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December 2010
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February 2011

January 2011


Last week we said finished our adoption preparation course. It was a bit sad to disband, but we all exchanged email addresses and have already arranged meet-ups. We were visited by an adoptive parent who gave us the most encouraging talk about her lovely daughters adopted from Russia. It was really good.

There was a funny couple in our group -  both great characters - very outspoken and entertaining. (Do you know a couple like that? I do wonder how they get together - I imagine that thrilling moment of recognition when they catch one another's eye: "Hey, you're one of ME! Let's get together and be Great Characters!").

Earlier in the week WFI posted about that weird version of the White Coat Syndrome that infertiles get, where we feel the pressing need to be all! zany! to! get! through! the! embarassment! of talking about All This Very Private Stuff with doctors and bosses and anyone we don't know very well, and sometimes, even those we do, if they are not totally au fait with this sort of thing. Sort of like when you meet a Policeman and automatically feel all illegal. This syndrome can manifest at the most unexpected moments and leaves you feeling like you have somehow ended up on stage with only a pink feather boa on, and suddenly have a terrible compulsion to cancan your way off. Suddenly you're on autopilot and a zany monkey with a deathwish has taken over the controls. (Like in the Wallace and Grommit film The Wrong Trousers, ever see that? So good.)

In our meeting, for instance, when we were warned we'd be asked how often we have sex. And Wife With Loads of Personality spoke up bravely, as she was wont to do, to ask why they needed to know that, exactly?

The group leader explained something to the effect that it seen as a barometer of the closeness of a couple. If we weren't having sex, then why?

Husband With Loads of Personality, obviously possessed by the Zany Monkey with a Deathwish, shouted out:
Oh well, we have sex all the time! LOADS OF SEX! ALL THE TIME!! Only we call it MAKING LOVE! WE MAKE LOVE ALL THE TIME!

We nearly died laughing. Nearly died, I tell you.


For those of you who like that sort of thing, I got a really nice new pen.
A Pentel Color Brush - ooh it's nice. It's got a brush tip which makes lines just like a perfectly loaded paint brush, and makes hair so much easier to draw. Quick sketches are so easy:

I recommend.

Pen and Zany Monkey stories gratefully received.



Thank you for your intelligent and well-considered input into the dilemma of the last post. It was really helpful to hear your points of view. I believe I'll know what to do if that situation arises. Or I hope so.

I spent Saturday night in Carlow visiting my friend, R. I always enjoy going down there. It's a small town with a wide river going through it, (otters! herons!) in the middle of a flat piece of countryside, and modest and overlooked by tourists as it is, it has its own secret charms. You can park, for one. You can drive up the main street and everything you need is within a 5 minute radius. There are pubs with fires burning, nice places to eat, a really excellent art centre, and there's R, a wonderful, wise friend. She lives in her own way, without fear or favour. We had a long talk and compared notes on everything from work to love. You can tell her whatever you need to, in the certain knowledge that she will listen, get it, never judge you but offer some insight that will illuminate the way.
(Just like you, my comrades, only present in a more bodily way.)

It's good to talk. She spoke from her own experience about childhood abandonment and how that can ruin children's sense of security, and make them believe they are somehow to blame, how important it is to be open about it, (all the things we hear in our meetings) and despite all this, how grief passes, and we need not be worried, because we can do it, we can be the parents that child needs. I was humbled and inspired.


But the next day as I walked along the river, the JB texted me and I started to worry about the his readiness to adopt. I think he's absolutely there beside me, but then sometimes he says something that makes me wonder. Like, how he's still hopeful that we'll have a biological child. And it made me wonder if this is part of the grieving for that child, which will pass, or if it's something that will remain and always haunt him.


Fear started to churn catastrophically in my head, and logic flew out of it, to the point where I was composing texts to implore him to go to a counsellor to work out whether he could be happy with our adoptive family and if not, well, we'd have to split, and (I told you it got catastrophic), that we'd have to accept that. I would not adopt unless he felt the child would be first in our hearts.



I don't half get operatic sometimes. I should know this, I have illustrated it before now.

I arrived home, and he was all upbeat and chirpy. He showed me all the work he'd done in my absence, varnishing the floor, cleaning and doing laundry. He apologised cheerily for what he'd said about the biological child: Oops, sorry about that. That was a bit weird, wasn't it? I read our ad0ption material after texting you, and it says it's perfectly normal, to go through these feelings.

Oh. So, no tragic divorce scenario, eh? Just tea and toast, and some light TV viewing.

I am a twit.


R and I were talking about our relationships with men, and how she finds it easy to be friends with them but is more uncomfortable in romantic scenarios, and I..? We stared at each for a moment as we both realised I don't actually have any male friends. A plentitude of lovely women friends, but no close male friends.

