Sunday, 29 March 2015

My Adoption Story - Leaving the orphanage

As I've said before I don't have many memories of my childhood. One I do have  very vividly is of the day we left the orphanage for good.

My Sister and I knew the day was coming. We had been told by the social worker, our "new parents" and the staff in the orphanage. There was great excitement among all the children. Perhaps it gave them hope, they too might find a new home.

I don't recall any other children leaving before we did. Maybe it happened and I just don't remember.

The day dawned, our last day in the orphanage. We had our breakfast as usual. Mine hidden in the bin by Doreen. Of all the people from that period of my life she is the only person whose name I remember. She must have been an incredible lady to make such an impression on me.

We got washed and dressed, and then were told not to get dirty.
Suddenly there was a shout from one of the children. "They're here! They're here"
Before I knew it there were my "new parents" in front of me.
They told my sister and I they had to speak to the Nuns first and then we'd be going to live with them.

They walked off down the corridor. "Quick hide" someone said. Was it me? My sister? Another Orphan? I don't know. But hide we did.

There was a small play room, faded wallpaper with a garish pattern. This was the 70's after all. A red cloth armchair, showing obvious signs it had been well used, in one corner. Then there was a table, with a table cloth to the floor. I tried to get under it. As Jesus and Mary found there was no room. My sister and a few other children had beaten me to it.
Behind the chair I went.

Why was I hiding? Surely I wanted to leave the orphanage. Was the fear of the unknown so bad I'd rather stay with the Nuns? I really couldn't say.
Needless to say our hiding places were soon discovered and it was time to go.

Into my new parents pale blue vw beetle we went and drove away from the orphanage for good.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Why I Love Nap Time

Part of the reason I am quite happy doing the night feeds with #BabyPink, and my son when he was at that age, is the excuse for an afternoon nap.

Don't get  me wrong it's not a daily thing, which makes it even more special when they  do happen. Normally  it is after two or three nights, or when we've had a bad night the night before.

Today was one such day. Last night my lovely neighbour decided to ring the doorbell at 10.30. just at the precise moment #BabyPink had gone to sleep. That not being enough for  them, they rang it again ten minutes later. This set the tone for the night. 5 minute intervals of sleep interspersed with 20 minutes of walking, soothing, back rubbing you name it we tried it.

Eventually at about 2 am, she finally fell asleep, where she stayed until it was time for a bottle at about half past six.

Needless to say, the two of us were a bit tired today and around 1.30pm we were lying on the couch watching Home and Away with herself. #BabyPink fell asleep so I lay down so she would be more comfortable.

I must have drifted off as a while later when i felt her moving I opened my eyes to find Home and Away had finished and there was a blanket over us. I put my arm gently around her and went back to sleep.

I love these naps. The heat  from her little body, her tiny breaths in my ear. The safety of knowing nothing can happen as herself is there to check in regularly.

I think it strengthens the bond between us. She is growing fast and it is hard to believe she is nearly 7 weeks old already. Far too quickly she will be too big and too cool to do this with me. So for now when we get them I will enjoy them, and when they are gone I will look back fondly.

Dads I encourage you all, if you can grab a sneaky nap with  your son or daughter do it. If you don't manage a nap, when they fall asleep on your shoulder, instead of putting them in the Moses basket or cot, lie down with them on your chest. Even if it's only for a few minutes. You won't regret it.
The Dad Network

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Moment In A Photo

Not having much time to take new photo's this week I've delved into the archives for a picture for the Moment In A Photo link up.

This was taken at Dromineer, County Tipperary. I like it as it's very rare to get the three boys together for a picture without one acting silly.

The setting sun and light on the water adds to the mood.

Hope you enjoy it too.

In My World Of Multitasking

Monday, 23 March 2015

Great Start to my Blogging Week

Well what a start to my blogging week.

Yesterday saw my first guest post. This was on Hosted by the lovely Mary. A cancer survivor who now shares her love of music through her blog. Please do check it out.

I also received a Leibster Award from Laura over at
She set some tough questions, which have given me inspiration for some future posts. Keep an eye out for them.

