Chapter 20 – Is this the call that dreams are made of?

July 21, 2020Richard and Lewis

It’s a Tuesday morning and I am fully into the swing of the working week already, having had a very busy morning clinic already and it was still not anywhere near lunch time when I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket which normally doesn’t affect me but it seemed to bother me today, so I apologise to my patient, take it out of my pocket to reject the call and it was at that moment that I felt sick myself and like I might just need a nurse, as it was Gemma calling. How I managed to take the patients’ blood who I was dealing with at the time I do not know, as all I could think about was that Gemma has called and that it might be some news in terms of a match. I still had an hour left of my walk-in clinic which was packed out, so there was no way I was going to be able to call her back until the lunchtime break. I don’t normally even bother with a proper lunch break, but today I will certainly be going out of the surgery and making this call as quickly as I possibly can. It finally came to the end of the walk-in clinic, in what felt like about 10 years and I rushed out to lunch without saying a word to the reception staff, as I was in a state of excited panic. I found the closest street bench that I could find with nobody else sitting at, took a deep breath and tapped the call back button. Gemma answered and asked me if I could speak to which I quickly replied “Yes of course, is everything okay” to which Gemma said “I think we have found the perfect match for you”. I didn’t really know what to say, I mean I am in the middle of a busy London town centre on a street bench, this isn’t exactly glamorous but what a moment. All I could think initially was that I needed to call Rich, but at the same time had a million and one questions for Gemma so just said “can you tell me anymore than that” in a playing it cool jokey kind of way, but really what I meant was tell me absolutely everything you know.

Gemma then went on to explain that she feels this child is a potential match and that she would like to send over more details and the profile, as she has been through the file in detail in terms of the background and history and feel this is a great match for both the child and us. She explained that she is going to send us a secure copy of the profile but would initially leave off any photo, as we needed to understand the profile first before just falling in love with a picture. ‘Oh my god what is actually happening’ is what was going through my head, I am shaking and I haven’t even seen any information yet, do I wait until we are together to read it or do I look and then tell Rich all about it, so may questions are now running through my mind, with the main one being ‘is this a dream’. Gemma then started to read through the profile information and I tried to write down crucial points on a small post it note, that I took out with me, as I didn’t think to bring anything else. While trying to keep my mind focused on what Gemma was saying and taking it all in, I was deep down just wanting to tell Gemma to stop talking and send me the profile, so I can read every single word over and over again. Whilst Gemma continued to read through the boys information, on a couple of occasions she used his name, so the third time she did I had to stop her and ask “is that his name” to which she replied yes. ‘OMG I love the name’ I thought to myself, I know it sounds silly but the thought of not being able to choose your own child’s name is a weird one but on hearing it, I was really happy as it was one, we may have even picked ourselves. Gemma then gave me the details off the password required to see the basic info that was being sent over and told me to read it through with Richard and contact her once we were both ready with any questions. I said goodbye and quickly called Rich who of course never answers his phone at work, so I text, emailed and whatsapp him to call me back as soon as possible.

Gemma’s email came through and I opened it with the password which took a couple of goes and started to read through all the background information and then noticed which I am sure Gemma told me, his age. He is currently seven months old which took me back as the reality of adopting a baby still hadn’t sunk in on some level, but there it was in black and white a seven-month-old baby boy. Richard finally called me back and run of a list of questions like he usually does about something he hasn’t initially been a part of and of course my mind went to mush so I explained what I could think of but said I would forward him the email. Very excitedly I told Rich his name to which he replied “oh wow that’s a don name” so I explained that we are not to get too carried away though, but Gemma is really positive about this and feels it would be a great match.

