Work, rest or play?

Kids wheelbarrow

Following on from being published on the Gays with kids website, please find my latest blog on the decision to go back to work or not….

It came to the point recently when the adoption leave pay I was getting from the police came to an end. We were now broke!

The trouble was, I really wasn’t ready to go back to work. It wasn’t the role. I LOVE and miss being a police officer. I had just become too used to being a stay-at-home Dad.

My husband and I now have 3 children.  Wil (5), Louis (3) and Connor (2).  I adore the time I get to spend with them. The days are busy and full. Wil’s at school all day. Louis’ at pre-school for half a day and Connor and I get to spend the day together, when he’s not napping. I usually get to enjoy one to one time with each of them throughout the day and somehow manage to fit in the rest of the day to day bits and pieces. I’ve become a whizz at cramming 4 hours worth of cleaning and laundry into a 40 minute window. Don’t tell me any stay at home parent doesn’t have new and impressive time-management skills to add to their resume!

The problem was I didn’t want to change the routine and life I had become so accustomed to. Asides from this we really couldn’t see how we could manage with both of us working shifts – my husband’s still a full-time police officer and policing hours really don’t match the hours your average childcare provider offers.  Also, rightly or wrongly, we really didn’t want to put our kids into childcare just so I could go back to work. That’s not why we had them. Now I know it’s not for everyone, but I want to spend as much time being with my kids throughout the day as I can. I couldn’t bear the thought of breakfast clubs and after-school clubs and a quick hour’s play before bed – no disrespect to those parents for who that’s a choice or those for who it’s a necessity – it just wasn’t for me.  I wanted to do everything I could to avoid going back just yet.

We’ve scrimped and budgeted everything we can off our bills. We’ve developed money saving meal plans. We’ve accepted any offer of hand-me-down clothes that have come our way. We tried anything to save a few pounds. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. We quickly came to the sad realisation that we just couldn’t afford it! Sometimes reality sucks!

Shortly after, I managed to secure a job which is incredibly flexible, though completely un-police related. The new role means that I can take the hours that suit us, our life, and my husband’s hours and more importantly, the kids. I can earn enough to cover the shortfall we had and pay for a few extras. It’s also meant that we have avoided the need for childcare.

To my surprise, I love it! I love the change of scene, talking to adults, and the using my mind for something other than ABC. Sure I miss the kids – though luckily I still maintain the bulk of the time with them, and wouldn’t want it any other way. I also realise that me wanting to stay at home all the time was more about me than them.

And you know. The look of joy on their faces when I come home from work after not seeing them for a few hours, more than makes it worthwhile! I will return to the police, but right now I’m taking a career break. Now’s not about me. It’s about us. Us and our little family.

Link to original blog https://gayswithkids.com/back-work-stay-home/

Steve PONDER-SIGSTON (10/01/2015)

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Country life: Breaking the prejudice

Old blog for new readers..

rainbowdad

So following on from the birth of our Son, Wil, who was the first baby ever to be born to a gay couple (us) by a UK surrogate (my wonderful sister), following a change in the law, we try to settle into family life (see previous blogs for full story). Instead a move is forthcoming and a challenge on our own prejudices…

We settled into parenthood with suprising ease,  reiterating to me that we could not only do this, but could actually be good at it. Wil really was a contented baby, and still is a contented child. He ate, played and slept well, and stuck to a rough 3 hour routine. This didn’t seem to change whether he was at home or out and about. Oh, and to the frustration of a few Mums we know, he slept through the night from about 6 weeks. We can’t really take…

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A bittersweet occasion: The boy is ours

Connor

We had some amazing news yesterday. Our youngest son is now officially ours! Its been a long journey which has sometimes been tough, sometimes scary. But always worth it.  The courts awarded us the adoption order and we couldn’t be happier.

To be honest though, it’s felt like he’s ours forever – always a risky feeling to have when dealing with adoption – after all until that adoption order is granted, nothing is set in stone. But you can’t help what the heart feels and our hearts have loved him for a long time now. Thankfully, we can breathe a sigh of relief, boy three is ours. He’s stuck with us!

In a way though, it’s a bittersweet moment. I can’t even begin to pretend that there aren’t two people out there who are feeling an overwhelming loss at our gain. His birth parents.

You know, when we first entered into the adoption arena – this is our second time adopting – the one thing I never really considered was the feelings of the birth parents. I just always assumed that they wouldn’t deserve their child anymore. That they had given up that right through their choices and actions. I know that sounds harsh, but my role as a police officer has put me in contact with so many parents, and I use that term in the technical sense of the word, who just couldn’t give a shit about their kids. Parents who would always put themselves first. Their drugs first. Their drink first. Their chaotic lives first. Anything but their child first . The one thing that really needs them. Their children would be neglected or abused or both. Under-fed and under-clothed, their parents next fix more important than their kids next meal.

Then there’s the other, more common, yet almost equally undeserving group. The ones who had their kids as a meal ticket. A means to a bigger flat. A steady ‘income’. Once the kid had done the trick they become a nuisance, an obstacle. Their kids become exposed to a completely unsuitable lifestyle. Inevitably becoming part of the same cycle as they grow, unable to avoid it, it’s what they know. It makes me so mad. These people who couldn’t care less about their children and yet fall pregnant at the drop of a hat. So unfair on the hundreds of loving couples out there who spend their lives, their savings, their health, their sanity in trying to conceive – often without success.    And then there’s people like us. People naturally unable to conceive and yet so sure, so determined that kids, a family, is what we want. Willing to do almost anything to make that desire a reality, to make parenthood a reality. Sometimes it’s soul destroying.  It’s hard not to judge sometimes.

So it was with this mind set that we initially entered into the adoption process. We believed that we would be adopting a child who’s parents no longer deserve to be able to ‘parent’ their child. That we would almost be the child’s saviours. In fact, that wasn’t how it was for either of the children we have adopted. You see both sets of their birth parents have varying levels of learning needs. They didn’t want to give their kids up. They just couldn’t look after them sufficiently or safely.  I struggled with this for quite a while. My perception of helping a child in need was almost shattered. Surely they didn’t deserve this.

It took me some time, but eventually I got my head around it. Clearly there was more to each case than the birth parents just being unable to support their children. There were recorded incidents of harm and neglect, whether intentional or not. Social services had offered intervention and support at every step. The birth parents were either unwilling or unable to make sufficient changes to their lives, even with support, that would mean that their child was raised in an environment where they were safe, loved, nurtured and developed. The paper trail showed us that social services had explored every avenue and done everything they could to enable these children to stay at home with their birth parents. Their support just wasn’t enough and ultimately I am in no doubt that being put up for adoption was in the best interest of each our children.

OK, so our children’s birth parents aren’t crack heads, alcoholics or child beaters. But I have no doubt that their children are in the right place with us now. But I would like to make a promise. A promise to our children and to their birth parents. We will never hide from our children where they have come from or the reasons behind it. We have had the privilege of meeting both of their birth parents. We will tell our children what lovely people they were, how warm and friendly despite the circumstances.  We will pass on their love and their letters as the years go by. And when the time comes, if it does, when they may wish to meet and form relationships with their birth parents we won’t stand in their way. Far from it. We’ll be there supporting them, helping them, guiding them every step of the way, because it’s the right thing to do, the only thing to do. We’ll do it with pride in our children. Confident that as their parents we will have given them a family that they are proud to be a part of. Confident that they will never doubt our love for them. Confident that they will always be our sons and we will always be their Dads.

Welcome to the family boy three.