Today I had my third meeting with my SW for Stage 2. After having several distressing dreams about matching (after watching ‘Wanted: A Family of my Own’) we started today by talking about how matching works and the nuts and bolts of who I would meet, what information I would be given and just how much opportunity there is to say no. I think I needed that reassurance.
Our proper discussion was mainly talking about how my lifestyle will change after a child comes along. She asked me questions about different parts of my job and my working week and how I would manage things. Then support networks also came into play and I was asked who I would call on in emergencies or if I needed emotional support. Again nothing came up that I didn’t expect and because I’ve done no end of thinking about it – even down to what I would do with the dogs during introductions – I did have ready formulated answers, all of which she seemed to react positively to.
We had the siblings conversation again, and the questions this time were a lot more pointed about how I would cope with two children by myself. Some questions I couldn’t answer because I don’t know the child or potential children I am going to adopt or what their needs will be. Also some questions I didn’t see the point in – ‘So you’ll have two children one will be at school and one possibly at nursery so how will you get them ready to get to where they need to be?’ Well again that depends on the routines they already have in place and again if they have issues getting up and dressed – otherwise surely its simply that – up, dressed and breakfast (and all the cajoling, encouraging, fussing and organising that goes along with that), and then driving them to where they need to be. Same as if you have one child but with a whole lot more arguing? I really didn’t understand what she was getting at. She talked again about not having a break and how parenting is relentless and how adopters often don’t realise just how demanding being a parent is…doubly demanding with two children. I tried to point out the positives in having siblings but she quickly brought it back round by asking me to list the negatives in having two children – again I struggled because these are ‘invented’/’made up’ children. Do they get on well? Do they happily play together? Are they the same gender? Do they enjoy similar activities? How old are they? There are endless scenarios that would come into play in listing the negatives.
She also said that the chances of finding a sibling group where one of the children didn’t have significant needs were slim and so if I had my heart set on two it was likely to be a longer wait for matching as she wouldn’t want to place two ‘difficult’ (her description) children with a single adopter. She pointed out again that the process is much easier second time around and that there is also possibility that the birth mum, of any child placed with me, may also go on to have another child and I would be contacted to see if I wanted to adopt the sibling in that instance – but of course that’s not a given that it will happen.
I pointed out that I could be approved to adopt ‘up to two children’ which would mean that if a single child came along who was a match I would consider them, but equally if two children came along who were a suitable match then I would also be able to consider them. I said that I know in my heart of hearts I want more than one child so even if she recommends that I only go forward to adopt one child then I would definitely want to adopt again in the future.
I’m not actually sure where we left the discussion to be honest as we talked around so much within this that I’m not sure we drew any final conclusions. I strongly feel she is not supportive of single people – any single person, not just me – adopting more than a single child in one go. I’m not sure whether its just because it isn’t the norm, or because being a parent is difficult so the idea of a single person suddenly being overwhelmed by having two children without the support of a partner is more of a concern…or what. .
I must admit there are also postives about adopting two children separately – the main one being you can focus on developing a strong attachment with the first child before the next child comes along because they are able to be your sole priority. So I still have mixed feelings. I don’t feel like I was given a fair hearing on this topic as I felt she has a set view, but then conversely I also don’t want to be too fixed either. I said all along its about the right match and I need to trust her judgment.
Next time we move more into discussing the children and a more in depth look at the different needs the children have and what I think I could and couldn’t cope with, and also what level of uncertainty about a child’s future I could and couldn’t cope with.