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You’re listening to the slumber party podcast with your host Amanda Jewson, a mom of two girls, a child and infant sleep expert and general sleep lover. If you’re a tired parent who is desperate for answers, or just someone who loves sleep, this podcast was created just for you. Each episode is packed full of tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity, as well as your social life during the early stages of parenthood. So grab your headphones, it’s time to get comfy.
hello everybody welcome to another edition of the Slumber Party Podcast. I am Amanda Jewson. Are you tired? That’s why you’re here. I am excited today because part of what I love about this podcast is getting to pick who’s on it and getting to pick the topics that I want to know more about. So I hope that you’re equally into this as much as I am. And today I picked Lizzy Goddard who has just a wonderful accent so Lizzy you can literally say whatever you want in this interview today and it won’t matter because Canadians are just pushovers for a good accent. Lizzie and I are actually in a similar Business Women’s Business Group. But Lizzy herself is an online business strategist course creator, email marketing nerd tech geek. I have a funny story. I’m going to talk to you about this in a second Lizzy marketing lover multi offer enthusiast mindset magician I love this could keep going but you get the gist when she’s not supporting online business owners to have more fun make things easier for themselves implement faster. You can probably find her watching trashy TV Me too, and answering questions on Facebook. It but why we have Lizzie on today is in 2019 her and her wife adopted two little girls each five months and 17 months. And Lizzy I’m obsessed with this story already. I want to know everything. But first two things. Okay. This is why the universe is crazy. I was looking like a few weeks ago, I was trying to find your email address for something I was going to contact you. And I’m looking at your name. And your name actually popped up with one of my other entrepreneur friends. And she’s like, Oh, this is my online business coach. I love her. I’m like this is crazy. This is like from three years ago, so worlds colliding. And, Catherine, if you’re listening though, your person we all connected through. Yeah. That’s so crazy. That’s so crazy. And then number two, I had read a little bit about you before interview. And I too am a trashy TV enthusiast.
Bachelor in paradise bachelor, anything bachelor, my favorite.
Okay, okay, so this is what I wanted to talk about because I am of the Bravo universe. And I find like in the trashy TV world, you are either bachelor, or your Bravo. Do you know what I’m talking about? Like real housewives. summer house,
we don’t like we do get North American TV in the UK, but it’s usually years later. So I’m usually watching on what I call the internet channels, which may or may not be legit. And so I don’t I don’t really know about networks. I just think and track them down with my internet skills. Yeah. Yeah.
Well, I lived in Australia for four years and Australia was more so like they have their own content, but they dipped heavily into UK content. UK trashy TV is excellent. Like you guys have got it down anything.
Yep. All I learned is really good. I love a bit of love Island.
Well, I used to watch as a 20 year old single woman does. I used to watch Supernanny, an American version. And so the American version I was like, yeah, this is great. And then I went to Australia, and it was like Supernanny UK. And I was like, Oh, cool. And I was like, oh, man, this is crazy.
Because think Supernanny is, so obviously it’s from the UK. And she was, so I’ve watched both UK episodes and American episodes, and in the American episodes, she has her hair done all glossy and shiny, and like blowed up gorgeous. Yeah. In the UK one. Yeah, she doesn’t she just has like normal hair. But for the Americans, maybe they can’t take her seriously without like good hair or something. Right? Yeah, but
one of the funniest thing I noticed about that it was like when she first shows up the American version, she’s always in a dress suit. Yes. And I might you can’t, you’re like, that’s a that is a costume. I
think she’s young nationally, he really led into the brand of Supernanny, whereas the original ones in the UK, she was much more of a like, normal, believable person. I think she’s almost almost became like a caricature of herself. 100% it got to Yeah, and everything’s like bigger and shiny and glossy, err, and more dramatic in America anyway. So she had to fit in.
