So yesterday saw me in a state of high nervousness. I spent the morning doing mundane, boring jobs but kept very busy. Eventually though, time passed and we went to panel.
We started off in a meeting room going through the questions and discussing with our SW, his SW and his foster mum. As our SW had a bad back, she wasn't sure she would make it and had phoned earlier in the day and spoken to her manager, who'd apparently said that panel were more than happy with the match (unusual info to have before hand). Eventually we were collected slightly late but still. We went in to see some faces that we recognised from our previous panel, which helped because we knew how some of these minds worked. We spent about 30 mins being introduced and asked questions. We showed the pictures we had prepared for boy-o, and his foster mum showed photos that she had with her of him (sadly no more photos for us!).
When we finished we headed out to the waiting area, and within a couple of mins the chair of panel followed us out to say 'congratulations, we think it's a really good match, and there are some really good reasons (which she listed but I can't remember) for it to go ahead'. And that was that.... we are going to be parents. We had to wait for our matching certificates, which allows for me to have time off and get adoption pay, but it was done, soon enough!
So the questions
What attracted you to boy-o? We talked about how we felt drawn to him when we read about him, and how everyone that we've spoken to who knows him as encourage that feeling. That he's lively, and boisterous and that it sounded like a child we could deal with. We also spoke about that gut response to him when we read his report.... I didn't say and perhaps I should have that we were ready to say no, simply because he was the first child we were given details on.
Could panel have an update with regard to boy-o's health, development and attachment? His foster mum and social worker took this one, and described his development as normal, his attachment as good (I'm waiting on this one) and his health as everything that we have been told about. Chesty when he has a cold, susceptible to infections if he cuts himself and having speech difficulties.
What did the adopters take from their meeting the with medical advisor with regard to boy-o's various health issues and uncertainties? We responded with information that we had been given, the fact that we knew before we agreed to the link that there were risks to his health, but that is all they are, risks.
How will boy-o be helped to be introduced to our dog? We talked about the fact that our dog is used to children, that although she is bouncy, she will go to her bed when told. We talked about the fact we are going to get her puppy crate out again, so that she has somewhere she feels secure.
Will we be keeping boy-o's first name? Yes, our social worker did raise the issue about the unusual nature of his name and what we had talked about in regards to that in the future. Everyone was happy with what was said, so that is positive!
How will we manage the fact that boy-o is not yet talking to help him through introductions? His foster carer actually answered this one and pointed out that although he is having difficulties with speech his understanding and communication abilities are fantastic.
Question about older siblings...
Is it planned that the adopters will meet members of the birth family? How do we feel about this? How does boy-o's birth mum feel about it? We'd discussed this at length, and feel that it would be positive for boy-o and his birthmum that this meeting happens. We also discussed meeting the two siblings that have been adopted, if their parents are happy for this. It was also mentioned meeting other birth siblings, particularly the two older ones who have been at contact with boy-o. And although yesterday was the first time this was mentioned, we agreed that it sounded like a sensible idea for boy-o and for his birth siblings.
How will the adopters help boy-o to understand his difficult life story? We answered slowly and over time. We will have a life-story book from his social worker (although I half way expect to a) have to chase this up and b) to have to re-write it anyway!). His social worker also had some input on this.
Question about older siblings...
How would I manage if she were to come across any of boy-o's siblings in future through her school? (asked by the women who deals with the agencies looked after children at my school) And I was able to confidently say, with our social worker nodding her head, that we'd talked about this when boy-o was first talked about. That there is a real possibility for some of his siblings, but that the head is compassionate and understanding and I may be able to avoid teaching them, and if not... we'll we'd talk it as it came!
12 hours ago