Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Social Workers cometh.....

I slept soundly the previous night, a mixture of the wine I had consumed and the amount of cleaning I had done the previous day would do that to a person. I woke up so early, I did wonder what the heck I was going to do with myself for the morning. Sitting around drinking coffee and contemplating what could be about to happen sounded like a fab plan to me. Tris was more for keeping busy, popping to the shops and spending money to get points on the Nectar Card, rather than sit about with me being a stress head - actually, I think he did the right thing......

The Social Worker and Family Finder were due at 12 noon - I would even go as far as to say "High Noon". All I could do was look at the article about these two fabulous little boys in "Be My Parent" magazine and wonder more about them, more about what we were going to be told, if they were already spoken for, or if we were not going to be suitable. Amazing how pessimistic you get during this process! The photo, which we still have, obviously, showed the boys in these little matching long sleeved tops. They looked angelic and I just wanted them to be with me. I did not know how likely that was going to be to happen, but I wanted them to be my kids!!!

There is one thing our Local Authority had always told us during our training and that was that when you are potentially matched with children, they (the Authority) would not allow you to see any photos of them until such time as you were matched. The fact that we were put on the National Adoption Register as soon as we were approved meant that unless we were matched through our Home Local Authority we would be able to view photos of any potential matches. I must admit that this is something that confuses me even now.

I know that if you were to have a biological child you would not be able to choose any of their features or what they looked like, but you do need some form of connection to be able to strike up a bond, even if it is a very weak bond. Biological Parents have a bond from conception, through Adoption, it is not quite so clean cut - these are, after-all, other peoples children that you are about to consider giving a home, so the least you need is a photograph to create a bond for YOU - not for the child - YOU! Of course, there will be some who would base their decision on a photograph, but I would hope that any Social Worker worth their salt would know this was happening. The other problem you have of course, is getting too attached to something that may not actually happen.

That photo had been my hope and dreams while we were waiting to hear back from the Social Workers involved, which seemed to be forever, and at 12 noon, they arrived. Our Social Worker was a little late, and rang whilst they were on their way. The regretted being late, of course, because it meant that the other Social Worker could have said something that would have gotten out hopes up higher, or we could have asked a question that would have made us look too keen, but at the end of the day, that was not our problem! We had their attention!

The Family Finder started by telling us that she has been doing some Life Story work with the youngest boy, (let's call him Bob for ease!) the day before, this included being able to open his mind to different kinds of families, as up until now, even the Social Worker thought that it would be a conventional family that the children would end up with. He basically turned around and said it did not matter as long as he was allowed to play football....... kids! That was when our Social Worker and her Supervisor turned up, and I was actually thankful for them doing so, as it was making me feel awkward, as I did not know what to ask and of course what I was allowed to ask.

We sat at the dining room table with our cup of tea and the mountain of cakes and biscuits, looking back I maybe should have made more of an effort, as it was lunchtime, but hey, I had other things on my mind. So there we sat, and the first thing we were asked..... would we like to see more photos of the boys? My heart skipped a beat! I turned to Tris, and I was unsure what he was thinking, but I knew that at this stage, it was to be a no, I had quite maturely decided that I did not want to see anymore photos of the boys until we knew whether we were going to take this further. I bet you are thinking "Oh my god!". Well, the way I saw it back then was that I had already fallen in love with the photo of them from Be My Parent, and I desperately did not want to tempt fate by falling in love with them anymore. Thankfully Tris felt the same, but what surprised me was the reaction from the boys Social Worker and Family Finder - they were actually shocked! It took me a long time trying to explain why I had made that decision, and eventually they accepted it. I am sure it is not the first time it had happened, although, maybe it had - who knows!

After that most of the conversation was between the Social Workers, our Social Workers were asking relevant questions about the boys that the CPR (Child Permanence Report) had either missed, or was not too clear. Eventually we were allowed to ask some questions! I wanted to know as much as I could about them, and knew that I was running out of time to find it out.

The one answer that sticks out in my mind is that the Social Worker said, "They are really lovely boys"....... what could you say?

The meeting lasted around 2 hours, and it was time to decide on the next steps. Of course, as is common in Social Services, Social Workers get Annual Leave entitlement, and our Social Worker had some starting that weekend! To us, this was delaying things, but looking back, it was only a few days! I think by the time you are at this stage, you want things to move on as fast as possible, not thinking about the consequences of a bad decision or a rushed decision, but that is why there are Social Workers doing all the running around for you... otherwise, I would imagine 95% of Adoptions would go wrong in the first week!

The important question was asked of us, "Are you still interested in following these boys up further?" Without hesitation, we answered a resounding yes, to which we saw the faces of our Social Workers drop, quite shocked that we had been so quick to answer.... Oops!! More importantly to us, were the Social Workers still interested in us? This still chokes me, because what they said next gave me the first grasp of hope that this was even a possibility to anyone outside of our Local Authority..... They had decided prior to coming to visit us that unless something extreme happened during the visit that they had already told any other interested families that they had decided to go with us.............

The ground could have opened up and swallowed me at that point, and I would never have noticed!

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