It really is it really is. Okay, so all of that I love automatically, we’re on the same wavelength about television, because people will be like, have you watched this, like groundbreaking show? Like I can’t I have five seasons of Real Housewives of New Jersey to get through? I know that you understand. Okay. You seem smart. Now I’m questioning that. So I want you to kind of break it down. I work with many different families, composed of many different people in your street just jumped out at me. And I can’t help but feel like there are people listening, who may be going down the road of adoption. And I want to kind of talk about it. It’s not something I’ve talked about. And honestly, it’s not something I know anything about, as we’re kind of talking about before. The same sex couples I know have mostly gone for surrogacy, or artificial insemination. And so I’m like, oh, let’s talk adoption. What What brought you to that? What? How did this start for you?
So my wife and I always knew we wanted a family. We definitely considered the like, known sperm sperm donor route. So I have a big circle of queer friends. And there’s guys in that, and we definitely sort of like thought about going that route. And when we were sort of like talking about that, and researching that, not because we were like, ready, but we wanted to like, think about it moving forwards. Our local authority had an adoption information evening. And we’re like, okay with talking about what our options might be down the line at this point. So we’ll go to that. And we went to the adoption information evening, and we both just came away from it, like, knowing that was the way we wanted to grow our family like that was lovely to do. And I can’t necessarily, it’s not logical, and it’s not he’s not quite as extreme as sort of like being a calling. But we both just knew that that is the way we wanted to do it. One thing I do want to clarify that is significantly different between adoption in the UK and adoption in North America is that in the UK, pretty much all adoption is from the foster care system. So there are very, very, very few like open arranged adoptions in the UK. They are, like, overwhelmed, like all of them pretty much are from the foster care system. And they are children that have been removed from their birth families for safety reasons or any sort of reason. And have gone into foster care. And then it’s decided that the best plan for their lives is that they are adopted. In the UK adoptions are completely closed. And it’s pretty unusual in the UK to get like babies. Certainly not newborns. It’s pretty uncommon. So ever, ever. What not everyone in the UK is this joke in the UK that everyone wants, like, baby girls, like everyone wants baby girls, and my wife and I have never felt that or like particularly wanted that but we did end up with two baby girls.
Like we didn’t, I swear I didn’t. This is now what we requested. It is what happened.
We decided adoption would be our route. And then like eventually we were never going to be ready but we put a date on it. And we started a bit before that, actually. So at the end of 2018, September 2018, we like started the adoption process. It’s a two part process in the UK. The first,
can I get behind you for one second? Because I’m really interested when you said that you were. So my first thought is like you going into the process. They’re talking to you in this like meeting or info session. I’m thinking the person who did that info session must have been amazing. And I want to know what they said to you what, you know, what, why did you leave that being like, this is it?
I think I just sort of, like, I’d never felt particularly strongly that I wanted biological children, like I know, I’ve always wanted children. But I’ve never had a particular strong desire to have biological children. And my wife, while she would have carried children, if she, like, had to, it doesn’t really fit with her gender identity, to do that, whereas I would have liked to be the experience of being pregnant has always been interesting to me. And I think I would have liked to experience that in my life. And I’m not going to and that’s fine. But yeah, like, and I think they said a few things in the adoption evening, about the information evening about like, completing your family, or how long you have to wait after IVF before you can do adoption. And there was just something about how they were talking about it that like, adoption was people’s Plan B. And for us, we felt very strongly No, we want, we want to make this our plan A we didn’t have dreams of having birth children. We haven’t been through copious amounts of IVF. And there’s nothing wrong with that. And all adoption is fine, obviously. But I think we just both felt that this is something we can do. There are so many children in the foster care system. And we are very young to be adopting, like the majority of adopters in the UK are probably in their 40s. At the time, we were 28 and 29. I think. So we were young, we were in a good place in our lives. And I just we just sort of felt like we had something to offer children who already exist. And we didn’t need to, like, make another child you know.
