So, here we are, nearly three years in, and no further forward! We have gone down the Fostering route, and whilst it looked as though we might be successful in our application, we were not too sure whether it was for us now. We would have been welcomed back, but as I have said, I doubt it is something we could have done.
So, Adoption week 2005 comes round, two years since an initial enquiry about Adoption. You will have seen it yourself too, in Adoption week, normally in November, there is so much awareness of it, but it appears to be just for that week - any other time of the year, unless you are heavily involved, you do not really think about it. So, another advert heard on the radio, and another number to ring.
It is worthwhile pointing out at this point, that we were very very wet behind the ears where our enquiries were concerned. We honestly did not have a clue about anything, all we knew was that we really wanted to have our own children. We had even discussed the age range, the number of children, etc, so we probably just had the vision, not realising exactly what we had to do to get it!
Tris, again, rang the number (phone-aphobe!!) and spoke to a lady on the phone, we will cal her Lea. Lea was very helpful and very interested, but to be fair at this point Tris and I were just going through the motions. I think our interest had wained a little. Anyway, Lea took all of our details and arranged to come out and see us later on that week. This time there were no nerves, and to be honest, we wondered how long we would have to wait until we got the knock back this time!
So, an uneventful week passed, and Lea was here doing our "initial visit". No pen, no notepad, just the three of us and a cup of tea. It was looking quite dodgy, however, as Lea explained, all agencies are different, and their process, whilst achieving the same result, may differ slightly, however, we could be assured of the fact that there would never be any problem with the fact that we were a same sex couple.
At that point we were 8 weeks away from the new Adoption Laws becoming live, "The Adoption & Children Act 2002". (2002 is the year it was approved, but it did not come into force until 2006) The changes to the legislation meant that from the live date unmarried couples and same sex couples would be able to jointly adopt children, where as previously only one of the partners would be able to. (You can view details of this and more of the new legislation at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/childrenactreport/)
This was news that we had not even heard about, so we knew at that point that we did not have a clue what we were embarking on with this. Lea, thankfully, brought us down to earth with a big bump. She explained that there were more than a few stages to go through until we could even be considered to adopt any children.
Lea stayed for around two and a half hours, and in that time Tris really took to her, unfortunately, I could not in that time. I found myself being very defensive and trying to tell her what she wanted to hear - which was a wrong move - and one that sticks in my head to this day! I think i was just sitting waiting on a knock back, it really was nothing against her.
Lea asked us how we felt about Paedophiles. Seems like a straight forward question, or so I thought. I answered the question by saying I thought they should all be lined up in a row and shot! I am sure reading this you will either agree with this statement, or you will totally disagree, or you may even think that people like this are ill. Either way, we all have our opinion, it just so happens that in this situation, I answered it with my honest opiniot! Lea, bless her, explained that comments like that would not go down too well if we ended up adopting a child who had been sexually abused by a family member! Oops!!!!
So, I answered a question wrong, big deal. It was my opinion, but it just proved to me that I needed to start doing my research. I needed to find out more about the process, the kind of children in the care system etc. It was a must if my gob was going to keep me out of bother!!
Anyway, Lea explained that there was a "Prepare to Care" course being run in three weeks time and that she would have to discuss us with her Team Manager. She would ring us over the next few days to let us know if we were going to be invited to attend, and then of course we would receive something in writing for the purpose of getting time off etc if we needed it.
This threw up another little problem. Tris had been in his job for 2 years, and whilst he is very open about his sexuality and our relationship, he was never able to come out at work. He works in London, however, the industry he is in is old fashioned, and 100% safety related. He deals with hundreds of peoples lives every day, and was involved in the 7/7 tragedies and the clear up. He could not afford to take the risk of coming out at work and then his colleagues taking risks and taking Tris's mind off the job, after all he could end up killing hundreds of people at the touch of a button. Tris now had to seriously consider how serious he was about the Adoption Process.
Lea rung us the next day. She had spoken to her Manager, we will call her Karen, and Karen was very keen to get us on the Prepare to Care course. We were officially invited! Tris now had to get some time off, and decided to speak to his Boss, and tell him all about the possibilities of us Adopting. On the other hand, I had already told my Boss, and he was keen to help in anyway he could.
So, we were now on our way, weren't we?