21 August 2008
Oh dear, sorry for not updating my blog for ages. What have we been up to since the beginning of June? When I last mentioned our adoption plans I was waiting for a medical date and panel was put back to September. We had a bit of good news about a panel date and a slot became available on Thursday 7th August, but only IF we could get the medicals sorted out in time - only 4 months late! In the end, Mungo COULD make the last June medical appointment - aarrgghh after all that! But he didn't know until the last minute, so things couldn't have happened any other way. So we swapped, as it's easier with my part time hours to slot in a new date and he had his in June. I eventually had my medical on the 15th July! It was still barely in time to get the information reviewed and sent to panel before 7th August as some of my records were held offsite and they were having building work done to the surgery too, so they went missing for a time. Is NOTHING simple????
A curved ball at the eleventh hour - two weeks before panel our social worker suddenly said that there is a lot of stuff that panel members could pick us up on, like how long we have been together. Well that's the first we had heard of that being an issue - and five years, okay isn't the longest time, but surely if it was an issue, something should have been said before we started our application a year ago. And it's not like there is anything we could do about that at that late stage - 2 weeks before panel! That was really hard, because we felt like she was setting us up for a fall.
Curved ball part two - sooooo, we got the paperwork the day before it was supposed to be sent out. Instead of having 10 days to read and approve the content, we got one! We noted that the second opinion visit write-up was different to the meeting outcome of whether we should be approved and for how many children. We spoke with our SW who spoke with the lady; she said she was sorry she hadn't communicated her 'change of mind after meeting with us' but that her 'final' decision would still stand. She would only recommend us for 2 children. Uh? What's going on? I was really upset and disappointed, then we found ourselves wondering if only being approved for 2 children would overshadow being approved - that is, if we were approved at all! we needed a holiday! So we decided to book something to leave the day after panel. We booked a one-week cruise around Greece, the islands and Turkey; then we sat around and waited the last 13 days for panel.
Panel: We would get an indicitive 'recommendation' on the day and a decision from the decision-maker either the next day or the following Monday followed by a letter a week later. Nothing is guaranteed until the letter, though! We were required to get there by 10 for a cuppa and a chat with our social worker for a while, as panel were preparing themselves. Two minutes after we got there (early) they decided that as we were there, they would start the panel early. So off went our social worker and we were sat on our own. Time ticked by; the 45-60 minutes we were expecting came and went. Even the next couple arrived for their panel meeting and we hadn't gone in! That was worrying and we didn't think it a good sign. After 75 minutes out came our social worker and the Panel Chair with three questions (normal procedure) and we had a few minutes with our social worker to discuss the questions. She said that the first part had gone very positively and she seemed very upbeat :) Five minutes later we were all called in; our social worker had even told us where to sit! We then went to see the panel - 12 people! - and they asked about how we felt with the process and what skills we could use for 3 rather than 2 children. The third question was another curved ball - they were being extra-cautious about a particular issue, but when we all realised they had gone off on an imaginary tangent all was well - phew! We were in there for no more than 10 minutes and we ended up on our own again. Our social worker stayed in there for the summing up and voting, so more waiting!
Decision time: Our social worker came back in with the Panel Chair and said "Yes, you have been recommended for approval and for 2-3 children!!!" Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell I just sat there, I couldn't believe it, it was absolutely everything that we had wanted! Our social worker went out to get us some more drinks and Mungo and I had our first cuddle as approved prospective adoptive parents and I had a tear - of course! When she came back she said the vote had been unanimous! All of the panel agreed with our social worker and not the second opinion report! And yet we still we had the following day to wait, or more likely until the Monday for the final decision, so we couldn't assume that was it. Off we went home to pack and have a celebratory pizza :D 2.15 the next morning 08-08-08 we got up and went to the airport to catch the flight to Corfu. We arrived on the boat about lunch time and went straight to the bar to order yummy cocktails lol! We switched on our phones and mine bleeped a couple of times. Thinking it was just the network providers welcome texts, it took me a few minutes to get around to having a look. There were two messages: one was saying I had a voicemail and the other was from our social worker saying she had tried calling and had left a voicemail message but also wanted to text us to let us know that the decision maker had agreed outright with the panel's decision! And yes there were more tears! when we got home the approval letter, sent that Friday, was on the doormat. So that's it! All approved, we did it! I am soooooooo happy! WE are so happy!