“It helps to be open and honest because this will all be taken into consideration when we are being matched with a child”

BY JEN CAMPION, IMAGE VIA FREEPIK

Once we pass Stage One, we enter Stage Two. Sometimes called the home study, this is when we get into the nitty gritty self-analysis. We each receive a question booklet and our answers will be discussed at one-to-one interviews with our social worker. So, we just have to discuss our entire lives from birth to the present moment; no biggie.

I’ve always been a perfectionist and I love homework, so I end up writing 30,000 words, whoops! On the day of my first interview, I take holiday from work and panic-clean the entire house before we chat at the kitchen table. I don’t enjoy talking about myself, so this is weird and uncomfortable for me, but it helps to be open and honest because this will all be taken into consideration when we are being matched with a child.

Some people ask why the process is so lengthy and involved when there are so many looked after children waiting to be adopted. But it is the social services’ job to make sure that prospective adopters will be good parents. Adopted children require a different, often more intense and emotionally involved kind of parenting called therapeutic parenting. Plus, the more information they have about us will help to make a good match.

The hardest thing in Stage Two is the preparation training, because it’s so emotionally intense. We attend three sessions which cover the reasons for children being adopted, the additional needs they might have, and an introduction to therapeutic parenting. For the first time I begin to truly understand how complex adoption is and how it will inform our child’s identity forever. Not only that, but I start to question the ethics of our decision to adopt. It is traumatic for a child to be removed from their birth family, and in an ideal world it would never happen. Sadly, it’s not an ideal world, so it’s our role as adopters’ to be aware of every side of the story and be open and honest with our future child. When you adopt, you’re also linking your family with multiple others – birth family, foster family, possibly siblings and their adoptive parents.

It’s with a heavier heart, and a hell of a lot of feelings buzzing around in my head, that we prepare for the panel where we’ll be formally approved.

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