Today I had coffee with a friend of a friend who is currently going through the adoption process. She wanted to chat to someone who had been there and could answer questions as only another adoptive parent can. We talked about the process and some of the crazy hoops you have to jump through to get approved. Having your past checked out and former partners, who have long since become a footnote in your life contacted (not Jay and I as we have been together since teenagers). Someone carrying out a health and safety check on your home and noting in official paperwork that your dog has three beds in the house (that was us, and what the hell it has to do with health and safety I do not know). Or sitting in front of a panel of about ten strangers who have your future in their hands (some were introduced as “interested parties” polite for busybody I think).
This friend of a friend is at that stage when all seems possible. She and her partner and have done the preparation group, completed the home assessment and are heading to panel soon. They can only imagine and dream about the little ones who will hopefully enter their lives within the next twelve months.
Jay and I went before the adoption panel in September 2009 and that November our social worker came to us with the paper work on AJ and Bart. Because we knew from the beginning they were our girls, we did not look at any other children. The wait until we met them seemed never-ending. I had some well meaning people tell me to “think of the wait like a pregnancy”, it was sweet of them to try to offer this advice but I was not pregnant. Okay, so I did put on weight, but this was from stress and comfort eating, not a growing fetus. And yes there was some kicking, but this was from Jay and I getting frustrated at all the delays and missed deadlines with the paperwork (I later found out there was kicking from Sara’s end too!)
When you are pregnant if all is well, give or take a few weeks, in nine months you will hold a baby in your arms. When you are waiting to go to matching panel to have your children placed with you for adoption, you are totally in the hands of the fostering and adoption team. There are some very proactive social workers (ours) and some who are not (the girls), so in the end we waited six months before we met AJ and Bart. Yes you can prepare yourselves by getting a room ready and buying clothes and toys for the little one(s), but until the match is approved there is a chance you won’t get the child/children you have already started to claim in your heart. Especially if it is a competitive match, where more than one couple are put forward, someone is always going to lose out. (Thank goodness ours wasn’t, the stress in that situation must be horrendous).
So although I was excited for the friend of a friend this morning, I am so glad that is now all behind us and we are getting on with the business of being a family.