Welcome to my Valentine Theme Blog Hop, around the theme of Love. I thought I would kick off with a wee story of how I met PJ. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin...
The week after I was finally approved to adopt I went with my social worker to an event that was incredibly surreal from beginning to end. The event was for social workers and their prospectively approved adopters. An exhibition with around 40 local authorities, each with their own stand and each with tables full of A4 pages or booklets and displays of a myriad of photos. Photos of children all in the UK who needed to be adopted. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Some Local Authority stands had pens as giveaways, bags, balloons and even cake to share!
Attending a craft fair would have been easier!
Faces and faces and faces, all staring back at me as I walked past the displays, most smiling and all silently crying out: Pick me, pick me, pick me!
We moved around slowly and carefully, from stand to stand. We had previously, weeks before, together come up with a list of my chosen criteria to begin looking for a child for me to adopt, based on what I could realistically be looking for. I had been approved for one child at panel, so that ruled out looking at the many profile pages of sibling groups. I was up for either a boy or girl. We walked past some Local Authorities displays as they were the other end of the country from where we lived, deciding it was too impractical for introductions - and besides there were still hundreds to look at.
We took lots of breaks for coffee, chatted to various social workers, watched some heart-warming DVDs of many children, cried, drank more coffee and collected various possible leaflets and put them on one of the freebie bags, for me to look at later over the weekend. We thought we had been ruthless with our selections of possible children that may have the right child for me...
Look through all the leaflets, and make a top 10 and email me your top 4 On Monday, my social worker said. I opened my bag of leaflets. I had 60 profiles in my bag! I don't think either I or my social worker realised that I had so many. I felt utterly overwhelmed. I wanted to have a home for them all. They all needed families. I am only approved for one, I told myself and picked up the pile.
I read through them and some quickly fell by the wayside due to the matching criteria needed for the child or my preferences. There was a really really cute face that jumped out at me. I put her to the top of my pile and then to the bottom and then back in and then as part of my top 10ish.... I had some questions around some of the information in the initial leaflet and wasn't sure if this one would work.... the next week and over the next few months my social worker and I pursued a few other profiles from my top 4 that fell at the first hurdle. Then, a few months later my social worker sent a profile for me - it was the same one I had really really liked, the one with the really really cute face -and had dismissed because of the unanswered questions I had, but had never asked. I raised my questions and had several answered very quickly. It took several months before all the paperwork was compiled and it finally went to matching panel. It was an agonising few weeks of waiting for the yes recommendation by panel to be agreed by the decision maker. The yes came and I met her the next day. I knocked on the door and she opened the door and just beamed at me. She had been shown the day before a book I had prepared for her with my photo in, so she said - You're my New Mummy, aren't you? Yes I said and she said: Would you like to come in and play with me? Yes please I said. That was it. I was in Love.