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Brownies had to be made, the house cleaned, the cat kicked out… This was what we’d been waiting for.
Published: November 18, 2016
Tom and his husband adopted in 2015. In the 2nd of 3 blogs he remembers the excitement and uncertainty of waiting to be matched with a child.
When we were approved as adopters in October 2014 we knew that we would potentially have to play the waiting game. Everyone we talked to – social workers, our agency – said that there were no babies available for adoption. The only children waiting were some 3 or 4 year olds and many older ones. But, although we knew the odds weren’t in our favour, we were determined to hold out for a baby as long as we could. We also had faith/belief/a vision that our child was out there.
We were added to the Adoption Register (your adoption agency should do this for you automatically once you’re approved) joined Adoption Link and pestered our social worker and agency daily. These are great resources available only to approved adopters and allow Local Authorities to share profiles of all their children seeking forever families. It’s not easy viewing these profiles. Children are up for adoption for so many different reasons. The main ones are usually neglect, some kind of abuse and often, problems resulting from drug use by birth parents– which can have lasting impact on children’s development. Some of the reading we had to do was difficult. Those poor children! This is what all the training and assessment should prepare you for. Although, to be honest, nothing really prepares you. But what the training does do is make you aware of these situations. One thing that gave me comfort was the fact that profiles were being removed every day which meant children were finding their families.
A month had passed and we knew we hadn’t seen our child in any of the profiles we were being sent. I thought I would feel awful saying ‘no’ to profiles. But, had to remind myself that you can’t go into any decision half-heartedly or show any interest in a child unless you are convinced you’re looking at your future son or daughter. Then, one November evening, we received an email from a family finding social worker at the agency. She attached a profile of a boy. He was 10 months old. The photo included in the profile showed him sitting in his high chair with a smile on his face and a silly little quiff on top of his head. It sounds crazy, but I felt like I was looking at a mix between my husband and I! In my heart, I knew this boy would be coming home to us. Adopters we’d met had told us of this feeling. Although, I didn’t really believe it at the time. But it was true. I knew. We knew.
I don’t think we even read his profile in great detail initially. We skim read the top lines and just replied quickly- “We’d like to know more please… NOW!”. It took a few days for our social worker to hear back from his social worker and those days felt like years. There were so many thoughts and outcomes swirling around my head. I don’t know how, or why, or when… but I was pretty much already in love with him. And we’d never met.
Finally, around a week later, we heard back from his own social worker (each looked after child has a social worker, just like adopters do). She was very positive about our PAR (Prospective Adopters Report), was keen to meet us but mentioned another family had shown interest in him. This was terrifying. Had it become a competition now? I didn’t know what to think. I was worried. I had heard rumours that social workers had chosen straight couples over gay couples plenty of times, especially in the case of babies. Was it just a rumour? Did this particular social worker feel that this boy needs a Dad AND a Mum? The waiting game went on… and on. Into Christmas and the New Year. We heard nothing. Not a sausage. We were in limbo. All the while not being able to say a single word to anybody.
We got an email shortly after returning to work in January 2015 from his social worker. She wanted to come and visit us. This was it. The brownies had to be made, the house made cleaner than i have ever cleaned it, the cat kicked out for the day… This was what we had been waiting for.
She visited. We talked for a couple of hours. We got more information than was on his profile. We were even shown another photo of him (we were living off that one photo since December). I don’t think either of us took a breath for the whole session. Our social worker, Sarah, was there too, asking all the questions we were missing whilst we were trying to appear like the world’s most perfect Dads-to-be. The little boy’s social worker asked to see around the house, where his room would be, the garden etc etc etc… Then the meeting came to a natural end. And she said, quite simply and nonchalantly, that she thought we would be the perfect match for this little boy and she wouldn’t be progressing with the other adopters that had shown interest in him. (Despite the crazy happiness that then came, I felt for this other couple).
She would speak to everyone she needed to and then would be in touch with dates for medical meetings, meeting the foster carer and matching panel. Then she left.
Sarah, my husband and I all looked at each other like “Did this just happen?” I think we were all stunned. Was it official? Will he be our son? We had to go through panel to be approved to adopt him but it was all looking so likely. Yet it felt so surreal. I remember Sarah saying “You better get yourselves ready…!” with this huge grin on her face!
In the back of my mind I think I always felt dubious. Worried. Nothing would feel final until I had him in my arms. We’d been given a panel date in April 2015, so we had another couple of months to wait. It feel like it’d never happen… In that time before matching panel we really got ourselves together. We sorted our shared parental leave with our employers and planned and bought as much as we could. Would this really be our last couple of months as a couple?
You can read more from Tom at www.theunlikelydad.com