Training brought forward…or not! (edited)

Was out earlier this evening and came home to a message on my mobile from the adoption agency, saying they know its short notice but they’d really like to invite me to the training in November rather than have me wait til January.

Seeing as the initial visit was only Friday, I (obviously) haven’t even had the report or the confirmation letter yet so this can only be a good thing.

Need to phone to confirm tomorrow, but buzzing. 🙂

Stop Press: Spoke to someone on the phone this morning. Unfortunately they have changed the training from the usual days of a Fri, Mon and Tues to a Mon, Tues, Weds, and the SW gave me the original dates in the message. Sadly I have something pre-booked on the weds that I can’t get out of this short notice. Gutted!

There are some redeeming features in going on it in the January instead as again it would have been short notice to have found someone to come with me for support, and also it will be quieter in work for me in Jan.

So, I’m still really pleased they thought of me and wanted me to attend sooner, just a shame I can’t go. 😦

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The Initial Meeting

Finally today two social workers came and visited to work out if I would be a suitable potential adopter. We spoke for two hours during which they asked me lots of questions about myself, my job, my family, my home, my pets, my childhood, why I would like to adopt etc. They also came and had a look around my house.

I had been in some respects dreading this visit – I barely slept last night – as I feared they may just say no, that they couldn’t see it working or that I’m not what they’re looking for, or that they didn’t think I had a large enough support network. I knew that what these ladies thought of me could make or break if I could go any further in the process.

Thankfully, this visit appeared to go really well. At the end of the meeting they said that if they’d had any concerns they would have raised them in the meeting, so they were happy to recommend that I went forward for the ‘first stage’ of the process. They were so positive about my past experiences and what they felt I could offer a child that I am feeling very encouraged.

They now write an initial report which goes off to someone ‘higher up’ who will check it and then it comes to me. If I am happy to continue then I don’t do anything and I’ll be allocated a worker. Then I’ll have to have a medical check, a CRB check and the agency will have to take up some formal references as I’ve worked with children in previous jobs and do currently too. Then I will have to go for three days and an evening’s worth of training. Unfortunately its unlikely I’ll be able to attend until January as they won’t get the report finished for the next round of training which is in November.

I’ve been told that I can expect the report within four weeks but again if I haven’t heard anything by then to phone up and ask what is going on.

I am so thrilled that it went ok and now finally I feel that I’m actually able to get excited. Its felt like a heck of a job to get this far, but now I’m actually able to start the process… 🙂

Edited to add: I am going to try linking up to #WASO again – for more blogs on adoption see: http://theadoptionsocial.com/

A letter

Today I received a confirmation letter for my meeting next week. On first reading the whole thing totally terrified me, but now having read it through a couple of times I think perhaps I’m feeling a bit more rational.

I keep comparing everything to the other agency, but I now think perhaps the telephone conversation I had months ago with this agency could be the equivalent of the other agency’s initial visit. That would mean this, although called the same thing, could be the next rung up on the ladder from that…this letter certainly makes it feel that way anyway!

Dear Mr and Mrs …. (Erm, ok. I know most people they’ll deal with are couples but as I’ve already filled in a form saying I’m single and spoken to someone else on the phone and said I’m single, you’d think they’d get this basic bit of info correct? No?)

Thank you for your response indicating you would like to proceed to the next stage of the adoption process. (Woah now, this all sounds a bit formal – next stage? I didn’t realise I’d been through a former stage! Think this first sentence is what frightened me – I’m going to the next stage…am I really trying to do this? Me? Seriously?)

The purpose of the visit is to gather information about yourself and is an opportunity for you to ask us questions. (Jolly good. I’ve come up with quite a few in the four months its taken to get this far.)

