The single the weirdest thing we've ever done!

Recently we went to an Activity Day.

It was the single the weirdest thing I've ever done.

Firstly I must say the set up was just amazing. The children clearly enjoyed themselves.. there was the magician from Mr Tumble and a disco (they ALL knew how to dance Gangnam Style! Too cute.). It was lovely from that perspective and went some way towards my initial fear that they would all seem sad and helpless and that I'd want to walk out with every single one of them.

But that aside.. even now it's difficult to describe how I felt. There was a briefing, which was useful. It just focused the mind on what was going on there and it was good to know the "rules of engagement". For example, you should try and play with all of the children. But not for too long! About 20 mins otherwise they may start to get expectations and there may be prospective adopters that have come specifically to see that child. We looked at each 10 mins in and both said at the same time.. "This is just weird". So after about 20 minutes, it was time to go meet them.


It's amazing isn't it. I'm a pretty together person considering. Take things in my stride. And when I want something I throw myself into it. Like the most amazing thing I may ever do - adopt. I've read about it. Talked about it. Been to conferences and informative evenings. Training. More reading. More talking. Talking to parents of birth children. Talking to people who were adopted. People who have adopted. More reading. Writing. But it's all abstract isn't it. It suddenly dawned on me that after YEARS of talking and longing.. It was still a step removed from the reality of it. And then there you are, about to meet 50 children that are looking for a forever family. Some more aware than others. With varying forms of delay or disability. Some having had the worst experiences. And the thoughts that go through your mind are just crazy.
  1. What if we find one we want to take home?
  2. What if we find FOUR we want to take home??
  3. What if we meet a sibling group and I like one and hubby likes the other and we don't like both?
  4. What if we fall in love but they hate us?
  5. What if there is no one there that we feel we could give a home to?
  6. What if we don't make a good impression with the social workers?
  7. Worse - what if we don't make a good impression with the Family Finders who we're likely to come across again??
  8. What if we do meet someone but there's another prospective there that they like more?
  9. Or what if we don't get chance to actually play with them because there's so many of them?
  10. What if it turns out we're rubbish at "playing"?
  11. Should we have dressed up too!? (People dress up! It took me 2hrs to strike enough of a balance between yummy and mummy before I could leave the house as it was!)
Like I said.. crazy.

It was just so overwhelming emotionally, we both really struggled. And it's amazing how mindful you are of the other adopters and not wanting to hig a child in case they've come here especially. One man who had been doing some crafts with this girl, even turned to me and asked if I was waiting...

Hubby hated it. The format. The thought of having to "perform" in such a forced setting. So after I'd finished freaking out and was ready to grow a pair and get stuck in, he had a go :-) 

But. We stayed. And we played - a bit. We talked to a few SWs and it was ok. And after a few hours, we left quite shell shocked. Thank goodness our SW was there! We'd have left after 5 minutes otherwise, but it was good to be able to chat through how we were feeling with her.

Now, some time later after a lot of reflection we decided on the whole it was actually a positive experience.

For one thing, we've not got a clearer idea of the age/sex etc. that we'd like to adopt. But more than anything, it made us more clear about the fact that we can't pigeon-hole ourselves. Because when you see the child playing, it makes you think differently about a physical disability that on paper might have put you off. We feel much more now that we have to be open to considering most things because regardless of a condition, a delay, a type of abuse.. there so many other things that impact how they will settle and whether they would settle with us. How many moves have they had? WHEN as the abuse? When did they go to foster carers? What did they experience that they're sibling may or may not have? What is known? How much is unknown? It made us think again about ethnicity, etc. It made us think again seriously about older children and siblings. Which in turn has made us look into the experiences of others in those areas. 

We though a lot of these things before but it's only when playing with actual children does it become more REAL and we do feel that little bit more informed because of it.

I would recommend anyone do it pre-panel when the expectations are a teensy bit lower.

Because next time.. and we will go again - but next time we'll be going to meet specific children hopefully and if we took nothing else from it, at least we won't be having to deal with the emotional roller-coaster of meeting our future family at the same time as dealing with all the emotions of it being our first Activity Day!

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