So today was the day.
Months of preparation and soul-searching and deeply personal self analysis - and having to present all that to the social worker, and it was finally the day to face the adoption panel.
As a part of trying to prepare for this I Had done some searching on-line to try to find out other people’s experiences and get some inkling of what to expect. I found very little – at least in this country – so I wanted to share ours for anyone else looking for the same information.
We were somewhat nervous as you might expect. We left in loads of time just in case traffic was bad and got to the locality very early. So we went for a coffee – then we got back in the car and headed off down the last five minutes of the journey – only for the sat-nav – to deliver us at the wrong end of the campus where the panel was being held. And from that end you could not drive across it – so we had to drive miles around to get back in the other end. Thankfully we still made it in time.
We met our Social worker and sat and waited. Only to be told they were running 30 minutes late.
OK – we remained calm and waited. Until finally it was our turn.
We expected them to call the social worker in first to go over things with her before then calling us in. However that didn’t happen they just invited us all in at once. We sat down in front of a panel of eight people. They all introduced themselves and were very welcoming and the whole things was very relaxed. Though we were still racked with nerves - I don’t think anything really would have relaxed us.
They each asked us at least one question. Thinking about it now they were questions that if they had come out of the blue would have been very difficult to answer. However, they were on the subjects that we had covered in-depth over the long period of home assessment. So this is where the hard work pays off. We could answer them with confidence and with honesty.
Once they had finished we had the opportunity to ask question - we had none – our minds left blank by now. They then asked us to wait in a side room so they could talk to the social worker in private.
We went in feeling like contestants in Strictly come dancing – I was expecting spotlights and dramatic music. Rachel sat down and I took off my jacket, went to sit down and the door opened. The social worker poked her head around the door and asked us back in. It was only two minutes! Immediately thought that we had not covered something and they were bringing us back for clarification. We sat down and the chair said.
“I am happy to say that we unanimously recommend you for approval to adopt!”
The main reason they gave were
- Our experience of having a child already.
- Our experiences with dealing with trauma and loss
- The strong support network of family and friends around us
- The fact that we have demonstrated a willingness to seek help and advice when needed
Wow! Rachel told me later she had great difficulty not jumping on me at that moment.
So – it’s not quite official yet. It has to go to the independent decision maker now. This will take no longer than 10 working days. From our understanding from all kinds or sources though it is only in a very very rare minority of cases that the decision maker overturns the panels recommendation. So fingers crossed!
It’s a fantastic hurdle to have gotten past. Next up – the matching process!