yet as a mom I’ve had to let them be, to live is to learn.

I am a mom to four amazing daughters and one handsome son, each one so beautiful and incredible in their own right. Individual with their own needs, wishes and dreams.

My dearest Livvy is in heaven and whilst the veil of this lifetime separates us physically now. No time, space or worlds can separate the love of this Mom from her daughter. My soul craves for my girl, my arms ache to hold her. My heart will be forever missing a piece, beating with a broken melody.

Yet I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Mother’s Day is a celebration and I have a lot to be thankful for. So I’m going to hold on tight to the memories, run forward widely into the future with the knowledge that the greatest role I get to live, is that of a mother.

How blessed am I?

Changing seasons

I’m not sure how I feel about change. I often find myself facing it begrudgingly. It’s as if I’m scared of rocking the boat, effecting the status quo. I’m so scared at times that I delay what needs to be done rather than put things outside of my control. Yet I’m usually the one telling others to reach for the adventure, push the boundaries, embrace the excitement.

Blooming hypocritical me.

November has been a month of major changes for me. My foster son has moved on after nearly eight years with us. I’m so excited for him and the move is so positive for all of us but it’s a change and I’m so lousy at change. It’s ironic saying this because as a foster carer your life can and does change over night. New placements join your family, some move on and it’s an every changing profession. I know this but it’s never easy. Even when the move is positive and families are reunited or forever families are found there is a semblance of loss that tears at your heart.

Yes you can see how you have impacted a child’s life. How you have been security in an insecure time. Your heart can be full and empty simultaneously. I worry if others will love upon them like I do, keep up to date with appointments, remember their favourite foods or the way they like to dress. It’s not that I believe others cannot love like me it’s just it’s hard to trust and hand over these special hearts.

Yet for us all there are seasons in life and as Autumn gives way to Winter I need to embrace the future and our new season. Excitement for the coming holiday and preparation for the next stage of our journey.

I know what is loved is never lost.

Who knows what the future holds for us as a family?

Who new may join our merry tribe?

What I do know is that whilst change is scary for me it is also exciting. A little flame is building in my heart for our next adventure, wherever, whoever that may be.

This is not his story.

Daniel has been adopted now for over a year and because of this it was time for the social workers to step out of our lives and allow us to move forward as a normal family. Part of the adoption support was the creation of a life-story book for Daniel and what they call a later in life letter, a synopsis of what had happened and how he became to be adopted. These letters are the child’s right to know their history to be given to them when they are at an age of understanding.

Daniel’s letter broke my heart, I thought I knew most of Daniel’s journey, but I hadn’t a clue. I knew he had faced numerous medical procedures but 26 operations before his 2ndbirthday, well that simply sucks. The number of foster placements he had and the amount of time he spent in hospital all more than one child should ever have had to face. The pain and the fear he must have felt is something I have really struggled with over the last week or so.

Livvy faced a lot in her life, regression, seizures, breathing issues and more but throughout all this she knew we were there for her, knew how much she was loved. Livvy understood that we were walking alongside her and that she didn’t have to face anything alone. It’s this I am struggling with for Daniel, how alone did he feel?

My faith is my strength but for the last two weeks I have been so angry at God and at the world.

It’s a strange situation I have found myself to be in, everything has really got to me and I have found myself raging over the stupidest of things. I was angry at Alan for being seemingly ok over this new found knowledge, angry at family members for not grasping how hard this is, not wanting to acknowledge what he had faced and even angry at complete strangers who would moan of the simplest of things, wanting to scream “What the heck, try living his life for a moment”.

Being angry at God is something I struggle with, it just feels wrong, yet I was so, so very furious at him.

If we were to be part of Daniel’s future, why the heck couldn’t he have gotten him to us earlier?

Why so many operations?

Why so much pain?

Why so much fear?

 

Yesterday I was sitting in church listening to the worship when the words being sung finally started to sink into my soul and I realised that ;

Daniel was never abandoned by God,

God never left him.

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Right there in those numerous operating rooms God was with him, as he fought against the brain bleeds and the meningitis God was with him, and when professionals were making decisions for his future, God was with them.

Daniel was never alone.

Daniel was never on his own.

When we received the call asking us to have a fostering placement for a weekend God was with us. He was in the Yes that I found myself saying, he was the one that placed adoption on my heart so many years ago ready for Daniel.