We decided that we wanted to see his photo so I called Gemma back and asked if we could see it to which she replied “of course, but make your decision based on the information and not his lovely photo”. Waiting on my email inbox constantly refreshing the page, then ping there it was, an email from Gemma with an attachment, without opening it I forwarded it to rich and called him back so we could both look at it together. “So are you ready” both doubling clicking on what could be the first time we may have seen a picture of our son, and up pops the cutest and most handsome little boys face you could have ever imagined. “Well Rich what do you think?” to which he replies “He is gorgeous, we have got to have him”. It was hard not to fall for him based on his picture and quickly thinking about what Gemma had said about going on the information and not the photo, I had to for once be the sensible one and reel Rich back in a little bit to the reality. We decided to just wait till we were both home to go through it properly and sensibly together, without getting too excited, as this could end up not being the best match once we know in more detail about his background and situation. The rest of the working day seemed to drag and I found myself looking at the boys picture a few times and reading through the profile over and over. Finally, my shift came to an end and I rushed to my car to head home thinking, take away tonight for sure, as we will want to purely concentrate on the profile and not worry about cooking, cleaning or anything else. I arrived home to see Richards car already on the drive and opened the door to a big smile on his face like all his birthdays and Christmas’ had come at once, to which I said “calm down love, calm down” both giggling with excitement and a huge hug before we sit down to look at the papers that Rich had already pre-printed, so he must have left work early in excitement bless him. We read through the information a few times and were both happy with everything, so decided to email Gemma and ask to arrange a visit to discuss this in more detail, to which she replied to straight away, like she was also waiting for us to respond as this was now way out of normal working hours.

A few days later Gemma came to the house with more information that she had obtained from the boy’s social worker and we were going to go through it all and make a decision to potentially put ourselves forward or not. In our minds we had already made the decision and claimed him, but putting on our sensible heads we listened to all the new information that Gemma had brought with her. Nothing stood out that we wouldn’t be able to handle, the issues that may or may not cause problems in the future in terms of his health were things we know we could help him with, if it ever became a problem. Gemma then also explained that when adopting a baby, there is always going to be that risk that a health problem can occur as sometimes the birth parents are not forthcoming with medical family history or more often than not, the father’s information is unknown. We were lucky in that sense as we did have both birth parents medical background and nothing was a problem that we felt unsure about or needed to know much more details about, although we did request as much information that could be shared with us. It was at this moment that Gemma mentioned there was another couple who have been approached with his profile and that they were deciding if they wanted to be considered also and that if they do put themselves forward, then the social worker for him would have to make a decision on the best match for his needs. Just when we thought it was going so well another worry was added to the mix and all this could be for nothing, if the other adopters were better suited than we were. Rich who doesn’t normally let his guard down much or say too much, then made a comment to Gemma “well we will give him everything he has ever wished for and more, so you tell us what we need to do and we will do it”. Gemma could clearly tell that this had worried Rich and she reassured him that she felt we have a very good chance based on our circumstances, but that nothing could be guaranteed. The whole excitement turned to worry, as the potential of another couple being put forward did put a major downer on it all, but we wanted to remain positive and focussed on the information in front of us to make the all important decision.

The process of matching would also mean that we would have to meet the boy’s social worker, who would get to play a big role in deciding if we are the best match or not and that it would involve them visiting our house. Things are starting to get less exciting and more worrying, especially for me and the way my mind works which these high stressful situations. Another person to impress and the stakes are high, as this would mean becoming a parent or being back to the drawing board. First things first we need to decide if we officially want to be put forward as interested, so Gemma finally asks us the million-dollar question to which we both responded ‘YES’. The next step was for Gemma to officially put us forward and await the decision of the social workers, to who they will proceed with. It felt like and was of course a competition between the adopters, which was really not a nice feeling as there is going to be sadness to someone’s happiness but we need to stay strong, as if it’s meant to be then it’s meant to be.

A couple of days later Gemma called us to say the other adopters had pulled out and did not want to proceed with the adoption, so we were the only couple now who were being assessed as a potential match. The plan was to arrange a visit with the boy’s social worker at our house and hopefully win them over and continue to matching panel. Gemma confirmed this is the next step and arranged for us to meet her next week and just to try and relax until then. Gemma then did throw a spanner in the works, by explaining that the plain white empty bedroom we had ready for our future child needed to be transformed into a Nursery in time for the visit, as the social workers really like to get a feel of the home and the surroundings they will be moving into. In a way this was a great distraction for us to keep ourselves busy, by decorating and building the furniture and all within the space of a week, which obviously meant there would be a need for a trip to Ikea where this time I can stop in the family section and go wild. We know that this really could be a dream come true, with literally the child that we would have always wanted to adopt, but there is still a long way to go before this is finalised and we can even think of mentioning any of this to our parents, so roll on next week.

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