Tracing my birth family has not happened all at once. In my twenties I got found out the basic information. This basically meant I found out I had Irish parents who were not married and who had already had one child who they had adopted out to Ireland. I also found out other children were put up for adoption by my birth mother afterwards. There seems to be some confusion as to whether there were four or five of us in all.

With the help of Social Services, I wrote to my birth mum and she wrote back. She had returned to Ireland, married and had four more children. I am in touch with some of these and they are amazing people and very generous in putting up with the sister they knew nothing about for so many years.

For me it was always about tracing my birth mum but for some reason recently I find myself wanting to know more about my birth father. For various reasons, I do not think Social Services could help too much with this. Their focus was on mother and baby back then. I have shared a post on what I know about my birth father before.

To date, I have messaged people with his full name or his surname on Facebook. I don’t want to cause hassle to anyone but equally I feel I have a right to claim my identity in some way. I would also like him to know that it all worked out alright in the end for me and to know it did for him too. There may of course be a whole new family of half-siblings to discover too.

Due to the number of people I have contacted and the lack of so many responses I do wonder if my birth father does not wish to be found. I know he could be dead or even in prison. Who knows? It is best to prepare myself for everything as best I can.

Some people have responded to me. We have ruled out some people with his name as the dates of his birthday and so on do not match. Some people are really trying to help as best they can and that amazes me considering that they are strangers. Having said that I suspect the Irish are quite used to babies turning up decades later laying some sort of claim as so many Irish babies were adopted in what an Aunt of mine refers to as “very different times”

I have contacted the local newspaper for the area he came from and they have offered advertising rates if I want to go down that route either in the paper or via social media.

I am wondering if the Salvation Army or Missing People could help.

The search is of course taking hours of my time. It is exhausting sometimes but also addictive. I need to look after myself better in all of this. Last week, I felt so tired and emotional. This is not good as it impacts on family life here too.

I don’t know quite why but I suddenly had a realisation which is new and I think important. I know that I come by birth from the Joyce and Codd families. That remains the case whether I was rejected/adopted or not. As I look at the longer-term history of these fascinating families, there is so much to like and these are my people just as much as the Thornton and Holmes families that became mine via adoption. Not only that but my three children have Joyce and Codd within them from my birth family and their children will too.

So I will continue the search for my birth family with a little more balance and with the knowledge that I know my birth family already via history and more vitally by the three amazing personalities that live right here with me totally in my line of sight.

Cuddle Fairy
Mum Muddling Through

Strays and Relations is a book about an adopted woman tracing her birth family. As an adopted person myself I was interested to read it and finished the whole book in just two sittings.

This book was inevitably very close to home for me particularly as the birth mother was an Irish Roman Catholic. The birth family had different strands to it too much as my own birth family did. Even in less momentous ways, I felt a link to the main character from the fact that her birth mum was based in Yorkshire where I was brought up right down to the description of her baby’s “upturned nose”. I had literally read the same description in my own adoption file only a week before reading this book. Life moves in very mysterious and meaningful ways sometimes.

Of course the story in this book is not mine. Every adoption story is an individual one. It is my belief being adopted is not a tragedy just a fresh start. Having said that I think adoption has a huge impact emotionally for all those involved including birth parents, adoptive parents, the adopted person, siblings, partners and friends.

Just as in my situation, there are different stages to locating the birth family in this story. At one point, the main character believes her mother to be deceased. I can remember being warned of such a potential eventuality when I first looked into my birth family in my twenties. I was pleased that she has support from a dear friend, her adoptive mum, her partner and her child.

Later the birth father surfaces and to me acts in a very strange way eventually bringing the birth mother and various siblings into the mix. I can see how this would be overwhelming emotionally. Adopted people often feel that they are not good enough. However logic says this is not the case, it is that feeling that comes from an early rejection whatever the sensible reasons for that letting go of a child.

I enjoyed this book a lot and found it to be a real page-turner partly because there really were so many strays and relations along the way both human and animal. The characters are well-drawn and I found myself particularly attracted to the birth mother and her daughters. I was less impressed with the birth father who I should point out does not stay with the birth mother. I would have liked to know the adoptive mother a little better too as I did not get a firm sense of her.

I have never seen myself as a stray but I can see the analogy drawn with animals in the book and the quirky Tuesday/Merlin dog in particular. There are angels masquerading as human beings out there who take on personalities who may be challenging but who ultimately deserve a second chance. You know some of us strays are quite special in our own right and add loads to the places and people we end up with. Not so long ago I would not have seen this so clearly.

The author comments;

“My novel is a fictional insight into what happens when birth and adoptive families meet – and when those families are from very different backgrounds.”

My adoptive family and birth family have never met. It is too late now. I am OK with that. I know my adoptive family were supportive of my search but did not really wish to meet my birth parents. As far as they were concerned, I was their child so I can see how meeting my birth parents would have been too much for them.

In conclusion, I highly recommend tis book. I hope the author will forgive me that I have referenced my own story in this review partly because I am right in the middle of searching actively for my birth father and establishing contact with new members of my birth mother’s family.

If you are intrigued by adoption or have experience of it, I think you will enjoy this book. In any event, I think it is a jigsaw puzzle of life as many of our stories are and worth a read adopted or not.

ISBN: 9781788039345 Price: £10.99

https://www.amazon.com/Strays-Relations-Hours-Decades-Greenfield/dp/1788039343

div align=”center”>Family Fever

Cuddle Fairy

Co-working is something I think works well for so many individuals and organisations. As the word suggests it is about working together rather than hiding in an ivory tower of your own office. Instead of seeing people isolated in cubicles or behind  screens, it brings people together in an open workspace. In a very troubled world, I think the more we come together for work and play the better.

Who can really benefit from co-working?