Finally to top it all off I was chosen by Martyn over at as one of his #40daysbloggingchallenge. Martyn was one of the first parenting bloggers I met on twitter. He is very honest and shares his personal mental health issues as well as parenting and home schooling posts and advice.
Mums' Days

Sunday, 22 March 2015

My Leibster Award

WOW I thought, blogging for only a couple of months and I've won an award. Was it for my insightful writing? Breaking boundaries in digital media? My photography? Alas no. Much better than that. Instead of a panel of faceless judges. I was handpicked, for this is an award to recognise us bloggers working hard but just starting out and still with a small following. This award is designed to help us link up with like minded bloggers and pass the love on!
I was nominated by the lovely Laura over at All the things I used to know. Who has gone from the theoretical to practical side of parenting.
The rules are as follows…
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer their questions in a blog post.

Nominate at least 10 blogs with 400 followers of less for the Liebster Award.

Ask some questions of your own.
Let your nominees know you nominated them!

And, the questions I was set are…
What inspired you to start writing?
Way back in the early noughties I first heard about blogging and had a self hosted blog. This was more to play around with HTML and customisation, than from a content point of view. This time it was more as a way to "talk" about my feelings, worries, insecurities, etc. at becoming a father to a girl. In the short time I've been blogging it has evolved into a blog about #BabyPink, the boys and myself.

Ultimate dinner party, who are your 5 guests and why?
1. Nelson Mandela. To ask how he kept his dignity and sanity at being treated so badly just because of the colour of his skin.
2. Biological Father. I've not seen him since I was three years old. There are so many questions. 
3. Tommy Tiernan. I think he's brilliant. I know everyone expects comedians to be funny off stage but I genuinely believe he would be great craic.

4. Stephen Fry. The man's wit and humour, coupled with his own personal battle with mental health issues make him the ideal guest at a dinner party hosted by me.

5. Bob Marley. Who better to have for a bit of entertainment after the meal than this man.
What has been your favourite age so far and why?

I'd have to say. 33 as that was the age my son was born. Without sounding too cheesy, he melted my heart and I learnt what unconditional love is.
What are you scared of?

Similar to many abandoned and adopted children I have a fear of being left. I therefore try to avoid conflict and never really tell people anything for fear of upsetting them.
Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?

Hands for feet. How would I tweet and blog with four feet?
What are your goals this year?

Take children and herself to the USA to meet their family over there. 
Go self hosted on blog and start some income streams from it.
Launch a #BabyPink clothing range.

If you could book a plane ticket anywhere, where would you go?

If I was travelling alone, Egypt. I always wanted to see the Pyramids and travel the Nile. 
If it was the whole family. Corfu. I had a wonderful summer there in 2002 working as a holiday rep, and then barman. It's a beautiful Island and the Greeks are wonderful hosts.
What is your favourite memory?

The days I found out I was going to be a Daddy.
What is your worst character trait?

I don't talk to anyone, about anything. Normally leads to more problems, as no one can do everything on their own.
And your best?

I'll help anyone with anything if I'm able to.

And the nominations are:


The Questions

What Blogs do you visit regularly, even without a new post being tweeted?
What is the main thing you hope to achieve with your blog?
If you had to share an apartment with 4 people who would they be and why?
Whats 3 items would you grab from your burning house. (Assume all family members and pets are safe)
If you could pick one post to go viral which one would it be.

Again thanks to Laura for the nomination. I enjoyed writing this post, even if I did have a think a bit more than usual when writing.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Love Of The Game

Last night I experienced one of the most pleasurable hours ever as a father.

For one hour I had not a care in the world, I sat alone on a bench watching my son at hurling training.

Now the first 15 minutes was a warm up session. The way the coaches structured it was excellent.

They started the boys and girls jogging across the hall. Then got them high stepping, big long steps, zig zags and a number of other things. All fun and all designed to warm the muscles, but cleverly would also be movements they will use in matches.

They then moved on to some ball work. Rising and catching the sliotar, balancing it on the hurl and finally tipping it off the Hurley and catching it.
A few kids had trouble with some of these , mine included. They persevered though and the joy on their faces when they got it right, was a look money couldn't buy.