You know what, so I’m currently doing my social work degree. And we studied adoption in one of my courses, and I was actually really surprised. Again, I don’t know anything, but it was really surprised to learn that there are risks involved in adopting if you have had fertility challenges and their emotional risk that I didn’t even consider and and that there is a wait time on purpose, to make sure that that adoption doesn’t feel like your plan B, that it is like at the we want you to be two feet in this process. It’s not a well, I guess, scenario. And I found I was like, Oh, yeah, that that makes sense. I had kids Yeah, it’s like, Good call, good call people in charge. Because I’m sure you know, people who are so desperate for children, you need a minute, you need that beat to be in between the idea of I’m not going to have my own children. And we’re going to adopt a what does that actually mean for me? So I imagine I think here there’s a counseling process. I’m sure there’s there’s one there as well.
Yes, if you have been through IVF and the processes, quite in tense overall. So there’s, there’s two stages, stage one is about two months long it takes and you go to a bunch of training sessions with other people and learn lots about because all the children are coming from foster care. You have to learn a lot about like attachment and theraplay and contact with birth families, which is nearly always indirect contact. Safety around if the birth families try and like find you or appear on your doorstep or something like that there’s a lot of there’s, there’s a lot going on because all the children from from foster care, there’s a lot to consider in terms of trauma and abuse, and all sorts of different circumstances like there are no kids being adopted that have not come from horrific situations. And this is another thing with like, if you’re coming from IVF, and you had dreams of having your own perfect birth child, and then you are adopting, very traumatized, very troubled, little tiny human who needs you to take them as they are, they need you to accept them for who they are. And if you are projecting your hopes and dreams of a child that will never be on to them. It, it just creates a really messed up situation. And it’s really difficult for like, they can just be really difficult. So that’s why Yeah, so much in place that adoption. Like it’s okay, if adoption wasn’t your first choice, but quite late on adoption before you start adoption.
Totally. And I think that’s so important. Yeah, you’ve hit on so many, like, very deep topics there. were assessing your expectations assessing, are you Well, to be able to handle what’s coming in, right? Because you can’t, you can support someone’s mental health if you’re not doing well, yourself, right? I mean, part of that’s my whole call of the work that I do is, you know, we’re supposed to be everything to everyone is as parents, but no one’s stopping to say, Hey, how are you doing? Yeah, how are you functioning, because if you’re not functioning, you can’t show up for your kids. And I think I’m so pleased to hear that that’s part of the processor. I’m interested to know what the Canadian processes as well. Okay, so you leave, you’re so excited. You This is in for you. This is it. So now step two, what happens for step two?
adoption process is, it usually takes about four months. So we started that right at the beginning of 2019, takes about four months. And the bulk of it is lots and lots and lots of meetings with your assigned social worker, basically, going through every aspect of your life, your relationship, everything are fine. And absolutely everything gets combed through. And then they write this really, really long report about my wife and I as individuals and as a couple and what we can offer and what they are recommending we are approved for. And then you go to it’s called approval panel. And you get approved as adoptive parents. So we were approved for one or two children, nought to five. And once that’s happened, then you start family finding you start looking for your family, there’s a couple of different ways that can happen in the UK, it can sort of mostly just be done through the social workers, and they can, you know, present you with profiles. But there is also a database in the UK called link maker. And it is a database of most of the children in the UK who are currently up for adoption. It’s like looking at a dating profiles, there are photos, there is louder amount of information, it is one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen. So we were given access to that a couple of weeks before we were actually approved because, you know, they want to keep us moving and whatever. And we were immediately directed and then what happens is once you are allowed on this system, all these social workers who like represent these children start messaging you to look at their child, it’s really really intense. But so we look at the child that we were messaged about instantly we got on and then we started looking through children and our like, age range in the local area. And coincidentally, the very first child that we chose to click into, ended up being our daughter. And we, yeah, so you we saw her and she was she didn’t actually have a profile with her sister. Her sister was just a line in there being like, also planning to adopt her with her six week old sister or something like that. It said,
that’s a pretty big line
