Meeting baby sister

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My goodness what a few weeks it’s been. Baby sister has been home for 6 weeks and it’s been a rollercoaster ride so far. We’ve known about her since the spring. However, we only went to panel in the middle of September so until then, I don’t think I really believed it was going to happen. After that we only had 2 weeks until introductions started so it’s all felt like a bit of a blur.

Because there was uncertainty for so long, I hadn’t really let myself think about baby sister. My first ever blog post was about how it took me a long time to love little Miss. I knew it would come, but it wasn’t there as quickly as I thought it would be. We’ve had a stressful year and I was worried that and the uncertainty around panel would mean I’d feel the same way about baby sister. I’d dealt with the uncertainty by not allowing myself to really think about or develop and feelings for her.

Little Miss started school in September and I’d decided last year I was going to take a month off work to try and make the transition a bit easier for us both. Having the month to just focus on her was amazing. It also gave me time to think a lot about what we were about to embark on. I’ll be honest, I started to have a lot of doubts. Life felt very settled and I didn’t want that to change. Little Miss was loving having all of my attention and me dropping her off and collecting her every day.

When we agreed to be assessed as adopters for baby sister, we’d said the timing of any placement had to be in the best interests of little Miss. Starting school is a big thing for any child and we were expecting it to be massive for her. She struggles with any type of change and became very unsettled every time she moved up a class at nursery. We’d therefore said she’d need a bit of time to settle first. We felt October half term would be the best time for introductions and placement.

I was really angry and disappointed when it became clear that in the end, our views around timing of the placement hadn’t been taken into account. By that point though, I didn’t have the energy to fight it. So, I was really nervous as we headed towards introductions. Little Miss was coping brilliantly with school but I couldn’t help thinking that all of that would change once she met her sister.

Last time we did introductions, we didn’t have a clue what to expect. I actually think that is better. Knowing what we were facing made me more nervous. Baby sister was with the same foster carers as little Miss which was a massive positive. The family are lovely so from that point of view it was good. But it didn’t change the fact that introductions are incredibly demanding and emotionally draining.

I don’t know how it feels to prepare to give birth to a child because I’ve never experienced it. I don’t know whether preparing to give birth for a second, or third time is better or worse than the first time. However you come to meet your child, I guess you experience a whole host of emotions. The few days before we met baby sister, I mainly felt panic. Panic that we had made the wrong decision and that we were about to take on more than we could cope with.

Meeting little Miss felt like an anti-climax. It had been such a long journey for us to find her that I’d built it up into something it was never going to be. This time round, I think it actually helped that my expectations were very low. I didn’t except to love baby sister. I excepted to feel nothing for her. On the first day of introductions we were late for the planning meeting because we couldn’t get parked and at one point I did think we should just drive away and not go in.

Sometimes it’s best not to think about things too much and just let them happen. I really wish I was better at doing that. Meeting baby sister was such a different experience to meeting little Miss. I was very surprised that I loved her the second I set eyes on her. She is the double of Little Miss. She has a lot of her mannerisms, her head is the same shape and she has the same amazing big blue eyes. I think that helped the love for baby sister to come straight away.

There’s no doubt that doing introductions when you already have a child is more of a juggle. But actually, I think it made things easier too. We had 2 days of meeting baby sister by ourselves and then little Miss met her on the third day. Seeing her face when she saw baby sister for the first time was priceless. She coped so well with it all and was really chatty with the foster carers which was lovely. She’s normally very shy with new people (she was only 9 months old when she left so has no memory of them) but she really took to them which made things a lot easier. It was amazing for them too as although they’ve fostered over 20 children, they’ve never had this situation before.

Baby sister has settled in really well and so far has been able to transfer her attachment from the foster carers to us without too much distress. It blows my mind that we’ve taken her away from everything she’s ever known and she’s just taken it all in her stride. She’s teething which is causing her a lot of grief, but the move hasn’t phased her at all. Only time will tell how her attachment to us will develop but so far, the signs are promising.

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