This year has been a pretty amazing roller-coaster of a ride. At the beginning of the year all seemed great; we had our final few assessment sessions ahead of us, our Approval Panel date had been set and we had been approached by social services about a pair of siblings who just seemed perfect. Our Prospective Adopters Report read very well, our social worker got us spot on – the rough and the smooth – and it was on the back of this that we were approached in the first place.
We were on Cloud 9; all these tales of people waiting months to find their family seemed to have missed us completely. Then the worst 2 months of my life occurred. Firstly social services decided that we wouldn’t be right for the children we had been linked with. We still haven’t really got a clear understanding of why this occurred. To be shown pictures, given so many details, have appointments booked and then to have the children ripped away was no less than heartbreaking. It triggered the grieving process, except we were able to fight that decision as hard as we could, and we thankfully came out the other end. To think how many lives would be different if we hadn’t been able to do that scares me. Not only us, not only our children, but their foster family and all the children that that family has helped and supported since we became parents. Although this didn’t happen it still makes me angry, it makes me lose faith in “the system” that I generally trust, and it makes me scared for other children that I know of in care that are needing a forever family. We fought and found the support we needed in our own social worker; how many don’t? How many prospective adopters that could be perfectly good parents to a particular child are cast aside as we almost were but then have no way to fight back?
Maybe I think too much, dwell on things I shouldn’t, but if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be me.
Shortly after we got relinked with our children, my mother-in-law fell ill and after a few weeks in hospital, sadly passed away. A hole in our lives was created, and I can’t help but feel guilty for not supporting my husband enough during that time. Because of our damaged trust with social services, while my husband was spending the last few days with his mother, rather than being there for him, I was out in the car park of the hospital doing everything I could to convince them that we would be emotionally strong enough to continue with the adoption. Did I really need to do this? I don’t know. Would they have pulled the plug on us again if I hadn’t? Again, I don’t know. I never will.
After those horrible months the adoption really took off. We successfully went to matching panel, and three weeks later we met our children for the first time. I will never forget that day, it is burnt into my brain forever 🙂
After 10 weeks of living with us we sent off our paperwork to the courts. A few weeks later we successfully became the legal parents of our children. It hasn’t all been plain sailing but it has all been worth it. I found myself staring at my eldest yesterday, just watching and thinking that when we first met him how difficult he found it to play on his own without adult attention, and there he was singing to himself and playing happily not even aware I was looking at him. Moments like that are phenomenally brilliant.
So, was this year good or bad? Yes it was. The best and worst things that could happen have happened, but there is one overriding good thing to come out of this year…
We are a Forever Family.
PS. I should probably mention that we also got married this year too. As we were already in a Civil Partnership it was a bit of a non-event so it barely warrants a mention. It just changed the name of our relationship to something which people actually recognise, rather than some made-up term.