So, four days of quite intense "training" went by in a flash. It is funny, because looking back it was intense, but actually, at the time, it was good fun, and we both enjoyed getting to know others, learning about Adoption, and it's process, and of course, by the end of it we found out something about the numbers of children in the care system with the Authority. Everyone, including us, did not want it to end, however, we knew it was just one step, and there were more to be made.
At the beginning of the four days Karen told us that the four days were about gauging our level of understanding of Adoption, and our suitability to be assessed through the Authority. We would be advised not more than 2 weeks after the end of the course whether or not we would be invited to apply. It was a very tense moment at the end of the course, as we really wanted to know there and then whether or not we could apply. I think Karen must have sensed this from us, in fact, she really made an exception for our group by telling us that all 12 of us would be invited to make applications. YES! Excellent, we all jumped for joy. Some had a few tears, understandably, but on the whole it was just relief. We would still receive a letter confirming all of the details and it would include the initial application form.
Karen also explained that we should try and complete and send back the application as soon as possible, so that the process could begin. This was all excellent news, and there was no "buts" or "howevers" - it was simple, she explained it, we were all through to the next stage (Sounds like an X-Factor Blog!!) and we really could not be any happier or relieved about it! All that was left to do now was swap contact details with everyone on the course, and get off home. (It should have been the pub really, but we'd gotten this far, we didn't want to give the wrong impression!!)
About a week past before we received the details confirming what we had been told on the course. It was a big relief to have it in writing. As well as a letter confirming our invitation to apply, there was an application form and a laminated certificate confirming our attendance on the course and our suitability. That was a nice touch, the more we had telling us that we were welcome the more confident we got.
I would say that you shouldn't get too confident at any stage, but a little amount will help to get through. You really need it at stages throughout the process. We never assumed that we would ever be successful, but we needed that confidence to get through. Sometimes it did wain, and we had to perk ourselves back up, but there is always someone on hand to help you do that, and of course, if your family are 100% behind you, then you can get help there.
I have not really mentioned much about the support we received from our Friends and Family, so now is the time for them to take centre stage!
Parents are the funniest thing in the world. Both sets of parents are separated/divorced. Both Mums are in relationships, but funnily enough neither of our Dads are in relationships, they are both single. We both had very different experiences of coming out. Tris is a very confident person, and has always known he was gay, since he can remember. He was so confident that his family would accept him that he took his Mum out for dinner to tell her. It did not go too well! If I were writing a book, then I would include some of the details, but this is not really the place! The end result was that he ended up moving away, and the "gay issue" was never spoken about again for a long time. I think he ended up in the Restaurant on his own. His Dad was "ok" about it, although, I don't think they went into details about it.
My Mum was reasonably ok about it. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to tell anyone, as I was a lot less sure of myself and had very little confidence. My Mum made a point of telling me to be careful and safe, and if I ever need to, to talk to someone I could trust. My Dad was another story, unfortunately we did not speak for a few months, and when we eventually did it was very difficult to hold any kind of conversation. Even 13 years on we don't talk about it, although, he accepts who Tris is.
To say that Tris's Mum and I did not really get on to start with is an understatement, in fact, she would not even look at me, never mind talk to me. It took a good year before we were even on speaking terms.
When it came to telling our Parents about our plans to Adopt, we definitely expected a similar reaction to our coming out. Surprisingly, their reaction was excellent! Of course, they had their doubts, we all did, but they were actually very keen on us adopting.
We only had one bad reaction from a friend. Well, she obviously was not a real friend. We had spoken to her at length about it, and she even offered to be one of our referees, however, when it came to it she was not able to do it. She would never explain why, and it was evident that as she did not want to tell us why, that we could not even consider her remaining as our friend. It was not for any daft reasons, we were totally justified in not remaining in that particular friendship.
There is only one drawback to telling all of your friends and family that you are considering adoption - the constant questioning, "Any news?" "Where are you at?" "What's the next steps". When this is 24/7 it does become quite annoying. Please do not think that I am ungrateful for the support, I am certainly not, it is just that when it is literally 24/7 from all sides, and there is no news to give, you can be frustrated by it all!
With the one exception in the friend stakes, everyone reacted in the way we hoped. We had two couples who were very supportive of it. It was fantastic as we went through the process to be able to talk about our ups and downs over a bottle of wine or two, and eventually the champagne corks were popped and there was another leg to go!
So, we were okay with everything, the Local Authority was ok with it, our Friends and Family were ok with it, our Work and Workmates were ok with it, it was time to officially apply.