What Happened Next..

3 things happened next which have changed the course I am on quite considerably.

First.. remember this.. 
My mission to focus on finding someone, the "right" someone?  A good idea in theory but as you'll have noticed from the other posts - zero takers. ZERO. Okay there were actually quite a few but none you'd want! So before things kicked off, I decided it was no good. I couldn't focus on that and the adoption. If I wanted to do this, which I did - I needed to give it everything I could. I don't think I ever really thought I'd meet someone that way anyway and I didn't give it THAT much focus but it was still taking up space in my mind that with work and the adoption I didn't need. So it was time to take down the profiles and settle in to being single until after the adoption.

Just before doing so, I had the bad SW session and when I was next online I decided not to remove it completely but in a drunk, cynical moment, I did change the stats back to say that I in fact didn't have any children at all. And yes "All By Myself" was playing in the background and there was definitely wine. On doing so, the search filtering changed and this man’s head popped up. I don't know what made me look at his profile but I did. I looked at the photos and was intrigued. And when I read it, it made me laugh - A self-proclaimed finance geek with a sense of humour, the spark of an adventurer, who wanted children and he used the word Lady in earnest.. which was cute. So I sent him an email.

I left it for a few days, during which I spoke to friends about what was going on with the VA and started thinking seriously about my back-up plan. If you've read the earlier posts, you'll know I did look at the option of donor insemination and when I started the adoption process this was always going to be plan B. I talked to a friend at length about it and the suggestion that if this all falls through now, I could still adopt later. Something that I hadn't really been thinking about - that I could have the opportunity again, perhaps once I've had my own child and I'm hopefully settled with someone. Which would remove at least 3 of their concerns straight away? So I looked into it again and found that the London Women's clinic was having an open seminar in October. I decided that if worst case scenario happened with the agency, that I would take some time out from it all, go to the seminar with a view to potentially going to plan B in the New Year. I figured I definitely couldn't meet someone under those circumstances so the profiles had to go. Off I went to delete them and my finance geek had replied.

Second... my meeting with the VA...
It took 5 weeks but eventually I managed to get in front of the SW and the Director to discuss their concerns. At least I thought it would be a discussion, instead they called me in to tell me what had been decided and what my options were. We did discuss them all and I hopefully returned honest but valid arguments as to why I disagreed (where I did). I took L with me, my gorgeous friend from work and she was an absolute star. I would have been in pieces without her. When I clearly was having trouble holding it together, she'd ask a question so I could compose myself. No tears were shed and I (I hope!) remained calm and responded without getting defensive. 

As I suspected, specific things had been lifted from the 2 reports I'd sent and either taken out of context or not discussed in any detail for me to be able to explain fully what I meant. SW is extremely black and white and seemed quite upset by some of the things I'd said about my mother which she appeared to take to mean that I didn't recognise that she herself had been a victim of abuse. I also didn't recognise the impact the abuse I'd received or witnessed had made on my own relationships. I must have identify issues because I don't know my real dad and because I didn't have enough counselling sessions after my brother died, I must also have unresolved issues there.

The Director clearly hadn't done his homework apparent when he said that I clearly had problems forming and maintaining strong relationships because I listed people in my support network that I'd known only a few years when other adoptive parents have friends they've known for much longer. I reminded him that I'd known my formal referees for 12 years! I clearly CAN form strong bonds given that the girl sat next to me I've known for only a year, he's had 4 written references from people just wanting to help me because they believed in me (as my friends). Yes, I have 2 failed marriages and no family to speak of apart from my Aunt, but that probably accounts for quite a large proportion of the population and doesn't mean that I'm mental!

In addition, I started being quizzed about what I spent my money on. I earn a decent amount and hey have seen my standard outgoings so why did I have no savings. And why didn't I own my own home?? I wanted to say "none of your.... business" but didn't. The fact is I’ve had no reason to save up to now. I don't do drugs or pay for hookers (isn't that the other thing people waste their money on?), have a gambling habit... I spend it on my house, going out, and clothes, whatever I want because er... I can. And then when I started this process I stopped. As for owning my own home... there are a gazillion reasons for that not least of which because I want to live in the beautiful home I am currently living in and don't happen to have £80k in my bank for the deposit. I can assure you that if I did own my own place which matched the kind of deposit I could drum up in the short term, I'd get turned down for living in a sh*t-hole so what's it to be?

I also appear to start being accused of being at risk of burying myself in work if the going got tough, because I made the mistake of saying that I would bury myself in work in the past. Well when you're single you can can't you and yes I've had a tendency to be a bit of a workaholic. But equally I made it very clear when I started this process to the VA AND at work that my priorities would not be the same and that when this happened (if it happened); work could take a hike if my baby needed me. None of the positive things seemed to have been taken in however.

The outlook... looked bleak. Despite having a valid point to make against each of their arguments, it made no difference. Because that wasn't the plan. They had decided and the meeting was for me to hear what they had to say.

In summary... my many moves and length in employment, etc. could be overlooked (different weighting you see) but the other issues cannot. Although I am able to put a positive spin on my personal experiences and have always thought that it would help me to understand better a child that may have experienced similar and indeed help them better. They however, did not. In fact, they felt that my experiences would be detrimental because I would start reliving my past and then not be able to cope (WTF?). Anyway... the answer is counselling. On order to take me forwards they would want me to seek counselling and make sure I cover all of their concerns and return with a report telling them I'm now fit for purpose. 

Not a few sessions... on asking the question, they said that an NHS counsellor might see you for 6 sessions "but that's just for ONE issue" (clearly I have billions)... they "would be concerned if a councellor thought they'd finished with me in 6 sessions and recommended 6 to 12.. MONTHS.

I have asked my friends since if they think I need to be locked up because that's how that meeting made me feel. The alternative option is to withdraw completely or go elsewhere OR I could ask for a second opinion. Quite liked that till I heard the catch.. in order to get a second opinion I would have to a) "reject their advice" and then get an early Panel decision. So the SW would complete her report quickly, then submit with my response to Panel for an early decision. At which point, when they say "no", which of course they would if the SW has put a big fat "no thanks" all over it, THEN the complaints procedures are open to me and I can ask for a second opinion assessment. BUT I would have a formal rejection on my file and as the Director said - neither Panel nor the Independent Review Mechanism can force the VA to approve me and they get the final say. Suicide? I think so.

After sitting in a pub with L, doubting my sanity for not the first time I promptly came home and put all my adoption books away. I needed time to think and work out what I was going to do next. I could be indignant about it but the reality is if I wanted to do this, and I said I would do whatever it takes - if it takes a report from a professional to say whether they think I'd cope or not, then a report is what I'll get. But still.. I needed time to think. Not least of all because.. then this happened.... 

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