I’m getting bored of using the “emotional rollercoaster” metaphor, even if it is by far the most apt…
So, where were we? It’s been 7 months since I was approved, and after 2 failed potential matches, I went to an activity day, met some children, felt mildly traumatised, and then decided to express interest in a child with a slightly unusual name. Then I did some reflecting on prejudice, and then I just waited.
And twiddled my thumbs.
After 2 weeks if you haven’t had a response, the database automatically opens a discussion between you and the child’s social workers. Last time this happened I got all excited and thought it meant something was finally moving along. This time I remained calm, knowing it’s an automated process that means nothing.
So after I got an automated message saying a discussion had been opened, I waited another week, still nothing, so eventually chased them by email and asked my social worker to follow up, because frankly, if they are going to reject me I’d rather know now than be kept in reserve, waiting and hopeful for 3 months like the last time.
My Social Worker responded by sending me the profile of an entirely different kid, and said “Have you looked at this one?” which was initially baffling, but she then followed up with an email. She has spoken to the kid’s social workers and they have a better match they are exploring, so perhaps I’d better look at this other kid’s profile, and if I’m interested I should express interest as quickly as possible.
Picking through my emotions on this one was hard – so many feelings at once.
First of all, “exploring another match” is code for “we don’t want you”. Hard not to feel rejected when they claim to have found other people they think will make better potential parents for that kid than you will. Ouch.
I know it’s not personal, but I am wondering how much of this relates to my single status, when competing with couples in the eyes of the social workers.
Secondly, as I’ve said before, it’s hard not to get too excited or attached to the idea of a particular child. Even though this time I was trying hard to stay detached, not to get excited or picture it too much, I can’t help it. It turns out I don’t have a particularly strong emotional shell – I can’t keep it out. I wish I had some sort of emotional hard hat or armour that would allow me to consider all these different children as my potential kid without feeling anything, but I just can’t. I need time to process my feelings and say goodbye to one kid, and accept the loss before I can consider looking at another.
As the activity day showed me, I can’t help but feel things about these kids, and I find the idea of spending three weeks hoping for one kid, then being told “Nope” and immediately asked to consider another kid baffling – how can anyone change direction that quickly without suffering emotional whiplash?
This led to a few tears, some anger and a range of other emotions landing on me in quick succession.
Is my Social Worker saying she thinks the new kid (number 4) is a really good choice for me and might get snapped up by a competing couple if I don’t act fast? Obviously I want to trust her, but also don’t want to leap in with both feet at a point when I’m feeling so vulnerable and unsure about everything. And I DON’T want to feel pressured or pushed into anything – I’m stubborn so if you push me in one direction, I’ll push back twice as hard in the other direction.
But then I thought maybe this IS how you cope without getting too attached – maybe you do have to just trust and jump. Maybe this other kid IS right for me and I haven’t really had time or headspace to think about it properly.
So in the end, I expressed an interest in Child number 4, on the basis that I can take time to think about it and read about him, and can always change my mind later, but at least my hat will be in the ring, instead of potentially missing out.
So of course, as soon as I did that, I FINALLY got a message from the Social Worker of Child number 3, saying they were going to meet their potential match on Monday, but if that doesn’t work out they will consider me (thanks for making me feel like such a reject last-resort option by the way).
So now here we are, stuck in a very weird place, my social worker unreachable for advice (she works part time) and we’ll see what happens next.
It’s all pretty stressful, and did I mention all of this is competing for headspace in my brain with everything else that’s going on?
I’m also in the process of transitioning to a new job (“Oh Maya, as you’ve only got 2 months left in post, any chance you can finish all those massive projects while simultaneously supporting humanitarian responses in 5 regions and god knows how many countries?” Oh SURE. Why not?).
And I’m also re-mortgaging my house – I am hoping to buy out the remaining shares this time and get to 100% ownership which is great, but which requires a HUGE amount of admin and printing, scanning, emailing, and meetings with solicitors, surveyors, mortgage advisers, banks and back and forth with the housing association.
And did I mention our office is flooded and no-one can work there for the next month or so, meaning everything at work is in complete chaos, emails aren’t working, servers are down and it’s generally an office-related apocalypse?
Not stressful at all in the life of Maya right now.
Not at all.