Thursday, 22 August 2013

Chapter 19 – Lots of homework and a reunion: Home-study visits continued

Here we are again!

That the home-study was intense and draining was a given. It also seemed a little random as time went on. Denise had pretty much got a handle on what we were like as individuals and as a couple. Once again we continued our over-riding policy of balancing openness with discretion. Cooperation with circumspection.

There were a lot of forms and formulas which needed to be filled in. All of these would be retained to form part of the Adoption Panel’s briefing pack on us. We kept our own copies and they eventually filled an A4 lever arch file pretty much to capacity. They seemed to range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

We spent a happy hour while Denise walked around our house filling in a detailed Health and Safety questionnaire which seemed to run to about a hundred pages. Luckily we’re not affluent enough to have a swimming pool in the back garden and we don’t own any pets which are required to be registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act (not even a slightly tetchy gerbil) so that saved at least three or four pages. We did confirm which way up we put the cutlery in the dishwasher and promised to see to the strings on the Venetian blinds though.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Chapter 18 – Childhood memories: Home-study visits continued

Yeah Baby!

“For the first time in my life I’m a complete ‘babe magnet’!” Denise looked perplexed. This probably wasn’t the response which she had expected when she turned to me and asked “So, how are you enjoying helping out at the crèche?” My other half was suppressing giggles but she knew that it was a totally true statement. I was a bona fide, 100% “babe magnet”. I fixed Denise with a confident stare and said, “Yup! It turns out that if you’re less than two years old I’m completely irresistible.”

The last two or three weeks I’d been in the enviable position of having several toddlers almost fighting over my attention. Sam was just over eighteen months old and he didn’t like being left by his mummy. The only way to stop him crying the place down (the ONLY WAY!!!) was for me to cuddle him and introduce him to all the animals painted on the walls around the room. Similarly Mark, barely one yet, had declared that my the crook of my left arm was the cradle which he required for his morning nap. No other would do. This left Chewitel (between two and a half and three) and Isobel (only just under two) in an awkward position. I recall one Sunday morning sitting in the creche room with Sam in one arm and Mark in the other while both Chewitel and Izzy were trying to climb onto my lap too. My lap’s just not that big. There was a good thing to be had here and it was already being hogged by the youngsters. To be fair they had their reasons. Izzy was the daughter of some really good friends (and in fact a pair of our referees). She was practically a favourite niece and had expectations to be fulfilled. Chewitel was a needy little boy. Overly inward and reluctant to communicate his needs, verbally or otherwise. He always looked ashamed of himself and took out anger and possessiveness on the children around him in a pushy, aggressive manner. Some of this was purely normal toddler behaviour but somehow it seemed amplified.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Chapter 17 – Questions, questions – Exploring Attachment: Home-study visits continued

Frank Gorshin as "The Riddler"

Dib dib dib!

So we’d survived two home-study sessions with Denise and we were all starting to get the measure of each other. And before the next session there was a small matter of seeing whether I could pick up some additional experience of working with children in a formal setting. Sunday League football was out of the question even though there was a local sports field not far off where there were regular kids training sessions every Sunday morning. For us, Sunday mornings were reserved for church and, let’s face it, doing an alternative kids’ activity on Sunday morning simply displaced one childcare opportunity with another. That left me no further forward.

Since we were hoping to be placed, eventually, with a pre-school or kindergarten aged child Beavers seemed to be the obvious door to push on. A quick Google showed that there were three Beaver troops in the area. Excellent, plenty of scope for getting involved in the 8 months or so running up to panel. Or so I thought.