It was Easter 2014. We were still waiting for the official outcome of the Adoption Panel to arrive. Diego and I were discussing summer holidays. Since starting the adoption process we put all our plans on hold, we just wanted to go away few days to relax and take a break.

On the 1st of May 2014 our social worker Dominique called us with news of a possible match. We couldn’t believe how quick that was, only a couple of weeks after Panel. I was so excited I could barely follow what she was saying. On a piece of paper I scribbled few notes while on the phone with her: boy, born this year, looks like me, Benedict. I realised only later on while reading the Child Permanence Report that my son’s name was Benjamin, and not Benedict! That mistake came back to haunt me. In the following months I always worried to get his name wrong when talking about him with others. I started panicking about getting the name wrong in front of Matching Panel. I could still remember how nervous I was at the first panel, that could have seriously happened!

We straight away told Dominique we were interested to know more about this boy, and by the evening we were looking at his black & white picture printed in the Child Permanence Report. I couldn’t really see any resemblance with me, but we fell in love with him straight away! He was a big boy, with lots of hair, long eyelashes and a smile that would have melt the coldest of the heart.

From that moment onwards everything started moving very quickly.

First we had a visit from Ben’s social worker, Katriona, and the baby’s Family Finder. We had what I can only describe as a job interview. They asked many questions to check how comfortable we were with Ben’s history and the reasons why he was removed from the birth family, how comfortable we were with the fact that being so young there wasn’t any medical condition discovered as yet but some could surface later on, and how comfortable we were with the medical and personal history of the birth family.

The first time we heard about Ben, he was only 3 months old. We were perfectly aware that this meant a lot of unknown factors in his emotional, mental and physical development, but we were positive we could deal with any possible outcomes, and we were willing to accept what wasn’t known yet.

The meeting lasted about two hours, and we were told we would have received a call in four or five days to let us know if we were accepted to proceed to Matching Panel. We didn’t even know if there was any other family interviewed as possible match. By the end of the meeting we couldn’t even tell how well with did. Diego was very dubious that the Family Finder liked us at all. I was more worried about having to wait four to five days before finding out!

Dominique called us a couple of hours later to confirm that they were happy to recommend us for the match. Phew…

A couple of weeks later we met with the foster carers. At this stage we weren’t allowed to meet Ben yet. The foster family told us all about him, his routine, what he liked, what he was eating, and about his development. They even gave us a couple of pictures, and they started sending us updates and videos via email.

Thanks God, in this digital age video recordings don’t get worn out by overuse. Let’s just say that if that was a VHS tape, it would have been unwatchable by now.

By the end of the month we had a date for Matching Panel, and a full introduction plan, including the provisional date for Ben to move in 2 months from that day: July 2014.

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