Chapter 22 – Oh dear, not another person to meet
It’s been three weeks since we were told we are officially being put forward to become the baby boy’s forever family, and we can honestly say it has been the longest three weeks of our lives. We’ve seen his pictures, we know his name and we are already feeling like we are missing out on being his parents, as we keep being told by many family and friends that it all goes so fast. Today we are meeting the boy’s foster carer, the woman who has been caring for him since he was taken into care and teaching him all he knows so far. As you can imagine this is probably the most important person we will meeting so far, as we are sure if she doesn’t like us, it will probably have an impact on the final decision at matching panel. Today is also the second time we will be meeting his social worker Dawn, who we thought hated us the first-time round, so the pressure is on to make sure this goes as smooth as possible. I have never known such a rollercoaster of emotions, from feeling really happy, to nervous, then back to excited and then back to scared. All of this emotion is having a physical effect on me, as it has pushed past any previous worrying level I have experienced before and gone to an all new level. Rich has been throwing himself into his mortgage work more than ever before, as this is his brief escape from the constant thinking about this little boy who may soon be ours, but the thought of what if he doesn’t is still festering away somewhere in the back of our minds. It’s the unspoken thing in our house, as although you are trained not to get to attached at this stage, we both know that we would find it very hard to deal with this loss if it didn’t go ahead. I have to say though, this process has really made us stronger as a couple, knowing that we both want this life changing situation to happen and that it’s a decision we both made and have put out hearts and souls into it, working as team to create the family we have both always wanted.
The plan for today is that the foster carer is coming to tell us all about the boy, so it’s our chance to find out whatever we need to about him first hand from his current Mum figure and not just what someone has written down on paper. Gemma advised us previously to come up with a list of questions, as no doubt we would forget everything on the day and then not ask what we wanted. I mean thankfully this was something I didn’t really have to worry about as it’s Richard’s expertise this sort of thing, so he has already printed out his list of bullet point questions, which are ready and waiting on the dining room table. I hope he doesn’t ask her like he is doing a work interview with his boss head on, as she might just run out of the house but it’s good to be prepared. We have been talking this morning about what she might be like and what she will think about us having no clue what being a parent is actually like but most of all will she have a problem that we are two men. How strict is she with him and will she expect us to be the same, it’s such a hard one to pre-empt before actually meeting someone but I’m sure it’s going to be fine. The awkward question that we wanted to know about, was whether she likes to stay in touch after the adoption or not, as this could also be a difficult thing if we don’t get on and we wouldn’t want it to confuse the boy of who is the parent. So many questions on our minds that we want answers too, but we also want to build a positive relationship and not break any bridges. Thankfully, Gemma will once again be with us, so we know any questions followed by blank stares from us, will be picked up by her coming to the rescue. Gemma has given us a lot of positive feedback about the foster carer and that she has worked with the foster carer a few times before, so we do feel like she is a good judge of character and will not lead us into a false sense of hope. All we need to do is be ourselves, pre boil the kettle and ensure they are well fed with biscuits while they are here and we will be halfway there.
We are both pacing around in the kitchen, making sure everything is as perfect as it can be, Nutter is looking fresh with his recent haircut, as we know the foster carer also has a dog and we need to ensure she knows we look after him well. Nutter starts to bark like crazy, so we know the car has pulled onto the drive and we are jumping around nervous laughing to let all the silliness out. The doorbell rings and we decide to style it out by waiting a few seconds like we are actually sitting down unaware they are here, before Richard then opened the door. Gemma, Dawn and the foster carer are all together and come in smiling, whilst Nutter jumps up them all sniffing and going crazy. The foster carer introduces herself as Sally and Rich shakes her hand but is pulled in for a hug and she does the same to me, all good signs she is the lovely person Gemma had told us about. “Sally would you like a cup of Tea or Coffee? And help yourself to the biscuits” “ooooh posh biscuits from Marks and Sparks, are you trying to bribe me or something”. Oh god she is actually so funny and any awkwardness has disappeared and she seemed to have the exact personality we would have wanted, you know that down to earth on your level personality, someone who is just so likeable. We go into the front room to be more relaxed and Sally is giving Nutter so much attention and talking about her dogs and how she loves them that it just felt like we had a friend over for a cuppa. Rich looked at me as if to say “Nutter is going to get a steak for dinner tonight as he is completely working his charm on her”, but finally settles all spread out on Sally’s lap. We were both sat on the floor like children looking up at Gemma, Dawn and Sally like we are trying our hardest to be good to get a present, which to us is more photos and as much information as she could tell us about him. Then the words we had been waiting to hear finally came out of her mouth “would you like to see some videos that I’ve put together on this DVD”.
