Hello again …
I haven’t posted for ages, and have reached the stage where the buzzing possible posts tumbling around in my head exceed my time to write, my decision-making over what to focus on, or my energy to be creative. Over time, recognising this self-destructive loop, my procrastination and resulting silence has lengthened.
I shall therefore now break into this silence, post as I see fit, and beg your indulgence with the output of my brain-dump.
It has been and continues to be interesting times. My stage 2 / home study continues. I have had several visits and now have a draft PAR (Prospective Adopters’ Report) sitting on a table awaiting my repeat attention. I (if we continue to progress to plan) go to approval panel in less than 2 months. Last Saturday I could perhaps have attended an activity day but did not (well I never could as I was at a wedding, but even so, the very idea is still scary). Next week I have a Consortium Exchange day – a regional matching event.
Suddenly it is all very real.
I continue to read and think and ponder. I have been privileged to talk to single adopters in my area and listen, learn, absorb and be humbled by their strength, their resilience, their passion, their commitment, their love. One day I hope I will measure up as best I can.
Previously I wrote about the ricochet that flings you from one end of the emotional roller coaster to the other, and that continues apace. The detail and the immediate worries evolve and develop – but the emotional charge remains.
So where am I now? Well …
I seem somewhere to have stopped worrying quite as much about the finances and decided that I will manage come what may.
I am increasingly convinced that I cannot see into the future so judging what my return to work will/should/may look like, how it will be decided, how many hours I will do, what I will do about childcare, how I will meet my child/ren from nursery or school every day, whether I will be stimulated anew or wearied beyond reasoning by the work/children/life (ha) balance at some unimaginable future point is exactly that – unimaginable. Currently at least I am at peace with this complexity, accepting of this uncertainty, and positive that change whether brought about actively or descending upon us without warning is one of the great joys of life.
Also, increasingly, this much I know: my future, in so far as I have a choice, is threaded into and through the futures of my as yet unknown child/ren and their lives, their futures, their challenges, joys, doubts, worries, loves, losses and successes.
I have wondered pondered worried explored read thought panicked investigated and thought yet more about my “matching criteria”. I appreciate that the “would discuss’ column is equivalent to the ever-favoured pub-trivia “Middle Answer theory” and eventually I resorted to ticking a Yes or a No alongside a “would discuss” to try and be helpful on ooh at least 5 criteria. But I am struggling – for me so many questions demand the answer “well it all depends”.
So; the joys of matching?
Mostly, on this question of matching, I have decided it is really really hard. Under the new Stage 1 / Stage 2 approach, as you get towards your matching panel (so maybe halfway into Stage 2) it seems to be recommended that you start to view real profiles of real children awaiting adoption. This informs your PAR and enables you and your social worker to learn more about you and your thinking. It is very real. I have had to say yes, or no, or maybe (although at this stage, to be honest, as I am not approved and so nothing can be progressed, I took refuge in a “maybe” pile, a “probably not” pile, and a “would need to ask quite a few questions” pile). With each profile I see I have had to try to work out why; to see inside myself; to balance logic, instinct, analysis and emotional bias; to articulate why I have categorised as I have. Along the way of course I have seen many online who comment, blog and otherwise scribe authoritatively (although not always with authority or expertise …) along the lines that potential adopters should always say yes to any possible child or children, otherwise it is treating children as if they exist in a marketplace. Being someone who in my day job often struggles with the consequences and structures of the capitalist/market economy I naturally find this doubly challenging as an ideology. The accusation – whether made directly and brutally or dressed up – bruises. And yet: to have the most chance of reaching a successful match that not only works for me but (what we’re all here for) means my eventual child/ren find the home and family they need to flourish and grow and meet their potential … to make this happen it is crucial all of us who are potential adopters (and our Social Workers and family and friends and supporters) engage and do all we can to help those advising and supporting us to carry out their roles with knowledge and information and insight.
I thought all along that matching might be a challenge. Long ago, in my search to be matched as an Independent Visitor I went through a similar but less intensive process to be matched with a boy who became very important to me (as many of you will have read – if you have not here is His Story) as we grew older over future years. Back then I struggled with the matching process (a lot of “well I don’t know really” and “no strong views really”). Now, it seems, as predicted, I struggle again.
For me the right child/ren will be those who are indefinably right – whether they meet any one criterion strictly or not. Each child is an individual. Each sibling group has its own dynamics. At the same time, I will always be me – but I will be a slightly different me, inevitably, depending on who enters my life and the contributions and input they have into my life and the dynamic between us in turn. All this makes matching hard – and the conversations with my Social Worker challenging and complex. Yet slowly a sense of what is right emerges; out of the hard conversations and the difficult challenges we gain glimpses of my path to my new future; we begin to discern the first few yards of a new as yet untrodden path, to be in fact not mine alone but shared, a path to be explored (to be run, cried, skipped, argued, walked, shouted, loved, played, raced, dawdled, anguished, cherished, cycled along) as just one part of a new and amazing family.
Joining my first ever Blog Hop …
If I’ve managed to follow the techie instructions right (in which case they are actually really easy, but awaiting the results before I get too confident) then this post is now part of a Blog Hop at The Adoption Social website. Each week the site hosts a Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO) where different bloggers can post up their latest thoughts and writing on all sorts of stuff to do with adoption. This time however they’ve added this clever way that we all get to have a go.
So, hopefully … if you click on the link below you will be able to see all the posts added to this week’s #WASO. Check them out and then visit The Adoption Social …
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