My ability to exercise my patience now has grown immeasurably during this whole journey. It was safe to say though I was more than eager to check my inbox!
There it was, a reply! So soon. We all know that social services are massively underfunded and as a result social workers are juggling excessive case loads like hot coals! We had become accustomed to accepting that the response times to our enquires were not reciprocated with the same sense of urgency. We could be waiting days, weeks or sometimes to never receive a reply. I still struggle with this now. I would like to think there isn’t an adoption social worker out there who isn’t aware of the massive emotional commitment you as an adopter invest in the rigorous process. So over worked or not I find it cruel that it’s ok not to get any form of acknowledgement.
We received a fair amount of interest from Social workers wanting us to consider children they were trying to place. I worked full time, 12hr days, 5/6 days a week, but without fail responded to EVERY message we were sent. Even if it was to exchange pleasantries and a kind thanks but no thanks.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is anyone who’s at this same stage. Don’t be disheartened by the lack of acknowledgement. The social worker with your children, will reply ( hopefully in good time ).
The boys family finder had replied almost instantly. Her response was uncharacteristically warm and personable compared to a lot of the interactions we experienced with other social workers and family finders online. She seemed to be excited by our interest. It turns out she had seen our profile at a national event where our agency where profiling their adopters. She had enquired about us in re to the boys but had got her wires crossed between us and another couple. A crossing of wires that left her believing we would not be interested.
Needless to say she was confused but excited by our request for more information and couldn’t have been more forthright or accommodating in the days and weeks and months to come. There were documents she wanted from us, our PAR report namely, from our fabulous family finder ( who unfortunately was on holiday ). I assured her that these would be sent ASAP. Its probably worth mentioning here that the set up of this website is a little big borther’esq. Our family finder and social worker are effectively CC’d in on EVERYTHING we do on this site. As a result they are able to follow our tracks on line. I felt for Hannah, as the messages between us and them came thick and fast there was an excitement, and undercurrent of energy that ran through our messages and our poor family finder had to come back and catch up on them all….… Hannah Im sorry for that.
Hannah returned, caught up, called me to ask what on earth had happened during her time off.
PAR’s were sent and in return we received the boys equivalent. Until now we have no idea how the boys have come to end up in the system and what their “story” is. We were warned that this huge document was a very traumatic read and was best done together. We made a vow that whatever our children “Story” was it would remain that, theirs, and theirs alone. Theirs to share when they’re old enough to process everything it involves, should they want to.
This is a question you soon become fiercely protective over. I don’t know if it’s a natural curiosity or sheer nosiness but people want to know and think nothing of asking so flippantly…so what happened? How bad was it?. I don’t think I’ve never asked ” so tell me…how was the shag the night you conceived? Did you fake it?” or ” so come on how mangled was your vagina after you gave birth, stitches?” There are somethings I have no right to know nor should I wish to. Our boys and their conception into adoption should be afforded the same privacy.
They weren’t wrong. We cried. ALOT. Without fixating on the grotesque sadness of it all, the one thing we were left with was an overwhelming sense of potential and fierce protectiveness, that to this day has not subsided, quite the opposite. We knew, We felt these were ‘our’ boys and we wanted them home, safe and loved, where they belonged.
Hannah was now in on the relentless loop of messages between us and them. It would be fare to say the professionals involved our end had concerns. 1) siblings? 2) one with huge emotional/developmental uncertainty a true unknown risk/entity, unknown in every sense.
In what felt like no time at all we had a home visit booked. The boys family finder and social worker were coming to visit us, to access our suitability. Would our online exchanges match up with the real deal? Would we come across as well? We’ve all had that online dalliance where their online persona was to be polite, a little different to the one staring back at you whilst you watch the paint dry on the wall behind them.
We fretted, I didn’t sleep. The night before I was awake till the small hours cleaning on top of and behind things that the roaming eye would never see. I cooked up a picnic pie, as I was sure having travelled in excess of 250 miles each way in a day, they would need feeding. The picnic pie is a staple of mine the can be served hot or cold. So I set to, I made my pastry, I blind baked my case and lovingly filled the pie. In the morning I had convinced myself I was going to poison everyone, so binned it! I rushed to the nearest marks and spencers to buy all that was needed for ham and cheese croissants. This felt like a fool hardy salmonella free plan! I hadn’t banked on a clumsy encounter with a bread knife.
Our social worker had arrived early to run through what to expect
- They will have questions based on our PAR and the dreaded risk assessment
- We would be one of 2 or 3 other applicants they would be visiting
- This was also an opportunity for us to ask questions and gain clarity
- I’m sure there was more
We waited with bated breath, thankfully we don’t have carpet or I think it may have become thread bare with the incessant pacing of jack, I, 3 dogs, and the token cat and social worker. I fought back every ounce of my body and mind wanting to indulge itself in its comfortable place of anxiety. A space I refused to go into. On this occasion it would not get the better of me!.
They pulled up and instantly exuded warmth. We were welcomed with hugs and kisses, this very much felt like a continuation of our virtual relations. This felt like a positive start.
Jack and I are proud of where we live and love our home so we revealed in the opportunity to be able to show it off. The spare rooms had not been lovingly fitted out with furniture, we were advised against this pre having a match approved. We hoped the rural setting of the property and the slightly unconventional set up would go in our favour. We were met with lots of “wow,” “this is perfect,” ” I can see them running around here…playing here,” etc , etc. It became very difficult to not run away with the feelings of “shit this is it, they get us, they love the house, they see our vision’. To start placing the children in the rooms, seeing them running around, all thoughts their responses where creating. I genuinely felt like they “got it” they felt what we felt, the understood our illogic logic. They saw and got me and us! Something i’ve not been afforded all that often.
We sat around the table and the questions started. Curious, and eager to learn, not in any way formal or structured. It had a flow to it we had not experienced previously. Half way through I heated up my recently purchased croissants. We had asked for up to date medicals for the boys which we perused whilst everyone else ate and I tried to disguise and hide my bleeding thumb from my dalliance with the bread knife. The idea of eating seemed unfathomable for me at this point.
We spoke and enjoyed learning more about the boys, and them us, to then be asked if we wanted to see photos. The photos online of the boys where snatched moments on a mobile phone so were unclear and unfocused. We jumped at the chance, I cried silently. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. It all felt very very right and real, first nursery photos of our boys!. A complete out of body experience.
The hours passed and we were asked if we had anymore questions?. We were full, of all manner of things, feelings, emotions, thoughts, questions, sorrow, joy, admiration, trepidation, excitement , etc. We assured them we were suitably full! The level of information we were provided with was incredible.
What happened next blew us away and took our Social worker by surprise to.
The boys story had made national media and as a result all the senior managers of the team where heavily involved and invested in the boys and their future.
” so this isn’t protocol but if you have no more questions we would like to say that all the managers involved have agreed that we want these boys to come home to you, we have closed down all other conversations”
This was like being hit but a bus of immeasurable weight and speed. I cried silently. Our social worker quickly jumped in, to dampen the fire and knee jerk response we would of give and explained to them that we all needed some time to process what had been discussed today, the emphasis was largely to do with the uncertainty surrounding Trex ( as he’s now affectionally named ) Given it was Friday we would take the weekend to think over, ponder and process everything that had just happened and we would get back to them. We would dance the dance and indulge the protocol.