SO… Here we are, Again.
Sat in a room equally as small, windowless, warm and brightly lit. A different room to last time nonetheless. Was this a conscious act of consideration on their part, probably not?
We were clutching at straws when it came to keeping composure and seeking comfort, being sat in a different but oh so familiar space did help with this though.
Thank you if this was a conscious decision.
We were taken through the same “what to expect” and “what happens now/next” speech. I sat like a cat on a hot tin roof, uncomfortably shuffling from hip to hip on the office style chair, that had fabric that seemed to push through my trousers and irritate my skin. All the while desperately try to appear positive and collected. Not the anxious inner me that was feeling, faint, sweaty, hot, sick, like the lights were to bright and the walls were moving in, the collar of my shirt felt like it was choking me and my clothes sticking to me like a second uncomfortable layer of skin, unable to really hear or pay attention to what was being said! I just needed to ‘appear’ in control and to get the fuck out of that room and to my safe place. I remember not really having any idea of who or where my safe place was anymore, it felt like we had been stripped of that during this process. I did however know it wasn’t in that room.
The chair of the panel came in, the same lady who had to deliver the unforgettable blow from last time. Only now she was fully aware of the thread that had been pulled and what had unravelled since.
So we were left, whilst our social worker and her manager were no doubt grilled about their undoings and our suitability, the finer details of the risk assessment.
I took solace in the bathroom where I could cool the palms of my hands down with cold running water and allow myself to just breathe.
I left, wetter and cooler but not a whole deal calmer, and they were waiting.
I remember thinking “Shit that was quick”.
We were invited in! A step closer than last time. We were welcomed by a room of 13 ‘Professionals’ who all have some relevant experience or insight into adoption.
They were all sat , with their glass of water, pile of papers and pens poised around an oversized collection of tables placed together to make this expanse of nothing between us and them!
The questions started.
I remember vividly the moment we were able to start talking, engaging with the panel, my shoulders dropped, my collar loosened, my throat opened and my palms cooled, my skin felt a little more comfortable as did the chair I was sat on.
After some time and 7 questions later we were told that was it, panel was over. Our fate had been sealed now! We were invited to leave the room and wait in the windowless box from before.
Our social worker was visibly moved as was her manager. We were able to let go of a breath we had been holding onto for too long, to only replace it with another.
Our social worker explained she wished she could have filmed it as in her mind that was the perfect panel. We answered correctly, we spoke in equal balance, with clarity, passion and honesty, all the time ensuring we were child centred.
10-15 minute passed with relative ease, and then the chair arrived. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so sick. I felt like liquid lead, like I could have just fallen to the floor and disappeared.
“we’re delighted to tell you it was a very easy and unanimous YES”
Writing this now still makes me cry!
A moment I will NEVER forget. I cried, ALOT, as did everyone else, for many days. Another breath we were able to let go of.
When I was a youngster I used to do a paper round. One morning whilst tentatively squeezing oversized papers into oversized doors with undersized letterboxes, I was knocked off my bike by a car. I remember the feeling of being hit, there was no pain (that came later), just a physical sensation and a headiness whilst being almost weightless. This was the same! I felt like I had been run over all over again. The relief I experienced when I came to and scrambled to my feet and checked my head to see no blood was the same we weren’t bleeding, we weren’t damaged, we were approved! We had stood tall in the face of adversity and had beaten the odds! It’s a feeling thats almost impossible to quantify and/or put into words but trust me when I say, I may not be able to explain it with any clarity but I will never forget it.
Several members of the panel came in and said how touched they were by what had happened to us and what wonderful parents we were going to be.
We were dealing with more paper work with our family finder, who was the very reason we were still sat in that room ( H should you ever read this you have no idea how much you did for us and how we will forever be indebted to you, your truly a special person ). There was another knock at the door, the CEO of the charity. Fear flushed over me again. ” I had asked to be informed by the chair what the outcome of your panel was” he explained he had been dealing with our case personally due to what had gone on “i would like to firstly apologise personally and on behalf of everyone else for what you have been subject to, your endurance and perseverance to see this process through is testament to the type of parents your now going to become, and lastly i would like to congratulate you”.
I cried some more, a lot more
In that moment all the wrongs had been put right. We hadn’t dreamt it all, what we had been put through was cruel and painful, we hadn’t imagined this, we hadn’t victimised ourselves. The past 12 months had actually happened. We had fallen victim to inexcusable misconduct, we had indeed been mistreated and dealt a cruel hand, judged by the lifestyle and choices of others, but we had surpassed the odds, we succeeded and we were going to become parents!
We drove home almost in silence. I cried in silence as waves of emotions repeatedly crashed into and over me.
Then we screamed from the roof tops to our nearest and dearest. We consciously hadn’t told anyone about this panel as we were afraid of being delivered another blow and then having to pay that forward again. In hearing our family and friends response and relief to our news made me realise how the trauma we had gone through hadn’t just affected us, it had laid its dirty fingers on everyone who was someone to us.
So now the real journey starts! Finding our children and creating our family.
Apparently dreams really do come true!