Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lea-ving on a jet plane

We are going away for a few days to see my friend in Spain. Not long, we will be back on Tuesday, but the break is well-timed.

It does remind me, however, that last time I went to see this friend in Spain I came back and discovered I was pregnant. For the first time . . . 4 years ago, almost exactly.

Today, because we were going away we decided we should phone KT just in case she was going to try and contact us while we were away (well, she might).

R managed to squeeze out of her that she has sent our Form F to another social worker.

This is good - something is happening, but I don't have too much information to obsess on.

Maybe something will happen.

Who knows?

Back next week.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I know (but so much still to learn)

Why did they show me his face?
(A broad smile; a child charming the camera. Adorable.)
Why do I remember it?
Why do I see his smile still?

All those dates that I have banished. I have done so well. I do not mark a day out for grieving, because of ‘this time last year / two years ago / three years ago'.

I have let go.

But his date of birth was written in huge font across the top of his details, just under the words ‘Urgently seeking adoption’. Just above his picture. I shan’t forget his birthday. Or his picture.

I know his name.
I know about his birth parents, and what he is likely to inherit from them.

I know the colour of his hair.
I know the colour of his eyes.
I know when he was ‘taken into care’.
I know what state he was in when they took him in.
I know what he likes to eat.
I know he is already walking.

I know I shall never know him.

He will never know me.
I know another kind of grief.

But I know I will let go of this little boy too.

I know that never mind what was meant to be, this is what is, and I can’t change that.

I am getting over it.
You do, you know.
Well, I do, I know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hate the world today

Stupid fucking title to this blog - choosing to adopt is not about getting off a rollercoaster - it's just a whole different one.

Fucking assholes weren't serious and have not taken the process any further with us (after INSISTING that KT consult us last week).

If it is any consolation, [hardly really, it makes no difference now] our agency has just blacklisted the agency which has screwed us over, and are very angry on our behalf.

Do they KNOW what this is like? Do they KNOW that this weekend I finally forced myself to BELIEVE that this may really happen, and cleared out the 'spare room'. Bar the cot, and redecorating (and we were waiting to see what colour his current room was before we did that) it was all ready. R put the fence up in the garden. It really had become real, and now it's been taken away from us AGAIN.

I know this is irrational, and childish but I just keep feeling it will always be taken away from me, the minute I get excited. And stupidly I had got excited.

7 miscarriages, just one missed adoption . . . so far.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

That Email - or "how I told my colleagues . . ."

Here it is - my email that I sent to the rest of my team at work - I have finally 'come out' and told them what is going on. Then, yesterday we had a big company 'do' which included plenty of opportunity for talking to various people about the situation. Lots of people know now. It is becoming more and more real.

There is a whole post that I want to write about my trepidation in this stage of the process, but I am working up to facing the truth and putting it in writing. . .

In the meantime, here is what I wrote:


I think the time has come to break some news . . .

Last summer, in the middle of August 2006, I picked up the telephone and called Social Services to send me some information on how to adopt a child.

That was just the beginning of a long and fairly arduous process which has involved various courses, lots of reading, many, many meetings with social workers, (particularly our own, rather sardonic, sometimes very negative one!), lots of form filling and soul-searching and even considerable work on our garden to convince the authorities that we were not planning to drown any prospective child in the brook!

Finally, on the 15th October (last month) we attended the dreaded ‘Adoption Panel’ where R and I had to appear before 12 members of a panel of deeply scary people who would decide whether or not we could be approved as adoptive parents.

I am truly excited and delighted to say that we were approved to adopt one child in the age range 0 – 3. Or possibly two children, if close in age. OMG. Really. Deep. Breath.

Approval, however, is really only another stage on the way. It’s kind of when the waiting begins.

We are now waiting to find “a match”.

We have been waiting for a month, and have been told it may take up to . . . well, any length of time really . . . and there is no guarantee it will ever happen.

So back to ‘normal life’.

And then on Tuesday evening our Social Worker called with the news that they have found a potential match for us. She was adamant however that we MUST NOT get excited at this stage as it is very early days. There is a long process to go through, other couples are also potential matches at this point so it really may not be for us. (But we are keeping our fingers crossed – and you know me, I am not a bit excited!)

EVEN IF this one does happen, we are unlikely to take our little one home until some time after Christmas. And PLEASE REMEMBER – this one REALLY may not happen. I just wanted you to know what was going on.

There, I told you it was a bombshell!


P.S. If your next question is what do I plan to do when we get a child, my answer is that adoption leave is almost exactly the same as maternity leave. You won’t see me in work for at least a few months!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Stages of Excitement?

