We had a house full of cards, bags full of hand-me-downs from excited relatives, and a diary clear of any commitments for a month...but as Andy and I stood together, looking down at the 4 and a half month old baby in the moses basket, we genuinely had no idea what was going on.
The night before we had been to a restaurant, had a nice meal and a few glasses of wine, and "celebrated" our last night as a twosome. Eighteen hours later we were at home with baby Freddie and had closed the door on the world. And suddenly it was just us. Just the three of us. For the first time ever, and forever.
We were that very lucky couple. Our son's placement order was granted exactly 12 weeks after he was born. Fifteen minutes later our social worker phoned and said (in the calmest voice I have ever heard); "You have been linked with a baby. He's a littlie. He's three months old."
From that second, our lives changed forever. We had his file that afternoon, three days later we had a visit from his social worker and the family finder. The following day we had the phone call saying that they wanted to proceed with the match. Within a month we had met his (wonderful) foster carers, the medical adviser, and completed our matching report. Within 5 weeks of that first phone call, we were at matching panel. Ten days later, Freddie was home.
Adopting a very young baby is incredible. Every day we count our blessings that we were chosen, and settling him into our lives and routines was a doddle. We got all the "firsts" that so many adoptive families don’t have...words, steps, birthday... Alongside that, however, is the weirdness in baby groups, where other Mums ONLY talk about pregnancy, birth and labour. The strangers who stop your pram in the street to ask you who he looks like, and the neighbours who couldn’t remember whether or not you had been pregnant, but were too polite to mention.
We have the "telling" to come, and we know that there are likely to be issues borne from Freddie's erratic start. But we are so very lucky that we will have known our son for nearly all of his life, and two and a half years on, we can’t remember a time when he wasn’t here.
For more first-hand experiences of adoption, check out the rest of BAAF's blog. If you need info or advice about adoption, head over to the main BAAF website.