I've written 60-odd blog posts on Suddenly Mummy and I'm pretty sure the title of this one is my first Star Trek reference! Not bad for me!
But I digress . . .
I wrote recently about some of the difficulties we have had getting a decision on NB's future, but at long last, we know . . . we have a placement order, which means he'll be going up for adoption.
And so we set off together into uncharted territory. As OB was originally rehabilitated back to his birth mother, and then matched with me for adoption, I haven't had the experience of fostering a child up to external adoption before. I've been trying to prepare NB for this possibility for a while, notably by persevering with the potty training (which is going on well by the way!), and pushing to get all his medical screening done, but now we need to step it all up another notch.
The process as I understand it, is quite a complex one. NB is not a straightforward child and is likely to have some additional needs, although exactly what and to what degree can't be established yet. Add to that the fact that he is rapidly approaching his third birthday, and we have a child who is not necessarily all that easy to place.
He has already been assigned a social worker to oversee his adoption, and she profiled him and began initial searches for matching families before the placement order was granted. The next stage is for a working group to narrow down possible matches to a shortlist based on all the matching criteria. At this point, the family at the top of the shortlist will be approached, and if they are interested, they will be given all the information that exists about NB.
If they decide to proceed, a lengthy matching report needs to be compiled, demonstrating the suitability of the match. This used to be presented to a matching panel for approval, but I understand that this has recently been changed to speed the process up, so now the reports are approved by the service head alone.
After that, I suppose transition begins. I have heard various accounts of introduction and transition, but the common theme seems to be speed - some that I have heard about have happened in as little as one week! But I think it usually takes around two weeks. And then NB will be gone, off to be a wonderful son to his new Mummy and Daddy.
I may have missed some stages out of all of this. It's quite hard to come to terms with the processes and protocols that thread together to make the bag of tangled wool that is social services!
NB's contacts with his birth mother have already been halved, and will soon be halved again before a final contact not long after Christmas. NB's mother has responded by cancelling the next contact. I can't blame her. It must be absolute agony.
And so we move on into uncharted territory. As far as we're concerned at this house, that means getting a big boy bed, persuading NB to take his iron medicine, and enrolling him in gymnastics to encourage his physical development! I'll keep you posted on how that goes, but there's no big rush. Apparently, with Christmas in the way and NB's particular profile, the social worker reckons it'll be a good result if we move to transition by Easter 2013!