Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Adoption mum reaches final of the Sun's Wondermum competition

Adoption mum, Lorraine Cridge, has reached the final of The Sun's Wondermum competition. With her husband Derek, Lorraine has adopted four children with Downs Syndrome. This week Lorraine and her family’s visit to London for the final – including being a guest at No. 10!

Arrived home hot and tired at 2.30pm, first load of dirty washing in the machine by 2.45 – that’s it then! My fifteen minutes of fame is definitely over and it’s back to normality.

But what a fantastic time we’ve had over the past couple of days attending the final of the Sun/Asda Wondermum 2010 competition. It started just a few weeks ago when I got a phone call out of the blue to say that I had been chosen as one of the six finalists in this year’s contest. After I picked myself up from the floor, I rushed round the house into all the girls’ rooms in a flurry of excitement to tell them the good news – a trip to London always causes terrific excitement in our house!

The day before we were due to travel, another big surprise – the Wondermums had all been invited to morning coffee at 10 Downing Street with Samantha Cameron as her first official engagement as the new PM’s wife. So, a quick rearrangement of travel plans and I found myself on a very early morning train to arrive in London in time.

Well, I always consider myself to be quite unimpressed by celebrity (or notoriety) but I must say that I felt a real thrill being escorted through the barriers into Downing Street, and even more exciting was walking through the front door like some kind of important person! Samantha Cameron was lovely! Slight disappointment – the biscuits were common or garden teatime assortment, but then I suppose I would rather that the Government spent my taxes on something more worthwhile than chocolate hobnobs! I thoroughly enjoyed the ensuing tour around number 10 and got a real sense of the history of our country walking up the grand staircase flanked by the portraits of every Prime Minister who has ever served.

Time to catch up with the rest of the family who had travelled on a later train. After a short respite for a cup of tea and a quick lie-down, it was on to the London Eye – fantastic experience! Champagne and nibbles in a private pod on the most beautiful sunny afternoon so far this year.

The next day was the “big day” – a make up artist and a hairdresser to my room after breakfast in bed. Could I get used to this? Better not! The excitement gathered in the lobby until it was time to set off for Claridges. So proud of my lovely family, my girls looked absolutely beautiful and it was a privilege and a great pleasure to walk through Claridge’s lobby escorted by them all. Lucy worked the room like a pro – introducing herself to everyone, just in case they were an unrecognised “celeb”! Carlyn and Rose got fed up of waiting for lunch and both took their shoes off and went for a lie down on the two sofas outside the ballroom – bet Claridge’s have never seen that before!

Lunch was as you would expect from such a famous hotel and the twins knocked back the vino in a very unladylike manner! The actual awards ceremony was very emotional for all of us finalists, but once the winner is announced the tension dies down and everyone relaxes and enjoys themselves. Had my photo taken with Sarah Ferguson, a delightful lady with a wicked sense of humour, but the star of the day for me was Gail Porter who was so kind and encouraging to the girls I would have liked to bring her home with me and adopt her too!

So then it’s nearly over, just a private trip with my family to see the musical “Wicked” – a truly remarkable ending to a wonderful couple of days. I may not have won, but I have memories that will last a lifetime, and most importantly I have been able to publicly tell everyone that adopting my daughters is the best thing that ever happened to me (and him indoors!) and that they have made my life so blessed and joyful.

Previous Wondermum winners have included foster mum, Avril Head, also featured on this blog.

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