‘Why are you doing that?!’ ‘Can’t you have kids then?’ ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ ‘You won’t love it like your own’ and my personal favourite ‘Oh no don’t do that, have one of your own!’
These are just some of the questions and comments I’ve listened to time and time again, which have been met with the politest fake smile I could muster.
I’m probably a bit different to a lot of adopters, I haven’t been told I can’t conceive naturally, nor have I tried, however I have one thing in common with all adopters, I wanted to be a parent, it’s as simple as that. And I hadn’t met anyone I wanted to have children with. I looked in to artificial insemination but decided quite quickly that wasn’t for me (you can actually put sperm in a ‘basket’ on the website!). Plus I’d never been broody to be pregnant and when there are so many children who need a loving home, why not adopt?
A few years ago I watched a programme on adoption and just knew it was something I could do. Don’t get me wrong, I know adoption is not for everyone and I fully understand and support people who say they couldn’t do it, but for some people it’s their only option, or in my case the option I wanted to take. I started looking in to it in January 2013 at the age of 30. I was lying on the sofa full of flu and googled (google has the answer for everything!) my local adoption services, rang the number and got a date for the next information evening. It was 3 months away which I felt would give me time to really think about it and research (Google again) adoption. The information evening went in to detail about the adoption process. It was relaxed and informal and you were under no obligation to proceed any further. I obviously did. I left my details and within 3 weeks a social worker was sat on my sofa asking me why I wanted to adopt. Don’t ask me what else was said because I was so nervous I can’t remember much of it but at the end she told me she was putting me forward to be assessed. From there I went on a 3 day preparation course to find out even more information and it wasn’t until this was over that I filled in the official paperwork to proceed with adopting. Next I was allocated a social worker who visited me about 8 times. This is the part that gets a lot of bad press but I just drank lots of tea and talked (two of my favourite things). We talked about me, my life and what I expected for the future. I had no skeletons in the cupboard and the whole process was made really easy for me by my social worker. Next was the panel to be approved to adopt. I’m not going to sugar coat it – I was shit scared. I don’t think there was one part of me that wasn’t sweating. It is daunting, sitting in front of 8 or 9 people who are essentially deciding your future but even though I was there for an hour, my input was less than 5 minutes. I was briefed on what 3 questions I was going to be asked (again don’t ask me what because I can’t remember) and I answered them honestly, that’s all you can do. These people will have read your file and have made up their minds before you even get there but they need to meet you to see if you match what your social worker has said. And like my social worker told me, she wouldn’t let me get to that stage if she wasn’t confident I would get approved, which I obviously did. Afterwards she told me the next time I’d hear from her would be to tell me I’d been matched to a child so it was then a waiting game.
I was very lucky with the fact I didn’t have to wait long. About 4 weeks later my phone rang. I saw my social workers name and froze. This was a life changing phone call. ‘Do you know why I’m ringing?’ was her first question. ‘I’ve got a good idea’ was my response. ‘I’ve just been to see her, oh it’s a girl by the way’ came next. My next two questions were how old and what’s her name. I didn’t need to know anything else at this stage. Now, I’d been approved for a child aged 0-3 but being a single adopter I assumed I would get a 3 year old as I guessed there would be so many couples wanting a baby. I thought it would be walking and talking and potty trained so when she said ‘6 months’ I think I might have gone in to a bit of shock. Anyway, before I could meet her I had to find out all about her and go through another panel. My social worker came round and gave me her file to read but wouldn’t show me a photo until I’d read it. I’m not going to lie, this panicked me. I was imagining all sorts, but the photo just confirmed to me she was as beautiful as her file made out. Again I had to face the panel to be officially matched but it wasn’t as scary this time and all I got was positive responses. So the only thing to do now was meet my daughter……
(Its currently 9:15pm which means it’s very close to bedtime in my new world, read my next blog to see how meeting Rae went, that’s if I havent bored you already, I told you I like to talk….)