Here we are, it’s now 2022 and slowly things around the world are starting to get back to a bit more normality after all the covid restrictions of the last 2 years. With only a few weeks till our Adoption Prep Training course we were determined to make this year a positive one!
Our prep course was split over 4 days, but not in a row. It was 09:30-15:30 on a Monday & Tuesday on two consecutive weeks via Teams. This was the first time, apart from information evenings, that we were going to properly meet other potential adopters who were in the same situation as us. So many questions were going through our heads in the lead up to day one, but within a few minutes of logging onto the course all our worries started to ease away. We did some icebreakers for everyone to introduce themselves and the whole group seemed very open and welcoming and easy to get on with. We had been given the agenda for each day prior to the course, along with some print outs we would need for the activities, so we had some understanding of what each day was going to cover.
Obviously, all agencies are likely to do their prep courses differently, but this is how ours was broken down over the days with different topics.
- Day 1 – Our expectations/hopes/fears, Q&A with previous adopters, Journey to adoption for adopters and the children, and useful learning resources we may find help with our journey.
- Day 2 – Panel Q&A with a panel member, case studies around attachment theory, the impact of loss for children and adults, and a presentation looking at the perspective of the birth parent and their journey to having a child removed from them
- Day 3 – Child development, Parenting & the Secure Base model, Post adoption support, Theraplay, Sibling adoption & the issues to consider, Medical advisor presentation.
- Day 4 – PACE, Identity & Life Story, Lifelong implications of adoption, and revisiting the expectations/hopes/fears discussed on day 1.
At the end of day one of the social workers mentioned it would be useful to set up a WhatsApp group for those on the course to build a support network together and we all agreed this was an excellent idea. I set up the group and sent the link out for people to join it and by the end of that evening we were all chatting away as if we had known each other for ages.
We found the whole course quite intensive, but it opened our minds to look at the journey from different perspectives and taught us so much more about the journey ahead of us. This was the first time we really understood what panel was and what it involved. The panel member explained they ask the Social Worker questions based on the PAR (Prospective Adopter Report) they have submitted, and then each panel member will ask us one question each. At the end of the meeting the panel will advise if their decision is to approve, defer or fail the prospective adopters and then it goes to the ADM (Agency Decision Maker) to make a final decision based on the PAR and the panel’s report.
With the course completed and our workbook and references and medicals submitted all there was left to do now was wait for our Social Worker to sign us off to start Stage 2. We were advised that we would be moving to an Independent Social Worker for Stage 2 due to workloads, and due to annual leave, there would be a two week delay before we could meet with her. By now we were quite used to delays so two weeks didn’t seem like much, but we realised how lucky we were when some of the other couples on our prep course told us they had been warned it could be several months till they begin Stage 2 due to staff shortages.
So now we wait for Social Worker number three! Will we have to repeat lots of previous discussions for her to know us well enough to do her report? Will the fact she is an Independent Social Worker and not part of our agency benefit or hinder us? These and so many other questions were flowing through our heads but all we could do was wait for her call to arrange our Stage 2 initial meeting…
To be continued…