Early this week I had the ‘pleasure’ of been contacted by our local adoption services asking if they could interview me in preparation for National Adoption Week. I warned them that it wasn’t roses and sunshine but agreed anyway, because, well because I could. I have for the past couple of years written a series of posts on a more public blog during National adoption week, but this year I’m not sure that I have the enthusiasm or energy or indeed the positivity.
I thought that I would share the questions and my responses here… possibly with more detail here.
Why did you choose to adopt?
We adopted after several failed IVF/ICSI cycles, including miscarriage and just general failure. There were a lot of tears and grieving. There was a lot of what if. There was counselling. There was talking, a whole lot of talking.
– How did you research which agency to use?
I phoned several agencies locally and received information from them. We ended up going with our local agency, simply as it seemed easiest – the location was fantastic for us.
How did you find the process?
– What did you think about the assessment process?
We waited 7 months for the preparation course – this would not happen now, I know. The preparation course, was held over 2 evenings and 3 days during the course of 2 weeks. It was both thorough and not thorough enough. We were told about the sort of children that were available. We explored what different things meant. But looking back now, we weren’t given enough detail about what it actually meant to live with these children.
Our social worker (who is still our social worker) is an amazing lady, who we love and cherish prepared the home study with us thoroughly. She really got to know us. She knew better than us what we could deal with, and she was right. I will be sad the day that Jelly is legal and we wave goodbye to her, because I rely on her common sense so much.
– What were your experiences of adoption panel?
In order, panel 1 – scary, panel 2 – terrifying, panel 3 – okay, panel 4 – was a pleasant experience… it helped that most of the people were the same on each panel. It helped that on the final 2 panels we knew the local councillor (she may be good friends with an ex neighbour). It seriously helped that by the final panel, no-one was going to say that Jelly didn’t belong to us, it even went to the independent reviewing officer early (2 days after panel we started introductions).
But the first couple of panels we attended were terrifying, the fact that these people actually held our future in their hands.
How is life now?
(I promise I didn’t laugh… I promise I spoke seriously about it! )
– Differences the way things were and now?
Life changes whenever (and however) children arrive in adult lives. Our lives revolve around the boys and their interests and needs… not always, but mostly.
– Any difficulties?
(Again, I didn’t laugh) We have had and still have difficulties. Boyo has attachment difficulties and we have to consider that when we make plans. It adds an extra dimension to our lives that perhaps we didn’t expect. Because of his attachment difficulties we have difficult behaviour, and he is highly stressed and anxious. We have also learnt how little sleep we can survive on… less than you would think. Boyo also has learning difficulties and social and emotional issues which have lead to problems at school.
Have you called on the adoption support team?
Yes, but I didn’t explain how difficult it was to access support as it didn’t seem to be the forum for that.
– Would you be happy to discuss how they supported you?
I talked about the initial SW’s assessment and our referal to CAHMS. I talked about filial therapy. I talked about our newer SW and his ideas.
What advice would you give to someone considering adoption?
Research, read and understand. Meet adopters ask questions and listen. It is not easy. But I would not change our boys, they are our boys.