How about you? Do you have really good friends of the opposite sex? What for? (Heh). Should I look into getting one? Maybe I can order one online? (Mail order? I just died of my own corniness). Thoughts, ideas, and prods in right direction are welcome.



For our adopti0n preparati0n course we have to work out a time chart, for now, and a projected one for post-adoption time. I tell you what, it is alarming to think about where the hours go, every day. In fact, I have not dared to time myself throughout a day - for one thing, there is no average day for a freelancer, and for another, what sort of activity is Staring Out The Window (a vital part of my life)? However, fictional or not, here is what I have done on my current time-arrangements, so far:

(It's all codified into euphemistic social worker speak, which makes me smile. "Us Time", I think we all know what THAT is).

Group meetings have been very engaging and at times emotionally arduous, recently. Well, I say engaging but on Monday, I had that dreaded Uh-oh! Imminent Cystitis feeling and cleverly (I thought) downed three cups of water the better to flush it out. Well, I could not concentrate on what was going on at all, I was too busy counting the minutes to Comfort Break time, before I BURST. Ah, Comfort Break! Blessed blessed relief!
And then, individually wrapped biscuits with instant coffee out of a massive tin drum, while we all stand around the small kitchen, complaining about waiting times.

We covered miles and miles in the last two sessions, namely, Child Devel0pment and Medical Matters, and Telling your child his or her Ad0pti0n st0ry / Adv0cating for your child. The policy is to make you really think things through, and they are fairly effective in that. Before we left, for instance, we were asked what we would do if the child's record contained horrific facts, for instance that he or she was born as a result of rape. Should we tell the child? When and how?
The discussion rapidly became frank and vigorous, especially between a group member and the social worker - all fairly good-tempered - but absolutely opposed. The social worker (and most of the group) felt that the child's right to the information must come first, and that, given the information existed, it would be far far preferable to hear that information from you, than by accident, unprepared, when he or she was old enough to explore his/her own roots. One member of the group was convinced that at all costs, the child must be not be told, because as he said:
I love and want to protect my (theoretical) child.

(Don't get me wrong, I understand where he is coming from, but it reminded me a bit of a road sign I once saw in a Dublin suburb: PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY, it said. WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN. Oh, really? Love them, you say? Huh! (Heh.))

Social worker: No, you're lying to your child.

Any thoughts on this? I'd love to hear what your take, because my mind unhelpfully closes down in a "sure this might never happen at all, at all!" sort of way, which is not quite the intellectual vigour I hoped for.




Here we go.
As it turned out, Brother came to pick me up in the snow on Christmas Day, being someone who enjoys sailing close to the wind/cutting it fine/seeking a thrill, (he keeps an alarming running commentary going, as he drives: Oh, look, we're slipping now, in cheerful tones. Me: Em, why don't we get out and walk? .. what about now, why don't we get out now?) and we even managed to visit my parents in the country. The day was quieter than usual, with only a sprinkling of Brother's partner's cousins able to attend. It constituted a salutary lesson in how family life can be less than twinkly-fantastic - my nephew Spike was catatonic from Wii over-usage and tried to strangle my niece Dazzle when she tried to eat a piece of his Lego Star Wars. His fingers had to be prised from her neck. So, you know. Not so completely and utterly heartwarming. Dazzle is at that lovely age (nearly three), when everything is new and delightful. She runs at life with great gusto, skittering around madly, semi-naked, muttering breathy little phrases, with a "no-man" on her tee-shirt.

It was fun. My brother's partner is a chef, and all was predictably delicious. In addition to which, I was relieved to have dodged the bullet of Austere Kerry Christmas 2010, my brother-in-law having come out in an unfortunate case of dickus prickus. He lives in Boston, is all world-weary and cosmopolitan, has dropped his Kerry accent and feels the need to scoff at our little Irish ways. Once, for instance, he went to see the Irish Ballet (admittedly not our strongest discipline) and was horrifed to see the dancers' legs quaking. GASP. The Bolshoi do not tremble! He exclaimed, a phrase which will now go down in family history.



Oddly enough, for whatever perverse reason, I was not struck, as I had feared, by loneliness and depression over that quiet snowbound week. I rattled around the house fixing things, I read, I drew contently, I trotted along treelined avenues with snowflakes falling deliciously on my hot face - I struck some sort of equilibrium, quite by chance. I was perfectly fine.

The JB returned from Kerry yesterday, relieved to be back. And I'm sure I'll find somewhere for him in my the house.

So, January, eh? Janus, the two-faced month, that looks back and forward. I somehow think the newly acquired equilibrium is not sufficient to withstand a review of the rather chequered (to put it mildly) 2010 - I would like to thank you for all your support and solidarity over those dark months, though. Thank you,  truly. Your company has meant so much to me. Let's turn to the future, my friends, and be hopeful.

I wish you all the very, very best.

ps. I resolve: Online comic, this year, or bust! Hold me to it.