Saturday, November 12, 2011

Plan B

2011 has been quite a year. Some ups, a long period of feeling down, but now I feel like I am getting my mojo back to some extent and beginning to reclaim my life. The long and the short of it is, although we are still to some extent trying to conceive, I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that our chances are between slim and nil at this stage. Most days I am OK with that, some days I am a weeping, snot dripping wreck.

And so to plan B. We have decided to explore the avenue of adoption. To be honest I'm not 100% sure that it will be the right thing for us, but we have decided to give it a shot and see how we go for now. We attended an information session during the Summer, got our application pack and have started the ball rolling to some extent. The biggest obstacle holding us up at the moment is waiting for U.K. police and social services clearance. Like many Irish people our age, John lived in and around London for ten years between the 80's and 90's, at around 14 different addresses. Even finding these addresses was a challenge in itself, but luckily his mother kept an address book during that time which survived until now. He filled out the relevant forms, wrote letters to a number of borough councils all over the greater metropolitan area, and we are still waiting to hear back from them.

In the meantime, we've been hatching plan C, a more short term plan. The idea came to me after the adoption information session. The speakers at the session advised us to get as much time and experience with children as we can. Now I have years of experience with kids and babysitting. I became an auntie at the age of 19, and served my time as a nappy changing baby sitting aunt in my late teens and twenties. John hasn't so much experience, as he only became an uncle ten years ago, and only two of his nieces live in Ireland, the other three are in Australia.

Anyway an idea came to me out of the blue. An ex colleague of mine has a family member who is hugely involved with the Chernobyl Children's Project in our area. Part of the work they do is organising respite holidays to Ireland for children from disadvantaged backgrounds in countries like Belarus, during the summer and at Christmas. After thinking about it for a short while we decided to take the plunge and make enquiries about volunteering with them. As it turns out, they are always on the lookout for host families, and were delighted with our expression of interest. So we applied for Garda (Irish police) clearance, and supplied references, all of which came back spick and span. So the plan for this Christmas is that there will be a group of children ranging in age from 7 to 14 arriving from Belarus in mid December. We will be hosting two of them, from the day we start our Christmas holidays on December 23rd, until January 4th.

We were given the option of saying what our preference was in terms of boys/girls and ages, so we have decided to go with the younger end of the age spectrum (hopefully true believers in Santa!) and girls, as I have a few young nieces in the same age group, with whom we can hopefully arrange a day's visiting/play date. We are both apprehensive and excited at the thoughts of it all. I can imagine there could be difficulties getting them to settle in a house with no other children, but I am hoping we will be able to establish a support network with the other host families in the area. Mostly though we are really looking forward to it. If nothing else it will give us a dose of reality. And we certainly won't have a quiet house this Christmas.


  1. So good to hear what you are up to. And sounds like a great plan. This year when people say "Of course Christmas is really for the children" you can say yes!

    Interesting that you got clearance from the Garda so quickly but not what you need for adoption - you'd have thought you'd need a similar amount of clearance whether you have the kids for a week or a lifetime.

    Please keep us posted!

  2. That's a fabulous-sounding plan! Gently blowing Santa smoke up young believers' bottoms (that sounds... not quite... right, somehow...) is such, such fun.

    I think I heard sleighbells! There's reindeer (horse) poo outside! Look, sooty footprints! (You can buy a KIT to produce those, staggeringly.) X's Mum saw Santa in Budgens buying carrots for Rudolph!

    Lots of giggles. Keep us posted!

  3. The UK police clearance is centrally operated so there shouldn't be any need

    Having applied for 4 police clearances for our adoption (and got 3 - they let me off the 4th, because it was plain it was never going to turn up), I am well versed in this. The Canadian Immigration website is pretty good and they say:
    United Kingdom

    You should apply for one through the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Criminal Records Office.
    The ACPO police certificate contains security features and information on criminal records from databases covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    To apply, go to:

  4. aargh no proofreading! "shouldn't be any need to contact local police stations".

  5. Jane: Thanks for your recent comment -- and for sharing your volunteering and related contributions. Very keen to continue to follow your story. all the best, Pamela