Stage One Starts………… And boy does it flow thick and fast from now on.
On the 18th of January, Essex County Council posted us out a letter saying our “Acceptance of Registration of Interest”
which brought such excitement and nerves of what is to happen next.
The letter breaks up Stage One for us and we have 2 months to complete our pack, this includes: A 52 page workbook which basically covers everything about us from birth until now, everywhere we’ve lived (easy for Tim with his 3 houses, unlike my many cities), family tree, full health history and education etc
It took us a long time to fill this out, I stand corrected, it took me a long time to fill this out! Tim found it easy to complete but my life had included many cities, family problems, and ex-boyfriends which all had to be documented.
I struggled to remember some of my past as I had locked it away in the deepest part of my memory box and it was time to open it ( that’s a whole other blog that doesn’t exist, yet!) but I had Tim their to support me which really helped.
We attended a Workshop on January 25th which was to help us understand the workbook. We attended an ‘Induction to Adoption’ day on January 29th 2018 where we learned how Stage One would plan out, what to expect and the next steps.
Here is where we met our new friends Jonny and Anthony. Having another gay couple on that day made things more relaxed and was good to see more same-sex couples going through the same journey as us.
So the next few months was all about completing the workbook, with both working full time, it left us with the evenings to sit and complete the book and work on it together.
During this time we were struggling to pin down our doctor to complete our health checks, this was vital to be completed before we could be taken through to stage two.
Weeks and weeks passed by, we had completed our workbook and sent it off, we were still waiting for our medicals to be done, in the meantime, our friends and family had received their letters in the post to write our references.
Being allowed to only chose 1 family member (closest to where we lived) and 2 friends, we chose Tim’s parents as they live around the corner, we chose our close friends Dan and Sara who have 3 adorable children and are very special to us. We also chose our friend Laura who is part of “the girls”, these girls are very good friends to us and have supported us throughout our process. If we could put all three, Steph and Michelle would have been put down too.
In fact, we would have loved to put many more people including my parents, Gary and Jo.
We had to complete an ‘Eco Map’, this was to describe how our network of friends and family were there to support us. We have many of our close friends and family on there living all over the UK and of course our friends in Australia.
It’s February 9th, 2018
Our house has been cleaned from top to bottom, candles are burning and our home smells and looks beautiful, anyone would think the Queen is coming for afternoon tea…..NO.
Today’s the day our Health and Saftey and Finance Check was being completed. ‘KNOCK KNOCK’ it was a loud knock like a policeman knock. I answered the door to this sweet little woman called Rachael who was standing there with a big smile on her face which instantly put me at ease. As Tim was at work, this would be the first visit I was doing on my own and I was expecting a Mrs Trunchbull type figure.
I put the kettle on (typical Yorkshire man) and we sit down and have a good old chat and go through everything she needs to discuss. We walk around what I thought was quite a safe house, to realise that we could have a child living with us next year and the house needs childproofing…….. Panic sets in.
It’s March 13th, 2018
We received an email from Essex County Council letting us know they have not yet received our medical checks, which we have been chasing this whole time just to get an appointment. If this doesn’t get to them soon we will have our stage one extended and we will not be processed to Stage Two…
This lights a fire under our feet and Tim quickly calls our doctors and after many conversations both myself and Tim have had with our doctors, we finally manage to get an appointment. Finally, we have our medical checks done and they are in the post and on the way to our social worker who is looking after us.
Just as we think that all our paperwork and checks are being processed, we receive an email saying that they need a reference from my ex. This leads to lots of conversations, texts and emails to my ex to which he originally wanted nothing to do with the process. After one last plea he manages to leave a great reference and we are grateful that he did.
It’s April 12th, 2018
We have just received an email from Caroline who is the Senior Practioner at Essex County Council. She wants to arrange a meeting to discuss more details about my childhood, some events in my life.
This was to get a better understanding of how I dealt with these.
Tim and I moved some days around at work as we wanted to get the meeting done and dusted.
It’s April 18th, 2018
Its the morning of our meeting, Caroline arrived and I put the kettle on. We sat at the dining table (very formal), me and Tim one side, Caroline the other. Tim held my hand in support as we discussed my colourful past, he also gave me the nudge when I was talking too much.
The meeting lasted a few hours so I guess I had a lot to talk about! Caroline left and we had a cuddle on the sofa.
That was the last thing we needed to do for stage one to be complete – relief!
It’s May 4th, 2018
We get an email saying ” Hello Darran and Tim, I am pleased to inform you that the decision has been made for you to progress to Stage 2″. We are both so happy and excited about what’s next.
So what is next?…
See how we got on in Stage Two