Remember back in June (wow where has that 6 months gone?) when we broadcasted to the world via the power of the internet that we were starting on the road to adoption? A number of people since then have asked us questions about the process and how’s it going. Well, we have an update! Since mid-April, we have had every aspect of our life put under a microscope. We have filled in countless documents and questionnaires. Our family and friends have been interviewed. We have undertaken training sessions based on how to be good parents. Our house has been viewed. Criminal checks have been conducted. Our height, weight and income have been recorded. Degree certificates have been shown. And our nerves (and often) patience have been tested. This is the most intrusive process either of us have ever been through and certainly the biggest test we, as a couple have had to face.
They (and We) Have Got to Get It Right
Looked After Children (kids in care) are more likely to have needs that we need to be prepared to meet. We get that. Therefore, all the checks, conversations, worry and paperwork that has been involved in the process is for a very good reason and we completely understand that. The adoption agency (in our case, the Local Authority), need to ensure that we know what we are entering into. This is, of course, two-fold. Firstly, they need to ensure we have enough information and preparation that things are not going to come as a surprise when a child is matched and subsequently placed. They also need to ensure that the child, who has probably had a horrible start in life, is not let down by us and that when she is placed – it’s for life and the adoption will not break down.
Let’s Make Changes
The process has highlighted a lot of things about our life. We live in a big house, have a great income, have super supportive friends and family, have an active lifestyle etc. Basically, on paper more than you need to provide a child with a great life with loads of wonderful opportunities and the freedom to find out who they are and endeavour to reach their full potential. However, the process has also made us doubt ourselves. What if that’s not enough? Are changes needed? Do we need to be better? As confident people, worrying constantly about living space, working pattern, weight, income etc sent us a bit crazy. We thought long and hard about what we could do to better our chances to be approved as adopters. Therefore, over the past three months, we have lost 5 stone between us and are currently having an extension built. Are the changes we’ve made enough?
Does Our Social Worker Hate Us?
Of course, she doesn’t. She’s actually pretty lovely. But that’s not to say that over the last 6 months we haven’t asked each other and ourselves that question on a very regular basis. She asked us and our friends and family pre-written questions, everyone going through the process gets asked them, they were not personal. But they certainly felt personal. When you want something so much, it’s hard to answer questions because what if you say the wrong thing? Why is she asking about our childhoods? Whether we remember our parents arguing when we were children? How I, Vicky, reacted and coped when my mum died? Obviously, we answered everything 100% truthfully and honestly. Were our answered being judged? Were we being judged? Did we answer the questions correctly? Putting your future lives in someone’s hands is a major thing, even with everyone telling you that you’re going to smash it.
No News Is Good News, Right?
After attending the initial information evening at the beginning of April and the first home visit with our social worker at the beginning of May, things moved at a rapid pace. We had three in-depth training days, we completed all the questionnaires and documents, sent off the DBS check, attended medicals with our doctor and our social worker met with two family members and two friends, all part of Stage 1 of the adoption process. That all happened within two months……then nothing. Obviously, we assumed that something was wrong? What could it be? Doubt, worry and panic hit us like a tonne of bricks. We had pinned all our hopes on adopting a little one. What if it was never to be? What if our social worker truly did hate us? How did we move this forward? We agonised over what to do. Do we email? Do we call? We were walking the fine line of not wanting to harass our social worker yet not wanting to make it seem like we didn’t care by not contacting her. But if it was a no – we just wanted to know. At least then we could take steps to pick up the pieces and try to move on with our lives.
Then yesterday towards the end of the day, an email pinged into our inbox. It was from our social worker. Following an assessment of all the paperwork and checks, she was happy to inform us that we have now officially moved onto Stage 2 of the adoption process. We were and still are overjoyed, especially as there are only two stages in the whole process. This means we are nearly there. The rollercoaster of emotions of the last 6 months has been worth it. So what are the next steps (or twists and turns) on this crazy road? Well, with Christmas and New Year just around the corner and the fact we currently are having the back wall of our house removed, our social worker has suggested a meeting early in 2019 to discuss what we and she need to do to prepare us to face the approval panel. We are not there yet but we are getting closer and at least now we can relax a bit over Christmas and realistically daydream about spending the festive period with our little girl next year.
Thank you to everyone who has asked how we’re doing and where we are in the process. We hope this post brings you all up to speed and realise that we’ve not been speaking about it much because up until yesterday we really didn’t have that much to say. As we said in our initial adoption post, Eat Sleep Love Travel is and will continue to be a travel blog so we hope you don’t mind these little personal posts every now and again 🙂
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