Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Chapter 36 - Matching: Back On The Chain Gang


We had no idea how we would feel when, finally, our local authority's family finders suggested a child to us. Would we be prepared? Would we even know what we were supposed to be prepared for?

It had been a good seven months since the fateful day when we were approved at adoption panel. We had mentally promised the local authority a good six months to find us a match before we would start actively hassling them and start a more proactive search. Now just over half a year had passed. We were reluctant to go down a "Children Who Wait" route but that was part of our post-6 month game-plan and we were mentally preparing for it.

Yet, somehow, for the last few weeks other stuff and (frankly) procrastination had been getting in the way. "Yes, we will absolutely, definitely phone Denise today! Yes! Oh, what's the time? Quarter past five? Hmmmmm... I guess she's gone home now. Maybe tomorrow. Yes, absolutely, definitely tomorrow..." 

Finally on one of those "tomorrows" my wife actually managed to remember to pick up the phone before the tea-time bell beckoned. It was about five o'clock on a Friday afternoon when she finally picked up the receiver and dialled. She was a little surprised to hear Denise answer. However, not half as surprised as when Denise said,"Ooh, I was just about to give you a ring. I've just got back into the office after some home study visits and picked up an email about you." My wife just about managed to gulp and say, "Erm... Yes?" "Says here that you've been linked with a little boy. Don't have many details at all. Let's see... He's a little boy, fourteen months, been in foster care since he was very young, approved for adoption and... Well, that's it."

Gosh... Well this was it indeed. "Are there any details you can email us? Any files or dossiers?" "I'm afraid not. That's all I've got and, I just checked, all the people in the family finding team have all gone home for the weekend. I'll be able to get hold of the CPR form - the Child Permanence Report - on Monday and I'll pop it in the post to you." "No that's OK. I'll drive over and pick it up... When will you be in on Monday morning?"

Denise laughed. "Well maybe let's say after lunch, around two PM? That will give me time to get the forms, make any copies I'll need for our records and get everything together for you. In the meantime I'll forward you the email about the link. Have a great weekend."

Soon afterwards I received a phone call at work while I was trying to wind up for the day and head off for a much anticipated weekend. I can't say that the voice on the other end was entirely coherent but it didn't take that long to get the gist of what my wife was saying. Any remaining bits of work got rapidly shoved into my desk drawer, I grabbed my coat and  ran to the car.

When I finally got home I found my wife staring at the laptop screen. On there was an all too terse e-mail entitled "Fwd: Link with abc". What did that mean? The body of the email gave no more information than Denise had provided; she had clearly just been reading from the email itself.

So what did we know? Male - check. 14 months old - check. Approved for adoption - check. Been in foster care for some time - check... And? And? Staring at the email my wife suddenly blurted out, "Hmmm... 'Link with abc'? You don't suppose that could be his initials do you?" It was a lightbulb moment and suddenly a new game started. Well if those were his initials then what might his name be? Andrew? Alastair? Alan? Adam? Alex? Adrian? Alfie? Algernon? What if he's called "Akon"? Oh please Lord, don't let it be a comedy rapper's name... Could we cope with picking up a Smurf-voiced rapper from the school playground? Our minds drifted back to the "names" discussion at our Prep Days. Sure, we weren't being presented with a Chardonnay or a Beyoncé but a quick skim through the various lists of available children waiting for adoption confirmed that there was plenty of scope for boys to have... erm... "interesting" spellings for their names.

Well we would know on Monday.

My most vivid memory of that weekend is the fact that I have almost no recollection of that weekend. I can recall wandering around in a complete daze for most of the time, unable to focus on anything in particular. One big 48-hour senior moment. Unfortunately we had a really packed weekend planned, with a big family get-together and a busy Sunday at church. Normally this might have been a good way to take our minds off everything. No, the reverse was true. We both shuffled through the days in a distracted, distant sort of space-cadet mode. Neither of us felt that, at that point, we could reveal the momentous news to family or friends. What was there to tell? Would we even be interested in this little boy once we had read his CPR form? Was this just the first of many false starts? There were far too many uncertainties to start announcing our good news from the rooftops. Besides, what could we actually tell anyone. Boy. A bit over a year old. Might have a name starting with the letter "A". Might not.

It is a measure of how much of a daze we were in that it wasn't until well into Saturday afternoon when, having commented again to each other that at least we'd know more on Monday, that something occurred to me. "Hang on a minute. Very first thing on Monday morning I'm heading off to Devon for a whole series of work meetings. I'm not going to get back until last thing on Wednesday night!" 

"Oh poo!"


Anonymous said...

Laughing at last few lines. We were not told that we were linked with Sqk till nearly a month after it happened due to circumstances. We were also very lucky in that this was before our approval panel so we never had much waiting bar the month it took to meet his SW.

Sarah PuffinDiaries said...

I still remember finding out about our boys very vividly, all that giddy excitement churning around inside you. It seems like you had a very long wait so it must have been amazing to finally have that call. Thank you as always for sharing your experiences, for me to reminisce and I know it will be helpful for those seeking more information on the adoption process.

Thanks for linking up with #WASO

Anonymous said...

That really brought back memories for me. I received details about my girls when I was walking in the hills with my family. And I didn't have a very good internet connection so I could see their photo but not read any of the information. That was a long walk back to the car!! I really enjoyed reading your experiences

Suddenly Mummy said...

I really love this story of your adoption - I'm hooked on each chapter! I didn't go the conventional route so it's fascinating for me to learn about things from your perspective.