Well, that was a productive weekend. On Friday we went to a training day entitled “Introduction to Adoption Day”, it was like being at school again. They had us and all the other prospective adopters sitting at tables in a horseshoe arrangement with three social workers and an outreach worker at the front talking to us. It was quite informative and certainly a useful insight into what is to come next.
We were put into groups a couple of times, with couples being split into different groups so we worked with people we didn’t know. The activities we were assigned were designed to make us think about adoption from both our perspective and that of the children’s.
At one point we were asked to make a model of the family which we first envisioned ourselves as having with play dough. That was interesting. I’m not artistic, so the two children I made looked a bit like fat snowmen with legs and arms, and the two adults much the same only bigger. My partner made a model dog, which was on another level completely and I’m sure actually looked like Z our cocker spaniel.
One of the social workers then came around and took people’s play dough children away and gave them to other people. I think the point of this exercise was to make you think about the fact that although you might have a family it could be totally different to what you had imagined. We started off with two toddler sized children, and ended up with one toddler and a baby in pram.
To be honest, I’m not sure this had the effect on us that they may have hoped. For us at least we know that there was never any possibility of having a child that was biologically both of ours (I think we’re a few decades and multiple ethics committee probes away from being able to create children with two genetic Dads and no Mum!), so our modelled family was a representation of what we thought it would be like after the adoption process. Actually a baby and a toddler wouldn’t be a problem to us, we just never thought we’d be given that opportunity.
I am pleased to say that we met the social worker we initially spoke to at that first Information Event who seemed so negative to us, and she’s actually quite nice. It would appear that the speech about dogs is a standard one, and they admitted that they always give pets a bad rap but they can actually be really beneficial and therapeutic. Thank goodness for that!
Over the weekend we finished off our Adoption Workbook, it was quite hard going, especially the section on our experiences of grief, loss and separation. I had to control myself when I was typing up what my partner had written, it was quite sad and emotional and not something he talks about very much.
With that complete, we now have a health and safety check on the house to come this afternoon, where an outreach worker will come and look round then take the workbook with her. I’m not entirely sure why they’re doing this at such an early stage, we’re months off even being approved to adopt let alone getting matched and a child placed with us! Seems a tad early, but maybe they’re actually using it as an excuse to make sure you actually have space for a child in your home and can offer a safe environment. Either way, I think we’re okay on that one with the exception of a couple of locks for kitchen cupboards and drawers.
If we get through Stage 1, and I can’t see why we won’t, we have decided to take a small break before commencing Stage 2. This is so that we can get some minor renovations done and also get some further child care experience which we have lined up, but the summer holidays have got in the way of!