“It’s strange to think our child might already be born. Each day I wonder what they look like and what they might be doing”
BY JEN CAMPION
The entire house has been cleaned from top to bottom. Floors mopped, cupboards wiped down, shelving dusted. We’ve cleaned the windows for the first time in forever. There are posh chocolate biscuits arranged on one of the good plates. Today is our first social worker meeting and we’re expecting a Mary Poppins-esque home inspection. We pace the house, find more things to clean, and instruct the cats to be on their best behaviour while we wait for the knock at the door.
In fact, the actual visit is fairly chilled. Our social worker is chatty and friendly. We show her around, one of the cats tries to climb inside her handbag, and she doesn’t touch the posh chocolate biscuits. She leaves us with more paperwork to complete.
Starting a family through adoption involves a lot of paperwork! There’s financial, medical and DBS checks to be carried out, plus references from friends and employers. It sounds taxing, but Stage One mostly involves waiting – we fill in forms, then wait for other people to do things with them. It seems to last forever. It’s strange to think our child might already be born. Each day I wonder what they look like and what they might be doing.
The hardest thing to sort out is the medical checks. The GP doesn’t really seem to understand what it’s for or who has to pay for it (we do, but the council will refund us. Not all councils do, so we’re lucky. In any case, the GP just won’t take our money!). Eventually we finally have our appointments at 5pm on a weekday, with two doctors who seemed to want to get home as fast as possible. The examination involved being weighed and having various routine checks (reflexes and eyes), answering some lifestyle questions about smoking and drinking and then – unexpectedly! – having a pee test. To be honest, I don’t know if this is standard or if they were kind of winging it.
I worried endlessly about the medicals, but everything comes back fine with no recommendations. If you’re worried about something in your medical history, that won’t necessarily stop you from adopting. Oftentimes it’s seen as a strength rather than a mark against you; children need resilient parents who can seek help when needed, and who can help them through their own life story.
Finally, everything is complete and we wait to find out if we’ve been accepted onto Stage Two. The call comes when we’re on our way home from a holiday in Ireland, driving back to the ferry. After a week of late nights and hangovers, I’m feeling tired and extra emotional. It’s wonderful to get that bit closer to becoming parents, but I’m also scared about what that means and how much our lives will change. Are we definitely ready? Is anyone? As I watch the landscape flash past I can’t help but wonder when we’ll be back.
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