I was reading the Metro on a very over-crowed tube. I’d finished the article about Naomi Campbell’s over sized ET shaped toe, which was strangely gratifying as I knew that something like this would bother her far more than the story breaking about her accepting blood diamonds. I got to the classified section, which I’ve never read before, where I saw an advert for adoption. I guess you don’t notice these things until it’s relevant to you. There was an advert inviting people to an open evening to find out more about adoption. I called the number as soon as I got home and put our names down for the meeting.
I have to say, as the time drew nearer I was apprehensive, I suppose that was to be expected. It was at a Holiday Inn hotel in London. It was one of those hazy summer evenings and as we walked to the hotel I felt a sudden rush of hope, maybe we would be able to adopt a child, after all lot’s of other people do it right?
When we got inside there was a sign on the door of one of the meeting rooms in big letters that said ‘Adoption Evening.’ You had to go through the bar area to get to it. When I saw this my stomach turned over, for some reason I felt ashamed, embarrassed, I hated that I felt this way but I did, it was the same feeling I used to get when my name was called out for free dinners at school. It made me feel like I had failed in someway, I guess being labeled sub fertile had more of an effect than I’d realised.
There were three social workers and an adoptive parent who had adopted three children, he was there to speak about his experience. The head of the social workers department talked first about the adoption process, what it involved and the time it was likely to take, usually about a year from the beginning to end of the approval process and then how ever long it took to find you the right match. He also drew our attention to the table where there were lots of information about adoption, as well as the magazine’s where they advertise children who were looking for families. He then handed over to another social worker, who talked us through a couple of case histories.
She began by telling us that these were real children. I don’t want to repeat what she said in too much detail because it was too horrific, needless to say several women in the room started to cry, I could not allow myself to do this, had I, I would not have been able to stop. I do remember someone getting up to refill their tea, bad move, we where not watching the TV! The children in question were from horrendous situations, and both had what the social worker referred to as ‘Global development delay’ I still don’t know what this means. I heard one man whisper to his wife ‘Let’s just get a dog’
The social worker then went on to say that they were looking for a families who were willing to take more than one child and that if you were white then the likelihood of you being able to adopt a baby was non-existent, they would encourage you to think about adopting an older child, or three.
In the break the magazines advertising children were passed around, again I felt shame for wanting to look but I just couldn’t help my self.
“Let’s go, these kids all have funny shaped heads” said the man with weirdest shaped head I have ever seen. His wife look mortified, she hit him with the magazine and they left the room. What a prick!
I remember seeing one lovely little boy who I would have taken home in a heat beat but that wasn’t going to happen because I was the wrong colour. Don’t they have an order form at the back so I can get the colour that they would prefer me to have!
We then heard from the guy who’d adopted three, I thought to my self now this makes sense, they probably told him if he wants one, he’ll have to wait, but take three and you can have them next week. His story was a happyish one apart from the bit when he talked about one of the kids, scratching their neck until it bleed and how sometimes he had to sit on top of the child to stop him from harming himself.
So once you’d navigated your way through the process and bared your soul to the social services, badgered your friends to write nice things about you, decorated you’re spare room with Nemo the clown fish with the gimpy fin. You’re almost there right? Not so fast! Because after all that let’s say you do finally find a child in one of those magazine’s or the social worker thinks they have found you a match, there’s still no guarantee, chances are you might get gazumped by another family. Yes my friends, now starts the competition! It’s a word they used. So having waited a year and had meeting after meeting regarding the child, you may have to make that agonising trip home once again with out a nipper. I know they have the child’s best interest at heart, but Christ have a little bit of consideration for the people going through this Crap!
Oh and one more thing, this borough wanted us to consider the child having contact with the birth parents. So even though little Jonny’s Mother kept him locked in a shed while she conducted her business in the house. It a possibility they will insist on contact now and then…..That was it for me!
So I’m sorry if this paints a bleak picture, this was our first experience. Perhaps we were not ready to take this step just yet. Has it put me off? No! Because I still hope that somewhere out there, there is a little person who needs a family and I live in hope that one day we will all find each other. I can feel it!