Updates

Here’s the mini-round up:

Adoption:

It’s been about 18 months since I started my adoption journey, and about 8 months since I was approved. Child 3 and Child 4’s social workers both said no to me in the end (I just found out today about both).

Child 3 they are moving ahead with another, better match, and Child 4’s Social Workers decided that they wanted 2 parents for him so won’t consider my profile (so in their case it is specifically because I am single).

So round we go again on the merry go round. Continue reading

Emotional Armour

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 waited.

And twiddled my thumbs. Continue reading

Prejudice

When I started writing this, I wasn’t intending to post it, just to write down my thoughts as a way of untangling them, but as I’ve gone along I decided it was worth sharing, so here we are.

I recently bumped up against my own prejudice, which is something we are rarely aware of or conscious of – no-one likes to think of themselves as being prejudiced do they? We all like to think that’s something that happens to other people, because we are far too woke and liberal and enlightened to have any prejudices. And yet we do. We all have them. Continue reading

Adoption Activity Day

So, after my social worker suggested that it might be time for me to move on and start looking at some other children again, she suggested I attend an activity day, and see if anything clicked.

Activity days are organised by a local authority and are an opportunity for potential adopters to engage with the children that are up for adoption, to meet their foster carers and talk about them, and see if any connection is there. From the children’s perspective, it is a really fun day out, usually at a special activity centre with an adventure playground, soft play, lots of toys, face-painting and an entertainer who does balloon animals or magic tricks and that sort of thing. The kids are there with their foster carers and also their social workers, so there are lots of adults that they know and feel safe with. The babies generally don’t really understand much about the day, and just play with the toys, while the older children have had some explanation, so they know that potential adopters are coming to the day, but that none of them are specifically linked to any child. The kid’s expectations are managed so they know it’s not about “picking children” and no one will go home feeling rejected.  Continue reading

The Waiting Game

A bit more of an update on the adoption news… I have been a little cautious in considering what to post here from now on, as one day my child might want to read about my adoption journey, and there is a fine line between wanting to share my experiences as openly and honestly as possible, and wanting to ensure I don’t post anything that might have an impact on my future child.

After turning down my first potential match, I expressed interest in another little boy, the one that I had first seen that I felt a bit of a connection with. I sent them a message, briefly outlining why I think I would be a good parent for him, and waited.

And waited. Continue reading

The hardest decision I will ever make

This is a hard one to write, and I almost didn’t post this, but decided that if I’m going to document my adoption journey, then it’s helpful to others if I include as much of it as I can.

After exploring my potential match a bit more, I decided not to pursue it any further. It was an impossibly hard decision, and I had to call up friends, family and colleagues to talk it over again and again. I am someone who needs to talk through things out loud to sort things out in my head – I do my thinking out loud, and I need to bounce ideas off other people to help me form opinions and consolidate my feelings.

Continue reading

Matching

So, it’s all a little scary, and exciting, and daunting, and exhilirating, and terrifying. In a nutshell.

There is a little boy they suggested putting my name forward for, but the social worker wasn’t terribly enthused about whether or not it was a match – she seemed a bit vague, like she wasn’t really sure. She also said there will be quite a few other adopters so I might not get picked, and seemed to clearly want to manage my expectations that it may not come to anything.

So, on her recommendation, they put my name forward, and after waiting for a few weeks and hearing nothing, I had resigned myself to the idea that I probably won’t be matched until after Christmas.

But then they contacted me, and said that they were going to send me his full report to read and think about. I had a look through it, and then set up a meeting with my social worker, who told me that both his social worker and the family finder thought it was a good match, and they have picked me over all the other potential adopters!

So I’m now waiting to meet with the other social worker and family finder, and explore if this is the right match for me! Not too clear on the timeframe yet, but my lodger has just moved out, and I have got the bedroom all ready, and started buying a few toys and books and things. I have even started an amazon wish list, and am planning to ask my family this year to get me something for my kid this year for Christmas instead of something for me.

So it’s exciting! Watch this space….

Finding a family

Well, after a brief break to go to Yemen for my work trip, and for my social worker to go on holiday, I have now been given a login to the database called “Link Maker” which is where prospective adopters and prospective children can be matched.

I have filled in a profile, which includes photos, information about myself, my hobbies and interests, what type of things I like to do, and what type of child I am interested in being matched with (age preferences, gender preferences, disabilities etc). That profile has now gone live, and the professional social workers or “Family Finders” will start trying to match me with the right child.

It’s hard to know how long this might take. I know one couple who were approved last September and were only matched in June this year (9 or 10 months waiting), but I also know of 2 different couples who were approved in the same week as me in late July, and both have already been matched barely a month later! They won’t confirm their matches for another month, but their child has been identified and they are ready to move forward. Continue reading

Podcast: The Adoption

For those of you following my adoption journey, or for friends and family who want to know a little more about how it all works, there is an EXCELLENT podcast which I highly recommend.

I have had several podcasts recommended to me since starting this journey, some I found too trite, some too religious, and some were based on the American adoption system which is very different from the UK and therefore not all that helpful for me.

However, there is a podcast series by BBC Radio 4 called “The Adoption” from their World at One series. It has 17 episodes, each about 8-10 minutes long, and it is a documentary, following the story of two real children in the UK on their road to adoption.

The names have been changed, and certain elements of their stories have been redacted, to protect them, but it gives a fascinating and real insight into the process, and the experience from the point of view of the children, their social worker, their birth parents and birth grandparents, and the adoptive family. Obviously they have had to remove certain parts, such as the real reasons the children were taken away from their birth family, so some parts are a little confusing or vague, but it’s clear they had good reasons and you won’t hear anything harrowing in terms of abuse or neglect.

I have found it extremely gripping, useful, and informative, and it has given me a lot of insight into the process from the child’s perspective, and from the birth family, and I think it’s really worth a listen for anyone who is interested in adoption in the UK, or who wants to know more about what it might have been like for my child, once they come along.

You can listen online here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05k3wsq

or you can find it on your usual podcast place, but I highly recommend giving it a go.

Panel, introductions and more

So, time to check in on where we are in the adoption process. So far I have completed the following stages (started officially in November 2017, so approx 9 months so far, although I went to the information day originally in summer 2016)

  1. Information Day
  2. Pre-Stage One suitability meeting
  3. Stage One (paperwork, volunteering, book-reading, more paperwork, criminal records checks in 4 or 5 countries)
  4. Stage Two / Homestudy (intense discussions about my childhood and suitability to be a parent, more paperwork, health and safety review, financial checks, more paperwork, training courses)

Today I went to my Adoption Panel, which is the culmination of all of the above stages, and I am happy to report I have been recommended for approval!

I will have to wait 10 days for the official letter, as the panel can only make the recommendation but the LEA has to officially confirm the approval in writing. But usually if the panel approves you, you are approved!

So it’s a big milestone for me, 9 months into the process, and I am very happy! Continue reading