**Warning – this is a long post… but hopefully intersting/useful and I’ve left a nice bit at the end! 🙂 **
I am so proud of what our kids have achieved in the past four months! New parents, new family, new house, new school, new bedrooms, new friends… just about everything in their lives changed and their world was turned upside down in June and yet, yesterday we were the proudest parents in the world when they both got glowing reports from their teachers at parents evening. To be honest – Our Kids ROCK!
To top it all off our big little one stood up in assembly at school yesterday – in front of the whole school, all the teachers and the head teacher and read out a piece of writing done in literacy and received an achievers certificate from the Headteacher for the stone age house and model homework we had completed together as a family.
I realise that I have neglected the blog a little over the past 3 weeks or so, but family life kind of took me on a little bit of a whirlwind for a while. Not only have we experienced our first bout of child illness in the house hold – this also spread to both us parents. I can confirm that the delightful Hand, Foot and Mouth virus which many kids pick up from school environments is really not very delightful for children or for the adults they pass it on to! We somehow managed to contain the infection from spreading to big little one, but little one is still showing some signs of spots on the face and mouth, although everything else has cleared up. I was surprised that the Nurse said there was no need to keep them off school and they could go straight back in – considering how contagious it is.
Despite all our household illness and some other difficult news from the wider family – things are going really well in our adoption journey and we genuinely couldn’t ask more of our beautiful children.
We have recently had our formal ‘Review Meeting’ with the social worker team, which all went very well. It is one of those parts of the process of adoption that you don’t think about when you start out on the journey. Everything is focused in the early days, on prep/assessment/approval/matching/approval…. but what about life after the children are placed.
We haven’t found it intrusive or problematic at all – but I have heard adoptive parents getting really frustrated with the schedule of social worker visits and reviews etc… But we have a very positive and strong relationship with the kids social worker, our social worker and the school so it has all been quite a nice opportunity to meet and discuss things with them. I think having a good relationship and using the opportunity to lean on the experienced professionals at the right moments is crucial.
We now have home visits from the social workers every 4 – 5 weeks currently, we’ve had two formal review meetings in 4 months and as we now have a court date set in the diary where our adoption order will hopefully be made… fingers crossed there won’t be any need for further review meetings.
The review meeting is a formal record to discuss every aspect of how the placement has been going (The children are not present for these review meetings) and it is our chance to feed back and record any issues or areas of concern and update how the kids are doing at home, in school, health wise etc.
The more regular social worker visits are at home and with the kids, so the social worker can visibly see how the kids are interacting at home and talk to them about how they are feeling and what they’ve been doing. Our kids enjoy these visits as they feel very important and centre of attention – although it can lead to them getting a little over excited and hyped up.
We also had the kids PEP meeting at the school last week – this is the formal review for education purposes which all school age looked after children should have every term (I think) – PEP stands for Personal Education Plan and it is a chance for the school to feedback how the child is coping/developing and performing in the school setting and also the outline what they as a school are doing to support that development. Every looked after/adopted child also benefits from the Pupil Premium funding which allows the school to spend additional resource directly on supporting them. It was really interesting to hear what the school were doing directly to ensure our kids transition and future development is safeguarded.
Finally we took the kids for what will hopefully be their last ‘looked after medical.’ This was an interesting experience and one which I appreciate is a necessity but also felt completely pointless. Having had to drive back to the county where the kids were originally from (ours was an out of county adoption) and to that social services team’s preferred medical advisor and having had to take the kids out of school for the afternoon the nurse said herself “these medicals are pretty pointless now really, but we have to do them…” The kids were weighed, heights measured and a brief examination (superficial if you ask me) was completed we were free to go. The whole thing took 45 minutes between both kids but they missed a whole afternoon of school. I’m still not quite sure why our family doctor couldn’t have done it and forwarded the results? But I try not to do negativity on this blog so I’ll stop that now.
Anyway – this has become a mammoth 1000 word post, so not many people will read this far down I’m sure – but if you do, then you’ll be excited to hear that my better half, our social worker and I are going along to BAAF’s National Adoption Week Awards the week after next in London and we’re really looking forward to it.
I’ve also written a guest blog post for BAAF which will be published during National Adoption Week and I also did a magazine interview for an LGBT magazine about same sex parenting and 2 dad families which I was honoured to do.