Last week Tom and I read our Prospective Adopters Report (PAR). Ours was a 45 page document that sums up everything we’ve talked about in our assessment meetings with our social worker Denise.
It was a completely surreal experience seeing your life laid out in black and white on paper, and despite everything we read having originally come from our mouths, it was still a surprise. The main question we were asked to think about was whether we recognised the two people outlined in the report. Thankfully we did – with a few edits…
Mostly we asked Denise to clarify a few points where events had been conflated. For instance at my coming out story, Denise had stated that my brother was with me, whereas in actual fact he was in the pub round the corner with Tom and a large G&T at the ready. A minor detail but we all felt it was worth getting things accurate. Other edits were about the language used. Being a writer, Tom obviously has a way with words and asked Denise to slightly change a turn of phrase here and there in order to best tell our story. Overall though, we thought Denise had really got the measure of us and I found it a really positive experience.
We then talked through what our profile on the national adoption register would include. This is the information that the social workers of children in care can access to find potential matches. The form states the type of children we would be able to care for and includes our preferred gender, age, ethnicity, and religion, as well as how many children we’d be willing to accept. This was all fairly straight forward.
The hard part came when we were asked to decide what difficulties in the children’s lives we felt we could cope with. This ranged from severe physical disabilities to mild mobility issues, and from parents with a history of mental health issues to diagnosed illnesses. It’s really tough to say 'yes' to this and 'no' to that but we have to think about what we can definitely cope with, and also with the fact that we want a sibling group and therefore have to consider the effects of ill-health on a sibling. With Denise’s help, we worked through the list and felt positive about our decisions.
Wonderfully, Denise told us that three social workers had sent through profiles of children based on our profile that had been sent out, so we spent some time looking through them. One Denise immediately suggested would not be a good match for us; the second was for a single child; and the third we’ve requested some further information about.
At the end of the session Denise talked us through what to expect when we go to panel. Again she managed to allay any worries we had about it and we’re both really looking forward to it.
We finished up by signing a whole host of forms. The whole thing took three and a half hours and was probably one of the longest sessions, and definitely the most procedural. We were both drained and treated ourselves to a pizza and glass of wine to go over everything that had just happened.
So there we have it - our approval process is almost at an end and at the time of posting this blog we have five days to go until panel. Wish us luck…
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...