On Wednesday my sister in law and I attended the question and answer workshop put on as part of the prep/training. I found that evening particularly helpful and several times was trying my hardest not to cry. Somehow hearing these parents speak about their children and the first time they saw them or heard them say ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ was very moving. It was very different hearing about it first hand than relayed through a social worker. I found it particularly helpful that there were two single adopters on the panel, both who had very young children placed with them. Finally I had the opportunity to hear someone who was in the same position as me! Somehow hearing them speak and describe their relationships with their children made me feel so much more confident that I could actually be approved at the end of all this. Reality dawned! I spoke with one of them at length afterwards who gave me her phone number and said if ever I just wanted to have a chat she would be more than happy – how lovely of her! I was absolutely buzzing afterwards and my head was all over the place. All in all the best bit of the preparation/training that I have been to so far. I’ve still go an evening on FAS, a day on attachment and an evening on post adoption support to attend.
This morning I have had my second visit with my social worker. We discussed prep group and then the fact she’s already had two reference forms back which is great considering she only sent them out last week. If I can get the medical form this afternoon then that’s great I’ll just have to take it into the office. Doctors can, apparently, take ages to send them off and an independent medical advisor has to take a look at them before than can be signed off. The quicker they get the form the quicker it can be done. We discussed again age of children (she threw in the curve ball of if I would consider a very young child) and the possibility of a sibling group but the feedback I seem to be getting is, don’t make any decisions yet, keep an open mind to all possibilities. Relationships with existing children will all be taken into account, even nephews so they try to make sure the child is younger. This will all be considered in much greater depth in the home study. She says its really good to have all these discussions now because then she’ll know some of the things we really need to discuss in home study.
She also said there is the possibility she may be able to stay on as my key worker for stage two. My LA/agency is hiring in independent assessors to do stage two because of the volume of people coming forward to adopt. She says she may be able to work outside of her hours as an independent assessor to see me through, she says in the long run it would be easier because we’re already having conversations that will help make home study more simple – I won’t have to repeat information and she has a good idea of the types of things we need to discuss to make sure they go in the report. I really, really hope this is the case. I really like her and trust that she is ‘on my side’ as well as obviously thinking of the children that need placing.
Then we did the health and safety check and she actually came and looked round the house again (good job I tidied!). There are a few things that will need changing – locks taken off some doors and child locks put on others, where I keep alcohol, plug covers that sort of thing. We also discussed the wide range of plants on the ‘poisonous and dangerous’ list which she hadn’t looked at – when she heard potato plants and tomato plants were on there then she kind of relaxed up a bit. I don’t need to go and dig my entire garden up!
Then finally we had to do the whole finances thing. I squirmed while she looked through my bank statements and she asked me questions about what I spent on this that and the other. She, thankfully, doesn’t have any concerns. Hurrah. I can sleep again now! She said that I will be entitled to all the benefits that other parents are entitled to and it might be worth working out now what might be available to me as that comes into effect the day the child is placed, not when they are legally adopted. Then we talked about adoption leave and pay.
She spent three hours here again, but it didn’t really feel like a chore or as awkward as I thought it would. I know this is only the information gathering phase but I’m finding it very useful discussing things with her and getting a feel already for what we need to discuss (for my benefit as much as the report) during the home study.
So still so far so good. She says provided all the references come in, the next meeting we have will hopefully be to mark the end of stage 1 and…its in less than a month’s time!