We started our adoption process back in 2014, just after our wedding and in all honesty, we couldn’t have been more nervous! I was more nervous about meeting our social worker than I was about walking down the aisle in front of over one hundred people, but those nerves do settle. Your allocated social worker is there to help you and guide you along the way, not to judge you which it can feel like at times, constantly second guessing yourself and wondering if you should have said something differently – DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
Honestly, we both feel like we gained a friend in our social worker, as she’s been there with us throughout the process and probably knows more about us than a lot of our friends. For us, our social worker was like our cheerleader, rooting for us from day one.
The process is long, but rightly so! The knowledge you gain throughout is fantastic and Caritas Care provide a high level of training. You may think ‘why do we need training?’ – ‘my friend who has a biological child didn’t have to go through all this?’ etc. But looking back now the training days were a godsend. They cover a wide range of topics, issues, strategies and concerns which are 100% beneficial. At least one thing from your training days will massively benefit you further down the line and if you’re new to all this you will end your training days fully informed about everything coming your way.
Following your first batch of training is the dreaded panel, this is where you’ll find out whether or not you’re going to be able to adopt. This one again was a nerve wracking day! We had to get our parents to drive us to panel due to our nerves, and once in the room we were greeted by a table of around eight very warm and friendly looking professionals – not a row of intimidating experts like a scene from ‘Dragon’s Den’ which is honestly what we expected.
Not that the friendly professionals put my husband at ease, I think he managed to speak about two words during our panel and the rest of the time stayed mute looking to me for answers. This being said, we were approved. We were over the moon and contacted our closest friends/family who were also overjoyed.
This then brings you into Stage 2 of the process. Stage 2 seems a blur to us now – this is when you are being matched with children from all over the UK and can also attend activity days, sign up to websites where you can view potential matches for you and your family etc. We were matched with several children, but then a certain little boy came to our attention.
His family finder and social worker had contacted ours and we knew straight away he was the one we wanted to make a part of our family and we wanted to be his ‘forever family’. Following a meeting with his social workers, who agreed we were a perfect match, we travelled to where he was based and met with all the important figures in his life – foster carers, teachers, doctor and from there we went on to panel number 2!
This panel was the most important day of our lives. We knew we couldn’t have any nerves that day and following an hour meeting we were approved to adopt this little man. A little man who we had already fallen in love with after reading so much about and knew everything about but hadn’t yet seen! It’s a strange feeling!
The time between this panel and us actually meeting seemed like an eternity. It’s different for everyone during the time following panel but ours was just under two months. At this point we made him a story book about his ‘forever family’, his new home, pets, family and a DVD of the two of us which introduced us and showed him around his forever home (the less said about the DVD the better, we’re certainly not going to be up for an Oscar any time soon). He received both of these on Boxing Day as an extra present Santa had left him – executed perfectly by his foster carers.
During this time, we longed for the day to come, and when it did it was a whirlwind. Upon arriving at his foster carers home, we were greeted at the door by a very happy cheeky little boy yelling ‘Dad, Daddy come on in!’. Both our hearts melted in an instant and we knew we had made the right decision – he was ours! In full, we spent about a week in the location where he was based, had lots of days out in the local area and spent the time getting to know him and him getting to know us.
Returning back to our holiday apartment without him at the end of every day was hard but understandable. But after all this, we all travelled down together (him and his foster carers) to where we live. Following one night of him staying in a hotel with them, he was ready to come into our home and stay the night and from there he was with us forever. It seems so strange typing about this now as it seems like much longer ago and as I said earlier, it’s as if he has genuinely lived with us his entire life!
This process is a rollercoaster of emotions (it was for us anyway). But with Caritas Care and our social worker’s support it has been a fantastic rollercoaster…and here we are now, a Dad and a Daddy to our little boy, and all of us couldn’t possibly be happier!
I do hope us sharing our adoption journey with you can give you some insight into the process and what it has been like for us. Best wishes and best of luck with everything coming your way – I’m sure you’ll be an amazing parent/parents!
Danny & James, Adopters