I still don’t understand why Daniel has had to face so much, just like I will never understand why I had to lose Livvy, but I do know without a shadow of a doubt that God is with us always.

As the words of the worship began to soothe my heart I realised I was free from the anger that was consuming me. Free from the what if’s and free from the past I couldn’t change.

I was overwhelmed by how much God loves Daniel and me. How blessed I am that however hard Daniel’s journey has been we are so very blessed to have found each other.

I don’t have all the answers but that’s ok, I have faith and God’s promise.

I actually shared this at church yesterday, something which scared me like crazy, but I am so glad I did, because Daniel’s story and my story of fear and anger actually spoke to a number of people and they shared their journeys with me. Their sharing allowed me to realise that whilst I don’t believe things have to happen for a reason, beauty can be found in ashes. How many of us have felt completely alone and so far from God? It’s hard in the midst of pain to remember the promise that we are never alone.  

Daniels past is not all of his story.

Every day is a new page yet to be written and I am so lucky I get to be part of his story.

I get to see all that God has planned for Daniel, the hearts he will fill, the spirits he will move and the smiles he will bring.

My boy will change the world.

I’m so thankful I get to be his Mom and I’m so excited for his next chapter.

Let’s get writing

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A year today.

I cannot believe it has been a year today. After what seemed like such an endless wait our boy has been officially our son for a whole year now, where has this year gone?

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From the moment he came into our lives I knew I loved him and the professional detachment I was supposed to have, was completely lost. Yet still I never allowed myself to hope, to dream that one day he would be officially my son.

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I remember this day last year so vividly, everyone kept congratulating me but I couldn’t accept it, not until the very moment that the judge signed those papers. I was scared to dream, scared to hope, scared to believe until that paperwork was in my hands. I can still remember how I felt when he was introduced as our son. It was as if at that moment my resolve which wasn’t that strong anyway was lost and the overwhelming emotions of love was poured into my heart. I remember this feeling when having the girls, I loved them and was so excited when carrying them but nothing prepared me for the moment that they were placed in my arms, nothing prepares you for the intensity of love that you feel.

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Wow a whole year and what a year it has been, my gosh I love being Daniel’s Mom. The novelty of introducing him as my son is still as new now as it was then. Just saying his new full name still makes me smile.

I have so enjoyed watching him grow and develop this last year, watching his character emerge. From the little detached baby into this cheeky, mischievous toddler.

I love being a mom and I love being an adoptive mom, although some find it hard to believe I can honestly say that there is no difference between the children born from my womb than the one born in my heart.

Daniel is such a gift, his smile just blesses my heart its crazy, getting to love on him is well just wonderful.

How did I get so lucky?

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Adoption is such an incredible thing, it’s a journey of so many emotions. I have laughed and I have cried but now here a year on I am so thankful for this journey. Whilst at times it was so hard and I felt so scared, Daniel is so very worth every moment of fear, every moment of doubt.

All I can say to anyone right now, if adoption has every been on your heart please consider it. Yes you will give a child a forever family which is amazing but the gift that you receive is so incredible.

Hearing my precious boy call me Mama will never get old.

Happy One year of being adopted Daniel, thank you for giving me the greatest gift of being your Mama. Love you to the moon, stars and back again.

Lots of love and rainbow kisses, Mama xx

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Weaning fun

This year we have been given the go ahead to really start weaning my little one. Although we don’t think he will be able to eat enough to fulfil his needs it is exciting that he can try new taste’s and experience different textures.

So starting on this journey I was rather chuffed to see that the highly-anticipated Aldi Baby & Toddler Event is returning to stores across the UK.

They have a fantastic range of products which will be perfect for our journey into weaning.

The event  will be starting online from the 10th August and in stores across the UK from the 17th August.

Weaning Daniel is going to be different from when I weaned my girls as he will only be able to eat small amounts so storage and the ability to make my own puree’s is a must, as so far I am wasting a lot of the jars and pouches I have opened.

Daniel seems to be enjoying his tastes and tries and so far we seem to be loving strong flavours and not liking pumpkin but we will see. Todays banana was a big hit.

The smile says it all.

 

 

  • I was gifted the goodies from Aldi’s for the purpose of this shout out about the baby and toddler event but all opinions about it being awesome and well worth a visit are my own.

Inspire or destroy?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to listen to the inspirational Nick Barwick. Nick is a motivational speaker who came to a fostering meeting to share his experiences as a care leaver. His story is incredible, he has faced adversity, pain and suffering throughout his life but still found the strength and courage to achieve his dreams, he defied the odds and he overcame.

