Our descent in to Limboland began with what can only be described as an ‘interrogation’.
We spent the previous day blitzing the house from top to bottom. Well almost.
The attic room is Sammy Skateboard’s bedroom and as many of you will know trying to get a teenage boy to do anything at all is an impossible task. If you don’t know what I mean, check out Kevin and Perry on YouTube. Sammy Skateboard’s contribution was to lie around on his bed, listening to music, occasionally shoving things around the room and under items of furniture with his big toe. It also involved a lot of nagging on my part and a lot of incomprehensible grunting on his part.
Anyway the house was almost tidy (a rare event) and Eddie Exercise and I were anxiously waiting for the social workers to arrive to carry out what is officially known as an initial evaluation.
The doorbell rang. I opened it with a cheery “Hello”, only to be greeted by two very cross looking social workers and “my colleague is extremely allergic to pets.” A phone call to warn us would have been nice!
Eddie and I spent the next five minutes madly running around the house chasing Hairy Horace and Sleepy Sid, banishing one to a bedroom and the other to the back garden. By this point we were extremely flustered.
Not a brilliant start.
When we were finally composed and seated around the dining room table, with a cup of tea, things didn’t improve.
We have been in this situation before and although it was scary first time around the social workers were warm and friendly. Is it naïve of me to think that in any interview situation you get the best out of people by putting them at ease?
This was not the case. The tone of the cross-looking social workers was both hostile and aggressive. It also rapidly became apparent that they had not read our original PAR. They didn’t know we had animals, they had no idea that we had a large support network, or that I work part-time. They made numerous assumptions about us and our adopted daughter.
Throughout the meeting we just wanted to yell: “You approached us! You asked us if we wanted to adopt again.” But unfortunately this was not an option.
The most offensive moment of the whole ‘interrogation’ was when they implied that we don’t love Winnie Whirlwind. It went like this:
SW: “So when you’ve got this cute little baby that you instantly love more than your daughter…”
Me: “Excuse me!!! Where on earth did you get that idea?
SW: “Well, you know with her Attachment Disorder.”
Me (what I wanted to say): “how dare you come in to our house and imply we don’t love our daughter. Get out now!”
Me (what I actually said): “It isn’t us that has Attachment Disorder! Yes Winnie can be challenging, but she has been a major part of our lives for three years. We love her dearly and would do anything for her!”
In short the whole meeting left us feeling exhausted and distressed. We felt like we were on trial, that we had done something wrong.
So, 48 hours later, when we received a phone call to say they wanted to go ahead and assess us to adopt Winne Whirlwind’s baby sister, we were completely and utterly shocked.
And so we embarked on the assessment process for a second time. A period of uncertainty for us and our children, our extended family, our friends and our employers.
We are no longer in control of our own lives.