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“We were about to meet our son and I almost passed out from the enormity of it all”
Published: January 4, 2017
In his 3rd and final post about becoming a Dad, adopter Tom remembers the last few weeks before bringing his son home.
We had been given a Matching Panel date of April 9th. This was the day we’d meet the people who would decide whether the little boy we’d set our hearts on was going to be our son.
About two weeks before panel, it was arranged for us to meet our son’s birth parents. Many people are surprised to hear that this is something adopters are able to do. If I hadn’t gone through the adoption process I would have probably thought it sounded nuts. Never in a million years would I have imagined myself sitting opposite these people. We were about to adopt their son and raise him, for the rest of his and our lives. There wasn’t actually a great deal of talking. But we were so pleased to be able to tell our boy we met them and that is was pleasant. We also came away with a few family stories including why our boy had been given his name. The meeting ended with handshakes and ‘Thank Yous’. It felt like an honourable acceptance of what was to come.
A few days later, we were back in the area to meet the foster carer. This, to us, was the biggest deal so far. We arrived and knocked on the door and were greeted by a petite, smiley, lovely woman. I instantly had a love for her.
Our son’s social worker was there to take notes and make it all official. The foster carer was amazing. She had boxes of things prepared. We saw so many pictures and videos of him. His first Christmas, his birthday, all the moments we weren’t there for. I can’t begin to think how she went felt preparing to pass him onto us. He was her first foster placement. But she said that, in that first meeting she knew that we were the ones. We were his Dads and he was a perfect fit for us too. The tears that flowed that day were like nothing else I’ve ever seen.
The day had finally come. It was time to head to the Matching Panel. We met our social worker there and, before we knew it, we were, in a room with the people who would be deciding our fate. I wasn’t sure what to expect but everyone on that panel was rooting for us. It was lovely. And all over so quickly. We left the room after all the questions only to be called back 20 minutes later. We were told it was a unanimous ‘Yes’. He was our son. That was it. We had done it.
Next it was time for what is known as Introductions. This is a carefully managed way of supporting the child’s move from foster care to his adoptive family. Day one you meet your child. You stay for a couple of hours. Day two, you build up more time. Maybe take them out to the park and do a meal time or two. Day three you get there for wake up so that they are learning you’ll be doing this in the future. You will stay for meal times too. Maybe even bath time. Then bed time. Then day five, they come back to your house for an hour or so. On day six, he would come to ours but for longer. Day seven (for us – it’s sometimes longer) was the day he’d come home and stay.
The morning we first arrived to meet him, we sat in the car. Still. We were about to knock on this lady’s door. We were about to walk into this house and meet our son. I am surprised we didn’t pass out from the sheer enormity of it.
We knocked on the door. Saw the foster carer again. We were all so nervous. There we were, laden with toys, our own pushchair, our own car seat. But having zero clue about how to actually be a Dad. And we sat down. Where was he? We couldn’t see him. But then we heard him. He poked his head around the corner. He gave the cheekiest, sly grin I have ever seen. And then, you couldn’t make it up, he crawled over to us, laughing and got onto my husband’s lap. Right there, he took our hearts. None of our lives would ever be the same.
It wasn’t easy. We had no idea what we were doing. This poor boy. Suddenly he sudden had two men trying to do his pooey bum instead of one lovely lady he was used to for a year. Looking back, I can’t believe how amazing he was. How he took it all in his stride. We were terrified. But every day got a little bit easier. We did everything we could do. We were on the floor going crazy trying to make him laugh, singing, dancing, blowing bubbles. This was actually the first thing he pulled himself up onto me to do (and I instantly cried like a lunatic). He made it so easy.
Of course, there is so much to consider as an adopter regarding bonding and attachment. If you are going through the process you will receive training and guidance. It is so different for every child. Depending on what they have been through, their age and so many other factors.
Ultimately, it was, and is, about making sure our boy is happy, comfortable, and secure. That’s my new job. To make him happy. Hands down the best, most important role I will ever have : being a Dad. And really, this was just the beginning of our journey.
You can read a longer version of this blog and other posts by Tom at http://www.theunlikelydad.com/