Life appreciation day and PANEL

So – part of the process in every adoption is a life appreciation day – which essentially means that anyone who has come into contact with the child since birth gets together in a room (our dining rom) and shares their information with us.

Our life appreciation day was actually life appreciation morning. We’d not tidied up in time and so were running round in the morning crazy. Husband had a big piece of work on and was still unshowered and in his pants 15 minutes before they were due. Low and behold one of them was early so husband had a rather quick get away upstairs.

We had about 7 social workers sat around our table – quite claustrophobic! It was a really interesting morning though and we found out more about birth parents, how contact had gone and how child was currently. We enjoyed hearing more about their life and getting more info to share when they’re older.

Next that day we had our SW manager come to meet us as she was coming to panel with us due to our SW being off. Husband was in waffle mode, I wasn’t. She was actually very lovely, reassured us, gave us some questions to think about that they might ask and then she went on her way.

We had a last minute photo shoot to arrange as child sw (student one) needed photos of our house, our garden, child room, me cooking, husband gardening etc it was all a bit odd but we nailed the brief. Won’t be seeing us in nay catalogues or magazines though – we are so unphotogenic!!

It also felt like the right time to tell the nieces. I put a dummy in an envelope and they had to guess gender and age. One was thrilled, one not so. I think there’ll be challenges sharing that grandparents!!! The in-laws also finally got giddy with us and helped us build the nursery. clearly the child had a bookcase full of books before a bed or clothes!

The day of matching panel arrived and I made a grave grave mistake. I went to panel without eating. So I was tired, stressed and incredibly short tempered. We still however had time to stop for a selfie before we went in. There was no pathetic woman trying to tell us where to go but there was our student who asked me how I was feeling. I told the truth. I was really nervous. Way more nervous than first panel – this one seemed to really count. It’s hard to describe. Student said there was no need to be nervous. She then received my response – easy for you to say!

As we were walking to the room J and his wife from training were coming in the opposite direction. It was nice to see a familiar face. I went full on in for the hug and kiss and petrified the both of them! We got into the same blank 4 walled rooms, I managed to scoff a chocolate chip cookie and all started to rebalance a bit on the hangry stakes.

It actually went a bit pear shaped in the ten minutes between arriving and going into the panel room. Child sw hadn’t realised our sw was off and so there was info that had not been passed on. Mainly that child had had contact with birth parents the week before AND that they wanted to meet us AND that we might get to meet sibling adopters AND that child was nearly walking. It was so much to take in I could feel myself getting a bit panicky.

I’ll explain how we feel about meeting birth parents in another post – we actually want to. I just think finding out 10 minutes before panel wasn’t ideal.

We went into the same board room with the pretty much same panel but questions more specific to us and the child. I felt the tears coming as soon as we sat down and all eyes were on us. The questions were quite hard to answer ‘why this child?’ ‘how will you manage the future unknowns’ (erm guess what? We don’t know?!) Anyway they did the whole x factor judging thing around the table – we got a unanimous yes to being matched and then we left the room. I wanted to cry and whoop and celebrate but without our SW there it wasn’t anywhere near as celebrated as we thought.

Next stop – meetings!!!!!

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