Good news everyone!
We’ve been accepted into the adoption process. What’s more, the adoption agency actually managed to reply to us within the maximum time-frame they had allotted themselves.
Now the process begins in earnest. Welcome to Stage 1 of the Adoption Approval Process.
We had been expecting a phone call to confirm whether or not we had been accepted by the adoption agency, the form implied it and so did the social worker we spoke to, I even chased them up via email to make sure they had received our form (still no reply to that), but in the end as it turns out, they just wrote to us. Just in case I popped home at lunchtime to see if we’d been sent anything and lo, there it was, weighing down our post bag*, a very heavy looking brown envelope addressed to both of us (along with a load of unsolicited pamphlets ripe for recycling).
There was an absolute mass of information in that brown envelope. It contained a covering letter with three dates for our diaries, none of which were too close so our fears of having to cancel all plans and drop everything at short notice to attend (as had been implied by the social worker) were unfounded. We would have done that though, this is more important.
I haven’t taken in all the information yet but I’ll go through the basics. We have a large booklet called the “Prospective Adopter workbook Stage one” to fill in, this contains a basic ‘history of your lives’ section which includes major life events (births, deaths, marriage), education and employment history. They call it your “Chronology”. The next section wants you to fill in your family tree, although it only really wants you to put down those people that are significant to you and have regular contact with (I think a rough draft is in order for that!). After that you have to do a diagram of your support network giving details about the people in it and how they can/will support you. There are also some questions to answer in this section about the people who you regularly see and come in contact with. I should note that none of this needs to be filled in until after we have been to our scheduled workshop day and the introduction to adoption day (we have got them in that order which seems the wrong way around to me).
Continuing through the booklet are sections entitled:
- “Finance” – which looks identical to the information we just had to provide for a remortgage we’re doing
- “More About You” – including a verbal description and brief family background
- “Education” -experiences of, rather than qualifications
- “Employment” – current job and future plans
- “Relationship” – past significant relationships, details of current relationship
- “Lifestyle” – hobbies, diet, exercise, typical week and weekend
- “Pathway to adoption” – experiences that have led you to want to adopt, whether any children you currently have are aware of your plans, whether you’ve spoken to family and friends about your plans and what their thoughts are.
- “Bonding and Attachment” – I’m not entirely sure what I would write in this section at the moment, it says “Briefly think about your attachments as both a child and an adult and discuss them below”, which seems a tad vague – something to ask about I think.
- “Separation, Loss and Grief” – Well this is a section isn’t it, and an important one too, they want to know how your experience of loss has affected you and how you would manage your feelings when parenting a child who has also suffered a significant loss.
- “Contact” – How you feel about contact with the birth family
- “Child Care Experience Log” – Activities and experiences you have done which involves looking after children.
- “Reading Log” – Comments and thoughts about what books, articles, forums and (although it isn’t mentioned I’m going to add it) blogs you have read and how they are helpful.
- “Reflections on the Information Event, Workshop and Training” – a few questions about your experiences with them and what you have learnt and what you would like to know more about.
- “Pets” – (An important section for us) details of the pets you have and how they would cope with having children in the home.
- “Health and Safety” – This is the last section and is there to give you some idea of the types of thing you need to think about to ensure your home is safe for children.
As I said it is a large booklet. I may comment more on how we fill it in in a later post. We have to fill it in and post it off so they receive it before the 30th July, I feel a recorded delivery coming on for that one! The workshop day (2.30pm til 5pm) is designed to help us to fill in the booklet, so we’ll know more about it after that.
We also received a form each to take to our doctors when we have a medical report done on us. The adoption agency doesn’t appear to have filled in their section properly though, so I might query that with them. The GP’s section asks them to send it to the agency’s medical examiner directly but they haven’t given a name or address for them in the appropriate section. Hopefully the GP will know what to do with it!
There is also a “Stage One Plan (Agreement)” form which details the dates of all the events we need to attend (3 of them including the DBS document check at county hall), which we have to sign and send in before we attend the workshop.
That’s it. Masses of information, masses to do, masses of excitement!
I’m off to book my medical.
*We have a bag velcroed to the letter box to catch and mail that comes through to prevent F ‘The Post Shredder’ from eating it. It’s called a Snail Sakk. It is fairly expensive for what it is but it certainly works and is non-destructive to uPVC front doors, even if the dogs decide to pull it off the door (which they haven’t done yet thankfully).