Tuesday, January 12, 2010


About a year after we adopted Button, Mr Taz and I put in our application to adopt a second child. We had always planned on having more than one child, and at that time, didn't realise that Button had autism. So alongside all the assessments and therapies that Button was having, we were also being assessed to see if we were suitable parents for another child.

Button and his issues were a major part of the assessment. And to be perfectly honest, I think the talking we did about it then, both with the social worker and between ourselves, is part of the reason we have handled his diagnosis so well. It was like having our own private therapy sessions. We talked through how his delays had affected us as individuals, and as a couple and how we would deal with situations going in to the future. Adding to our family seemed like the natural thing to do, and we decided this time to adopt from Vietnam. The wait was slightly shorter there, and the babies younger. We thought that Button would find it easier to adapt to a small baby than to a toddler.

When Button was 4, we got the phone call to say we had been referred a baby girl. Travelling to Asia can be stressful enough, but travelling with an autistic 4 year old was absolutely terrifying! The journey to Vietnam was uneventful enough and Button coped extremely well with the flights and airports. We were lucky enough to be travelling with a couple of other families who were great with him and very understanding.

The orphanage that Belle was living in was about a 3 hour drive from Hanoi. Luckily, Button loves to go for a drive, so he was very happy sitting in the mini bus, eating his jelly tots. Meeting Belle for the first time was an amazing experience. She was without doubt the most beautiful little girl ever. They placed her in my arms and once again i fell in love. She was amazing.

We had initially thought we would have to be in Vietnam for 2 - 3 weeks, but it turned out to be four. So there we were, cooped up in a small room, in the middle of a heat wave (and believe me, a heat wave in Hanoi is a REAL heat wave!) in a hotel with no swimming pool and nothing to do. Button did not cope well at all. His aggression got worse, he pulled everyone and anyone's hair. He ate hardly anything and was generally absolutely miserable.

We visited Belle in the orphanage 3 more times before we could take her home. The journey home started off well, but on the Amsterdam - Dublin flight all hell broke loose. My only guess is that Button was tired and jet-lagged and couldn't face the idea of getting on another plane. He kicked screamed and shouted for the whole flight. Mr Taz held Belle, while I literally had to sit on Button to try and prevent him from attacking the person in the seat in front of us.

As soon as we landed he stopped. Like someone had just flicked a switch. We arrived out to the small crowd of family and friends, with Mr Taz and I looking shell shocked, and Button happy, smiling and dancing! I swear that to this day they do not believe how bad that flight was!

When I look back to that day, it was one of the happiest and hardest day of my life. Autism was a reality, and it wasn't just going to affect me and Mr Taz, but Belle too. We were all in this together.


  1. awwww lovely blog
    and a baby girl must have been such a joy to be able to bring her home and not leave like you had to with button

    poor button, id say he had just had enough of it at that stage and really did not want to take any more, id say it was the flight from hell hun

    dying to meet belle xx

  2. I havent commented before Taz but you have such a lovely family, really enjoying your blog and looking forward to hearing about Belle.

  3. She is a beautiful little girl and she and button are very lucky to have such wonderful parents. Poor Button he just had enough at that stage, he did so well though for such a long time away from his normal environment. I believe you about that flight xxxx

  4. What you went through to get your babies sounds as difficult as any pregnancy...a 4 year old autie kid on a return flight to Hanoi (not to mention the 4 weeks baking there)is also not a recipe for fun! It fairly put your resolve to the test, and you never gave up. I know you feel that you and Mr T are the lucky ones, but your babies are very fortunate to have you xxx

  5. Welcome Belle:) Taz, I can't even begin to imagine what those 4 weeks were like, Mr Taz, yourself and Button probably won't forget them in a hurry. Although I have no doubt that the joy that is Belle has made that few weeks irrelevant in the scheme of things:) Lovely post. Looking forward to hearing more about Belle:) Jen.

  6. I feel a bit that way on the last flight between europe and Dublin. Little aeroplane, squashed in to smaller seats and for some reason the plane is louder. I havent resorted to kicking anyone yet but I got pretty close coming back through LHR last time.
    You are such a brave lady and so full of love. I think Button and Belle chose very wisely. xx

  7. I can relate to the airplane situation indeed! Griffin and I have taken several flights from Alaska to NC with a service dog to boot and he did NOT like it one bit! I gave him some medicine to try to help him stay calm but it didn't work and boy was it sheer misery. I feel for you because you had an infant with you to think about.

    But such wonderful joy it must have been to get that precious little girl. How old is she now? I can tell by the pics that they are both just gorgeous children. And they look so very happy!

    Regardless of what you have had to go through you always have such a positive outlook and that is so inspiring! Thanks Taz!

  8. I have a lot to learn for you. I am so happy you found my blog and that I have now found yours.

  9. I felt your pain while reading. Plane rides with toddlers are the worst and then when you add Autism on top forget it! We only fly once a year at most and my stomach is in knots for days before.

    Like you, we didn't get Jaylen's diagnosis until we were expecting to be parents again. But I wouldn't change it.

    PS I tagged you in my latest post, My Seven. Check it out.

  10. Just stopped by again to eagerly search for a new entry. I will patiently wait....

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, you're a sweetie!