What feels like many, many moons ago (May) when we first embarked on the adoption process, we discovered that there are barriers to becoming adoptive parents. Not the barriers that I had expected such as us being an unmarried male same sex couple, but the fact that we, horror of horrors lived in a one bedroom flat! In my initial investigations into adoption I spent a great deal of time on the phone talking to different agencies. Though they were all very receptive and informative, they were all clear that we wouldn’t be able to pursue adoption whilst we only had one bedroom. No ifs, no buts, no maybes! Now of course we were never expecting to share a room with our future child, but it seemed pointless to pay extra rent for an extra room that may or may not be occupied in the not-too-distant future. There were no guarantees that we’d ever become approved or that we wouldn’t still be waiting for a child 3 years down the line. However, all the agencies required us to already have the second bedroom in place before they’d even meet us for an initial chat!
At the time this came as a bit of a blow to us – it was all over before it had even begun. We were stuck. There was no way we could realistically afford a second bedroom that was going to be simply sitting there, idle, just so we could start a process that is notorious for taking AGES! Surely it made sense to at least meet prospective adopters to see if they had the ‘right stuff’, accept them, start the approval and get them to find a property with the second bedroom as and when required? It sounded perfectly reasonable to us and luckily, it sounded perfectly reasonable to Mosaic, the agency we are currently with. The understanding was that during Stage 1 whilst all the checks and paperwork were being processed, we could remain in our one bedroom flat. However, Stage 2 is also known as the Home Study stage and that had to take place in the accommodation we were hoping to provide a home for a child. During the approval process you are able to take a break of up to 6 months before completing the assessment. In that time, some people get loft conversions and other home improvements done to make a home more child-friendly, others simply need to get off the rollercoaster and take a breather. We intended to use a short break to find a 2 bedroom property once we had officially been accepted onto Stage 2.
But life has a funny way of not turning out quite the way you plan. In the space of a few weeks, I managed to get 2 acting contracts (that will run back-to-back), that meant my income was going to drastically improve for at least the next couple of years! Our fortunes were turning – and the timing couldn’t be any better. Children are expensive!!! Having a much bigger combined income was going to make things so much easier in terms of the cost of child-rearing. Additionally, it meant we could now afford to move into somewhere bigger when the time came in a few months. However, as James will attest, I can be a little (EXTREMELY) impulsive and decided to ‘just have a look’, in the name of research at the type of properties we could now potentially afford…
Within minutes, I was on my laptop looking for properties nearby. The first property I came across was beautiful – light, airy and spacious and had a generously sized, all-important second bedroom. But what made my find even more exciting was that the property had just been put on the website a mere 4 hours ago and to top it off, it was in THE SAME BUILDING we currently lived in! This was a sign – the stars were aligning! There wasn’t a moment to waste. James was on holiday in Tuscany, so I sent him a link to the property and he agreed it would be worth me taking a look. I got on the phone to the estate agent and 20 minutes later I was looking around the flat. On walking in, it was immediately clear that this flat was perfect – we had to have it. But I didn’t want to get too carried away. I had to be certain that this flat was as perfect as I believed it to be. I spent the next hour going into each and every estate agents on the high street to see what they had to offer within our price range. It became apparent that nowhere else was going to come close to what I had found in terms of space and convenience.
Remember, we had agreed that we were only supposed to be moving once we’d officially progressed onto Stage 2. Besides, we couldn’t technically afford the new place until I started my new jobs later in the year. Was I being hasty…? I firmly believe in striking while the iron is hot and so I got onto the phone to Trudy, our social worker, who for once, wasn’t so tentative. I explained the situation with my new job and the amazing flat I’d found and she couldn’t think of any reason why we wouldn’t be progressing onto Stage 2 (though there were no guarantees). So it was settled. I called the estate agent and paid the holding deposit – pending references and checks we would be moving into our new Family Home in a matter of weeks!!
It was all coming together nicely. Before we knew it, we would be putting our feet up in our new home, embarking on Stage 2. Or at least that’s what we thought..
TO BE CONTINUED…