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Long time no see!

well I completely forgot about this blog until today when I decided I wanted to start one.

A lot has happened since the last post. 5 weeks ago our 3 amazing adoptive children came home. Our fox Cubs have completed our family (well with the rabbits that arrived just after them) Pink3, blue5 and blue6 are all settling in really well.

In our true style, things didn’t run smoothly to get here. We had approval panel January 2015 where we were approved for one or two siblings. They made a big deal out of our age with one member calling us immature for going to panel when we would be moving 7 months later and at that point didn’t have jobs to move to. (Panel was the Wednesday and I was offered a job on the Friday)

Anyway, like planned we went on hold whilst we made the big move. In July 2015 the school I worked at closed and we moved from Germany to South Yorkshire. What a shock that was to the system! In August we found the home we wanted to buy and just had to wait for the mortgage to be sorted and the house to be built! At the beginning of December we moved into our first ever owned home.

Just before Christmas we got the news we wanted, we were off hold! We were warned we could be family finding for a long time and not to get our hopes up. We were proactive on link mAkers and we had lots of interest over Christmas from social workers, we also had our first taste of disappointment, being told no! The first one was awful, but actually turned out to be the best! The social workers of these 2 children passed our details on to another social worker in the office who sent us an enquiry about 3 siblings- the ones!!

At this point our amazing social worker also told us she was leaving and we would get a new social worker. This upset us as we had a great relationship with her and worried about the next one. However, we shouldn’t have worried. Our new one is equally amazing.

in February we had a busy week, we had social workers wanting to see us about to different sibling groups, ours and another and we were meeting our new sw on the day in between. The sws that were meant to come first cancelled at the last minute deciding not to track from London up here. We were wracked with nerves meeting the sw and family finder of our 3, but needent have worried. They were lovely, they gave us lots of information, photos and videos and we gave them cake! Our old sw was with us and had said not to say yes when we were there so we tried to play it cool! As soon as they left we looked at each other and just knew, as did our sw. She rang them straight away and we heard a squeal of delight from them both! We were linked!

A life appreciation day was booked where we went with our new sw to visit the boys school and talk to their teacher then we met with their fc. This was another brilliant day, lots of information, more photos and more cake! A panel day was booked and introductions scheduled.

Then a few weeks later, bad news! They wanted us to go back to our approval panel and up the aprooval to three. We waited nervously for a panel date, meaning a trip to London.

Approval panel mark 2 arrived, we weren’t as nervous as the last time. We caught the train down south and made our way across to panel where we met both our sws (old one arranged with her new job to come as she knew us better)  they went in, we sat with nerves building. Then we went in, two questions, 5 minutes we all left and waited for their verdict. We didn’t have long to wait, we had done it!

We left  the sws to contact the la and tell them and we made the most of our day, getting back up north was a nightmare, a fire on the mainline caused havoc. An emergency phone call to my mum and she sorted the dogs for us! Mums really are amazing!

The next day I heard from the la, they still wanted us! Panel and introductions  were booked back in, we would only be meeting them a week later than planned!

Their sw came to visit and update us on some negative behaviour changes due to a previous adoptive couple being introduced and then not going forward. Nothing we thought we couldn’t deal with.

panel came and again, it wasn’t a clean sweep, some members thought that adoption was no longer the right plan for eldest because of his behaviour change. So we sat and waited again for the agency decision maker to decide!

On friday 15th April we got the yes we wanted, and introductions were now starting on the Monday! With a frantic search for dog sitters and packing up for a week our last weekend as a family of 2 quickly disappeared.

On monday 18th April 2016 our lives changed for ever! We met our three amazing children. A completely surreal day that seems like a lifetime ago now!

 

 

I’ll do separate posts about introductions and life since they arrived later.

 

 

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More stage 2

This week our social worker came back to visit us. She spent 3 days with us, 1 day with each of us alone and 1 day with us both together. It was a successful 3 days. She watched us with a friends daughter to see how we interact with children. Whilst we spend a lot of time with C looking after her, on days out etc this was a very bizarre situation. C knows that we are in the process of adoption and has done a lovely letter and picture for our portfolio but for an 8 year old its difficult to find out why there wasn’t a child with the social worker!

The social worker looked through our portfolio and gave us lots of positives about the work we have done so far. We now have to order our portfolio looking at how we meet each of the competencies.

