24. Life Changing Decisions

In September we expressed an interest in two little boys; at the time we were sent a generic email stating there had been an overwhelming response for the lads and there would be a meeting to discuss potential matches. We weren’t suprised by this, the lads were young, full brothers, meeting milestones and very, VERY cute. Resignedly, we took deep breathes, moved on and went back to the drawing board for what felt like the five thousandth time.

So imagine our surprise, two months later, to receive an email asking to meet with the boys social worker and family finder.

They wanted to meet the following week, so N (our S/W) had to drop everything, I had to pull out of interviews at work (thanks to Kate and Paul for taking one for the team!)

Cue mad tidying, decorating, cleaning and panicking and yes, I did make biscuits. They planned to arrive after lunch, so there was no need to prepare a meal (which I gather is sometimes expected). Before the meeting we re-read CPR’s and N prepared some questions we might want to ask. On paper at least, the boys needs seemed relatively straight forward; the family situation heartbreakingly sad and affected me more than any other we had read. This is the boys story and not mine to share, but it clearly demonstrates the systemic failings of the care system and the damage this imparts on generations of families. We have to believe that this flawed system has made the correct decision to remove these children from their birth family and hope that, if they do become our boys, we can break this cycle of addition and reduced life chances.

N arrived first to offer moral support and help with important decisions like seating configuration. Lets face it, three seater sofa’s are nobodies friend. Despite coming from the same local authority, the family finder and social arrived separately, so we enjoyed an awkward period of pleasantries and uncomfortable silences whilst waiting for the other to arrive.

The next two hours were a blur with lots of information to take on board (some of it of questionable quality, as the boys social worker had only been in post for a short time and had met them a total of once) We were shown video’s and photos and asked questions; nothing we weren’t expecting really – will they have appropriate male role models; discipline and boundaries; sibling rivalry and the classic…how will you manage the same sex parents issue.

I spent the majority of the time wondering if they would be able to hear me wee if I went to the bathroom and attempting to compose my face into a ‘a kind, yet intelligent and interested’ expression. Not saying wildly inappropriate things in situations like this is exhausting, so I generally only absorb about 60% of what is said, but thankfully N was taking notes, so I could concentrate on my facial expression.

The meeting reminded us how competitive this process is and we were asked on several occasions whether we had meetings about other prospective children (we hadn’t). They explained that they hadn’t met with any other adopters* and they feel that a same sex female couple are well suited to these boys, as their primary carer has always been female and they need huge amounts of love and nurture. Before they left, the social worker and family finder said they would be delighted to proceed if we decided these were the boys for us.

This meeting was on Tuesday 26th November, they wanted a definitive answer by Friday.

We were left feeling overwhelmed and drained. We had always hoped that finding our family would be a magical fairy tale, but it is truly the most difficult thing we have ever done: life changing decisions on the basis of a two minute video, three pictures and a social worker who has met them once. Surely we should just ‘know’ right? This is what we had been led to believe by every blog and documentary. Cara was wholly committed to these boys, but I was dogged by questions and late night fears, where was my Disney ending dammit!!

We asked for an extension so we could speak to family and friends over the weekend. On Friday we saw two of our most favourite people, Lisa and Rachel. Over fish and chips (well, halloumi and battered Linda McCartney sausages) and quantities of cheap boxed vin rouge we talked until late. On Saturday we were due to attend a Adoption Activity Day, we decided to go along, hoping this would cement our feelings (we had also invested in some ridiculous Christmas themed fancy dress that needed an outing). Twenty minutes into the journey, on the A34, we reached a decision: these are our boys. We came off at junction 12 and went to IKEA to look at beds.

The next day WSM came for lunch and we showed her pictures of her Grandsons.

On Monday 2nd December 2019 we confirmed that we would like to proceed, so all being well, Big Brother (BB) aged 3 and Little Brother (LB) 1 1/2 years will complete our family in the New Year, two years after this journey began.

*whilst this may be true, we knew they had offered a meeting with another couple who we know, but they had declined…the adoptive world is smaller than you might think!

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