For the social services, time run at a different pace, and I felt just like another name in a list of applicants waiting to be assigned an appointment slot.

We had no news for two months after sending out the Registration of Interest Form, until we finally got a letter from the social services. If you are at this stage right now, look for a brown envelope made of recycled paper in your mail; all letters from our adoption office came in those envelopes.

The letter said that we were invited to attend a 45 minutes slot meeting with a social worker at the end of August 2013 to be formally invited to start Stage 1 of the adoption process. That was a full month away. The meeting had to be attended by both applicants (in case you are a couple), and you can expect this to become a recurring theme.

The place was an unassuming office building, away from the town Council. The meeting itself was just a boring 45 minutes filled by signing documents and completing forms. I could have done that by sitting at my desk sipping a nice cup of coffee!

At that meeting we got a glimpse of how many people are involved in every single adoption case: the social worker assigned to us as potential adopters, then there is the “family finder” who matches potential adopters with one or more children in their care; each child has his own social worker, often the same as his birth family. Finally the foster carers have one social worker of their own. We smiled thinking that to adopt a child it takes a village, without realising that at some point or another we would have to deal with all those people.

At the first meeting we met Lisa, our very own social worker. She explained that Stage 1 is what they call the “preparation period”. The agency uses this time to gather information about the prospective adopters: they look at passports and proofs of address, perform a thorough police background check, and they get in contact with 3 references we had to provide.

In the meantime, my husband Diego and I were given the Stage 1 Working Pack, a bit of homework to be completed in the months to follow.

  • Training Date for an information evening
  • Medical Forms
  • Details of E-Learning training to be completed
  • List of suggested books
  • Eco-Map Example
  • Family Tree Example
  • Chronology form
  • Advice and information on how to access Voluntary Work
  • Dog Assessment Form
  • Adopter’s Health & Safety Assessment

We came out of that meeting all hopped-up to finally have something to do, and we had very few ideas on how.

“What exactly is an Eco-Map?”
“How far back does our family tree needs to go?”
“Do we need to assess our dogs?”

It was like going back to school, but at least we had something to keep us busy for a little while!

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