This week’s interview is with a couple who share their experience of matching and how they found out about their son. They explain how hard it is to say no to a profile, and that sometimes your gut feeling is the right one.
Introduce yourself and your family
We’re a couple in our 40’s, parents to a 22 month old little boy.
At what point in the process did matching / family finding start?
Our social worker showed us a couple of profiles pre-approval Panel, towards the end of stage Two. Neither of these were right for us. Our social worker then brought about six profiles to approval Panel which we looked at afterwards. Our boy was one of them.
How did it work? Did your social worker do all of the looking or did you get involved in that part?
Our social worker did the searching for us. Our agency had a three month limit searching within our region before we could extend the search, for example via Link Maker
Did you attend any events such as adoption activity days? If so, what were they like?
We were invited to one pre-approval but we were on holiday.
How many profiles did you read?
Around 10 profiles and five CPR’s.
What was the hardest part about this part of the process?
There were a few things. For me it was the emotional impact of reading about these children, and also their birth parents. They had often had tough and unpleasant upbringings or circumstances themselves and I had a lot of empathy for them.
Having to turn down certain potential matches because they weren’t right for you, nor you for them. That felt rubbish although necessary.
We found the lack of information frustrating at times and really had to push for more detail sometimes. There was a worry that something was being withheld and a fear of ‘getting it wrong’. It felt like a huge amount of pressure with so much riding on it.
We were shown a profile (before we found out about our son) that our social worker thought was a great match for us. Although it met our ‘criteria’ it just didn’t feel right at all. I found it particularly hard to convey exactly why. It was almost a gut feeling but one I’m glad we listened to.
How long did it take to find your match?
Our son’s profile was one of the ones we saw on the day of approval Panel. We requested his CPR for full information the next day. We went ahead as it felt right after we got further information and an updated medical for him.
What age and number of children were you matched with? Was this the same as you expected or did it change when you started looking?
One child aged 15 months at the time. Yes, we’d stated one child aged between 0-3.
What happened once you were linked? Who did you meet to find out about your child?
We met his social worker, his family finding social worker, his foster carer, the medical advisor. We had a ‘bump into’ with him around a month before matching Panel.
How long was it between being linked and matching Panel?
Around six weeks.
At what stage did you start preparing your child’s room and buying items for them?
We had the room decorated neutrally just after approval Panel (we went on holiday first!). We were quite cautious and didn’t buy anything else until we saw our son’s CPR and it started to feel like a real possibility. It was after the meeting with his social worker that we really started buying things. We were linked pretty much immediately after the meeting
Our families helped to build furniture etc so it was a nice experience and not too rushed!
How did you prepare for matching Panel?
We put together a talking photo album (one where you can record your voices on each page/photo). We put pictures of the entire house (it’s not big so wasn’t a problem!) garden and local amenities we would use with him, such as our local park. I decorated it with lots of colourful stickers and backed each photo in bright colours to make it attractive to him.
We also bought a musical teddy – he loves anything musical! The teddy slept with us for over a week so it had our smell. We gave that to his foster carer after matching Panel.
What happened at matching Panel?
The Panel was around 12 people. We were asked about 8 questions, more than we were expecting actually! It was nerve wracking but everyone was very nice. We really got a feeling that they were on our side and wanted us to be successful. I cried at one point, talking about why him and what we were looking forward to. It just came over me but it’s very normal of course.
We got a unanimous yes and our introduction plan was made.