Arrived before T as expected given he was coming straight from work. Was met by one social worker who took me down to where we were meeting and introduced me to the other 2 involved in running the course – 2 from the adoption team and 1 from adoption support team. Several people were already in the room and in the end it turned out to be 14 of us. Variety of background – two couples with birth children, and at least two who had attempted IVF as I found out talking to them. Two other couples from the same place as us – and indeed one couple who live a stone’s throw away.
We started off (after toilets, fire exit and introduction to what the course was about) being asked to split into pairs and talk to someone we didn’t know and to find out 4 facts about them. The guy I talked to was a different background from me – married 4 years, been through 3 failed IVF attempts, worked in his family used car business and his wife was a beautician. Then it was onto a short quiz – some of which T & I could answer and some we got wrong – like the number of children in care in England (hadn’t spotted the key word England), and how many were adopted from care last year which we overestimated. Then we went on to talk about our hopes and fears for the course – lots of hopes and a smaller set of fears – many of which we had in common which was reassuring. Things like isolation, finding ourselves at different points as a couple, being rejected.
Following a tea break we talked about our names and why they were important to us – many came from family or the like and had real meaning because of that. This lead into the discussion about the importance of an adopted child’s first name – it can often be the only thing they have left from their birth mother/parents and generally unless it is very unusual or needs changing for security reasons you are advised to keep it. Any changes before adoption order have to be agreed with LA – and child keeps own surname till adoption order in place unless again there are security concerns.
Then we talked about why children need adopting and came with a pretty long and comprehensive list including all the expected ones – neglect, abuse etc. T made the point about the impact on birth parents when children are taken away – he has experience of this amongst his patients (indeed one couple currently going through it so as he says he is seeing adoption from both ends).
Finally we came up with a set of questions we would like to ask the birth mother who is coming along on Monday which she will have a chance to look at before she talks to us.
As T & I have both just said discussing out what has happened we both quite enjoyed the evening in a strange way and are looking forward to the remaining sessions.