This week’s interview is another in the matching series. S shares her experience of finding out about her daughter and having a virtual matching panel due to lockdown. You can follow her journey on Instagram @missroo

Introduce yourself and your family

I’m S, a single mum to two year old girl aka Rugrat. She’s hopefully coming home when lockdown ends.

At what point in the process did matching / family finding start? 

Towards the end of stage two.

How did it work? Did your social worker do all of the looking or did you get involved in that part?

My social worker started looking for matches before approval panel. I was told about Rugrat on the day of approval panel.

Did you attend any events such as adoption activity days?  If so, what were they like? 

No I didn’t.

What was the hardest bit of this part of the process?

Definitely the waiting. After I read Rugrat’s profile, I then had to wait two weeks to meet her social worker. I barely slept in that time for worrying that they might go with other adopters.

How long did it take to find your match?

It was really quick. I think my social worker started looking about six weeks before panel. I wasn’t expecting to hear about a match until after the ADM decision so it was a complete surprise to be told about her at approval panel.

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 two years old. Yes, I was approved to adopt one child aged 18 months – four years.

What happened once you were linked?  Who did you meet to find out about your child?

I initially met with her social worker and family finder. I then met with the foster carer and the medical advisor. My social worker and Rugrat’s social workers then had the matching meeting to agree to proceed with the match.

How long was it between being linked and matching panel?

It was 10 weeks from first reading her profile to going to matching panel.

At what stage did you start preparing your child’s room and buying items for them?

I bought a few bits once her social worker said he was happy to proceed. I properly started her bedroom about four weeks before panel. It’s been a great thing to do during lockdown.

How did you prepare for matching panel?  (photo book, video, toy?)

I’ve made her a photobook which heavily features the toy bunny I bought her and laminated some A4 pictures of myself. I’ve also made her a snow globe with a picture of me on one side and her on the other. I will record some videos reading her favourite books.

What happened at matching panel?

Matching panel was a fairly unique experience as it had to be done remotely. The panel started with just the professionals and then I was sent a text asking to join. I was asked a series of questions: Why her? What’s my support system like? Do I feel prepared? Am I aware that there’s always uncertainty around adopted children’s development?

I was then asked to leave the call and less than 3 minutes later received a text to say I could dial back in. I was then told it was a unanimous ’yes’ to recommend the placement!

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