I can’t believe that tomorrow we go before the Adoption Panel. It’s been a long time coming but at the same time it seems to have come round quickly.
Since the beginning of November we have endured (anybody who says it’s not an endurance test is lying!) the gruelling second stage of the adoption process. We have attended the third day of training, had 7 home study sessions (each up to 3 hours long) with our social worker delving into every minute detail of our lives, started voluntary youth work, had a session with our social worker and an adoptive parent, we’ve read books and completed online learning, attended information evenings and a children’s evening (that’s one for another post), and been observed looking after our friends’ children. Our home has been inspected and, despite the fact we’re currently childless, we’ve had to fit child safety locks to our cupboards. Our referees have been visited and questioned about us, our relationship and our relationship with them, yet we’ve been told repeatedly that we’ll lose friends because people who don’t have adopted children just don’t understand them. Add to that about 100 emails back and forth between us and the social worker for additional information, or information we’d already given but she couldn’t find or hadn’t written down during our sessions…. Then came the PAR (Prospective Adopters Report) all 70 pages which had so many mistakes, both grammatically and factually; I sat up until 1am two nights in a row highlighting our amendments and making comments to return to our social worker. I’m told we should have had 5 days to read and return the PAR but we had about 36 hours, and the late nights aside, reading about yourself and going over things you’d rather not think about (namely the miscarriages/ectopic and Dad’s death) is downright exhausting.
We also had a ‘second opinion’ visit from another social worker as our social worker felt there was an issue which needed further clarification. I shan’t go into the detail as I never know who’s reading this and it’d be obvious who I am from that detail, but let’s just say mountain out of a molehill on our social worker’s part. Neither of us understand why she’s caused such an issue about this particular topic because if anyone should have an issue it should be me, but I don’t because there isn’t one!!
All of the above in order to prove our worth, and to hopefully be approved by the Panel. However, even if the Panel say “yes” it’s not over. Just as our social worker has recommended approval, the panel can do the same, or not, but the ultimate decision rests with the Agency Decision Maker (ADM), a person we’ve never met and one who only knows us on paper. The person who has the power to override our social worker’s recommendation and that of the Panel, though I’m not sure what happens if the Panel say no or defer for further information. The person who holds our future happiness in their hands. Either way by this time tomorrow we’ll have the decision from Panel, and then we just have to wait a further 7 days to see if the ADM agrees.
If you’re the praying kind, then your prayers for tomorrow morning (and the following days) will be very much appreciated, and if you’re not then all positive thoughts and wishes of good luck will be equally appreciated. Our lives are about to begin, or crumble (hopefully not the latter).