Prep Group - Day 1

I had my first Prep Group “training” day last week. It was.. amazing. Overwhelming. Emotional. Exhausting actually. I was fast asleep by about 9.30pm!

It was a full day and there were about 19 of us. It was run by the Practice Manager (S) with help from a lady (J) that had adopted several years ago and was training with the agency. I think I may have been the only single person there. I say “think” because there was a man there that had been invited to do the course because they are adopting a child already in their care. I don’t think his wife was with him, in which case there was another single lady there. Either way.. although I thought it would, it made absolutely no difference. I met some WONDERFUL people. 2 couples actually in my town and 2 others in neighbouring towns. We’re already talking about creating our own version of an NCT group J

The day itself was a real eye-opener. For a start, it was the first time I had come together (other than in the information evening, in which everyone was pretty anxious and didn’t really speak to each other) with other people adopting. Adopting for various reasons and at various stages in their own journey. It was so nice to be able to blab on excitedly and anxiously about it. My friends are wonderful, but I am not sure they know what to say about it and I feel a little like a bit of a fraud. I’m not pregnant and yet it FEELS a little like I am. Is that odd? I have a “due date” too for example. Okay admittedly that countdown is just to approval and doesn’t guarantee a child at the end but it’s still there and there’s a good chance it will. And yes it may still be some time after I’m approved before the right match is found but if I AM approved.. that’s the next step. However long it takes. So it kind of is like I’m pregnant. But I feel a bit of a fraud and a fool talking about it like that. So when faced with 18 other people that were in exactly the same place as me.. I think that realisation was one of the best.

We split into small groups initially and did an exercise where we had to list out anxieties, hopes and questions for the course as well as in general. And it was great to be able to say things out loud that had previously only been in my head and see nods and hear similar back from others. When we all came together, about 75% of the lists were the same. To be able to share those feelings cannot be underestimated.

We also had exercises and discussion around the child’s journey and how they may have gotten to the point where they can then be adopted and some of the affects attachment issues can have. We had to bring in items that reminded us of our childhood and then list what we thought it meant to be a parent, a child and what kind of parent we wanted to be. We were asked to give them to our SW during the Home Visits to discuss. It was good to touch on the different ways we may able to help and how methods that may be used by Super Nanny may not work on a child with trauma issues.
Hearing stories by J was fantastic too – hearing some of the things they learnt along the way and difficulties they had to cope with initially. She’s a real success story and the warmth and light in her eyes as she talks about her sun was overwhelming.

I think it was kept relatively “light” if that’s possible, as it was the first day. We were encouraged to raise any point we felt relevant or wanted to discuss then or later in the sessions and to bring in anything we found that we wanted to share with others. We’ve been given a big handbook and will have some form of “homework” to do after each session. We were also encouraged to read a number of books from their recommended book list.
We talked about the Prep Group in terms of “the process” and S confirmed that throughout the 4 days they are “reviewing” us and will submit commentary to our Social Worker as part of the Home Study and overall report.

And I can’t say again, everyone was lovely. I have swapped several numbers already and I left feeling more positive about what I am doing than I think I have to date. It reinforced my belief that I am not mad for choosing to do this alone. That I am not mad for choosing to adopt. And that there are others in different situations, who felt just the same emotions and fears about being able to cope as I do.
I don’t know what NCT classes cover but I’m starting to think all prospective parents should go through similar kinds of training! I can’t wait till my session next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment