Little surprises..

I get to know people pretty well I think, my friends at least. And my family (some of them). And whilst I have struggled with it in the past, I think I open myself up to people enough for them to know me. I feel comfortable about how I feel about people and they feel about me. I don't really get paranoid about whether someone likes me or not (boys are a different matter), partly - if they don't, they don't. Chances are for similar reasons I don't like them. 

But then sometimes people do things that surprise me. Sometimes I hear what people think about me - good or bad - and I'm surprised to learn they think it and then I wonder if it's true or they've just said it. Or if it's bad, is it actually true. At work for example, my boss thinks I come across as arrogant in certain areas. I'll be honest and say I probably do. It's not pleasant and I don't like to see it in others but there's a fine line I think between arrogance and self-assurance. My job is demanding and challenging and the fact that at 32 I am where I am, I think is partly because of that "arrogance". If I can't convince myself I know what I'm doing, then I can't convince others and when that happens it's game over.

On the flip side, outside of work self-confidence is an issue but I'm not down on myself all the time. I know I bring some good stuff to the table (arrogant or just self aware?). Not brilliant stuff but if I didn't I wouldn't have any friends at all surely!?

When this kicked off, 4 of my friends sent in their own references to the agency. They were not my designated referees, as they mandate you have to have a family member and people you have known for 5 years or more for that. Some of my best friends, I have known only a few years so they were not asked for a reference. Despite that, to show their support (and it couldn't hurt) they sent in their own by email and not in response to any specific questions. We all know for single adopters the support network is a big aspect of the decision making process and I have never felt so overwhelmed by what people wrote.. it was a very hard month for tissues and it was a wonderful thing in amongst the cack storm that had appeared :-)

Not that it did any good at all but I will be always grateful anyway and for future reference I hope they will be on my file.

On the other hand.. my step-dad surprised me in a not so good way. He had not sent his reference in (despite being asked for it weeks before) and was proving difficult to pin down as to when he could come up so the SW could interview him. When this first kicked off, I left a message to ask him to please get his reference done in case it helped (I had already been promised it 3 times). Later when I heard the outcome of the meeting with the Director, I left another message letting him know it probably wouldn't help but could he do it soon anyway. I've had no response to either and a month later - despite knowing it was all going a bit wrong, I haven't heard from him. At all.

That hurt. I had thought we were on an even keel again but the reality is - despite trying to force a relationship on ourselves - he is after all only a man that looked after me for 6 years from aged 10. He is no longer married to my mother. J & A will soon have flown the nest (in fact one already has now he lives with our mother) and then there will actually be no reason for me to be in his life at all. He may be the closest thing I've had to a dad but that doesn't make him it. In fact, when I go through this process next time around, he will not be factored or counted on for a reference. The reality is we don't really have a relationship any more. Maybe we've outgrown each other and though I was there for him when mother decided dropping the kids off at school and then without telling anyone boarding a plane to the US to join someone she met in a virtual world - was just what you do, I was the only adult he could turn to that knew her the way I did and he needed me then but that is all. It is true that we can't choose our family and I can't choose him to be mine when he isn't.

My 3rd surprise was a lovely little one which came in the form of an email from Nicola Tamlyn aka Bethany Hallett! You will see her mentioned in a previous post - she's the author of a book I read about another single adopter. How she was able to overcome her obstacles until she is finally matched with her daughter AND managed to find love at the same time. A bit of an inspiration, I found her blog site and posted a message around the time I finished the book. Then one day, as I was facing emails from the SW about their "concerns", a different email popped into my inbox - from Nicola!
"Hello there!
After the emigration process, the move, settling into life in the US and in the middle of a house renovation process ... I have just started updating my blog with some entries about life in south Texas (I moved here with my daughter in April). It was only in so doing that I found, amongst the many spam items, some very nice comments, of which yours is one! I hope this email gets to you. I've read some of your blog, too, and it seems you are quite early on in the process. So good luck ... and keep going. I can only say it worked for me. If you have any questions, do get in touch. So glad you have found my book helpful. A prospective adopter has just said she is on its second reading and that says a lot. Must read it again myself sometime!
Best wishes
Bethany Hallett"

I know it's a silly thing to be excited about something so simple but I was. And delighted she'd taken the time to write back AND read some of my blog. Just a short message to remind me that it does work and people do make it. It helped me not give it all up there and then and I pushed for my meeting with the agency.

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