It seems like ages since we got the phone call that C’s s/w and family finder wanted us! Well, actually, it’s been 7 weeks so that is quite a while. Christmas and then our (prearranged) long holiday got in the way.
We met on Monday the 25th at C’s local authority offices. The offices are new-ish, and our meeting was in a conference room with a glass wall that overlooked the lobby 3 floors down.
In the meeting were, in addition to Hubby and myself:
- C’s social worker
- C’s family finder
- C’s foster carer
- C’s foster carer’s social worker
- The SENCO from the school (I’ll explain later)
- The manager of the child protection & therapeutic support department
- Our social worker
The meeting started off with the foster carer talking. We were told that C’s brother, L, had been moved to another foster family in late November. Since that time, C has become much happier. His foster carer said “he’s not the same child” — but definitely in a good way. We talked about his normal habits. When he gets up, goes to bed, what kind of food he likes and dislikes (thank goodness he’s not picky!). We heard about his sleep habits (pretty good). Evidently in the beginning C competed with the foster carers (a married couple) for attention. He would sometimes, though, get frustrated with L’s neediness, though, and go into his bedroom to get away. This fits in with what we read in the “Together or Apart” report on all of the siblings. That’s a report that recommends if siblings should be placed together or should be separated.
Next the school person spoke. A SENCO is a Special Education Needs coordinator. This doesn’t just include academic needs, of course, but Looked After Children are the responsibility of the SENCO as well. She had been aware of C since he was in reception (age 3) so this is the 3rd school year. Evidently since being in foster care, C’s behaviour has dramatically improved. He’s excelling academically. I was a bit confused because I wrote down in my notes that he’s above the national average for Year 2, although I’ve confirmed since then that Connor is in Year 1. Immediately after the meeting I thought she had said he was in Year 2, but it makes sense now that she was just talking about C’s education level rather than the year he’s actually in. C is excelling in art, maths and reading. C hasn’t actually needed any support from the SENCO since he went into foster care.
Next, the head of the Therapeutic Support department came to talk to us. She hasn’t met C, but has read all of the documents. She didn’t speak for long, but said that there was every reason that he would thrive in an adoptive placement.
C’s social worker asked a few questions to fill out the picture of information. We found out the normal times he goes to bed and gets up. This was shocking. During the school week, he gets up at 7, leaves at 7:25 for school, then gets home around 5:30 and is in bed at 7. That’s a crazy long day. I know I would struggle with that! If we are successfully matched with C, he’ll have a MUCH shorter day.
We finished the meeting after about two hours with a plan for what needs to be done before Matching Panel. They would ideally like the paperwork that has to be done completed the next day, which wasn’t possible. So it needs to be in by Friday the 29th.
Our s/w has done most of the documentation. She sent it to us to have a look at. There was only one section that needed to be from our perspective, and our s/w kindly wrote it for us! I made some minor tweaks and added a sentence, then sent it back to her to get completed and send off to the other agency.
Oh, and our s/w just told me that we need to visit the school that C would go to before the Matching Panel so we would be able to talk about it if there were any questions about it. I’ve booked an appointment for next Wednesday morning when I’m working from home and Hubby is working on the afternoon shift.
One more thing. I’ve read a LOT about all stages of adoption on a AdoptionUK. It seems like many Life Appreciation meetings can last a full day! I hope we haven’t missed out on anything, but the two hours that we spent seem to have provided us so much information. It’s C that I want to spend time with, not adoption professionals!