This week’s interview is with Jessica who shares her journey to meeting her daughter. You can follow Jessica’s story on Instagram @jessicalaurenlewis
Introduce yourself and your family
I’m Jessica, my husband is Steve and our little girl is A who is 2. A came home in October 2019 and we’re currently awaiting the adoption order to come through.
What area of the UK do you live in?
Was your agency a local authority or voluntary agency?
We went with a local authority.
Did you read any adoption stories before you started? If so where? (eg blog, Instagram, books)
We read A LOT of therapeutic parenting books. I followed a lot of adoption accounts. @imwingingittoo was one of my favourites.
What was your biggest worry before you started?
I worried a lot about everything. The whole journey was a worry. What if they hate us? What’s being asked about us? What if we don’t get approved? What if we don’t get matched? I got many grey hairs throughout the process.
How long did the process take from the point of deciding you wanted to adopt to your child(ren) coming home?
We went to the info evening at the beginning of April 2018. Our initial interview was the end of April 2018. We were approved in May 2019 and matched with A in September 2019.
What age and number of children were you approved for? Were you matched to a different age or number of children from this?
We said 18 months and above but in my head I always thought we’d adopt a 3 year old.
How did the matching process work? Did you look at lots of profiles?
We were going to go on Linkmaker two weeks after approval panel, but just as soon our social worker was going to, she sent as a profile and a video. I couldn’t stop watching the video and I knew she was our little girl.
We rang our social worker that evening and we had a meeting with the family finder and her social worker a week later. They had to then have a meeting and said they would get back to us as soon as possible. We then didn’t hear for a while so I got worried. I emailed our social worker who said it’s nothing against us, but they were having more meetings.
So of course I thought it was us, and spent to next two weeks absolutely stressing. But then we got the phone call to say they are going ahead with us. The foster carers had said they also wanted to adopt her, but it was decided we were the better match.
We then arranged to meet her. I was on cloud nine although really nervous about going to see the foster carers. They’d expressed an interest and we were worried they’d hate us because we’d been chosen. We needn’t have worried as they were lovely. We were told what A was like, what she liked, how she slept, basically everything. A was having a nap and we met her when she woke up. That was the best day. We met her a couple more times before panel.
What has been the most difficult part about the process?
The waiting. You need to have a lot of patience with this process which I don’t have!
Have you needed to access additional help and support from your agency since your child came home? If so, what and did it meet your needs?
We haven’t yet.
What has been your best memory since your child(ren) came home?
There’s been so many for different reasons. The other day she walked for the first time (with a lot of my help). The first time she gave me a kiss. When she spotted me at a friend’s party and came running over to me in her walker with the biggest smile on her face.
If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself about the process before you started, what would you tell yourself?
You are going to face so many hurdles along the way. It will be so worth it in the end. Just keep smiling and the waiting will seem longer than it is.