The single most frustrating thing I have found about the adoption process is lack of communication…what I have referred to before as ‘The Wall of Silence’. We as prospective adopters are required to give 100 %. Be available at a moments notice for meetings, get time off work for training, pay over a hundred pounds for medicals, be open and honest at all times. Prepare our hearts and homes for the arrival of a little one who we know nothing about. During the assessment phase meetings can be weekly or fortnightly with a social worker, you are heading towards the goal of approval panel, there is a finish line…and often its busy, busy, busy!
And then panel comes and you’ve reached that finish line…and then nothing…everything goes quiet. Now you’re approved then the silence descends. Then if things aren’t quite working out how they were promised, if you question what is going on, then you can be made to feel like the problem is yours – you’re just impatient, being unrealistic or a bit pushy. So you sit and you wait. Life goes on, it can’t stop. And you have to try to make plans for the future as it is now because no-one tells you what is happening…if anything. At the moment I finding myself double checking that it did all actually happen and it wasn’t all my in imagination!
I know in the grand scheme of things that it does pass. I know that when you meet your child it really doesn’t matter how long it took to get there, all that matters is that you are there now. But when you are in the middle of the waiting it is one of the most challenging things to live through. The tension between life now and the life you hope will be coming soon. The feeling that life as it is now is not complete because you just want to know about and ultimately meet the child you are going to parent.
I don’t know if SWs ever really fully grasp what this period is like for adopters…the depth and range of the feelings and emotions involved. I know this is the time they’d say we should be turning to and offloading to our support network. But I still feel that they could do more to be empathetic. May be just a call every now and then to say, ‘Things are going on behind the scenes that I can’t tell you about, but things are progressing’ or ‘I’m really sorry you haven’t had xyz like you were promised, there’s a backlog but you’ll get it soon’ or ‘I’m sorry but I have no news yet, it must be so tough – I’m here if you want to chat’ might make the difference.
And so last tonight I dealt with a meeting where people wanted to know what is going on, if there is any news, what’s going to happen with <abc>, can I at least roughly guess when <xyz> will happen… I had nothing to tell them and I have absolutely no idea.
And then today I have filed away a CPR to stop torturing myself over ‘what might be’…when it might not. I go away towards the end of this month and even if the SW decides I am suitable on paper for this LO, at the rate things are going I can’t see how we’re going to get ADM ratification, a SW to have time to read my PAR, arrange a meeting and actually meet before that… So I am going to pretend I never saw it and nothing is happening…because…well, it isn’t.