Hocus Pocus

A little aside – for those of you who rolled your eyes at my post The Ring, this will REALLY send you over the edge.

I’ve been going back over my adoption posts, and realised that I started my adoption journey, taking my very first step (the pre-approval interview) in the last week of October 2017. A couple of weeks later, just around the time that the social worker called to say I was approved to go ahead and could officially start my application to become an adopter (i.e. I could start Stage 1), my daughter was born.

I didn’t know it then of course, and neither did she, but the timing is rather wonderful.

At that time, I wasn’t looking for her, and she wasn’t up for adoption. By the time I was approved as an adopter, I was still looking at older children, as I was originally only approved for children aged 3 and up, (due to my financial circumstances). By sheer coincidence, in late November/early December of 2018, just as her Placement Order was granted by a judge, and the social workers began to search for her forever family, my dad unexpectedly sold his house and was able to give me some extra money, allowing me to be able to consider younger children and cover the additional costs of childcare and maternity leave.

Had she been granted a Placement Order sooner, she may have been matched with another family, and if my dad hadn’t sold his house, I wouldn’t have been able to consider her as a possibility anyway.

Instead of which, the universe aligned, and just when I decided to start my journey to becoming an adopter, she was born, and just when she started looking for her family, I was suddenly able to be matched with her. It turns out I had to wait this long to become a mum, because I was waiting for her, I just didn’t know it. And she is 100% worth the wait.

So perhaps there is a little bit of magic in the world after all….

Introductions

Well the day finally arrived!

We had a placement planning meeting on the Monday before introductions started and the foster carer, who had an awful bout of flu just burst into tears and wept through the whole meeting. She’s been looking after my little girl for 14 months and is extremely attached to her, so she was just devastated to be saying goodbye.

It was a good reminder that just because I’m feeling bouncy and excited and over the moon, I need to manage my emotions a little bit and be aware that her relationship with my daughter was ending, so it was a strange place to be in. Continue reading

The one I can’t post…

I’m writing this now, around the end of March, sitting in my hotel room in Ethiopia, but I can’t post it yet. If things don’t go my way, I can’t post this at all, so you’ll never know anyway.

But here’s the thing.

I have a new potential adoption match, and it feels really different.

It’s strange because I have mostly been looking at boys so far, and this one is a girl. I’ve mostly been looking at older kids and she is quite a bit younger.

She is so unexpected, as she isn’t at all what I imagined, and yet, when they approached me with her profile, and I read it, something clicked.

I felt different about this kid to my previous potential matches – this one really does feel right, and it feels like this really is the kid for me. Continue reading

What if you’re the bully?

This week at my office we have been doing an awful lot of reflecting and navel-gazing, which any NGO worth it’s salt is very good at. We love lamenting and taking long hard looks at ourselves, it’s our favourite thing.

In the wake of various charity scandals and safeguarding failures and so on in the last 18 months, there is a lot of wondering how we can fix issues like “endemic bullying culture” etc that keep coming up.

We have all done the compulsory online training, attended the face to face sessions, seen the posters, listened to webinars and read the countless emails that have been sent. So the issue is clearly not one of awareness raising but of behaviour and culture change, which is so much harder to identify and address.

We all talk about collective responsibility for change, living our values, and changing our culture, but I am willing to bet there is not one single person out there who self-identifies as a bully. I don’t believe anyone reads about an organisation’s bullying culture and thinks “Oh yeah, they mean me, because I’m totally a bully”. Continue reading

Delegating Parental Responsibility

As the flurry of activity is starting to snowball, and I’m suddenly being sent document after document to read, review, sign, etc, I am learning some fascinating things. Also they sent me a provisional timetable to meet my (potential) daughter which is THE MOST EXCITING THING EVAAAAAR!!!! It’s all becoming suddenly very real!

One notable thing that I found really interesting was the list of delegated parental responsibilities – and specifically what will transfer to me and what will not during the placement process. Continue reading

Little by little

Things are moving – glacially slowly, but they are moving.

There were a flurry of emails about the medical adviser appointment (apparently the main medical adviser is off sick so there was a lot of back and forth about phone appointments and alternative options).

However I now have several appointments booked in – I’m meeting my Social Worker this Friday to talk through all the preparation and things that are required.

In early June, the child will go for her pre-placement medical review, and on the 6th I’ll meet with the children’s services medical adviser to talk through any concerns that they have. They won’t have written up the full medical report by then but that will come later. There’s been a few mixed messages coming from the social worker and foster carer and family finder so far regarding various health issues so it will be good to get everything all straight and make sure I understand everything properly. (Things like the Family Finder thought she had chicken pox a few weeks ago, foster carer says no she didn’t in the end etc). All very minor but a tad confusing nonetheless.

I’ll be meeting with the foster carer for the first time the week after, in a random neutral location halfway between my house and her house (I think it’s a garden centre cafe or a motorway rest stop or something really odd!).

Then I will go to the panel – the date STILL hasn’t been confirmed yet, though they have pencilled it in for later in June, but this date has already changed at least once so I am not holding my breath just yet…

And if all that goes well, we’ll be starting to plan the introductions, I’ll be giving my notice to go on adoption leave, and setting dates for me to meet her for the first time!

There are still so many hoops to jump through, so many things to do, like buy a buggy and get stairgates installed, and have all these meetings, but it’s getting closer now, I can feel it.

When the stars align…. there is usually admin involved.

My dear beloved readers, they picked me!!!

After all three social workers (mine, hers, and the family finder) met with me, the family finder sent me some lovely feedback about how they thought I was wonderful and they are all in strong agreement it’s a really excellent match, and they picked me!!! This means they are not looking at anyone else to be this little girl’s parents, and they are going to book in a linking/matching panel date for me sometime in June or July.

One more hurdle achieved! Continue reading

Easter mini-break

This Easter I went on a truly wonderful mini-break in the UK with a friend of mine who has an EXTREMELY sexy camper van.

I have recently started to realise the UK has just so many awesome things to see and do, and I really don’t make enough time to explore this tiny but awesome little island. My recent trips to Leicester and London (and previous trips to various Henges) have shown me just how much there is to do right in my own backyard and it’s encouraged me to try and plan a few more little mini-breaks here and there!

First stop, we drove down to Wookey Hole (I have ALWAYS wanted to go there, and my dad was actually born there during the war too).

Continue reading