Today we saw the Medical Advisor from the Local Authority where the children are placed. It is their job to assess all the medical reports and provide their opinion as to what medical issues there are and may be in the future. They can advise what practical steps can be taken to assist children and yourselves in dealing with children's issues. In our case, there is very little additional support that we might need and there was certainly nothing brought up that we didn't already know about. In fact, most of the talk was about how we are going to be able to cope practically in the first few weeks and how our local Health Visitor and GP might be able to assist. It was certainly a fascinating and very informative discussion. The children's social worker and our social worker were there too and they were all so supportive and helpful. It was a lovely meeting.
As the meeting came to an end, the children's social worker advised us that it had just been notified to them in the last few days that a birth family member lives two miles away from us. At the moment we don't know how often they are in contact with the family and when they last saw the children. We don't know whether or how often the birth family member they are connected to comes over to visit. We don't know if the children might recognise these people or if they might recognise the children. We therefore don't know how this may have to be managed in the future.
We always knew that the would is a small place and that there is always the possibility that we might bump into birth family anywhere at any time, even if we were at the opposite ends if the country. But we felt that being as far away as we are, not hundreds of miles away, but still far enough, would drastically reduce the possibilities of an accidental meeting. Now we have the potential of our own town not being far enough away. We also have to weigh up the reality of bumping into them - how often do you bump into people you know in town? As it happens, we don't go there very often but it was one of the places I was going to take the children regularly, as something to do. There are also public parks and children's play centres that might be out of bounds because these people have a child of a similar age.
One thing that will come out of it is that we were happy to send the birth parents photos of the children as part of annual letter-box contact. So that will be a definite no, because they might show the photos to the birth family and ask them to look out for them. This is on top of the fact that they might post them onto Facebook or any other internet site and get people to look for them. The risk is too great.
This is a big, big issue and could potentially be a show-stopper - what you might call a 'curved ball'. So we have to really think this through and decide where to go with this, our social worker might suggest we break it off - in fact that's the first thing she said after they had gone, that we had the option to pull out now. Of course, the decision might be taken out of our hands as we don't know yet how Social Services will react in terms of whether the link should continue and whether panel will approve the match because of it.
At the moment I can't see a good way for this to end. Signing off, a very cross and sad Mary.