B lived a considerable distance from Dad’s Barmy Towers, so we spent a week in a holiday cottage while we all gradually became acquainted.
That first moment when I walked up his foster carer’s driveway to the sound of childish excitement about “his new mummy and daddy” and the subsequent offer to a tour of his dinosaur collection will stay with me forever. As will the heinous attack of hay fever that I tried to stifle for the rest of the day, after we went to play on the field behind the house. I didn’t feel it polite to say upon our first meeting “for the love of everything holy no, what kind of sadist would want to spend a July afternoon in a field of hay?”, after all this whole adoption business is supposed to be a fairly long term arrangement.
However, I can tell you the jeopardy of losing the child you have only just acquired in three foot long grass, whilst blighted with minimal vision, does little for the already frayed nerves. However, I’d like to think it was the first of many sacrifices I’ll make for B in my quest for ultimate “Fun Dad” status.
Whilst I’d like this blog to be fairly irreverent in nature, I also think it’s important to dole out a certain amount of advice. After all, I’ve been doing this for days now and feel like I’m qualified as something of an expert…
If I could give one piece of advice to new adopters it would be to get yourself a hot tub. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the cottage we rented had gave us exclusive use of a hot tub – hear that people, EXCLUSIVE, not shared with the family from Grimsby next door and their athletes’ foot (feet?) issues. Never have a couple had so little fun and so little alcohol in a hot tub, communal or otherwise. But a bubbly dip and an orange juice and lemonade at 9pm sorts you right out.
I still wake up in the middle of the night panicking about a Daily Mail exposé… “YOUR INCOME TAX £££s FUND WORK SHY ADOPTERS TO LIVE IT UP IN HOT TUB SHAME”. However, I’m so glad that we decided to use our small accommodation allowance towards our own lodgings and not spend a week in a Premier Inn with Sir Lenny Henry. He’s a nice guy and all but don’t know him well enough to rely on him for emotional support.
It’s not the first time I will have found myself splashed over the tabloids and I’m sure it won’t be the last. However, once and for all, I want to stress that I’ve never even met the Krankies.
The first few days of introductions were such a weird mix of incredible excitement and enjoyment; coupled with a guilt-ridden longing to get back to the safety of the hot tub. Never have I felt so emotionally exposed as I did that week. Exposed to the mercy of a small child who could make or break your whole being with one flippant comment or gesture.
I don’t think I’d recommend the introduction process to anyone but still hold out hope that all that stress and sneezing will be worth it in the end.