Preparation ....or is it?

This week we attended our prep course for adoption number 2.  I was feeling really excited because it meant that things were finally starting to move in the right direction.  Katie was spending her first day (awake) with our babysitter and was also very excited at the prospect of running rings around her all day.

Because our local authority is trying to catch up on training prospective adopters waiting for the prep courses, the training group was much larger than our first time round with at least 40 people in the training room.  We joined the group for Day 3 of their 4 day training. The trainers were both really lovely and very knowledgeable Social Workers.  The presentation was slick and well organised.  The other trainees all seemed to be very nice people.  Are you sensing a "but"?  Yes there is a "but" and it is the fact that there is no training course designed in our local authority for second time adopters.  Aside from briefly going over the new, very lengthy, PAR document that we will need to complete, the rest of the day was information we covered during our first adoption.  It held some interest for us because it reassured us that Katie had settled in very well with no issues around attachment evident but that was pretty much about it.  Bit of a let down really.  

The other thing that felt very familiar was the general sense of doom and gloom portrayed about the children waiting to be adopted.  The air was thick with issues around trauma to the brain development due to issues around neglect and abuse.  Yes, prospective adopters need to know the difficulties/realities that their children may be facing but they also need some balance in how this information is presented and about the post-adoption support that is available should they find themselves needing help.  It's no wonder that so many people pull out of the adoption process.  People need to hear some of the good stuff as well so that they can hold onto their dream of a family.  I felt a familiar anxiety creeping back down my spine and found myself worrying again about the impact on Katie.  We want to adopt a sibling for her benefit but will it benefit her?  I would hate to do anything that would impinge on Katie's attachment to us and our relationship with her.  I could feel the headache and anxiety that plagued me throughout our last adoption returning, slipping back into my body like an old, quite unwelcome, acquaintance.

And then I said to myself "STOP"!  

I will not allow myself to get anxious and stressed about this process.  I will hold on firm to the reasons we feel that this will be a benefit for Katie and us as a family.  We will be very careful during our matching process to ensure that we think things through carefully.  Above all, I will trust in my belief that the universe will bring us the daughter that is right for our family and the sister that is right for Katie. 

So now I breathe...........

..........and fill out lots of paperwork......

I can promise myself not to get anxious but there is always going to be that paperwork......

Wish us luck.......

I'm still breathing......yes....

....I anxiety here.....I did mention the paperwork right?.......

It's only 32,000 words this problem for a seasoned blogger like me eh?.......

.....still breathing....................


  1. We have been toing and froing with the idea of starting again. I have to say the thought of going through the process again is a little off-putting. More for OH than me. I work from home so fitting in all the sessions was never a huge chore for me, but OH has an hour's drive to and from work; was always a bit of a struggle. Not that the procedure itself was a problem. We both found it all relatively straightforward, just laborious. I wish you all the best and maybe one day in the future we will be back on the bandwagon, too. I look forward to following your progress.

  2. Hi Claire! Yes we found the HS time consuming the first time round as we were both working. Not sure how it will be this time because I will need to organise it so Katie isn't around. Might be interesting. Adopting number 2 was originally my OH's idea. We thought we'd only have one but it's funny how things change. I'm less worried this time round at the moment. I hope to stay that way. Let me know if you join us on the road again.

  3. Are you using the same agency as you did the first time around? How long did you have to wait from being accepted as an applicant to your prep course?

  4. Hiya!! Yes we're using the same local authority that we used first time round. We sent off our initial application in September 2011; had an initial home visit in Dec 2011 and attended our prep course in March 2012. We're waiting to be allocated a Social Worker now for our home study. The aim is to get from prep to panel for approval within 8 months. That would have us at panel in November but I know our LA is short staffed so we'll see if that timescale comes about. It's funny but, at the moment, we are pretty much following the same months for things as we did when we went through the process the first time. If that remains the case then it definitely isn't any quicker this time round!

  5. That seems quite quick compared to what I have currently experienced from our LA. We made an enquiry to them in August 2011, had the initial visit in September 2011 were promised a course in Feb 2012 then were told that the social worker should never have promised that. The social worker has now retired and I have heard no more from them since 9 January 2012, we have not yet been invited to apply so are being "held" at "enquiry" level. How long did it take you first time around to go from enquiry to approval at panel then how long after panel before you got your daughter at home with you?

  6. Hi there. Sorry for the delay in replying to you. Our first time round was longer in that we had to wait a year post IVF before we could attend an info event. So we first enquired a year beforehand and then had to wait until Sept 2008. Our initial home visit was Dec 2008; our prep course March/April 2009; Panel was Dec 2009 and we were matched with Katie a few weeks later and then had meetings with her Social Worker; Foster Carer and medical professionals and then the linking panel. We met Katie in March 2010 and she moved in 10 days later. Adoption was finalised in November 2010. I hope that helps. It does seem to take a long time and then everything goes crazy!! :)

  7. That all actually seems quite quick. You went from the actual time the enquiry was "allowed" ie Sept 2008 to panel within 14 months. We have not been allowed to go beyond "enquiry" for 6 months now already, not even been invited to "apply" to them. You must have a very good LA.

