We spoke with our social worker on 30th November and it's official: we have now stopped family finding! Wooo hooo! We were due to go to a massive family finding event hosted by the Adoption Register on the 2nd December, so we have declined their invitation. A shame really, because Mary was planning to meet up with some friends who are going. To G&F and A&I we hope all goes well and you find your little ones (if you haven't already!)
We have picked up the paperwork that we gave back to our social worker when our link failed. In the paperwork was a rather poor photocopy of a photo of each of the three little ones. Now I have something physical to 'hold on to'. I have taken a sneaky peek at them from time to time and it feels so natural to see them. I really want to share the photos, but of course we just can't do that.
This remind me of Facebook. I would dearly love to share our photos of our kiddies when they come along. Share them with you and the whole world. Like when birth parents spash their kiddies all over their profiles. But we will never be able to do that. Not at birthdays, Christmas or holidays, for fear of the birth family finding us and trying to take back the children. Mungo feels this more than I do because he can't protect us all whilst he is at work and if he worst happens that they somehow find us it is most likely me that will be confronted.
That shows another reason to keep this blog anonymous and be ultra-super-careful when commenting on public message boards. It is a hard balancing act: one the one hand you want to share your news and tell people names, share photos, and so on, then on the other hand you have to protect the anonymity of your children and let them tell their story to whoever they want to - whilst you try to keep them safe!
Our social worker has given us some dates for our diary: 23rd December the paper assessment of the birth family’s final plan is to be heard in court. She advised that it would be unlikely to hear the outcome before Christmas. 4th Jan is when the Care Plan has to be updated and submitted. 1st Feb for the final hearing to agree the care plan. If all goes well, the social workers will apply for the Placement Order to be granted at that hearing. The hearing may take several days. 5th Mar for Matching Panel and introductions will take place some time to be agreed after that.
We have been given some homework too! To be completed and sent back to our social worker in mid-Jan is an update to our finances, a bank statement, an update on our childcare experience, an update on Mungo’s work and promotion, and an update on Mary’s relationship with her sister that has been difficult in recent years but is improving by the day, it seems! We will also have to meet with the foster carer and the medical adviser some time. Our social worker feels that they may have to be held before the court hearing as there will just not be enough time for everyone to do everything within a month.
We had some pretty distressing news to deal with aside from the adoption, during the first three weeks of December, which meant we put everything to one side to deal with it and support our family. As such, a phone call from our social worker on the 17th focussed us back on the situation. She advised that due to the agency shut-down over Christmas and the annual leave of the family finding social worker we would most definitely not hear anything about the interim court hearing on the 23rd December. What she was able to tell us was that “the social workers had had sight of the paper assessment and it was very negative about the birth family.” Whatever that means! Anyway, it is good news for us and meant there was less pressure over the holiday period. We should hear the outcome on or after the 4th January. That's tomorrow!