We met Sandra for another home visit. It was again like another chat rather than a structured interview but I wasn’t complaining!
She went back to the question about what kind of child we would like. This was a question that Lucy had asked us before. This was a difficult question to answer as it’s one of the things you don’t question when you’re pregnant. I understand that it is a big question in adoption as there are many children with many ethnicities and of varying degrees of special needs. We have had a long chat about this as Lucy had pressed us to be more discriminatory. I read someone else’s blog and remember he had this dilemma too. His words stayed in my head, he ‘wanted to be a parent, not a carer’ and it made a lot of sense to me. We feel the same way and after a lengthy discussions, we also wanted a child of an ethnicity that we could adequately represent their culture (through friends, our everyday life and what we know about different cultures). After many, many chats, we realised that we might not be able to adequately represent children from all cultures. We felt quite bad about it as there are lots of children who need homes but we had to think about what would work for us and had to be honest so the adoption doesn’t break down.
In the previous meeting, which was the first time we met Sandra, she mentioned that she had read our conclusions about what child we would like. Sandra said to us that she thought ‘good for us’ for being honest. However, during the second visit, she wanted to play devil’s advocate and pressed us more about asking what kind of child we wanted and why we didn’t want children from all types of cultures. She bought out a copy of ‘children who wait’ (profiles of children who are waiting to be adopted) and like we did before, we went through images of children (it always feels like you are shopping which is horrible) to see what kinds of children we would take. Sandra particularly wanted to show us a child who’s background is very different, he had a varied mix of races. He was very cute and she wanted us to show us that there are many mixes. We know this and we find it very difficult to say yes or no to certain things as its so hypothetical and you can’t rule out anything as each child has such a different mix of cultures and/or special needs. On one hand, Sandra wanted us to be less discriminatory on race (which was the opposite to what Lucy wanted) but then wanted us to categorically say yes to all types of special needs or no to all types. It is so confusing! At the end of the day, it’ll be down to each individual child which is what I think social workers have a difficult time dealing with as they want to place you into specific categories.
It does annoy me that we are getting mixed messages about what we should or should not do. I think Sandra got more of an idea of what kind of child we would like. We are realistic and know that younger children may have an unknown medical history but like pregnant women, we are not actively seeking a child with special needs but if s/he does show developmental problems, we would deal with it as any parent would.
We think Sandra was asking us to think about race again because her L.A has so many boys from certain races in care, looking for a home and wanted to make sure that we have thought about our answer properly which is fine and I think she now has a better idea about it. Depending on what she writes in her report on this section, I imagine we may be asked about this again during panel to which we must have an eloquent, clear answer to this.
To get some further advice, I posted a question on newfamilysocial and a nice parent offered to talk to me on the phone. It was really good talking to someone else who has adopted a child who is from a different race. He certainly gave us a lot to think about and we still came back to our same conclusion.
Finally, what was annoying was that Sandra asked my beloved if she could contact her ex for a reference as they lived together. My beloved and her ex lived together when they were 18 for 2 years. We have been together for nearly 15 years and lived together for most of that time. My beloved is also not in contact with her ex anymore apart from being a Facebook friend. It seems ridiculous that someone from such a long time ago can have a say in your adoption, particularly someone who knew my beloved when she was so young and she is not the same person she was when she was 18. I mean, who is? We could tell that by the way Sandra asked my beloved about this, that she felt the same way but she had to ask the question. Well, we should see if my beloved’s ex will respond.
After ranting in a very long post, I shall hopefully end on a high. We pressed Sandra about how many more visits we will have with her. She thinks that we would only need a couple of more but was quite hesitant to say for certain as she wants us to read her amended PAR first to ensure it adequately represents us. She also needs to see our friend referees as Lucy never got round to this. We may get to panel by the end of the year but it is more likely to be at the beginning of the year. We don’t mind that so much as I have just started another job and need to get my probation out of the way before I go on adoption leave! So we are finally getting somewhere and we believe that Sandra can get us there!