Im sat here, on a a cold, bright, crisp Sundays evening, roast in, crackling crisping, and the kitchen filling with the aroma of hot lard, in preparation for the bashed up potatoes shortly due to be dunked into the vat of piping hot lard!. Its a peculiar smell but on that wraps me likes a warm blanket, one that remind me of my nan, the woman I lived with in my influential teens. We held each others hands through our different but equally painful journeys, hers through loss, mine through acceptance seeking and ultimately loss, little did we know!. Lard cooked roasties and crispy bottomed, brown edged fried eggs will always evoke memories of very happy times.
Today also marks the end of ‘LGBT adoption and fostering week’. I realised when I logged in its been nearly two years since I last updated this page! What a two years it’s been.
The arrival of new nieces and nephews.
A house move.
The loss of a man I loved like no other, one of my biggest teachers and healers, a true Inspiration.
Long haul travel with children.
The arrival of Covid19
The learnings of THREE national lock downs.
And ultimately the re approval of us as not only adopters but a family wishing/wanting to grow and build on what is already a pretty beautiful unit!.
To mention a few…
I planned on bringing the blog and you up to speed in this update but it feels like so much has happened in this time frame that it seems unjust to try and summaries the past two years, so I wont, instead talking about where we are in the here and now.
SO my thoughts are this little snippet into our world will largely focus on our our recent re approval.
Jakk ( one of 6 ) me ( one of 4 ) have grown up in very different homes but equal in their business. We span different eras, myself a child of the 80’s, Jakk a ‘Millennial” but we share a common thread, a busy home.
We had always spoken about our shared desire to have what most would consider to be ” a large family”. Then we were matched with our boys, one of which required a lot of re printing due to his early years, a little boy who everyone thought would always struggle in a larger family, a little boy who would always need intense 1:1 relationships to nurture his then ‘under development’.
We spent many months therapeutically reparenting our boys, flying against the grain and doing all the things we were told not to do, because he wouldn’t cope.
In what at the time felt like an insurmountable task we made progress and with hindsight, the progress was rapid, so much so that 2 years after our celebration hearing we decided t0 pick up the baton again.
We had moved in the August before as our eldest starting school meant being so remote was going to potentially hinder his relations as would be the house no one wanted to drive to as it was an off road mission.
So we moved, an experience I will reflect on in another post as it definitely posed its challenges for all of us, but like all of these “challenges” the things “not to do” if managed positively can be hugely beneficial in creating and adding to strong, secure and positive attachments.
In the middle of a summer like no other, when we couldn’t leave our homes, we decided…. NOW was the time. We made the call . We were always very clear that we planned on using the same agency as last time if were to run the gauntlet again, for lots of reasons, namely because they knew us and we knew them, we naively thought this would stream line the process.
We made the initial phone call where we asked the same pro forma questions as last time which seemed more than irrelevant as we are now parents? so much of the initial assessment and training is based on hypothesis, we are living proof now? Or so I thought.
We were for our social worker her first second time adopters. As we worked our way trough the arduous amounts of paperwork, both her and we soon earned that the whole process is in no way geared up toward second time adopters. All of the questions were based on childless applicants which seemed very short sighted.
We were questioned on our ability to parent, how would we manage the challenges of becoming parents, all questions that didn’t feel that relevant or entirely appropriate.
We had gone from 0 – 2, one child of 3.5 years old with significant delay and uncertainty and a 6 months old baby, surely we had earned our “how will you parent/cope” badge. We were/are in no way under any dissolutions about the emotional and logistical challenges growing our family will pose for not only us but our children. I feel going from no children, having never parented, no understanding on how we would parent singularly or as a couple and the impact that has on your relationship stands us in pretty good stead. Whilst we like before had little to no idea about the challenges growing our brood would pose, we knew who we were as a family, as parents, parents to our boys, a positions of knowledge we didn’t have first time round, we would all manage, grow and better for it.
I learned then that most second time adopters are those who are adopting birth siblings rather than those who like us, are looking to grow their family trough non biological means.
TO be clear our boys birth parents have separated and thankfully the likelihood of us receiving “that” phone call was remote. SO do we wait for the illusive biological relation or continue to create and build on our own, we chose the later.
We completed the necessary paperwork, a task the felt very repetitive, and now we waited with baited breath, would we be considered good enough this Time round, good enough as actual agents not the hypothetical ones of 3 years before had we done a good enough job.?.
It felt very different this time round, we were being judged on us as a family, it felt much more personal, there was no hypothesis on “us” on our ability to parent it was laid bare in all its raw glory.
COVID19 meant that everything was virtual, there were only two home visits, one of which was a 1:1 with our eldest. snap shot opportunity to someone he had never met to grasp his ability to manage having more children in his family. It felt cruel and not in any way appropriate that soo much emphasis was placed on this 6 year old , who innocently dreamt of having 4 sisters!
There was a lot of emphasis placed on him, and his perceived ability to manage or cope with more children. how would a child who had experienced such ever levels of neglect manage? The irony being is he out of the two of them is the only one who has experienced siblings arriving and the challenges that can poses for all kids.
One of the comments from our social worker after her 1;1 session was she had never met a child of his age who had such a developed sense of “self” and his belonging within our family. Thank you.
We had 6-8 zoom sessions where our social worker was able to reflect on our previous PAR and make the necessary amendments, then the beast came back to bite, the In Laws, the same issues we had before, we believed the previous risk assessments had left that ugly beast to rest, but it appeared not! despite us actually having two very happy, safe, secure, loved children, who had progressed immeasurably we found ourselves in the same ugly rutt.
I struggled with it more this time as it felt personal! these”professionals” had been invited into not only my children’s past but their present, our family, all the while judging and jeopardising our future, continually being judged on our ability to manage someone else perceived risk.
So we like before were left waiting, as we all now know with living in lock down one of the things that drags in time, and once again we found ourselves feeling like this was working against us!… 5 days later we were given, once again the all clear.
We waited for panel ……. this would be a very different experience to last time.
Panel like all parts of the process this time round was conducted virtually, a very odd experience but Id be lying if I said I didn’t Prefer this to the holding room of last time.
We had several panel member the were the same as last time which was lovely, and there was comfort with that, ;like a well worn jumper.
Before we started several members of panel complimented and commented on the progress our eldest had made! the 6 year old they read about 3 years ago who was assessed as being around 12-15months old in terms of his global development was now age appropriate was incredible.
We were asked about how they believed we would manage more children and the impact this could have on the boys. We are more than confident that growing our family is the right decision, and the boys are more than able to deal with the challenges this will pose them, like all children who become siblings. For us growing up in “large” families for sure had its challenges, but the huge benefits far out weigh those challenges.
Within 20 mins we were done and we were virtually kicked out the room, a few moments later we were welcomed back into the meeting where we were told we had
unanimous yes for a second time. We had been re approved for for either a single child or another sibling group of 2 under the age of two. ( most social workers will look fo there to be a minimum of 2 years between your youngest child and any children coming home to join your family).
We were warned that due to covid matching was slow and the amount of children that fit our criteria was even lower, we are now two months in and waiting patiently for our next addition or additions.