Nick is passionate about sharing his story, he wants the success stories of life to be shared. We need our children to have hope, that if they are struggling and finding life a struggle they can remember that where they are right now is not where they need to end. This is doubly important for all children within the looked after system, they especially need the reminder that there is Hope in this world.

I took an awful lot away with me after listening to Nick speak, but what has been twirling around in my head since I left the meeting was the impact of ‘words.’

Let me explain a little, as Nick was sharing his story he spoke about being told by some professional in his life that he would not achieve, academically, financially and emotionally, and how these words for a long time became a self fulfilling prophecy for him.

How the words spoken to him became the words he spoke to himself.

Words have power!

They can inspire but also they can destroy.

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Hearing Nick’s story just hit home how important our words are,

How as Mother’s, as fathers, as teachers, carers, our words have an impact on hearts.

How as a friend, a wife, a sister I need to use my words wisely.

How often have we let words spoken to us bury deep in our hearts?

How what may have been a passing comment has be able to consume our minds.

Someone else’s opinion become our truth.

I know I can look back in my life and raise my hand numerous times for when words spoken in hate became my reality.

“You won’t pass it.”

“I wouldn’t even bother’

“You are not good enough”

“Who would love you?”

How I let these lines of letters sink deep into my heart like an anchor dropped into the ocean, dropping slowing until they find a place to settle and hold, hold on tight.

How I  have allowed hurtful words to crawl under my skin until I believed them completely, burying under my skin into my blood to pump through my veins, straight to my heart.

Burrowing deep until I owed them as my truth.

Thankfully like Nick I had someone in my life who challenged me to question these words. To remind me that my future was mine to create.

That it was up to me to write my own story. 

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I’m still a work in progress, my story has many chapters left to write.

I’m still learning to throw away the words that hurt, to erase the words that are wrong and untrue.

To protect myself from words that do not inspire or encourage.

I’m creating my own vocabulary and as I do this I hope to create another for my children.

I want their story to be one of adventure, excitement and hope but what I want most of all is that the biggest chapter that they write will always be one filled with love.

I pray that story is one of knowing, knowing how loved they are. 

Handmade in my heart.

It’s amazing how having a baby changes your life, in all areas, in everything.

The last few months have been a shock to the system. I miss my sleep. I miss eating my dinner in one go and I really miss drinking my tea hot.

Yet all these changes are so worth it when the little one looks up at me and smiles.

How is it possible to feel so much love in such a short time?

I am smitten.

My heart was in need of baby snuggles.

My arms in need of baby cuddles.

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Our house has been turned upside down and it’s amazing. My girls are the most incredible big sisters I could ask for, from changing bums to just giving my arms a break they have been so wonderful.

Open arms, open hearts.

I cannot believe how something so tiny can make such big changes.

Even today I found myself buying some new clothes not only wondering about style and fit but also if they are baby proof or will hide baby dribble well.

I also cannot believe how vast the world of baby stuff has become, from food to clothes to equipment the baby market has gone wild and I am loving it. There is so many things that I just want to get him, my husband is already fed up of hearing the words of “he would look so cute” or “he so needs this”.

Yet still I love things that are handmade, items created just for your little one. They just seem that little more special and nothing is more special than this beautiful star blanket crafted by the wonderful Naomi at Mama Naii’s.

 

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I actually saw a photo of one she had made previously and just fell in love and knew little man needed one. So after chatting about colours and size we soon became the proud owner of this wonderful blanket and this adorable Gerald giraffe. I wish I could show how much he loves it. Watching him hold on tight to the giraffe is so cute and seeing him cuddled up tight in his blanket is priceless.

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Naomi crafts some truly beautiful things and is always willing to chat about what exactly it is you want. I already have my second order in and I’m planning my third too.

So if you are like me and feeling blessed to have a little one in your life maybe take a visit to Mama’s Naii’s Facebook page, or Instagram page and have a look for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Countdown to 40

40

 

I realised last night that in under a month I turn 40. This is a major milestone in my life but one I am so excited for.

Growing up I remember thinking 40 was really old, I mean it seemed that my mom was 32 forever so I was sure I would stay this way. Yet time has moved on and I have been slowly creeping towards this age.