For the last half hour, the kids were split into teams for a small match. As they are under 8's they play on the ground, similar to hockey. Within minutes my sons team had 3 goals all scored by my lad. He was delighted. The next time he was through on goal, one of the coaches stopped the sliotar crossing the line, and said "Ah you didn't score this time"

The match was pretty one sided from a scoring perspective. Although the other team did score some goals. My son even scored some against the coach. What I was so impressed with though was their attitude and sportsmanship. No one gave up because they were losing. Their was no falling over to try and get a "free", no complaining. For those 30 minutes they just played the game, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Credit to the coaches. They kept the game going. The minute the ball went out. Another was thrown in. As soon as a goal was scored, a ball was back in. There was no time to stop. No parents shouting at their child to try harder. Best of all, at the end of the match not one child asked " Who won".

I know soon enough competitiveness will appear, but for now I will sit there watching, smiling to myself at those small children playing the game for the sheer joy of it.

Roll on the summer evenings when I can sit outside on the sidelines, in the sunshine. Hearing the whack of leather on ash and the sound of children laughing and screeching as they run around.

The Dad Network

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Adoption Story - The Beginning

That's me with the fancy haircut and missing front tooth.

I am a firm believer in nurture over nature. My story I think proves that. It also underlines the importance of how major events can affect a child, not only for a few years but for the rest of their life. I am the way I am today, because of what happened to me when I was too small to do anything about it. I am not bitter about it, I hold no grudges. I just know I would be such a different person if things had gone differently, but if that was the case I wouldn't have the two beautiful children and two wonderful stepsons, I do.

Well here it is, My Adoption Story - The Beginning

I was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire in 1975, to Irish parents who had met in England. I had one elder brother and 18 months later a baby sister arrived. I've no memories at all of this time, so I cannot say if it was a happy time or not. My earliest memories are not for some years, when I was in the orphanage.

I know how we came to be in the orphanage as I was told the story by social workers and my adopted parents.

For whatever reason my parents relationship did not last, and my mother decided to return to her family in Ireland. Whatever happened and what the reasons are I do not know, but, she telephoned a friend of hers from the train station and asked her to take my sister and I. Her and my older brother returned to Ireland, where she married a boyfriend from before she had gone to England and settled down with him and had more children.

Our Father was a truck driver and tried his hardest to raise us and continue working, with help from a neighbour who would babysit us whilst he was working. I became unruly, and after an incident with a pair of scissors. Allegedly I attempted to stab one of the childminders children. Needless to say she decided enough was enough and told our Dad she could no longer look after us. He made the decision to put us up for adoption, believing we would have a better life.

The Sisters Of Mercy Poor Child Jesus Orphanage in Southam was to be our home for the next few years. Again, not many memories of this period, but I will share the few I have with you now.

I remember wetting myself in the preschool we attended in the orphanage grounds. My wet pants and trousers were wrapped in newspaper and tied with string. When I returned to the Nuns, i was given a beating for wetting myself.

Another night I woke in the dorm. This was a long room, with a row of beds either side, separated by curtains, like in a hospital. The toilet was at one end of the dorm, so I set off as quietly as I could. Not quiet enough. Without warning, my hand was grabbed, I was spun around 180 degrees back the way I had come, my backside being smacked and taken back to my bed. My crime, being out of bed at night.I lay there awake the rest of the night, terrified to sleep unless I wet the bed.

There were some happier memories. I remember a lady called Doreen. A civilian employee who used to look after us. She helped me many a morning, hide my uneaten Weetabix and porridge in the bin, so the Nuns wouldn't know I hadn't eaten breakfast.

There was an over sized tricycle that we used to ride down the hill in the yard of the orphanage, laughing as the wind blew our hair. If only for a moment we were normal children playing.

One day we were given the news all children in these situations want to hear. A couple wanted to adopt us. I often joke that they wanted a small cute girl, and I was the booby prize. Red hair, freckles and old enough to know they weren't my real parents, but too young to understand that this would be the best thing that could happen to me.

What follows in these situations, are a series of meetings with the prospective adopters. Day trips to the park, a walk in the church grounds, ice cream.  Always either with a social worker, or followed by a visit to her office. Where we would colour pictures, and the social worker would tell the above story and then tell us about our new parents. Americans, both teachers who wanted to make my sister and I their children. These visits continued for a while, then we moved to the next phase of the adoption process. Going to their house for the day, weekend and then finally moving in with them.
at this point the adoption is still not finalized, that would not be till a few years later we went to court for the adoption to be made legal. I'll cover that another day.

For now thanks for reading.