Our adoption story – first impressions matter

The first time we went through the adoption process, Simon and I found everything pretty nerve wracking as we were relying on strangers to make decisions about our future. We felt totally pressured to not put a foot wrong. Every step of the way we knew we were being judged by people that didn’t know us. When our paperwork went missing for around six months it was tricky to know when to chase things up, when to be pushy and when to be patient. We feared that if we were too pushy or demanding they’d decide we were the wrong ‘type’ of people. Throughout the process the power felt like it was entirely with the social workers and we felt powerless in it all. (We had a very different experience the second time round which if I keep blogging I may get to!).  Around 9 months after our first enquiry we had our first home visit from the social work team – it may be interesting to know that this is now the length of time that social workers have to get adopters to their approval panel (no such rules existed when we were applying). Having waited so long, this visit felt monumental and life changing. We were desperate for everything to be perfect and knew how much first impressions mattered.

Simon and I were both working at this point and both had difficult meetings that morning so were very pushed for time.  We rushed home during our lunch break to meet the social workers. Simon beat me home and they were early (the one and only time this ever happened) so they were waiting on the doorstep for him. Those that know us well know that our house is alwas busy, as are we, so it always looks well lived in (polite for messy). The week before the visit we had been tidying tidying tidying and the house was spotless (or as spotless as it’s ever been anyway). Simon let them into the house where they were greeted enthusiastically by our lively Border Terrier, Bramley. He (Simon, not the dog) got them a hot drink whilst they were waiting for me to arrive. Simon took a cup of tea over to one of the social workers and noticed a poo on the floor right next to her foot (accidents from Bramley were extremely rare). He then had the dilemma of leaving it and hoping she wouldn’t notice but risking her treading in it, or picking it up subtly, or his chosen action – mumbling something about it being the dog’s welcome gift and removing it swiftly.

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Our adoption story – how it all began

I’ve been meaning to write a book about our adoption journey and had various ideas, but it all felt a bit daunting so I figured I’d start with a blog and see how it goes. I’m going to start at the beginning (well near the beginning) so this little story happened nearly 6 years ago.

Simon and I had always planned on adopting or fostering and neither of us can remember when we first realised we both wanted to, but seemed to always know this was God’s plan for our family. We thought we may adopt/foster before having our own children but God had other plans and so we were blessed with three very amazing birth children.

We’d heard from lots of people that ‘they’ (social workers) won’t consider you until your youngest child is 5 so after various phone calls to different agencies when Isaac was about 2 we discovered this was true. We put adoption on the shelf for a little while and got on with our busy lives. The idea of adoption just wouldn’t go away and so we used the time to extend our house ready for any more children we might have.

Around Isaac’s fifth birthday we made the phone call to say we were interested in adoption. We were asked to attend an information evening and so arranged a babysitter and excitedly trekked out on a very snowy winter evening. A barefooted social worker came to the door after we’d been knocking for a few minutes and informed us that the meeting had been cancelled and we’d obviously missed the phone message. Feeling seriously deflated we took the advantage of a rare night out and went out for a drink and a child free evening to chat about who the child might be we were to adopt. Were they born yet? Were they a boy or a girl? Was it to be one, two, three, four children? Disabled, disturbed? Old, young? White, black, Asian? Little did we know we were at the beginning of a long three year rollercoaster of a journey.