I'm right in the middle of buying a new house at the moment, and also mentally preparing to transition NB to a new family, whoever that might be! Over the past few weeks it has struck me how depressingly similar these processes are.
Once I'd made the momentous decision (determined by social services really!) to move, I started out by drawing up a list of criteria I'd be looking for in our new home - things we absolutely need, things we'd really love. That part was easy. But when the search really began, I knew we'd be looking for something more intangible, a feeling that this house was 'the one'. Not so easy to quantify 'the one' in terms of lists!
At the first stage of searching, all you get is a photograph, and a few scant details. Some are rejected out of hand - they don't look right, or they are missing a feature on the list, or perhaps they have something extra that you don't want. Some are placed on a list of possibles - more information needed. Perhaps a viewing or two, and a chat with various estate agents.
And on the other side of all of this is the vendor, anxious to move the process along, jumping when the phone rings, tidying frantically at the prospect of a viewing, and disappointed time and time again when those viewings fizzle out to nothing, often without a word.
More and more, with NB, I feel like the anxious vendor. He's been 'on the market' for some time now, and I know that the various social workers have been busy behind the scenes, searching for matches, taking his profile to special adoption days, and generally trying to get his face out there. It seems harsh to have to quantify the complexity of his little personality in just a few words, to write what is almost advertising copy about a human being. Every so often someone will see his profile, ask for more information, but so far, all of these raised hopes have come to nothing, and I feel gutted for NB as each wonderful-looking prospect slips away without a word.
Once a tentative request for information becomes a definite proposal, then the behind-the-scenes workers will really get going. I was at the solicitor's today, signing forms and looking over the reams of paperwork that he has accumulated while conveyancing my house purchase. Each side of the deal communicates with the other via various intermediaries, somehow managing to be always at the edges of the process, even though they are really at its very heart.
Does it seem like a heartless comparison? Maybe, but from this side of the equation, it seems to fit quite well. As one social worker said to me the other day, "There are so many great children out there." NB must take his place among many others on the list and hope that a cute photograph and a few scant details about him will be sufficient to cause a searching prospective parent to think that he might, just, be 'the one'.
I don't yet have a completion date for my house purchase. I don't have a
completion date for NB's transition. All I have for both of these
processes as yet are hopes and dreams which may be fulfilled, or just as
easily might come to nothing when hit with reality. Somewhere out
there are NB's new parents. They might not know it yet, but we are waiting patiently for them to see his face peeping out from a sea of faces and know in their hearts that they have found their son.