So, as many of you will have read about in my first adoption post (Day 1….), I have officially started my journey to becoming a parent, and yes, I plan to document it all here for you, my lovely readers.
I have initially thought that there was a 3-step process, based on my research. The first stage takes about 2 months, and involves some initial interviews, a bit of basic training, and criminal records checks etc. Then the second stage, the home study, takes around 6-8 months and involves extensively poking around into every conceivable part of my life to look for holes or skeletons, talking to my friends, neighbours, employers, bank, mortgage lenders, etc. Then if you make it past that stage, you are “approved for matching” – and matching is the 3rd stage, where you and social workers try to match up approved adopters with children needing families.
So having spoken to the adoption team on the phone, attending an information day, and doing lots of reading, I assumed that my initial interview was the official start of Stage 1.
Turns out, it wasn’t.
The initial interview, as I later discovered, even though it was fairly intense and in-depth 2-hour interview, was merely a pre-stage, an initial clearance to go ahead and start Stage 1. So I did that, (as you’ll have read about in my previous post), and heard back last week the fabulous news that I have been approved by the team leader to start an official application.
So then I had a phone call with the social worker to discuss the next steps, and she explained that I’ll be invited to attend a “Stage 1 Meeting” to formally kick-off the process.
However before they can invite me, I have to complete a registration of interest form, which is a fairly lengthy form giving them some more detailed information about my background, countries I’ve lived in etc. Once they’ve reviewed and approved my registration form, THEN I can be invited to a meeting to start Stage 1 (I think).
So if the form is the pre-stage, then the initial interview was apparently the pre-pre-stage….
Anyhoo, I’m filling in forms, and quietly wondering if the layers of bureaucracy are specially designed to prepare me for life with a toddler asking repetitive and inane questions over and over again.
THEN I realise that this system has been massively overhauled and streamlined and that it used to be a bazillion times more complicated, and I thank my lucky stars I only have 2 pre-stage stages….
Of course I joke, it’s only been one interview and one form to fill in so far, and I’m excited about it all. My dear readers, you know how I love to use my razor-sharp wit and imaginative sense of drama to exaggerate *occasionally*.
I have identified 3 extremely kind and loving friends and family members willing to be my references and vouch for my general good character etc, and I have several more back-ups waiting in the wings in case I need more! I assume they will need to be reassured that I can change a dirty nappy without panicking, and know how to speak to a 3-year old without causing tears…
Once I actually manage to start Stage 1, I am told I’ll need to complete some e-learning, attend 4 days of face to face training, and fill in several more forms, including a family tree, and eco-map (who can possibly imagine what that even is?? Will they come and check my light bulbs?), a chronology of my life, and various criminal background checks to ensure I’m not dodgy or on any lists (spoiler alert – I’m not…).
I am intrigued as to what the Home Study will include if Stage 1 is this thorough, but I look forward to finding out!