Stage 1 run uneventfully for 2 months, and by Halloween 2014 we were officially in Stage 2. Our social worker planned 6 home visits, 2 one-to-one visits, and another 4 as a couple.

The first visit was the most stressful one. I found myself very insecure all of the sudden, with plenty of worries: is the house clean enough? what shall I wear? do I need to bathe and groom the dogs? do I need to defrost my freezer?

I’m a bit of a “neat freak”, if you listen to what my friends say about me, and the week before the first home visit was definitely a proof of it. It turned out to be nothing to be worried about: just a nice informal visit in front of a cup of tea, and certainly no one checked how clean my freezer was!

Our social worker Lisa told us she wanted to go through the home study quickly, and complete all the visits before Christmas. We were almost proud of ourselves, 6 visits in only 2 months! We wrongly took it as a very positive signal.

We don’t have anything to hide, I told myself, and it won’t take us long before going to Panel! We are a perfect couple, exactly what they are looking for, it’s going to be a walk in the park! How wrong was I!

We only found out the real reason for rushing through the home study when we got to the last appointment, while talking with Lisa about our plans over the Christmas holidays. She told us she would have left her job with the new year, and she would have passed our paperwork to a different social worker who’d take us to Adoption Panel.

The news came as a shock, a cold shower, a slap in the face. We felt betrayed. We had such a good relation with Lisa, it was so easy talking with her, we trusted her with all our deepest secrets, and now she was abandoning us!

The relationship with your social worker is strange one: she ends up knowing everything about you, and after not long you start considering her as one of your dearest friends, until you realise you don’t know the first thing about her (if she does her job right!).

Lisa was the sweetest, kindest and most sensitive person I met in a while, and talking to her wasn’t too hard at all. I told her about everything that happened in my life from birth till that day, about relationships with parents and my little brother, education, medicals and operations, my previous boyfriends, friends… nothing about myself was left untold!

As easy as it was, I felt stripped off naked, I normally don’t open up much about my life, I don’t really share my thoughts often with others. Some call it being a reserved person, but I just call it being shy, and generally mistrustful. Opening up with Lisa helped me rediscover myself, helped me better understand my feelings, and sometimes better understand why I react in certain ways.

Bottom line was that by Christmas we were ready to go to Panel, and hopefully, ready to be approved as adopters. We would have preferred carry on with Lisa, and the idea of a new social worker taking over at a such delicate moment was worrying, but we didn’t really have any choice.

We were given a date for Panel. Not surprisingly, the date was set way off in the future: 3 months off actually!

Little we knew then that the waiting would have been much longer. Changing social worker during the process is never easy, and somehow our application got lost at the bottom of someone’s drawer. After Lisa left, no other social worker took over, and they all forgot about us.

A couple of months passed, and Panel Date was getting closer. I called the Adoption office asking when we would have met our new social worker, and they didn’t even know who I was! I was so angry!

We had to cancel our Panel date, and rescheduled about 3 weeks later. It took social services about 10 days to find our file, and finally the day before Panel, we met our new social worker Dominique.

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