While we were going through the adoption process it was perfectly timed as a programme was also being shown at the same time of families going through adoption, this meant that a lot of our friends watched it so knew each stage we were going through. They all commented on how stressful the panel stage looked and it was.
We received our panel date and although we were excited we were extremely nervous, it was at 10.30 in the morning and we were due to meet our social worker first for a coffee to have a chat and calm our nerves. Unfortunately, we both woke up with a stomach bug which was a bit of a nightmare but we had no choice but to take Imodium and go!
We met the very lovely J at a cute coffee shop opposite the Shire Hall sat making general chit chat and going through what was going to happen I just felt sick but we went in and met the lovey T the Social Services Manager who like J was very lovely and shared my taste in clothes so that helped break the ice.
We were put in the waiting room and were told we would be called when they were ready. A very friendly gentleman came in explained the how the panel process would work and said that they were ready for us. We went into a large room with a large oval table, seated around it were 8 panellists……. some looked quite friendly and some not so! We were given a seat each and our social workers sat either side and the questions begun. It was a cross between a job interview and what I imagine a court appearance to be like!
I actually can’t remember all of the questions as we were both so nervous but we both seemed to do a lot of talking! One of the panellists we had met at the adoption course so we thought he would be nice but his questioning was quite negative and it was suggested that with birth children our lives would have been to hectic for an adopted child. A couple of the others were very lovely and very supportive. The only negative that came about was us having a dog, and we were asked what we would do if the adopted child didn’t get on with the dog or vice versa, of course we said that we would consider getting rid of him but knowing full well how good he was with children and adults. In fact one of the adoption team said that if there was a problem she’d happily have Stanley (the dog) as she’d met him and he was lovely!
This took about 20 minutes and we were them taken back into the waiting room to await their decision, this was awful and seemed like forever even though our social workers were so happy as they both said we had done so well and done so much talking which was great.
The head panellist came in 15 minutes later to say we had passed we were ecstatic! we were just told that they would like us to visit some couples that had adopted with birth children and maybe narrow down the age range we were prepared to adopt, as they thought 2-5 was too bigger difference.
We went home and went to the pub to celebrate.
Now it was all about matching!