As soon as we were approved to adopt back in June I immediately started thinking about what we’d need to do to the house to get it ready for the children, the toys and furniture we’d need to buy, and numerous ways of spending our savings on the children. I think it could be classed as what is commonly called nesting.
However, I’m a bit superstitious when it comes to buying things for babies before they’re born and I was the same with getting on with our nesting before the adoption was approved. The difficulty is that when things do start happening they can be quite quick so we made a tentative start.
We knew the two rooms that Tom claimed when we moved in would be the children’s and he would move into the guest room so it made sense to at least get that done. I should probably point out that Tom works from home so they were needed for work – although two was a luxury. We also knew we’d want curtains and blinds in those rooms so we got the curtain poles but not the actual curtains. We also ticked off all the health and safety requirements from our first home visit. When I say ‘we’ I of course mean our wonderful handyman who sorts out all our DIY needs.
Rather than buying everything we might need I decided I could at least start making lists – I love making lists! These were then transferred to a spreadsheet that included costs, suppliers, and comprehensive notes. After we added it all up it came to well over £5,000 but that did include a healthy budget for clothes, toys, books, and (joy of joys) craft materials! Also not actually knowing the sex or age of the children meant that I’d included baby monitors, cots, and high chairs as well as beds, bikes and a trampoline. A readjustment, based on the actual age of the children and after some stern looks from Tom, meant we were dealing with a much more manageable figure.
I trawled the John Lewis, Mothercare and Ikea websites (to name a few) for furniture, toys and the like. John Lewis had a particularly helpful factsheet about what you need for a nursery. The difficulty was working out what bits and pieces we did and didn’t need for our specific children. What age do they no longer need a high chair, what is a 1-2-3 car seat, and how much pink can fit into one room – I now know the answer to all three.
As soon as we were linked with Duckling and Gosling I wanted to start designing their rooms (especially as Duckling had put in a very definite request for a pink princess bedroom in her forever home). Knowing how things can go wrong, and not wanting to tempt fate, we decided to wait until at least after the play-date before we actually did any of the work. That was the right decision as meeting them somehow made it all feel more real and we had a better sense of what they’d like. However, while we waited I started getting ideas down on Pinterest and we booked in our handyman to help to put up shelves etc. The only thing we ordered in advance were the beds as we’d been advised by Denise, our social worker, that they can sometimes take a while to arrive.
Once we started, we also called in favours from all our family and friends and at one point every room in the house had someone putting together an Ikea flat-pack, putting up a sticker mural, or just generally being helpful. Tom and I were particularly proud of our paint job in Duckling’s room. So in the nine days between the play-date and panel we redecorated the two bedrooms and the playroom, made the rest of the house child-friendly, and made our introduction books and DVD (a whole blog about introduction books at a later date).
I also scrubbed the house from top to bottom – clearing out cupboards, de-cluttering, and even hoovering the picture rails (who does that?). I knew the house was about to be invaded by two small children with muddy shoes, hands covered in paint, and the remnants of messy play but I wanted it to be clean and nice for when they arrived. Like when the social workers came to visit I actually did a bit of messing up before they arrived so they wouldn’t feel like they couldn’t make a mess.
I read online that nesting is a biological response in all animals when they are expecting an infant. And while Tom or I are obviously not pregnant, the need to create a nest for our children has been equally as strong. I just hope we haven’t overdone the pink…
My husband and I have adopted two wonderful children. Duckling is 5 and Gosling, her little brother, is 3. I'll be keeping track of our journey here...