Adoption Approval Panel

Rewind to our approval panel………..told you adoption was confusing!

Nearly 8 months on, from the day we first met someone from the adoption agency, we were sat facing 10 independent panel members about to make the biggest decision of our lives….whether we were able to adopt and bring up a child.

Fast forward 15 minutes…..yes, that is all……we were approved!

We couldn’t believe it, but were more than pleased, that 67 hours + 8 months = 15 minutes of decision making!

It was quite nerve wracking but, surprisingly, we felt quite confident and Ok about the whole thing. It was just like going to a job interview (something I haven’t done for 18 years!) but with too many people behind the opposite side of the desk! It was also quite intimidating. They tried, a little, to ease that tension by smiling and trying to be welcoming. But they have to have some sort of professional wall up I suppose. It was just not very nice having to sit opposite 10 people, 8 of whom asked a question each! It was all fine. The only thing I didn’t like was, as the panel chairwoman started proceedings she said “right, let’s start with the positives” which made my heart sink because then, all I could think was “I wonder what the negatives are”, which didn’t do anything for making me more relaxed. We actually did mention that in the feedback form. As I mentioned earlier, we’d promised to be honest through the entire process.

They mentioned how strong our relationship appeared to be, how supportive our family were and how we’d been brought up very similarly in stable homes. They mentioned my experience with adoption through my Mum and our experience with learning disabilities and physical disabilities through us and other family members.

Then they moved on to the questions. The first question they asked was what we’d thought and felt about the process so far. Bit bizarre to be the first question I thought but maybe it was like one of those questions before a lie detector test that puts you at ease and then the ‘real’ ones come firing at you like a bullet out a gun!

They then asked the following questions;

“What plans had we put in place to “sort our cat out” (that old chestnut again)

“What experience did we have with children” – I have heaps of experience with children but it appears it wasn’t enough. They want “official” experience, as in going to a nursery.

“What characteristics were we looking for in a child” – we got very confused with this one and became a bit embarrassing. Actually, what she meant was had we considered what we could ‘cope with’ in a childs history. So, whether we could ‘take on’ a child with severe disabilities for example. The medical advisor had to step in to help me answer that one but, thinking about it afterwards, we did think that a questioner should make it easy for the person answering to….well….answer.

And after wracking our brains now for ages we cannot for the life of us remember what else they asked us! I think we may have blocked it from our minds!

We then left the room while our SW stayed in to have a final discussion and ten minutes later she came down the stairs and said “that’s that done, you’ve been approved”! And that was that. The only negative, and this is what we have felt really through the process so far, is that nothing we do ever quite feels enough. There’s always a “but”. So the “but” for this achievement was to be told we “must get experience with children”. It just gets very frustrating when you feel like you’re not being listened to (as mentioned before, I have heaps of experience with children) and you’re having to overly prove yourselves all the time.

It was a very strange feeling being approved. I had imagined I’d burst in to tears with relief or, at the very least, been excited. But we felt nothing at all. We realised immediately having been approved that, actually, we were just in the middle of the process. The big stuff was yet to come.

We left the building with our SW, had a ten minute chat before she headed off and we headed back home and didn’t really say much about it. We phoned our Mum’s and Dad’s, texted a few others, spoke to a friend who also adopted through the same charity, went for something to eat, I had 2 mojito’s which didn’t hit the sides as I walloped them down and then ended up back at home, 2 hours later, conked out on the sofa for 4 hours!

A very bizarre day indeed! And we’ve got to go through it all over again when we get linked with a child! But, I suspect, there will be tears at that one……..

 

 

 

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