This week we had our final assessment meeting with Denise, our social worker. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it was a bit anti-climactic.
The night before the session, Denise emailed asking us to bring a whole load of extra documents and to let us know it was going to be a tidy-up session. She wasn’t wrong. We spent the two hours jumping from one topic to the next as she made sure that any small niggles that still remained were well and truly ironed out. While all this was going on, our birth and marriage certificates, tax returns, and deeds to our house were being photocopied by the amazing office administrator.
Subjects covered (in no particular order) included…
How we’d cope with the upheaval of two children suddenly in our lives. It’s impossible to know but we talked about potential coping strategies for us both and how we would support each other.
My medical form stated that I was overweight and Denise thought this might be something that panel would pick up on. She asked me how I’d respond to that. I pointed out that I did a half-marathon earlier in the year (in under two hours, don’t you know!) and am doing a 10K in a couple of months. I’m aware that I’m not as slim as I was once was, or indeed would like to be, but I’m hardly obese. I don’t think Denise thinks it’s an issue but she now has an answer in case it comes up.
We had a long chat about how we’d talk to our children about sex, drugs and alcohol. Our answer to this was to keep ourselves informed of what’s going on in their lives, be open and honest with them, and not be judgmental about these types of issues. I think if we follow these rules for all aspects of our parenting we'll be doing OK.
We also talked a lot about our own identity and how important it is for us to be aware of who we are. Without this knowledge, we won’t be able to support our children in starting to understand their own identities.
One interesting thing here was that when Tom and I both listed all the things we think of in relation to our own identities, neither of us mentioned 'gay', 'white' or 'male'. Quite what that means, I'm not sure – perhaps that we take these aspects of our identities for granted. But it reminded us that we shouldn't take anything for granted when considering how our children might view themselves and who they are.
We went through the Adopters Referral Form that we filled out as homework. It was really useful to be able to talk about our decisions and get clarification on what everything meant.
We also confirmed that we’re happy to be considered for Fostering to Adopt – something that scares us both but that we can see has so many amazing positives for the children involved.
We finished up by going through our bank statements and proving once and for all that we have the financial means to support ourselves and our family.
Denise then dropped the bombshell that they’d like to delay our panel by two weeks due to ‘administrative considerations’. Obviously we’d rather not but it’s only two weeks so we’ve grudgingly said yes.
And that was it. It was suddenly over. We’ll meet again in three weeks to read our PAR and then four weeks later when we go to panel. The whole process has been really positive and nowhere near as intrusive as I had been led to believe – and even when it has been, it always felt like there was a good reason.
In my head, I thought the final session would feel more momentous but I suppose it’s just another tick on the long check-list in the process of creating our family.
My husband and I have adopted two wonderful children. Duckling is 5 and Gosling, her little brother, is 3. I'll be keeping track of our journey here...