Well, it's now just under two months since I travelled 200 miles with NB to the start of his new life and lots of people in both internet-world and the real world have been asking how he's getting on. The answer is . . . really well!
With a significant speech delay, NB always found it hard to express his thoughts and feelings, often resulting in monumental meltdowns that really were a marvel to behold. We spent time on this and he had managed to learn and say 'happy', 'sad' and 'grumpy' which was a start. In the first few days of introductions, he started telling me at bedtimes that he was 'sad' which, to be honest, was a bit heartbreaking. It was so clear that, despite his language issues, he had begun to understand what was coming, and was having all sorts of strong feelings about it. I don't know whether I was more upset that he was saying that he was 'sad', or that this one word was all he had to express what must have been a maelstrom of emotions roiling about inside him.
Shortly after I left him with his new Mummy, she emailed me to say that he was still saying he was sad, especially at bath and bedtimes, but on that particular day she had noticed him really enjoying his dinner - patting his tummy and saying 'yum yum'. She remarked that he seemed happy today and he replied, "Happy. Not sad!".
I don't mind saying that my eyes filled with tears when I read that. It's such a serious thing to be part of the momentous decision to remove a child from his family and then onto a new one, and all I want is for that child to find peace and contentment and love and security in their new home. So to hear that NB could call himself 'happy' so quickly after the move was balm for my soul - probably even more so for his new Mummy!
I'm not naive enough to imagine that this was the end of NB's journey - far from it - but it was certainly a good start. Since then I have had several more emails, all with positive tales, mixed with a healthy dose of reality. The latest news is that NB has now met all of his new family - grandparents, aunty, uncle and cousins - as well as a lot of family friends, and has been an enormous hit with all of them.
Best of all, his Mummy reports that, after a few weeks of 'honeymoon', he has now treated her to several expertly-performed tantrums which have had her turning her face away to hide the laughter (that won't last long!). Two of the best ones were apparently because she wouldn't let him take the plasticine to bed (a wise move as he eats everything that he takes to bed - even his old cot still has teeth marks in it!).
So, yes, judging from her emails, and the gorgeous photos she has sent, NB is doing pretty well. His speech is coming along, his self-care skills are developing and his Mummy is exhausted! All as it should be!