I heard that for many people the adoption process is a long and draining period, a roller-coaster of emotions, setbacks, and elations.
For me it was a lot of waiting, long silent weeks in which absolutely nothing was happening, days in which I almost forgot that I was on the path to adoption.

The whole process took just over 11 months. And 11 months for me is like forever. Then again, also is a single day when you’re waiting for something to happen!

So, when did it all started?

It was July 2013, the day the new adoption process came to life in UK, a hot and sunny summery day. That was the day I first approached the adoption office of our borough.

I remembered my hands were shaking while dialling the number. I now wonder if it was because of excitement, or from sheer fear! The lady on the other side of the phone was friendly and reassuring. She said she would refer us to one of the the social workers, and soon we would have our first meeting.

When I hung up I was still shaky. They say the first step is the hardest, and surely it took some courage. The wave of emotions of making that first contact was almost overwhelming: full of hopes and expectations, a dive into the unknown. With a telephone call our lives were already changing somehow, because that was the day my husband and I started to create our family, at least in our minds.

Now that we got to the end of it, I would say that adopting is something anyone should at least consider. The rewards at the end of this lengthy process are incomparable. We have the most beautiful and funny little boy, and I can hardly believe it!

After that phone call, time got to a complete stand still, or so it felt. A week after that we got a Registration of Interest Form through the post. The only thought in my mind was “It took them a week to post a form!”, but I quickly filled it up and posted it back.

Then, nothing…

20 days later the adoption office finally called. I was told that things were changing in the adoption process, and apparently the application form hadn’t catch up with these changes yet, so they had to ask a few additional questions.

The first question was about how we found out about adoption. I guess everyone knows that adoption is a possible option, we only chose to consider it last.

I should have prepared a little better for the second question: “Why do you want to adopt?”

It seems obvious now that someone, at some point, would have asked why we wanted to adopt, but my husband and I got into this process without asking each other this question even once. I’m sure we both had our reasons, and they were all equally good, but if you are considering adopting a child, make sure you talk about this with your partner, and learn his reasons too. After all you’re a team!

I had to improvise a little, but the person on the other end of the phone seemed happy with whatever I came up with.

They had a few more questions about the kind of child we were hoping to adopt: sex, race, siblings, age, disabilities. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the more finicky you are about the child you intend to adopt, the longer the whole process will take.

In our case we didn’t care for the sex or race of the baby. We cared more about the age: we knew we wanted the youngest baby we could get. It’s selfish, I know, I won’t even look for excuses…

The question about siblings became a hot topic between my husband Diego and I in the following months. The conversation would go a little like this:

“I’d be nice to have a brother and sister, or two little brothers… we do have the space!”

“It would be nice, and we could even manage to find the space. But Laura, we have no idea how though it will be to look after just one baby yet”.

“Yes, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a brother and sister?”

At the end he won this one, and he might have been right too: being a mum takes some getting used to.

The last question was about our jobs, and that got me worried. At that time we were both self employed, Diego working full time while I worked just a few hours a day. That doesn’t immediately suggest a stable family environment, but the lady on the phone didn’t give anything away.

She explained they were generally happy with our application (generally?!), but they still needed to present it to the Adoption Board. The board in our Borough meets up every 6 to 8 weeks, and the next meeting was scheduled for the following week.

All together not a bad start, I first thought. Soon after I realised what was coming next: we had to wait some more just to know if our application was going to be accepted!

At the time I felt like a player in a cruel and boring game: one in which those who are not patient enough drop out early, leaving fewer people to play!

Or maybe it was just me being impatient…

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