is just like, oh, okay, that’s interesting. But, yeah, so we spoke to our social worker, she said, Yep, this is worth exploring. So our social worker reached out to their social worker, and then there’s meetings and such. And then it becomes like a like a, it’s called a link, which means that this is we recommended to go ahead. So then you have a few months, more, and then you go to what’s called matching panel, which is another panel to like, confirm that these kids and us as parents, it’s going to be a good fit. And so by this point, we had met them numerous times. They are full sisters, but they actually lived separately. So when they came to us, that was the first time that ever lived together. Because the foster carer our eldest with didn’t have space when our youngest is born to take care. So they were with different foster carers, which really complicated things. So we went to managing panel for them. And with I can’t even explain what happened. But it was one of the most horrible, stressful, infuriating experiences of my entire life to the point where there was an massive internal complaint and investigation raised, we received a big apology for what happened. But after this panel, we were sort of left in limbo, and we just ate and cried and slept for like, a week. And it was just it. Everything to that point had been fairly smooth. It happened fairly fast for usual timescales. And then we just had this very horrible experience. But the adoption did go ahead. And we started what’s called the intros. So it’s like the transition process. So that takes that took about 10 days. So every day, we were spending more and more time with each of them complicated by the fact that we’re in different locations, but it was okay. And then first of July 2019, we picked up our eldest, we picked up our youngest, we drove home. And yeah, we now had a five month old and a 17 month old.
So I knew we were jumping in the deep end like siblings. I mean, adopting two children at once is a lot. And we knew it was the deep end. But it was the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. And for the first 678 months, like, I just didn’t think I could swim. The first six, seven months were really, really tough, like really tough, and I was one of them. I just didn’t think we were going to make it as a family. And my wife would say the same. And at the beginning of 2020 we want a breaking point, but if something didn’t happen, we were going to be a breaking point. And both my wife and I were diagnosed with a post adoption depression. So that is a thing. Okay, we then got some more support, and from friends and family more so not so much the system, the system, I have thoughts on the system, but never mind. And so that was by mid February. Like there was a little chink of light in like, maybe we can settle maybe we can do this. And then we had a pandemic, which was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced us To just like, hunker down and figure this out as a family figure out how we were going to relay, like, truly get to know each other, which I know sounds weird when you’re talking about like, a one year old and a two year old, but they’re people with experience. Yeah. Like, I’ve always got such respect for children being autonomous, unique individual humans in a way that not everyone. Yeah, really does think about babies and children totally. Yeah. But, you know, like, we had to figure it out as a family. And in many ways, because we had there were so many social worker visits for so long. And I was really struggling to find time to work, they treated us both like to stay at home mums. And they’re just so many meetings, and it was so disruptive. And the pandemics stopped. The meetings, they, they just did them on the phone, and just my wife could take the meeting and like talk to them on the phone and tell him where Okay, so in some ways, the pandemic was a massive blessing for my family because it meant we had to figure it out together. quite early on in the pandemic, like in the couple of weeks into the first lockdown. So everyone was like, genuinely terrified to leave their house. Our youngest was really ill, and we had to go to hospital, she had a really high temperature, it wasn’t Coronavirus, but she had a really high temperature and we had to go to hospital in an ambulance and war guy, they kept sort of saying like a you mom and I had to keep saying I’m an adoptive mom. But we don’t have the adoption order yet. Which is like this finalizing legal document, I don’t have full parental responsibility. And it just so much to not be like I’m just, I’m just like, clutching this dripping in sweat wailing child who, who we were failing, I was fairly well attached with a youngest by that point, like, I was her mom, she was much younger when she came and just to not be legally recognized yet as her person. I think that was a big, like, we have to figure this out, like we this can not work, you know. Yeah. And we got the adoption order, eventually, in September last year, and all the social workers
now full legal parents of them got the certificates and everything. And you can just get on with your life now, in many ways. Like, it’s not all adoption all the time. And until that moment, the social workers coming and all the checks and appointments, and, you know, they have to have health checks that are for looked after children and all of this all the time. It’s just, you don’t get to just be a family. But in some ways, the pandemic allowed us to be a family, which is what we needed all along. And it was sort of like this vicious cycle.
