I received the phone call, from a social worker I have met only once, while walking home from school last Thursday with Winnie Whirlwind. We were momentarily feeling happy and carefree. The sun was shining, Winnie had been good at school for a fifth day in a row (a momentous achievement) and we were strolling hand-in-hand through the park heading to a friend’s for tea.
I was actually meant to be cheering my friend up. Her sister and family had left for Australia the night before and they won’t see each other for another four years. That didn’t go to plan! Instead of a happy smiley face, my friend was greeted by a snivelling wreck.
Obviously I had to control myself until the kids were playing in the garden. The phone call with the social worker was kept brief and unemotional, culminating in “let’s touch base on Monday”.
Winnie couldn’t know what was going on. All she knows is that we are, or were, thinking of a adopting a baby. We will not be able to tell her for a very long time that the baby was her sister.
And that is the saddest part of the whole thing. Winnie and her little sis will not grow up together. They will grow up miles apart, unaware of each other, leading very different lives.
I hope for little sis’s sake it is the right decision. We will never know, unless it all goes horribly wrong.
Throughout the process we have been kept in the dark, on the ‘back-burner’, ‘hanging on in there just in case! Facts have come to light over the last couple of days that had we known, we may well have decided not to ‘hang on in there’. But we did.
And here we are now, 10 months down the line with nothing to show for it apart from a few more wrinkles, a couple more grey hairs and a lot of unanswered questions. But above all else, one question is dominating our thoughts; should we go ahead and adopt anyway?