Our adoption journey – social worker issues

We finished our preparation course at the beginning of October and then everything went quiet. Once again we had the ‘how much do we chase them’ dilemma. Towards the end of November we contacted the adoption team to ask what we should expect to happen next. Having met up with other couples on our course when it finished and kept in touch, we knew that some had been allocated social workers and some had been refused already. We just hadn’t heard anything so didn’t know what to think. 

Early in the new year we were allocated a social worker (SW) and met her for the first time towards the end of January. In the first session she went through the rest of the process with us which was helpful for us to have a clear idea of what would be happening for the next few months. She explained that we would meet every couple of weeks and in between each session we would have homework to do. 

The first couple of sessions went well and we had fun trying to draw our family trees and contacting various family members to make sure we had everyone’s date of birth/death correct! As Christians our faith is interwoven throughout all that we do and so this came up very early on in discussions. It was clear reasonably early on that this was becoming an issue for our SW. On the week that we discussed our ‘values’ we spoke about how we felt it was important to ‘put others first’ and this was something we talked to our children about. Our SW had a massive issue with this and just couldn’t cope with it as a concept. The rest of that session was spent listening to some really difficult issues that she had in her past and it became scarily clear to us that our faith was going to be a massive barrier between us and her sending us to panel. 

That night we nervously prayed about it and felt extremely confused. Up until that point we’d been really clear that we wanted to adopt and that we were doing something that felt right and for the second time (the first being the weight issue) we wondered if we weren’t going to be allowed. We knew other Christians that had successfully adopted and we hadn’t even got as far as discussing the really ‘meaty issues’ that we know had been tricky for other people. We contacted a few close friends and asked them to pray for us and give us wisdom about what to do next. 

We were somewhat nervous waiting for our next appointment. We were halfway through our home study by this point and really didn’t know how the next meeting was going to go. As usual for these sessions, Simon and I had both taken time off work and as this next session was first thing in the morning after we’d done the school run we were both home when she arrived and hadn’t had to rush in from somewhere else. I answered the door and could tell immediately something wasn’t quite right. Our usual smartly dressed, hair straightened official looking SW wasn’t there and was replaced by an extremely nervous looking, jean clad, frizzy haired woman. I almost didn’t recognise her as the woman we’d been meeting with for the last few months but recovered quickly and invited her in. She quickly said that she didn’t have time to come in but had just wanted to pop by and let us know that she didn’t want to be a social worker any more as she felt like it wasn’t the right job for her. She then turned round, got into her car and drove off, and that was that.

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Our adoption journey – “Why do you want to adopt?”

Why do you want to adopt?

Despite knowing that this question was going to be one of the first questions we’d be asked (and a question we still frequently get asked) we hadn’t managed to come up with a pre-prepared answer. The truth of the matter is, our answer to this question is:

“Why not?”

 We’d never really considered it as something we wouldn’t do, we’d always just known it was something we wanted to do and couldn’t remember feeling any differently about it. Unfortunately this probably wasn’t enough of an answer for those probing social workers. This meant we really did need to come up with something else that was more of a coherent reason. It’s a bit like when you go for a job interview and they ask you “Why do you want this job?”. What you really want to say is:

“Cause I need the money to pay the rent/mortgage etc and whilst I really wish I didn’t have to work, life isn’t like that and so please please give me this job so I don’t have to fill in any more application forms…” 

But what you actually say is:

“The skills and strengths I have really fit with the job description and I’ve always wanted to work for this firm as I really admire all that you do and am sure I can be an asset to you” or something along those lines anyway. This of course may be true but just not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind or the most obvious answer for you. 

The other reason was that we were pretty sure that this was what God wanted us to do as a family. As Christians we believe that we are ‘adopted’ by God and so adoption is a normal part of being a family. We also believe that we’re asked to look after the vulnerable and the hurting and what better way of doing this is there than adoption, which is taking in the most vulnerable children in our society and offering them life long stability, care and love? We’d heard a few scare stories about people being refused for adoption for their Christian beliefs and so at this early stage we didn’t want to scare them off yet we still needed to answer the question truthfully and carefully (I’m planning on blogging about the reality of Christians adopting/being refused at another time as a few high profile cases have slightly skewed a lot of people’s views on Christians being allowed to adopt).

In the end we said that we loved being parents and felt that we were blessed with a stable, happy home life and financial security and so we’d love to have the opportunity to share that with more children if we could. I’m pretty sure we also said a load of other stuff to try and fill it out but that was the basis of it anyway.

Now the next question, “What type of child/children do you want to adopt?” – that one was much easier to answer…..