So, this morning was panel for us... sadly not the longed for approval and matching panel on the same day - but approval with matching booked for 4 weeks in the future.
It was a totally different experience this time; although I had been hoping for about 5 or 6 questions and we got 10 - some of which had sub parts. What made it different was the fact that not only did we know what was coming, but there were people on the panel, that we've met and even know! The chair person was new though!
The waiting period - last time we very studiously looked at the questions and talked about how we would answer them. This time we looked at the questions and branched off into different things... chicken pox (boy-o came down last week), school dinners, random things about number 2 child! But we did talk about all the questions eventually.
We were met as ever by the chair of the panel, who came into the waiting room to chat to us. She told us about panel...not that much has changed. And then we all trooped down the long corridor to where panel is held. All the members of the panel introduced themselves; and said what their role was. It helped that one of the social workers that we know really well was sitting opposite us as an observer - someone we know and like to talk to!
The first two questions were the standard....
1. Can you tell us about your experiences of working with the Agency so far...
2. Can you tell us about the child that you can imagine in your family... our social worker, did say that there was a child identified and did try to explain the complex family set up - although I'm not sure how much they understood.
The next few were all about boy-o.
3. Can you say how we are managing contact and how we plan to manage the two children's stories (they did admit that this would be easier as the boys are cousins)... we talked about direct contact with adopted siblings, we talked about meeting birth mum, we talked about letter box... we were asked about contact with siblings in long term care and we said... we'd love some, but it hasn't been organised yet. This question was asked by one of the managers from the long term looked after children team, and she told us that the siblings foster mum was keen for contact as well!
4. How are we preparing boy-o for reception, and how do we feel about the support been offered? This was a good question as we are working well for school, and explained that he is in the nursery unit attached to the school and has made several visits. That we are meeting his teacher and teaching assistant tomorrow, and what is been put in place for him.
5. How have our lives changed since we adopted boy-o... beyond all recognition.
6. What work have we done with boyo to prepare him for another child and how is it likely to impact his routine... we talked about sorting out the room, boy-o helping set up the cot, the wall stickers we have decorated with, we talked about him deciding that little brother/sister could have this toy or that toy.
7. How will we support boy-o if he struggles to cope... to which we said we are expecting him to struggle and will take it as it comes.
8. Introductions - how were they last time, what would be different this time? Talked about how good boy-o's foster carers are; but equally about parties and presents been difficult.
9. Have we met second time adopters... umm yes - talked about park dates and stay and play and everything that we do with other adopters which includes second time adopters.
10. Could M talk about his asthma and eczema... What about my weight? Did have apology from medical adviser (again someone we knew) but they have to ask a question.
So there we are... approved and ready and waiting for matching panel!
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