With the recent announcement of lockdown possibly lifting over a period of four months, it got us thinking about the last year and just how crazy it has been. It’s been over a year since my employer told me to work from home. I honestly thought in a few months things would start to work themselves out and that would be that. Yet here we are, twelve months on and it looks like we may soon start to return to a new normal. It’s a hugely scary thought and I don’t think I’ll be personally rushing out straight away - but we shall see.
It got us thinking how crazy adopting in Covid times really was. A time we are sure we will look back on in years to come and to think “Did that really happen?” So we write this blog as a way of reminding us and others about all that we did before life starts to slowly return and we can perhaps get back to life as we knew it….or as close to as we can. We hope it opens your eyes to how different the process really became!
It all started back in March when several days after we had been matched at panel with Little Man, Bojo plunged the UK into a lockdown. Little did we knew that it would be 3 months before things would start moving forward. Very slowly of course. June 2020 arrived and introductions were given the green light to go ahead. Many risk assessments had to be completed and signed off by Senior Management, taking into account not only the risk of Covid spreading across the country but the health needs of those around us. A lot of planning had to go into how it would all work logistically. Would we be able to go into the house? Would we have to socially distance in the house with Little Man? How about if he wanted us all to be close? So much work, thought and paperwork was having to be completed and that was only for the introductions themselves! We knew of adopters who completed their entire introductions outside the Foster Carers house, the appearance of Covid had changed the adoption process for thousands of us.
Thankfully introductions went smoothly and we were able to find an understanding Air BnB which allowed us to stay close to the Foster Carers. We found out a little after introductions that the region we were staying within had the highest rate of infections in the UK. Very scary but at least by that time introductions were complete.
Around this time, Summer was in full swing so we could spend a lot of time in the garden, out and about and spending time locally when we were allowed to exercise. It was a great time to bond as we could spend time in familiarising Little Man with the local area so he became comfortable with home and what life was like around him. This we believe is why he settled super quickly. Having the both of us around for a long period of time helped to cement those bonds and attachments. Without the appearance of Covid, one of us would have returned to work after a month and we truly believe things would have been very different then and now.
We were really keen to have Little Man attending nursery soon after the start of term in September so we had to choose a nursery. However as we were not allowed to look around any nurseries, all we could do is to base it on what we were told by others as we were never allowed to step foot inside (and we still haven’t). This still feels strange to this day because we don’t have a clue what it is like behind the front door - but what we do know is that he loves going each week and is learning and developing all the time.
Christmas was not how we had planned as we are sure you can imagine. Pre-Covid we wanted Little Man to have met everybody and for us to spend time as a family with him. As we know cases were significant at this time and the country was yet again plunged into lockdown for the foreseeable future. Christmas was very strange. We are very much a family Christmas kinda people, so to not have anyone around and to spend it on Zoom - possibly the most strangest Christmas we have had.
The start of 2021 saw Little Man starting Forest School and he hasn’t looked back. Forest School has clearly been instrumental in his development and despite Covid and with most of it being outside, we could see everything to know that attending there would be great for him. So much so that we are increasing his time to prepare him for later this year. School is fast approaching so we need to prepare him for 5 days of concentrated time each week. Preparation is key as they say.
With lockdown coming to an end this year and restrictions lifting slowly over a handful of months, it is crazy to think our first steps into parenthood were all during a global pandemic. Not ideal in the slightest, but we had to work with what we were dealt. The positives are that we would never had this time in ‘normal’ times. To have a year at home has given Little Man a very solid grounding to family life. We hope he will look back on this time too with fondness.
It is sad we have not been able to do all the things we planned, but we will try and do as much as we can before he starts school. Weekends and half terms will certainly be mega busy with trying to catch up. So there we have it, it really has been a peculiar year and I don’t think we’ve ever spent so much time outside. Who knew that masks, which we all thought were strange several years back, would now be an every day item!
It has been a very tough and testing time for everybody and we’re sure in a decade we will look back and recall memories - but one thing is for sure, we can’t wait to see everybody and to enjoy normal times!