  8. Yes, looking at it from that perspective, they were very efficient. I think we will all suffer a bit from the cuts to public funding at the moment though. Many Local Authorities are restructuring and making people redundant within Childrens Services. Our LA is very short-staffed now, hence the huge group training we attended for the prep course. They are bringing in agency staff to do some of their assessments, which is not overly ideal as that SW will only stay with you until the home study/panel is complete and not through the whole process as we experienced last time. We currently have no idea when we'll be allocated a SW for our home study. Am just off to complete our CRB checks and ask for a SW to come and out and check them. I will keep you posted. From your perspective I would ensure you keep phoning your agency every few weeks just to keep your name in their minds. Good luck. I hope you hear something soon.

  9. Thank you. We have enquired at a Voluntary agency now since our LA did not seem to be making any moves in any direction and had the initial visit last week so we are waiting to hear if they will invite us to apply or if they feel there are other things they need to do before that stage but if I have heard nothing in 2 weeks I will try chasing that up too and then go back to chasing up the LA.

  10. It usually takes a few weeks to hear back after an initial home visit because the SW has to write up their report and then meet with their line manager to discuss it. If the SW works part-time then that can be delayed a bit longer. We waited nearly 2 months to hear the outcome of our home visit this time because our SW is only part-time and runs a lot of training sessions so has little admin time.

  11. Well I hope that is the "reason" because when she left us she said she would "speak to her manager next week" (which is this week) and let us know the outcome. With her saying that if it does not happen I hope she does not mind if in two weeks I call her to see where things are up to.

    What "rules" are being followed with you about age gap between the parents and the child? I have read that whilst they claim there is no upper age limit they still follow the guidlines that there should be no more than 45 years difference between the child and the parent? If so is that taken from the age of the oldest parent or the youngest parent?

  12. I hope you hear back again soon. It's so hard when you're waiting. I'm also currently waiting for a call from a SW about checking our CRB forms. 3 days waiting so far *sigh*

    For us, as second timers, the main issue is the age gap between Katie and our next child. There has to be at least 2 years gap between them. This is because their research shows that the older child copes much better with 2 years minimum between them and a younger sibling. We are going to be approved for 0-3 age range as Katie will be 5 by the time we go to panel.

    Re your question about the age being taken from the oldest parent or the youngest parent, I have to admit that I don't know. I would either ask your agency, as I suspect it differs between agencis or speak to the BAAF. A link to their site is on my links. They would be able to advise you. Let me know how you get on.

  13. 40 people over 4 days! Wow. We had 8 (4 couples) over 2 days. We've now had 2 SW visits and things seem to be moving quite quickly. I'm glad i read this post because all we hear is negative issues about children and no happy stories. I had a little wobble this week and also made myself STOP. The quote in your post is perfect for me right now.

  14. Hi Sarah! Yes it was unusual but they were trying to train all the people who had been waiting for a while in one go. Last time round we only had about 5/6 couples on our course. I am very keen to put across the side of adoption that we are experiencing as I know how much negativity there is surrounding the process. We do need to be informed and it does need to be realistic. I think Social Workers have to present some of the more difficult possibilities regarding the children that are being placed for adoption but I feel that the positives get lost on occasion so hope that by sharing some of our lives here we can help offset that a bit. Good luck to you in your process. It sounds like things are moving along for you now. It does gain momentum at this stage. Let me know how things are going for you. I'd love to hear. Best wishes.

  15. Hi gem,

    I'd like to echo some of the other posters here. I'm a couple of months away from panel and am having a wobble due to all the negativity. I've done a lot of reading to try and understand what we might have to deal with but everything I seem to read is the negative perspective. I'm not sure if this is because people naturally like to have a moan and that when things are good people don't feel the need to share. But anyway, great to hear the positives, so thanks. Hope things continue to go well for you x

    1. Hi Anon. I think the wobbles are a normal part of contemplating being a parent but particularly so with adoption. There is a lot of fear and negativity being thrown at us. This is partly why I wanted to keep this blog going so people could see our experience. Meeting other adopters helped me so much when I went through the process first time around. Meeting real life adopted children who were living regular lives and getting a real life information for adopters. It's not all plain sailing but life never is and we wouldn't change it for the world. I'm glad we took the plunge. I'm currently sitting in bed with a poorly sick Katie watching Tangled and knowing how much I love my little blonde bear.

      (Please excuse any typos and grammar inconsistencies. I'm writing on my IPad and it won't let me correct anything today).


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