So now that we were approved we could start looking for a child. Our profile would be put on a national register which meant that agencies all over the country could see it and approach us if they felt that we were a suitable match for any of the children in their care.
We were invited to a profiling event this is where selected children are filmed and shown to the prospective adopters. An information pack is given to you regarding each child so you can read their background before seeing them on the screen.
As I held the pack in my hand I was really hoping that there would be a least one child that we might feel some connection to. I slowly looked through the profiles and I saw a little boy who really made me smile. He was not the first child to be shown but when his little face appeared on the screen I was sure I wanted to know more about him.
After the screening if you wanted more information on any of the children you could go and speak with the foster career and social worker, they were sat at individual tables, with the child’s photo in the centre, foster career and social worker on either side. Some children had people queuing up, other tables sat in silence wondering why they bothered coming in the first place.
Lee and I agreed that we should find out more about this little boy so I called our social worker over and discussed this with her. She looked at me with what I can only describe as an exasperated look; she then pulled me to one side and said.
How about this one?’
Pointing to a completely different child which I thought was a little odd.
‘No, we want to find out more about this little boy.’
‘I think that you should at least consider this one.’
What was she doing, we weren’t buying a sofa! “No we don’t have this one, but this one is very similar, made in the same factory.’
‘Can we at least talk to the foster Mother about this one?’
She pulled us over to a corner of the room.
‘Ok, when you attended the course did they ever talk about a little boy who was named Master Lucifer Demon?’
‘Well that’s him!’
‘So we’d change his name, we’d still like to know more about him.”
‘Both his parents have schizophrenia, so I am advising you to walk away.’
I looked at Lee, he was shaking his head in disbelief. I felt sick. My brother suffers with this and having grown up with it I was under no illusions, this was something that I was not prepared to take on. It was devastating, the guilt I felt for not having the courage to do this.
After that blow we sat and listened to adopted parents talking about their experiences and some of the challenges they had faced. One of the women who had adopted 3 children was talking about the baby that had recently joined her family.
‘I think it’s important to use the word adopted from the word go, so that it’s part of their vocabulary when they’re growing up. He a very chubby baby and I can’t resist blowing raspberries on his tummy, and as I do it I say, who’s adopted, who’s adopted, you are, yes you are!’
Lee and I just looked at each other in horror, then we both looked at our social worker who was rolling her eyes.
Apparently you are supposed to use the word adopted from the moment you bring your child home, but I’d like to think that when the time came we would deliver it with a bit more finesse.
We left that day feeling deflated, I had hoped, well I had the fantasy that first child we saw would be the one for us, but that was a ridiculous notion.
A few weeks later our social worker sent us the profile of a little red-headed boy. Lee and I really wanted to know more about him so our social worker contacted his family finder and we waited.
A week later I got a phone call from our social worker, she said.
‘They’re not going to meet with you as they don’t think you’re suitable.’
I was furious how dare they make that assumption when they hadn’t even met us. I wanted to know why.
‘Why, what reason did they give?’
‘They don’t have to give a reason, they’re not going to meet with you.’
Now I was really MAD!! How are we expected to improve our chances if we are not told the reasons why they have deemed us to be so unsuitable. When I told Lee he went ballistic. I had not seen this coming. This was not going the way I had imagined, how naïve, I felt so stupid and hopeless, I could feel that Lee was really starting to get frustrated with this process. We would just have to keep looking.