I remember when I turned 30 I was really freaked by it all, I didn’t feel ready to be 30 years old I was uncomfortable and not happy in my own skin. Life wasn’t easy and I had just started to show signs of the illness that changed my life. I look back to those days when I was chasing after 4 children under 10 and teaching dance. I remember just not feeling complete as if I wasn’t living life to the full.

Fast forward the last ten years and my goodness a crazy amount has happened. I have walked through some of the darkest moments of my life. My heart has been broken, tore up into millions of pieces and then trodden on. I never imagined at 30 that I would have to bury a child let alone two. I would have never been able to comprehend surviving the loss of my daughter and my foster son. Never in a million years. Yet somehow I have survived, my heart may never be complete but it is learning to love on, learning to beat strongly again and I am learning to live life to the full again.

I know deep down that 40 isn’t really a special age. I mean I preach often about celebrating every day we have here, but still I am rather excited for the day.

This may sound big headed but I like who I see in the mirror now. I may not be a dance teacher or able to fit my bum into a size 12 but I truly love my body and I’m so grateful to it. It has given me four amazing girls, completely different, independent ,inspirational girls. It allows me to foster two truly awesome boys, each a blessing in their own special way. My body may be a little battle worn but it’s not been beaten and I am so thankful for this.

I look back to the person I was 10 years ago and I know I have been on a journey. I use the term “self discovery” loosely  as is the only way to get close to describing  the transformation I feel I have faced.

I love who I am (yes I may have said that before) but I seriously do. I love my emotional side, no more will I apologise for my random tears or unexpected hugs. I’m empathic and I care and this is something I am proud of now. No more calling myself soppy and pathetic, I actually rock.

I love my courage, I am more willing to put myself out into the danger zone, being vulnerable, feeling scared but still moving forward.

I love my brain, it’s ok that I am a little geeky at times, that sometimes the idea of a good book wins against a movie or a night out. That I appreciate my own company and yes at times I get lost in my own mind.

I love myself and I love my life.

As I head towards this birthday milestone I do so with so much gratitude.

Over the last years I have had people walk into my life that have blessed me in so many ways. Friends that love me for me, deep true friendships that can pick up after a time apart just where we left off. Friends I can laugh with, friends I have cried on. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

I am so thankful for my family, my daughters and my sons each so unique and so beautiful. Getting to watch them grow and learn and experience life is such a wonder, such a gift. My Dad, my Step Mom, my inlaws, my aunts, uncles, cousins, relantionships that I truly value and people I truly love.

My husband, I am completely in love with this crazy man, after nearly 20 years of marriage I still get that flutter in my heart when he walks into a room. He makes me laugh, he drives me insane, but he truly is my soul mate.

I am so thankful that I miss my Livvy, because missing someone is the recognition of an amazing love, a truly unbroken bond. My girl and I will be together again one day, but until then I am going to try and live as she did, fully and with all my heart.

So the count down to 40 begins and I’m so excited. I’m so ready to celebrate the 40 years I have been here with all my family and friends. An evening full of laughter, music and hopefully a gorgeous outfit.

Yet 40 is only the really the beginning, the start of a new stage in life, one I hope will be full of love and laughter and the people that really make my life truly amazing, my family and friends, because with them and because of them I actually love myself more at 40 then I ever did.

 

40 looking good

The one he needs 

I can’t believe it’s 4:30am and I’m wide awake. Our new little man is teething and nothing besides being pushed in his pushchair seems to be helping. I’m actually not sure whether it’s the movement or the constant reassurance that I’m there that is bringing him comfort. 

To be fair whichever it is as long as he is happy then so am I. 

Yet as I sit here at this crazy hour with nothing else to do but rock the pushchair my mind is off doing that crazy thing again known as thinking.

I’m pondering on how much better we all feel when we know we have someone there for us.

From the moment we are born we are dependent on others. We need our parents to feed us, care for us and keep us safe. As we grow older we find ourselves more independant but can we really ever reach a point in life when we don’t need others?

Now I guess we could talk about hermits and the solitude they prefer but besides the extreme cases I truly believe we all need at least one other person in our lives. 

I know I couldn’t imagine my life with out some of the crazy people that bless it. My family, my friends and even the wider circle including the amazing lady who does my ironing. 

Everyone of these people play a part in my life, in my survival.

So right now as I’m exhausted and just praying this little one would sleep I’m feeling grateful. 

  

Thankful that here in this moment I get to be the person he needs.