Well, and you know, I’m thinking to just about your whole experience, your post adoption process, and everything that you’ve just told me, you know, there’s a lot, obviously, there’s so many similarities to giving birth, except there’s no social worker in your living room, assessing your fit, right? In fact, we might actually benefit for a few chickens, and not as much as you are saying, but like, there’s no one there being like, oh, how’s it going? Oh, are you doing this? Oh, like, I feel like it’s, that would be a strange,
you have just spent six eight months proving you are going to be the best parent that has ever parentid and now it’s like okay, here are your two under 18 months, go on prove it and
which is insane for me,
buddy. anybody, anybody four weeks apart. It was the the deep, deep end and I also found that like, so I was, you know, what I do is I research if I if I if something is wrong, I will research and look for community and support. And all the time I joined all the two under two groups, and all that advice assumed that you have a relationship with your Tell the child that you have a strong attachment with them and connection with them. And they like listen to you and respect you not respect you. But like there’s an attachment there. Yeah, we had fairly significant attachment issues with our eldest, which she had a lot of therapy for, which helps significantly. And then all general parenting advice starts at newborn, I actually did better, I got a lot of parenting books, but the books that I did best with what actually the books for dads, because there was none of the stuff about pregnancy, and it was more, you know, here as a child, you need to keep alive. And that’s more how it felt for us. Then all the UK adoption advice and support generally was talking about children who could talk who had language who had words to, like, communicate with them. Because generally, adoption in the UK, I think the average age for adoption in the UK is about two, maybe a bit older. And we obviously had too much younger than that. And then all North American adoption advice, generally assumed a newborn, not from the same type of trauma, any removal of a child from birth parent is trauma, but not the same type of trauma that ours had experienced. And it was actually a health visitor that told me in that time, like in the first few months when it’s just an absolute blur, but she said that my recognizing that none of the advice and support was relevant. Actually, men, I was far more in tune with our girls than I realized I held on for dear life for her saying that because she was right.
One second. I have two girls as well. Oh, God, I know. Well, it’s in 25 months apart. And that was that was too close. So it was when you see when you say 54 weeks, like I’m sweating.
Yeah, sweat. But thankfully, they will never be the same age. Yeah, that’s good. Just over a year. Yeah, but it’s interesting, actually, how you almost experience some judgment for their close age gap. Like, people think they’re twins, but they’re clearly not twins, but I think they’re gonna look like twins when they’re older. But I think the younger is always going to be bigger for various reasons. And, yeah, it’s a very, it’s a very close age gap.
Yes, absolutely. Look, I, I, this is such a deep topic. And I only have 30 minutes on this podcast, which we are over and I just, I feel like, do you have literature on this? Like, have you written about it? Can people find your story somewhere?
On my website, in my 29, I write very detailed blog posts, reviews, and my year, which is a lot about business, but it’s a lot about personal. And there’s a lot about the process in my 2019 and 2020. Review blog posts. There’s a lot about my life and adopting and all of that.
Amazing, okay, I have so many questions, but most of all, how’s it how’s it going now?
Good. Good. We were getting there with just regular dysfunctional family with two toddlers in a pandemic. I mean, it is what it is.
You’re You’re Yeah, you fit right in. Amazing. Well, Lizzie, where can people find you? Where is your website? So
my website is elizabethgodard.co.uk.
Amazing, and those will be we have a link to everything for our guests in the show notes. Pardon me, my husband’s having construction done, whether I like it or not. Um, thank you so much for coming. It was a pleasure.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been really nice to talk about this. Yeah.
Just any time. And folks, if you’re tired, you know where to find me at Instagram at babies best sleep. Babies bed asleep calm. If you like what you heard. Today, leave a liner to a review helps this share with everyone. You could even say that you enjoyed the construction sound during the podcast. I’m sure someone is into that somewhere. Thanks so much guys.