We would like to discuss the following with you:

  • A brief personal profile
  • Your current relationship and any previous significant relationships
  • The members of your household
  • Your occupation
  • Your reasons for not being able to have children (if relevant)
  • Your motivation for deciding to adopt
  • Health issues
  • Does anyone in the household, or who regularly visits the household smoke?
  • Any convictions 

(Ok, so far so good – I know what’s coming with some of these – CRB checks, health check with a doctor, most of it I’ve already covered with the lady on the phone and on the initial form I filled in…so I’m not too worried…I just await instruction on how to go about it. Its the following stuff that I have the most concerns and questions around:)

  • The views of family/friends/work colleagues regarding adoption (really? I’ve got to try to shoe-horn that into a conversation with all my friends/work colleagues before next week…without them getting extremely suspicious?)
  • Your support networks (Well, here we’ll come to ‘the crunch’ or what was the main ‘crunch’ last time…)
  • Reference (This must be about future references…surely? Again this worries me – I’ve read of places that insist on 8 references and from those 8 they select 3. And that’s not 8 people – so 4 couples – its 8 couples or 8 single people. Then there are restrictions on how many family members you can include and how far they’re willing to travel to take up those references…all of it mightily scary, yes I’ve tried to think through who I’d ask but its complicated – some of the people who actually, probably, know me best I don’t often see and they live miles away!)
  • Feedback from the information evening (Erm, what information evening…have I missed an information evening then?)
  • Age of children you are considering? Siblings? A child with physical/learning needs? (Well, actually, I was really hoping they were going to help me with that…I’m guessing nothing can be set in stone at this stage yet though…right?)

We will also view your accommodation in relation to living space and health and safety. (Best get the hoover out then…and perhaps even a duster…I think I have one of those, somewhere!)

We look forward to seeing you again soon... (I haven’t yet seen you…it’d be nice if I had!).

It sounds like its going to be quite a discussion, so may be I should get some cake in too! Had this letter come two weeks after the phonecall as promised, I think I genuinely would have felt like it was more of a natural progression, as it is, after the plateau of the last couple of months, it feels like quite an acceleration from no-where. There is also the pessimist in me that’s saying don’t get too excited, don’t let your feelings run away with you because they might well say no.

So anyway. Next week is definitely happening and I now know a little bit of what is in store!

Meeting arranged…at last!

Its been over a month since I last called to find out what was going on. Knowing I was going away at the end of this month, (and Sod’s Law meaning that was likely to be when the adoption agency finally decided to get in touch) despite the ‘you just have to wait’ message, on Wednesday I decided to bite the bullet and call again to find out what on earth is going on. I spoke to a lady who quite frankly appeared not to have a clue, but she promised that she would get someone to ring me yesterday and I was to keep my mobile with me all day as someone would definitely be in touch. It got to quarter to three and no-one had called. Knowing I was going into an important meeting at half past three I called…and called…but no one was picking up. I finally got through to someone (annoyed by my persistent calling?) at 3.25pm. Eventually got put through to someone in charge of ‘allocations’ who claimed she’d only just got back off holiday and needed to get her list sorted. Considering its almost 5 weeks ago I was told the person in charge of allocations was on holiday then that was an incredibly long holiday!

She promised me that as I was going away at the end of the month she would try to make sure someone came out to see me before I went. She promised that someone would call me today to arrange an appointment and said this is highly unusual – normally they just send a letter with an appointment date and time on it and you have to be there. That left me wondering what on earth I would have done if they sent me a letter and I was supposed to be somewhere that day or what if I’d still been a teacher – how would I have taken time off then?

Anyway, someone has called today – so I’m pleased they did actually follow through with that. I now have an ‘initial assessment’ booked in on 25th October. Any feelings of excitement I may have felt have been quashed by the fact apparently three of them are coming out for this! As a single person I must admit this feels a little intimidating…terrifying in fact. I can’t help thinking about last time I dipped my toe in the world of adoption either, as an initial meeting was as far as I got (although much, much quicker than its taken this time!). Last time I explored this (and albeit with a different agency) my first meeting with someone was literally a chat with a lady in my front room. We chatted and she took copious notes but by the end of it she kind of said she didn’t think her agency was right for me at that moment and she suggested building up a stronger support network or contacting my local LA. That was chat was bad enough! This feels like I’m already facing a panel. Over the last few years I have tried to do the recommendation from the other agency, but I know it might not be enough – the answer from these people at the end of this meeting could well be the same. But, I guess, at least I’ll know.