Perhaps it wasn't meant to be......
So today's post was going to be about my favourite books that I've read in 2017. I'm a big fan of a list style blog, I adore books and I especially like recommendations so I can get my teeth into something new. So I naturally thought I'd treat you lovely people to my variation of it. So I started looking through my books. Now I'm mostly a Kindle kinda girl and began to go through the many I've read this year and had a scroll through the ones I've ordered over the last few years too.
And then I got to two books I ordered hardback copies of. These were called "I'm a big brother" and "The Teazles' baby bunny".
You'd read this and think "Awwwww" but for me, seeing that on the order list reminded me of a pretty tough time in my life and if I'm completely honest knocked me sideways.
You see, I wasn't pregnant. We were instead on the journey to adopt a child and these books were recommended to us as just the thing to read to our son so he could become used to the fact we would be adopting a baby or toddler very soon.
Our son was born a couple of years earlier through the utter miracle of IVF and soon after we were gently told that for health risks on my part it wouldn't be an option for us to try for a second time. So we decided our next step would be adoption which we quickly got our head around and started attending the preliminary classes, meetings and visits that it all entails.
We had home visits, the checks, we were subject to a lot of questions, which was fine. We had nothing to hide, nothing to worry about, we liked the fact they were being so thorough to ensure we would be a perfect match for a little one who so badly needed a new home, new parents.
The social worker came round to say she thought we would be perfect, couldn't see any problems and even had a little chat with our son, which thankfully he was completely nonplussed about and was certainly more interested at that point in a biscuit and a brand new episode of Peppa Pig.
And that's where the recommendation of the books came in. "I'm a big brother" is, let's face it, fairly self explanatory. A short picture book to get a child used to the concept of having a potential sparring partner, hair puller and partner in crime. "The Teazles' baby bunny" was about a family of rabbits who adopt a baby bunny and we were told would be ideal for us to read to both our son and our adoptive child as and when he or she came along.
I read these books to our little one for weeks while we were waiting to be referred on to the next stage - the part of the process where it's a little like making it to the finals of X Factor. When things start to get real. The first few times I found it hard to read as I knew we were getting close and the excitement and nerves were kicking in a little I guess.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and a letter falls on the mat from the Council. It was a Wednesday and I was about two minutes away from a friend popping round to take me for lunch so I opened it thinking it would be another appointment, meeting or list of questions.
It was from them, but wasn't what I was imagining.
"Thank you for your interest......." it said. "Our practice is to allow a gap of at least two years between the age of children........" "As your son is under three years of age........."
"For these reasons my decision is not to accept your application at this point in time"
And the one that hurt most
"I know my decision will be disappointing to you"
My friend arrived, I folded the letter and put it in my bag and went out for lunch with a knot so tight in my stomach I could barely eat. I went home afterwards, picked my son up from nursery and sat on the sofa hugging him, squishing him, appreciating every last tiny part of him whilst silently sobbing and already mourning the little one we wouldn't be able to welcome into our family.
The books were packed away and given to a charity bookshop a few months later. While I was in there, I noticed another book, by an author called Robert Munsch called "Love you forever". As I opened it, one passage in particular caught my eye. I'd seen it before on the "inspirational quotes" section of Pinterest and at that moment it, as cheesy as it sounds, "spoke to me" or "made sense to me" I suppose.
"I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be"
Time healed as far as the adoption process was concerned, thank goodness. With the help of some completely wonderful people, the unquestionable love and affection from our son and the passage of time we realised just how lucky we are. And the Robert Munsch book? Well it goes without saying I bought it and had a quick read of it before attempting to read it aloud to my son. Good job as wow, this is hard reading. It's a story of a mother who sings the verse above to him every night. She continues to do so as he gets older until as time passes, the tables turn, the roles change and he sings it to her whilst looking after her. I defy anyone to read it without completely falling apart.
So I wrote a few lines in the cover sleeve of the book to my son and asked him to keep it and read it when he's older. I've promised I won't turn into the borderline creepy part of the book where she turns up at his house in the dead of night to sing it to him long after he leaves home as a) that would just be weird and b) his other half would definitely think it time to pop Mother in law in the home. But I hope that some day when he reads it, or perhaps reads this that he'll know how we did try to add to our little family even if it perhaps it wasn't meant to be.