I’m the kind of person that gets antsy waiting for a bus. So, waiting to be matched with a child has been tough. Initially I reasoned that I couldn’t justify being miffed before nine months, in line with pregnancy. Then I told myself that nothing was likely to happen this side of Christmas. That took me to twelve months. Deep down I really believed we would be matched by then. Social workers proclaimed we would be. They hadn’t reckoned for the reduced number of placement orders considering the new ruling by Sir James Munby. Or an upsurge in people wanting to adopt. Potentially all good news for waiting children but a bit rubbish for us.
Then 18 months passed. Soon our two-year review was scheduled. We knew we would be asked what we could do to make ourselves more ‘competitive’. But, honestly, we were doing the lot.
- We were gaining more childcare experience, across a range of ages;
- We were attending classes, workshops, and studying online to improve our knowledge about key issues;
- We were preparing our home to be ready for a child or children to move in;
- We were networking with other prospective adopters, adopters, foster carers, and professionals, both online and in person.
The only thing going against us was our weight. Until this was remedied, we were put on hold with our approving agency and family finding was effectively suspended.
We entered our third year of waiting since approval. We began viewing profiles of children who weren’t even conceived when we started the process. We could not actively pursue links but could respond if other agencies showed interest in us, using Link Maker.
30 months since approval the LA acknowledged that we had lost enough weight and made systemic changes that will benefit us and our future children. We recommenced family finding and waited once more.
We are an exceptional case. Fewer people are being matched almost immediately after approval but not many go beyond two years. Perhaps this is because some give up at this point or are politely encouraged by their approving agency to reconsider. Fortunately, we had the full support of our local authority, even if we did feel like we were made to jump through hoops constantly occasionally.
How have we survived the wait?
We have been fortunate to have each other. When one of us was down the other dragged her up. On the rare occasion we did have a wobble at the same time, we could always turn to our social worker.
Our social worker is fab. She really is. We have always viewed adoption as a team effort and our social worker is the third key member. I could gush about our social worker all day, but I will save that for another post.
We have kept busy. We have tried to read, watch, and learn as much as we can in the time available to us. We have read books that seemingly have little relevance now but may just make life a bit easier once we have children.
We have told people that it’s tough. We’ve tried not to moan too much as we know it’s relative and we are at least fortunate not to face this challenge on the back of trying to conceive. If you are struggling with the wait please talk to other people who understand, i.e. other adopters and prospective adopters. More than anything, being honest and transparent with our social worker and support network has kept us sane.
In the meantime, we continue waiting…