  1. First get approved. (Pretty exciting . . . for about a day or two, until it sinks in that this is kind of like passing a very important exam - a huge achievement, and you are suddenly much more 'eligible' - but the search for the perfect job is only just beginning . . . and there MAY not be a job out there for you).
  2. Your profile is circulated among 'Homefinders' in neighbouring local authorities. They are responsible for identifying possible placements for children in their area. (OK. Not very exciting at all - kind of like you have dropped your CV off at an employment agency, but you aren't really sure if they are really doing anything with it).
  3. SW contacts you about A Child. It's a real Child. The Child you have hoped for, dreamed about. (It is very easy to get excited at this point, but remind yourself that this is just like seeing the ad for your dream job. You haven't got it yet - and there are probably plenty of better-qualified people out there). THIS IS WHERE WE ARE. PLEASE NOTE - WE ARE ONLY HERE!! ALL STAGES AFTER THIS MAY NEVER HAPPEN.
  4. SW calls to say your details have now passed from the Homefinder to The Child's social worker - and they want to meet with you. (Ah - we are invited for interview. This is both exciting and terrifying. You prepare to make a first impression - but stress levels are high - a lot will hang on this).
  5. Meeting with HF and The Child's SW (with your own SW) takes place - usually at your house. You may see a video of The Child, certainly plenty of photos and lots of documentation. Talk lots and lots about how you would meet Child's needs, how you would overcome any issues, how you would deal with problems, your support networks. (This is sooooo exciting, though you are still trying to keep a lid on it. But getting this far is beginning to make it seem REALLY REAL . . . it's 'first interview' stage).
  6. The three interviewers from #5 (above) meet and discuss in private how you got on. (Will you will make it to second interview?) Still trying to keep a lid on the excitement - it's nail-biting.
  7. A formal matching meeting takes place between all of the SWs who have potential parents for The Child. You do not attend. It may be as soul-less as a tick-box exercise to sort out the various candidates. You wouldn't want to be there. (HR has got the upper hand now - I have always thought people were better judges of compatibility and empathy - but HR says it is about points). This is the point at which you are MOST LIKELY to fall off the shortlist. Bye-bye baby. (This is why you shouldn't have got so stupidly excited sooner - silly Bridget).
  8. Matching Panel. This is it. They are about to offer you The Job. Unless something goes quite badly wrong. Which is rare but CAN happen. Be warned. You are not there . . . quite.
  9. We won! We won! The matching panel approved us - The Child will be Ours! We are now finally allowed to be REALLY EXCITED. Excited for real. To the power of 10.

We have not got there yet though. In the meantime, however, I am more than happy to have you guys do the excited bit. I feel like I am in a bit of a trance, and can't let myself feel too much. It all feels far too dangerous. I guess the obvious analogy (which you will understand that I did not want to use) is the being pregnant. I feel a bit as though that should be the analogy I use, but if I try to think of myself as newly pregnant. . . that's no use at all - I know it won't work out. It will all come crashing down. My defenses are almost too good now - just as I could not allow myself a glimmer of hope with my last pregnancy, I can barely do it now. And yet there is a huge difference. This child lives and breathes and is waiting for a family.


  • The agency which is handling this current 'potential match' operates something called 'competitive matching'. This means we will be played off directly against other couples. It may really at some stage be more about ticking a higher number of boxes than another couple.
  • We are currently only at stage 3 of the above process. There is a hell of a long way to go. Okay?
  • KT would not even have contacted us under normal circumstances but the homefinder insisted, before our forms could be passed to the child's SW. The child's SW might just not think us right. It could all stall in the next week or so.
  • Or it could stall in the next month or so.
  • I don't know if I can hold it together in these meetings - I get VERY nervous for job interviews and this is SO much more important. I am afraid I will either be apparently UNDER excited, uninterested, or so overwrought and overexcited that I come across like a maniac.

In other news: I wrote an email after work to the rest of my team and broke the news about what is happening. They don't even know I have been going through this whole adoption process for the last year and a half. I gave it the subject line ' A small bombshell ' - I may post it here actually.

I also told my manager, just to keep her in the loop. I gave her chapter and verse of all the provisos.

I have to remember that somewhere out there, there is at least one other couple, possibly more who are pinning their hopes on this little boy. And as R so rightly said - "the important thing is he will be adopted by someone who will love him - even if it's not us". My husband blows me away sometimes. He is desperate to have this child too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The telephone rang!

R's cousin and his partner (the one who lost her baby last December at 24 weeks) had dropped by yesterday evening on their way home from Devon. They had been to River Cottage to learn about pig butchering (they live in Darkest Wales and keep pigs) and while on the course had somehow managed to win a bottle of champagne. We decided to open it straightaway (of course!) and had settled down in the living room around the fire when the phone rang.

Music was playing and at gone 8pm on a Tuesday evening I wasn't expecting a call from KT. Once I realised who it was I nearly hit the ceiling.

"I don't really know how to start. . . " she began
"Just talk to me!" I squeaked.

And she told us there is a possible match.
A little boy, nearly a year old.


So I am not excited at all, (can you tell?) but WE HAVE A MEETING TO FIND OUT MORE FROM KT TOMORROW MORNING.

Must go to work now!