It was a little over three years ago that I announced to the world that "At a recent court date, the judge decided to implement the local authority's latest care plan for OB, namely that he be adopted and I should be the one to adopt him." You can read the rest of that announcement here.
Before you do that, first read the rest of this announcement:
At a recent court date, the judge decided to implement the local authority's latest care plan for Birdy, namely that she be adopted and I should be the one to adopt her.
Yes, you read that right!
We're at about the same stage as we were with OB when I broke the news to the world (although Birdy is much younger) so I know we have months ahead of us yet, and nothing is set in stone until I have that precious certificate in my hands.
Already we have had a few bumps in the road. Thankfully I seem to have been spared the rather aggressive initial meeting where some stranger came to my house to decide whether I would even be allowed to begin the process, scaring me half to death in the process and exhorting agreements out of me to all kinds of conditions which thankfully mostly didn't come to pass. Good job too as if I'd had to do everything they initially said, I would have lost my job, my home and my support network all in one fell swoop!
No, this time I have had to contend with an egregious breach of confidentiality which means that somehow Birdy's birth mum was told about my interest in adopting several weeks ago. Contacts are still ongoing twice a week so you'd better believe I've been looking over my shoulder on the drive home. Due to the revolving door of social workers and the near impossibility of actually getting to speak to anybody I haven't yet tracked down the leak, but Birdy's newest social worker has insisted it wasn't her, so that's something anyway.
It seems that birth mum has been telling everyone who will listen (including the latest SW) that we're doing an open adoption and she'll still be able to see Birdy. I don't know where she's got this from, whether she's dreamed it up herself or whether she's going off something that the 'leaker' has said. As a result I have had many, many phone conversations with professionals (CAFCASS, SWs, Guardian Ad Litem, IRO, Contact Supervisors, you name it!) asking me about direct contact and open adoption, suggesting that it might be written into the care plan, asking if I'd still pursue the adoption under those terms etc. etc. At one point six direct contacts per year was mentioned. None of the people I speak to seem to speak to each other - the CAFCASS lady phoned at teatime the night before court and said that birth mum had told her I wanted to adopt Birdy and that was the first she'd heard of it!
I won't go into all the reasons why I don't want an open adoption, or any direct contact written into the agreement (to do so would be to compromise Birdy's story) but I don't, and I have said so all along. I had an anxious 4-day wait before I finally managed to get someone to return my calls and let me know the outcome from court. The placement order was granted with no mention of direct contact.
So, yes, it feels something of an achievement to have got to this stage, and I know there is a long way to go yet!
But we know our goal - that Birdy will join our little family and I will have a daughter and OB will have a sister. He is very excited about the prospect!