So, after nearly two years, our panel date is set (for about the fourth time) and doesn’t look like it’s about to change.
Our original panel date with PACT was 5th January. This had since been deferred to 9th March and then changed again back in February to this (hopefully) final date of 19th April.
We’ve known the date for something like six weeks now and in the meantime we’ve been existing in some sort of hinterland of anticipation/helplessness/confusion!
This is mainly due to the fact that we met with Jane from PACT back in mid-February and I (perhaps foolishly) asked Jane for an indication (in percentage terms) of our chances of success. Jane felt uncomfortable with the question but said she felt we had a 50/50 chance at panel. I didn’t feel surprised at this, as this experience has taught me to be VERY cautious when it comes to being hopeful about our adoption, but I wanted to make sure all of us: Ethan, Jane and myself were all on the same page regarding our odds.
Since then, it’s all been a bit quiet on the adoption front. We’ve heard very little from PACT (although we have 2.5 days of training coming up before panel) and so we’ve been getting on with living life with adoption somewhat on the back-burner.
I suppose this 50/50 indication of success has raised some concerns, particularly with Ethan, that we’re ‘box-ticking’ by doing these days. Why are we booking hotels, taking time off work and buying train tickets to train in a set of skills that may be unnecessary? For me, whatever happens, we have to throw ourselves into the process, we have to do everything we can: if only so that when the fateful decision does come, we know in ourselves that we tried our very best. As my Dad has always been at pains to tell me: ‘You can only do your best’.
However, this sort of adoption numbness started to thaw last Tuesday when we had our first We are Family event: a pre-approval social event where lots of adopters in the same position as us got together in a room above a pub near London Bridge to chat, bitch, laugh and ruminate on our experiences of adoption so far. It was really nice! Nice to think and talk about adoption with like-minded people and nice to know that it’s challenging and complicated for lots of people, not just us!
We left the pub with a spring in our step and a renewed sense of vigour for adoption. There were a couple of people there who had been ‘matched‘ with a child and one or two who had a child placed with them for six months or more. We were shown photos and told about experiences and it just made us feel like we can do it, it is possible.
I guess, after all this time, I do feel hopeful. Ethan and I are confident, articulate people who I know will have no difficulty in expressing our passion for becoming parents and belief in our ability to do it well. Let’s just hope the panel are as convinced as we are!