OMG an actual video of him moving and making noises!! I wanted to grab the DVD out of her hand, shove it in the DVD player and press play as fast as possible but I gently took it and waited what seemed like an hour for it to start. We are both sitting on the floor in front of the TV and then up pops a chubby, blonde boy making all kinds of sounds. Sally was also in the video and she is basically talking about the boy and giving brief bits of information about how his development is going and what food he likes, as he had already started weaning, you could tell that he clearly enjoyed his food. I didn’t take in the actual information as I was just staring at his bright blue eyes, thinking this is him, this is our son, whilst squeezing Richards hand so he knew I was thinking the same. Trying not to cry the video had finished and I turned to Rich who was balling his eyes out, not hysterical crying, more the sort where you pretend you aren’t crying but the tears are all down your face and make it obvious. Sally in a funny sort of way was really smiling at the fact that we had tears and said “that’s your son right there, isn’t he just lovely”. The overwhelming feeling that she said that was crazy as no one had ever actually said this to us yet and we still have the panel to go, so we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Sally then goes on to explain that this video was filmed a few weeks ago and he has changed quite a lot, so she got her mobile phone out and started to show us some more photos and videos of him. Gemma and Dawn both sat there probably thinking we have a lot to get through but didn’t say anything, they just let me, Rich and Sally enjoy talking about the little boy, our little boy. We spoke then for a while a bit more about the more sensible things like his routine, the things he likes doing and some of the things that he maybe doesn’t like too much. Sally then chuckled to herself and said, the one thing you won’t have to worry about is his food, as he loves it, but it does mean can only wear joggers at the moment as the kid’s skinny jeans don’t fit over his legs.
Dawn then asks us to get the items we have prepared for the boy’s introduction period, as she was sure that Sally would love to see them, as she did. So, we grabbed the laminated photos, the pillow with our photo printed on it, the teddy bear we had made with the bear’s t-shirt again having our photo on it and the talking photo album full of pictures of us and the house, which we had recorded our voices over. We also made a video of the inside of our house, his room and of course a couple of dog walking videos to ensure he knew who Nutter was, as let’s face it he is our first born. We made these to try and help him to hear our voices and become familiar with our faces before we actually meet him. Sally absolutely loved all of it and said she would take them all today, before being brought back to reality by Gemma who advised that she couldn’t, as the process has not been completed and we still had to get through panel before she could have any of it.
Although we have not met him, cuddled him or kissed him yet, he was ours and it was surely meant to be, we have fully claimed him as ours and if this panel think they are going to decide otherwise then they are going to have to think again. We asked Sally all the questions we had prepared which really didn’t seem to matter now, as we saw a video of him and now all we wanted to do was meet him. It was time for Dawn and Sally to leave, so we exchanged numbers and all I could think about, was how do I not text Sally every hour asking for a picture or video, which Gemma actually warned her about. At least she was expecting it and we all laughed, but somehow, I think we may have to stop Sally sending stuff to us as she did seem so excited. We hugged and she said she would look forward to seeing us soon, before she then left with Dawn who wished us the best of luck for the panel.
Gemma stayed as we had planned to talk over some potential panel questions and really to ensure that we were filly prepped. It was clearly going to be a very different panel to the first, as this one is not really about us and what we are all about, but more about the boy and how we are the best family match for him. The question of our commitment to each other was apparently going to be a main issue, as in terms of adoption we are considered to be quite a new couple as most adopters would have spent years trying to naturally conceive and potentially have been through some losses along the way. Unfortunately, this is something we cannot really talk about but we can talk about the fact that we thought we would never have this opportunity and now that we do, we are ready to grab it with both hands. Gemma explains that she feels we are a really confident couple, work well when in these situations and she has no concerns so that filled us with hope. I couldn’t help but say to Gemma that Sally said “that’s your son” and as I am an extreme worrier, that I will still not believe it until after the panel to which Gemma replied “I wouldn’t be putting you through this if I wasn’t confident” but still this did not stop the fireworks that were going off in my stomach constantly. Gemma advised us to get as many date nights in now and to just try and relax, as it is a time that a lot of adopters find hard as they just cannot get it off their minds. We say our goodbyes with a hug and her final words are “we have worked towards this for the past eighteen months and it’s now time for all that hard work to pay off”. We close the door and just head back to the dining room for a drink and chat about the lovely videos of the boy, our boy, our son.