The gap between assessment meetings is getting shorter and shorter and with only one meeting to go we really are getting to the end of the assessment period. Where has the time gone?
On Wednesday we had our penultimate session with Denise, our social worker, and the focus was very much on the types of children we could see ourselves adopting.
As both my parents are Irish (I was born here), Denise has asked whether Tom and I would consider adopting a child from the Irish traveller community. If we thought we could, which we do, she suggested I speak to my parents as there is a history of antagonism between the two communities. I’m unaware of my parents having any kind of bad feeling against travellers, but I’ll check.
We also talked a lot about the types of children, and their specific needs, we felt we could cope with as a couple. We talked about the varying degrees of disabilities and/or learning difficulties, mental health issues, and the types of abuse and/or neglect that children in care might have been subjected to. Although Tom and I have had conversations about this topic, and started to make some decisions, it was really useful to be able to ask Denise questions without feeling judged. Denise gave us the adopter registration form, which will allow us to state our decisions for the matching team, to complete at home ready for the next session.
With this information in mind Denise gave us four profiles of siblings. She made it very clear that these children were unlikely to be available to us but wanted to check that she was thinking along the same lines as us. Two of the profiles were spot on and we would seriously consider them as children who we could care for. And the other two were positive choices but they both required a lot of thinking about and raised more questions than answers.
Tom and I talked later about how far we were willing to stray from the ‘perfect’ family (whatever that is) we’d imagined. It’s tough because we don’t want to seem heartless by saying we won’t take this child because of x and y but at the same time we have to weigh up in our hearts and minds what is right for us too.
We finished up by talking about Fostering to Adopt. This is where a child is placed with an approved adopter but where the child’s placement order has yet to be approved by the court. The benefit is that when (if) the order is approved the child is already with the family that will go to adopt them, reducing the number of moves and increasing their abilities to make good attachments. The downside is the possibility that the foster family start building attachments only for the child to return to the birth family. Also, before the placement order comes through you have far fewer parental rights. Tom and I will need to time to do some research and to really think about how we feel about this in the next few days and weeks. I’ve had some great advice and guidance from the twittersphere which has been invaluable.
Our homework from the last session was to write a Pen Picture (otherwise known as a biography) about who we are and why we want to adopt for the children’s social worker to read. We wrote way too much but thankfully Denise is happy to edit it down for us.
However, our homework from weeks ago is proving very difficult. We’ve been asked to provide a photo of us where we look like dads. We can’t find a single image that we’re both pleased with. Either I think Tom looks great but I’m pulling a face or Tom thinks I look great but he’s squinting. The search continues…
As is now a very positive pattern, we left feeling really good about how things are progressing and the realisation that stage two is very nearly over. And that is a little bit scary but also unbelievably exciting.
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...