I think any worker can benefit from co-working to be honest. However as a freelancer myself, it really appeals as working from home or making a makeshift office at a coffee shop table can be isolating and inefficient. I can see how co-working means you would have someone to pass the time of day with and we all need that for our mental wellbeing. Co-working is great for any entrepreneur and could lead to some powerful networking opportunities.

Partnership working

Partnership working used to be a real buzzword when I was employed some time ago. This was largely as I worked in the charity sector and funding from Government bodies often depended on showing how you were working with other organisations. That led to a few quite cynical partnerships but I still think the idea of sharing is a very good thing and that money does not have to be the currency involved. People in a co-working space will have different backgrounds, educations, training records, knowledge and clients. I think it is possible that with the right attitude everyone in the co-working scenario could benefit seeing their businesses advance that much  quicker as a result.

Confession time

I have to admit that I do not always work productively when at home. There is the housework which stares me in the face asking me when I am going to wash up or hang washing out. There are floors and surfaces to clean on what seems an almost permanent basis. I have animals and children both of which can distract me from what I am trying to achieve work wise. OK let’s really admit the awful truth that I also watch way  too much daytime television having sworn as a child that I would not be like my mum in doing so.

Affordable

Co-working is usually a more affordable option that renting office space of your own. In fact by sharing the costs effectively, you can end up with some really classy locations designed with business in mind. You are not tied into long legal arrangements and you don’t need to invest in desks, chairs and other equipment of your own.

Are you a fan of co-working?

 

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It puts up with us and, quite literally, it puts us up. Our spinal column facilitates a staggering proportion of the movements we take for granted. Without it we can’t walk or even sit up straight unassisted let alone play sports, do our jobs or complete a set of deadlifts at the gym. Our spine does a whole lot to keep us happy, mobile, healthy and active, yet all too many of us take this centrepiece of our central nervous system for granted. We warp it through hours and hours of sitting, strain it with poor posture, put it through the wringer when we exercise and often fail to listen when it’s trying to tell us something. Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can mend some of your long held bad habits in order to keep your spine happy and healthy so that you can maintain your active lifestyle even when you’re at a ripe old age.

Spine

Image by PxHere

Warm up and cool down at the gym

Your warm up and cool down are an essential part of your workout regimen. Yet so often you’ll see people (mainly dudes, let’s be honest) walk right through the door and start pounding weights without any stretching or even doing a quick stint on the treadmill. Taking the time to raise your body temperature and stretch your muscles before an anabolic workout will make your muscles more pliable and ensure that they do a better job of supporting the joints take make up your spine. Here are some great warm up exercises to protect your back pre and post-workout.

Listen to your back

Back pain is often a symptom that something is awry in your spinal column or the muscles that support it. The longer you ignore it, the more likely it is that the underlying issue will be exacerbated. Moreover, this could impact on your gait and cause you to move in a way that will cause greater damage or deterioration to your spine. See a physio, chiropractor or osteopath. The sooner you seek treatment, the more likely it is that the damage will be mitigated.

Get up and get moving at work

Our bodies were not designed to spend hours and hours sitting each and every day. Yet, not only do we spend 8-12 hours sitting at our desks at work, we typically sit when driving or getting the bus or train to work and spend a significant portion of our leisure time sitting, too. This can lead to myriad health problems and warp your posture, causing digestive health problems and even increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Try to take a break from your desk every 30 minutes even if it’s just to nip to the bathroom or grab a glass of water.

Know when to replace your mattress

Finally, conventional wisdom dictates that you should change your mattress every 7-10 years. Yet, while this is a useful guide, it’s important to know the signs that your mattress needs to be replaced. If you frequently wake up in the night, wake up stiff or sore or feel that your mattress is no longer giving you proper back support, it’s gotta go!

Confessions of a New Mummy

Cashmere is such a lovely word. I cannot remember a time when I did not know the word or that it equated to quality when it comes to fashion choices. Cashmere is one of those raw materials where the saying that you get what you pay for really applies.  Cashmere has a luxury feel and always looks super classy. With colder months coming soon, it is time to invest in ponchos, jumpers, gloves, hats and scarves.

Cashmere

Where does cashmere come from?

Some people are surprised when they hear cashmere comes from goats. I have known this since childhood as my mum worked in textiles. She was a huge fan of women’s cashmere jumpers and felt that it was important to invest in herself as well as her family.

Where to buy cashmere

Denner Cashmere is a shop based in Battersea, London but the good news is they also have an online store.Their cashmere is sourced from the plains of Mongolia from Kashmir goats and they actually comb the fine cashmere from their under bellies as opposed to shearing, making it ethically sourced. For more info you can visit https://www.dennercashmere.co.uk/from-the-plains-of-mongolia-to-the-bustle-of-the-city/

Cashmere

All the products are 100% cashmere and are so luxurious but at affordable prices. Yes they are considered purchases but well worth making in my view for a classic look.

Why is cashmere pricier than sheep wool?

The Kashmir goat produces only four ounces of the special fibre each year. It takes the yearly cashmere produce of more than two goats in order to produce a single two-ply jumper.

Not only is cashmere so much rarer than sheep wool but it has superb qualities that make it appealing. It is a lot lighter to wear and yet around 8 times better at keeping you warm. If you have ever worn cashmere you will also know how beautiful it feels on the skin and how soft it is to touch.

Cashmere

My cashmere choices

I absolutely love the idea of cashmere ponchos with sleeves and would adore one in striking red. I also had no idea you could have stripes on cashmere so the jumper pictured above really appeals too. Finally I would love a jumper in a really subtle colour too to style up with a brown leather skirt I have recently purchased. As soon as I asked friends what to put it with, one of my favourite friends suggested a cashmere top.

Do you wear cashmere? What do you love about it most?

Featured Dream Team Blogger