11. Assess my cat

To end our very adoption focused week, Friday saw the first visit from our assigned Social Worker, ‘N’. Obviously we’d already stalked her on Linkd In and seen she’d qualified at a local University and had worked in several settings we come in contact with through our work. After a quick Outlook search, we discovered we had never been in direct contact so there was no conflict of interest.

This time we were far more relaxed and I didn’t lose sleep over baked goods. N is very pleasant and closer to us in age than the SW from the Local Authority; whilst this shouldn’t make any difference, for some reason we felt more comfortable. This visit was to carry out a ‘Home and Pet Assessment’; the cat was very agreeable and came to sit on the sofa. We talked about her personality (outgoing, good sense humour, self-deprecating) and hobbies (windsurfing, origami and furniture restoration) and reached the conclusion that she posed little threat to children.

At the moment our home, however, is a veritable child-breaking minefield: open plan kitchen and stairs; log burner; knives proudly displayed; a vast array of furniture with *gasp* corners and cupboards left unlocked with wild abandon. Fortunately N recognised this is because we are grown-ups and manage to navigate these perils (in the main), but as we draw closer to placement baby proofing will begin in earnest. No plug socket shall be left uncovered.

We proceeded to schedule our home visits (known as ‘Home Study’) for 2019, N was very accommodating and we have these booked for every Tuesday in January; the first session separately and the reminder as a couple. She will then take some time to prepare our PAR, before POTENTIALLY GOING TO PANEL APRIL. YES, APRIL. The reality of actually being approved has been on the horizon for so long, we’ve fallen into the habit of thinking of it as something that will happen at some point in the future, the distant future. Speaking of ‘having children’ and ‘when Cara leaves work’ in hushed reverential tones, but suddenly there are tangible time frames in place. Shit just got real.

N then met with my Step Mother, spoke over the phone to Cara’s Mam and met with two personal referees, thanks folks!

I had to get in touch with an ex fiancé, 8 years after the fact, which was dreading – but was actually non-scary and quite nice in an odd way. Who knew.

Medicals were completed; Cara’s came first and took a record 8 minutes (an impressive £16.50 per 60 seconds) which led me into a false sense of security, neglecting to shave my legs. I’m sorry feminism I set womankind back 20 years by being embarrassed. Mine was a lot more thorough, but fortunately it turns out I’m not in too bad nick. Other than the legs.

We’re still waiting on a couple of odds and ends to be signed off, but basically, Christmas will form a natural break between stage 1 and stage 2 of the project.

We’ve been keeping in touch with prep group peeps via WhatsApp and it seems everyone is progressing nicely, in contrast to many horror stories we’ve heard/read. The pessimist in me is expecting a catastrophe [toys with making joke about criminal past*, decides is inappropriate. sighs] but we shall see – who knows, maybe for once things will go smoothly…

*Dear Social Worker, I actually don’t have a criminal past. Promise.

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