Well huge hurrahs for the end of training. 9 modules. 7 training sessions. 4 evenings. 1 Saturday morning. 2 full days. 0 friends made.
This one was all about homefinding – which would you believe is about the process that happens to find children a home. In all honesty it was pretty handy we hadn’t made friends as if we had, this session would have severed all bonds. The basically lobbed a giant grenade into the room – labelled ‘competition’
Its complicated. New language is as follows:
Link – the connection between child and prospective parents
Match – when the link has been checked out and it looks like you may get the children
Linkmaker – its rightmove but for kids. Each person posts their profile and you enter your search criteria (age, location etc) and wait until you get a notification there’s a match
Here’s the process in a nutshell. There are 3 teams. Your social workers and you (team A) the homefinding team (team B) and the child’s social worker (team C)
Team A in stage 2 heading towards approval panel (ours is April)
Team B are looking at children coming into care and making connections between team A’s and team C’s.
Team A and Team C like the look of each other. Team B engineer a meeting.
Team A get approved
Team A get log on to Linkmaker
Team C are posting on Linkmaker
Team A or Team C like each other and a connection is made.
Team B invite Team A and Team C to an evening where there are stands and social workers and you mingle and share profiles
Team B invite team A and team C to a morning where the kids are playing and team A dress in fancy dress, play with the kids and then pick one
I think that’s as clear as I can make it. Yes it seems clinical but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt is that when the stork or science doesn’t bring you a baby – you just have to deal with it!
We’re spending a lot of time focussing on getting through our panel so focussing after that feels a bit surreal.
Anyhow, back to the session. We had name badges already on tables this week which avoided the hmm which weird folk shall I sit next to this week. We were with lovely guy (who, wait for it, I actually like) he was on form this week and a little rebellious. Then we had lurch and his wife who I have now named the dementor (A Harry Potter character described on google as draining peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them…)
Lurch is exactly how you imagine him. Tall, broad, dark hair, shadowy chin, dark eyes and a really slow stupid voice. Dementor is a social worker, adoption for her is just a misery induced experience and she clearly hates every minute of it. Lucky kids!
There were the usual introductions and stating of which stage you’re at with panel dates now thrown around the room with wild abandonment – the first hint of the evening’s competition. We listed hopes and concerns as a table group – if we’d had let her, dementor would still be there now filling up the concerns board!
Then we talked through the process on about ten more slides than the detail I’m giving you. There was plenty of opportunity to ask questions which was great until dementor piped up with her lurch and dementor specific questions – not relevant to any of the other people in the room. It was here I imagine husband’s blood started to simmer (volcanic eruption waited until we were in the car thank goodness!)
During the break we were talking about linkmaker being like a dating website and all the lonely hearts acronyms which Lurch and lovely guy seemed very familiar with. I pointed this out and was swiftly informed by lurch that him and the dementor met on a dating website. Slightly awkward silence. But no surprise.
Then we had to do a group activity where the 5 of us on the table had an anonymous profile to look at and we had to come to a consensus of whether or not we’d want to adopt this child. Weird. Lovely guy referred to it as living on a kibbutz and making communal decisions on the children we were raising! Anyway – I started to read the 4 pages of A4 out to the group. Then dementor offered to take over as apparently I sounded bored. I’ve no idea what the next two pages said as her monotonous tone sent me to sleep. Then when I expressed an opinion on no to taking the child she decided to unleash her patronising tone. Thankfully there was a little nudge under the table from husband. Point of the exercise was that the other groups had a name and a photo and it was a reminder to not just go by photo. 2 other groups said no. 1 group said yes and we were undecided. Like lovely guy pointed out – we were too busy deciding who should do the commune washing up!
Basically from this point on we will be all looking at the same children and competing to see who gets what they want. Brilliant. The one hope is that actually we may all want slightly different children. But everytime that ping on the linkfinder app goes it will be impossible to ignore.
Session over and with great relief we got in the car and drive home. Lurch and Dementor had really stressed husband out with their misery and specific detailed questions all evening. His parting shot was ‘no wonder they’re adopting. Having their own biological children would have been no good for the human race!’
So that was Tuesday evening and Friday was our first 3.5 hour SW session. I won’t bore you but we covered:
Support network – who are they, how do we know them, what will we use them for
Our relationship – what do we like/not like about each other
Lifestlye – what are we looking forward to/dreading about adoption
Past relationships – expressed my grumpiness at this one.
She’s also now meeting our referees and back next week for more talking!