How Quickly Do You Want To Go??

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hmmmmm... hard to be judged in 2000 characters or less but that's ok.. if 99% are put off that just leaves one :-)

The home assessment has started. My SW (R) was assigned during the final week of Prep Group and I've met her 3 times so far. She's.. well she's hard to describe. In her early 40s perhaps (maybe older but looks good). She has older children and she's spent most of her career working on the child's side. She used to be a Youth Offending Office. Lastly a Children's Guardian (they have responsibility for the child's welfare during the process and will help the judge make the final decision on whether the child gets put up for adoption for example) which is good because hopefully she'll have first-hand experience of the kinds of children out there and what may work for me.

I'm only her second assessment which is a little disconcerting and I know she's a bit nervous. She said during our last visit that she'll feel better after her first couple have made it through panel which is this month, so fingers crossed. In the book I'm reading at the moment, the girls’ panel approved her but then the Director (who gets the final say) asked for a deferral because of holes in the SWs report. They were cleared up after a new SW was appointed and the next panel approval was successful but I dare say she didn't need that kind of stress!

The first visit was just a planning session. To take me through what we'd be going through talking about and how and to book in the first few visits. She told me I'd do 6-8 sessions and they last 2-3 hrs each. Unfortunately she likes coming during the day which is a bit of a pain and with work the way it is at the moment, it's a bit difficult. I'm half afraid to say though in case she sees it as lack of commitment.

In that session, she asked me how fast I'd like to go.. we could have sessions once a week or once a fortnight. Before letting me give my answer she said that I'd get homework each week and that if I didn't feel there would be enough time to do it each week, the fortnightly ones might be better. Of course I said I wanted to go as quick as possible. If I needed to slow it down, I'd say but wanted to at least try. I'm slightly regretting it now. Afterwards I realised I needed to exercise to keep my IBS at bay and my stress levels down, so took up kick-boxing with my friend from work. And then work exploded into my spare time like an atom, but as I said to her.. it's important and I'll make time. Just wish she'd come in the evening!

The first week’s homework was to write 3 pages on what it was like to grow up with my parents up to 18. Wow.. That was some task as you can imagine. I had to ask my best friend (D) to read it as I was afraid of how it might make me sound. I don't want them to think I have unresolved issues. I may not have had lots of counselling and I may have dealt with my life story alone but lots of people do and I'm not bitter about it. During the session then we talked about it all and R took notes. We talked about my 2 marriages and why I thought they went wrong. I hope she doesn't think that I have trouble forming attachments!

For the following week I had to do the same from 18 to now. The reason for writing it down first apparently is so she can refer back and also take snippets from it to put into the report. I also had to write about my losses and how I'd coped with them. In the second session as well as covering some details from my homework, we talked about how I felt about diversity, religion, racism, etc.

It's pretty intense and I'm glad I asked for the sessions to be towards the end of the day as going to work afterwards would be a bit of a struggle. I did ask her in that last session how she thought I was doing. She said she had no concerns so far but it was too early. She did say something that worried me though.. we had talked previously about the various counselling I'd had. After I had a breakdown at 13 and was referred by my GP and the private sessions I had after S died. I only had about 4 sessions then, largely because they were expensive and I was still recovering from not being able to work for several months after it happened. I was self-employed at the time and the major earner and we'd just gotten married so it had a massive effect on our finances. R asked me if I would have continued if I'd been able to afford to and I said I probably would have. She wrote this down and in the last session she asked me if I would be happy to have more counselling if the panel asked me to!

I was a bit taken aback, which I couldn't hide. She said it was NOT her recommendation but she has seen it before where a panel will defer and ask you to do it if they feel you and therefore the adoption would benefit. I said I wouldn't be adverse to it but I would want to know exactly what they are expecting me to get from it and why they felt it was necessary. Every now and then, yes I come unhinged.. but that's mainly because of the self-induced pressure I put myself under. I'm not happy unless I'm running at 50 miles an hour doing a hundred things at once. And where it has been because of issues related to my past, I've taken steps to deal with it - like making the decision to cut contact with my mother. Some would say that actually isn't the best way to deal with it but if you knew her you'd realise why it was that option or burying her under the patio!

So, now I'm on guard the whole time to make it obvious how well balanced I am.. It's difficult because I know they're human and I know they know we are but after each session I panic about everything I've said. Before R left last time she made a little joke about fancying a G&T. Wanting to build on our relationship, I said I was impartial myself but said I hated normal tonic and would only drink Russian tonic which I have to keep stocks of. Why... WHY did I say that!? How quickly did she right down "alcoholic" in that notepad!?

And my homework.. I have to do a chronology. Every single address since I was born. That alone was enough to send me running to the Surrey hills. Plus every major event, work history and education. Those last 3 are relatively straightforward but EVERY address.. ? I think I worked out once I've moved about 35 times in my 32 years and given that I lived in the same flat in Windsor for 4.. Exactly.

I also have to do a family tree and I've been told to keep a bibliography. Everything I hear, read, see.. keep a record. Any research I do, program I watch that's relevant. She told me that 3 weeks ago.. have I remembered? Luckily the chronology and bibliography aren't needed till the end. But the family tree is and I also need to do an ecomap showing my support network. Luckily, I had already started thinking about that when I heard it's something they really focus on being a single adopter.

Oh and I was also told that the volunteering I had planned on doing (a few hours at a SureStart Dad's Group every other Saturday) isn't good enough. The "quality of care" isn't good enough that is as I won't be in direct care of the children. I've got to try Rainbows.. once I'd worked out what that is, I contacted the local group and there appears to be a number of sessions going on around my town after work. Now if I could just magic a spare evening a week to do it... I used to be bored in the evenings. Now I have kick-boxing Tuesdays and Thursdays, dinner with my work-husband (self-named I might add - my boss) on Wednesdays and it looks like.. Rainbows on a Monday! So actually.. maybe during the day for the sessions isn't a bad idea.

How quickly did I want to go!?? If only I'd had a crystal ball..

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