Back to to the waiting- our social worker told us we are still on track for December panel but she had to discuss this with her boss on Thursday and would email us back this week. It’s now Saturday and we’ve still not heard. So December or January. Who knows!

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A long day

Today our sw spent the whole day with us. She arrived at 10 and we got on with some more paperwork that needed doing. We then got on with the assessment, we started with how we met and went through our whole life together so far. This was then followed by a long discussion into our infertility treatment. We talked about the whole process in detail and how it made us feel, I expected this part to be difficult however, it wasn’t. I’ve been very open about what we’ve been through and how difficult I found this so think that helped me today. (Cheese alert) I’ve even said recently that we were always meant to adopt and had to go through this horrible part of our life to realise that.

Then this afternoon we talked about the types of children we felt able to adopt, this certainly gave us a bit more to think about. We know we would like siblings but we are very open to everything. It’s important for us to find the right child/ren so we seem very flexible. There were only a couple of things we feel unable to cope with and even saying this made me feel awful. Thankfully our social worker is fantastic, and reassured me that it’s ok to say this as it has to be right for the child.

We moved on to talking about our identities, personalities and health. Talking about our own identity is something we touched on at prep group, it’s not something T and I talk about very often and it’s funny to hear his opinions on different things.

When the sw left I realised how tired I actually felt after the day, still got to clean and do some school work! She’s back in the morning so I best get a move on, T’s gone food shopping.

 

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Frustrations…

So today we had the first part of our stage 2 assessment. In my head I’ve had a timeline of events in my head and whilst I knew it wouldn’t work to my plan I didn’t expect what she told us. Due to our work/ living arrangements it is going to be another year before we can look at being placed with children, we were hoping 4/5 months. I totally understand the reasons behind the decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. Local authorities won’t be willing to place children with us when we will be moving in August, they will want us both to be living together and settled in our new area to make connections for support. Still made my stomach churne hearing the news. 

 

But on a brighter note, onwards and upwards! It’s taken us this long so far another 6 months just gives us longer to prepare. Our sw still wants to aim for a December panel, as long as she can fit all the visits in her busy schedule. Trying to prepare for the fact it might end up being January. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for December, what a christmas present that will be!! 

 

More stage 2 tomorrow…

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The future..?

So with less than a 100 days until our potential panel date and the social worker visiting again in 2 days my mind has started wandering. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the child/ren we will be placed with. How old will they be? Boy/ girl? What will they enjoy doing? I have perminant butterflies of nerves an

d excitement, I expect these will only get stronger the further we go!

My husband and I are proactive, and we want to get things moving as quickly as possible. I have done lots of courses that are relevant so have filed all the certificates in our portfolio, we have planned a sample menu, written LOTS of book reviews and got some of our friends to write supporting statements. I have done lots of research online but struggled to find anything on what else we may need to include in our portfolio. This mystery doesn’t help my nerves!

Now to make sure the house and garden are ready for Friday and find out what stage 2 really entails. 

 

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Stage 1

Back in February 2014 I got back in touch with our adoption agency to register our interest. We had to wait until March for a social worker to visit us but it was worth the wait! She gave us lots more information and talked us through the process, we were amazed at the supposed speed of the new process and wanted to get on with it as quickly as we could.

Our agency only runs 4 prep courses a year and as a teacher the only one we could attend was in August. This meant that we couldn’t start stage 1 straight away but we could begin the reading now, one tip write a review of everything you read/ watch related to adoption as it will come in VERY useful later in the process. I wasn’t told this so I’m now having to re-read some things to write a review!

Our social worker returned to see us in May and helped us with the specifics of the stage 1 documents, pet questionnaires for our lovely 2 dogs, family trees, chronology, finance forms and a support map. We filled in our DBS forms and sent them off after 8 weeks we still hadn’t had them returned so started to chase them up, this was the most stressful part of the process to date. Lots of phone calls, emails and crying my certificate turned up, my husbands was still in the early stages. By now it was the start of August so off we went on our prep course, an extremely useful week in London. But this meant we couldn’t keep chasing up T’s DBS, whilst in London we saw our social worker who was pleased we were finding the course useful and hadn’t been put off. We knew that we had to have T’s certificate by the time our social worker came back from leave if we wanted to start stage 2 on September 1st. This gave us 3 weeks, the certificate kept us waiting until the last minute and eventually arrived the day before our social worker returned from her leave!

Now we could relax, well for a week.