First Panel - Approval
We were deferred at our first approval panel, we weren't invited, it was a long time ago before meeting us seemed important. We wanted 2, 3 or more siblings. Clearly no one in their right mind would want to do that. Panel can't approve someone not in their right mind so we were deferred for that reason and suspicions that we were religious zealots.
Second Panel - Approval
However, after a 4 month re assessment by a new Social Worker they took our case back to panel. We stayed at home, our phone was unknowingly broke and we waited and waited and waited with friends. Hours passed then a taxi arrived and told us to fix the phone. The Social worker rang and we were passed.
Third Panel - Match
Two months later we waited by the phone as the matching panel did their thing. Having had mixed results at panel we were naturally sceptical of our Social Workers reassurances. However the call came and we were parents to the Big one, Gracie and Ginger, 6, 3 and 20 months.
Fourth Panel - Fostering
Several years later we decided to foster, so off to panel again, well waiting by the phone again. Surprise surprise deferred again. Concerns that we'd become too attached and not be able to move them on, as if.
Fifth Panel - Fostering
We're through, with a recommendation that we don't have babies placed, which seemed fair enough.
So long story short, Flossy and Lotty, 15 months and 3 months arrived shortly after, we fall in love, court case, mess, court case, mess, blah, what the hell, lets adopt them.
Sixth Panel - Approval and Matching
So we sit outside this time waiting to go in, times have changed. We are waiting for the judge to rule at the county court that morning so the wee ones can be freed for adoption so the Panel can make approval then match. So, we wait, no word from the court, we miss our slot, we wait, still no word, panel finishes, we wait, no ruling and we go home crestfallen, heartbroken. We break the news to the big three......................a dark day at Coates Towers
More court dates, judge rules, introductions with others, trauma, loss, disaster, judge rules again and the adoption is back on.
Seventh Panel - Approval and Matching
One year to the day, I kid you not, we sit waiting to go and be approved and matched at panel. We are ready for a fight. We will take all comers and are furious, Flossy and Lotty belong to us and we defy anyone to say otherwise. The Panel thank us for what we have endured and match and approve.
We are relieved and overjoyed but the experiences of the last year have taken a toll that last to this day.
Much water under the bridge, Mrs C and I volunteer on adoption panels, I train as a Social worker and so on and so forth.
Then, along came Peanut and thats another story for another blog.
Eighth Panel- Approval and Matching
Well by now, Mrs C and I have experience of being on Panel and there is no mystery. But the feeling that you get when they say yes was undiminished. We did it. Peanut is ours and we are hers.
I am by nature a pragmatist and I understand the need for Panel and I understand the decisions they make.
Sitting on Panel I've read through Prospective Adopter Reports and had concerns born from hard learned experience. I've worried about lack of knowledge and blind naivety. I've sat in discussions where enthusiasm and optimism have been weighed against reality and challenge.
Panels are a trial for Social Workers and prospective adopters alike but lives, hopes and futures are at stake. I've witnessed adopter deception and seen the havoc it can wreak.
So for all we've had a mixed experience, as have many, I would defend panels.