Did it and survived! We spent 2 1/2 hours this evening at our adoption agency, starting our preparation course. And it wasn't as bad as I/we expected.
We turned up at 6.30 to be met by 3 social workers, usually it would only be 2 but one is attending for the experience as she is new to the agency. There are 9 of us on the course - 4 couples (including us) and 1 single women. The single women has a birth child as does one of the couples. I think the other 2 couples are like us - without any birth children. We have been told that we will have the opportunity to learn more about our paths to adoption on Friday.
When we started - following the usual speech about fire escapes, toilets, drinks, and general other stuff - we had to find out 4 facts about someone else, and introduce them to the group. I was paired up with GI - who bizarrely used to teach Maths at my school (he left just before I arrived) - he now works in one of our nearest neighbouring schools! We talked about teaching; our schools; where we live; his birth son. I was then able to introduce him to the rest of the group - although we did get side tracked from the job talking about teaching...
Once everyone had introduced someone else we watched a video about the process of adoption. It was a department of health video, which is about 8 years old. It showed a cross section of people, and they talked about their experience of the process. The preparation course, the home study (and their social workers), approval panel and then matching. I think the key thing I picked up from this - which was more reinforcement than anything else was the fact that your social worker gets to really know you, all the things that you don't normally talk about - you will have to discuss.
We talked as a group about our hopes and fears about adoption. It was reassuring that we all had similar fears - about the process, about the issues an adopted child might have, attachment to an adopted child, but equally similar hopes - to feel complete as a family and learn how to be a 'good enough' parent. M commented that he feels less isolated with worries now.
We discussed the importance of names; how different people got their names; why names mean so much; the fact that often a name is the only thing that an adopted child may get from their birth family and how our names make us individual.
We talked about why children need adopting... not going to repeat that list here at the moment!
We finished with a questionnaire - with lots of facts and figures. In some respects M and I knew enough - but there were things that I didn't know. Things like how many children waiting for adoption are part of sibling groups (55% in the UK).
It was a good evening. I think M and I are both reassured by the smallness of the group - we are both likely to sit back and listen in a large group of people - with only 9 people including us, there is no-where to hide, but also we will get to know these people quickly. I wouldn't go as far to say that I am looking forward to the full day that is happening on Friday - but I'm certainly not dreading it like I was this evening. Although Friday might be more difficult as we are going to meet and have a talk from a birth mother!
And we have some homework reading to do!!! M has already said he will take it to work to read at lunchtime!
Oh and as a final thought - no role plays; just discussion - hurrah!
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