Our SW booked our approval panel after our first meeting as there can be quite long waits. It was provisionally booked for January 11th 2016 with the opportunity to move forward or push back if needed. As it turned out it was the perfect date for us and we went into the New Year preparing ourselves for panel.
The day finally came and to say we were nervous was an understatement. This was the moment that the past few months had been leading up to and a lot was riding on this day.
We met our social worker about 30 minutes before our appointment time and we were discussing little bits and bobs we needed to go over before we went into panel. The lady who was overseeing the two panel meetings that day came and joined us about 15 minutes later as were told would happen to bring us up to panel. She sat down along side and asked us how we were and the usual pleasantries. It was at this point that our second bump along the road arrived. For a reason we never really found out the chair of the panel for that day had failed to show up as he had confused his days and was unable to attend at all. As a result of this our panel was cancelled.
To say we were upset was a huge understatement. We had spent the past few days thinking of nothing but this moment and as we had been given an afternoon slot we were pacing the floor all morning and felt like children on Christmas Eve. To be told that we were going to face an unplanned delay was very upsetting and there were a few tears shed. It was unfortunately just one of those things and it happens very rarely but this was not much of a consolation at the time. On a positive we were given a newly arranged panel date at the time of February 1st 2016 so we did not have too long to wait.
So, our rearranged panel date came round and once again we were nervous as hell. We had an early panel meeting this time so we didn’t have as much of a long wait to get nervous. The wait to be called was the worst and I was very conscious of how I was sitting just in case any of the panel members passed me as we waited.
Entering the room was very daunting as we were put in front of around 7 or 8 people. They were a lovely group of people but I would fail to tell you their names as I was concentrating on not being sick from nerves. The next 30 minutes would potentially change the rest of our lives for ever and the decision was solely in these peoples’ hands.
They were thankfully a lovely bunch of people and asked us questions about how we felt about the process so far, about what sort of parents we saw ourselves being, about how our family felt about it all. They also addressed the elephant in the room which was that we had discussed the idea of looking into sibling groups to adopt rather than a single child. This was a sticking point between ourselves and our SW and they wanted to know whether this had caused any issues or ill feeling between us and her. Luckily, they were satisfied that there was no huge disagreement and we moved on from the subject pretty swiftly.
The wait outside was the longest 15 minutes of my life. At this stage I was in desperate need of a change of shirt and did anything to try and distract myself. After about 10 minutes of waiting my partner took himself of to the toilet as he could not wait any longer. As soon as he did so out come the panel chair to give us the result but as my partner was not there I could not be told anything. God bless our SW though, she gave me a smile and a wink from behind the chair’s back to calm me down. When my partner came back we were told that it was a unanimous yes from the panel and that they had recommended for us one child with a maximum age of 5 years old. At this point the fact that we weren’t recommended for two did not matter- we were going to be parents and the feeling is one that cannot be described in words. It was an amazing feeling and I will never forget it.
So that was it. Four months of hard working was completely worth it. All the late night visits, constant forms and we had been told that we were so close to becoming parents. We were extremely excited and were so raring to meet our future child but we knew we had some time still to go before anything came up. Or so we thought…