Saturday, 22 October 2011

Medicals, references and 1-2-1 home visits

Since my last update, we've both had our 121 sessions with our social worker, we've both had our adoption medicals with our GP's and we've seen a copy of most of the references that have so far been requested of our friends. Oh, and we've also had to complete a questionnaire about our two cats! That's all good stuff, plenty of progress being made!

Seeing the references our friends have written has been strangely emotional. Social Services won't share them with us so that our referees can feel able to say what ever they like, but most of the people that have written them have emailed us a copy so that we know what they have said. We're actually going to keep these copies in our adoption file as one day it may be nice to share them with our children. It's very touching to see the things that have been said, it's perhaps the closest chance you get to hearing your own eulogy!

G's 121 was last week, and I had mine yesterday. It was a really nice session, quite lengthy but very cathartic! A lot of the forums and blogs we have read, have been quite negative about the invasiveness of the home visits. Maybe we will feel the same when we've had another 8 of them, but for now, we've both really enjoyed the opportunities to reflect on life and relationships.

I think however, we are probably quite lucky, that for both us, reflecting on our family, parents and childhood, are opportunities to reflect about happy times, whereas if we had come from less inspiring families, we may well find these sessions harder to deal with.

My  121 session was all about my own family and childhood. We started off by drawing a family tree, just going back as far as grandparents, but then listing all uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews etc. It took a little time to explain my grandparents relationships as on both sides of the family, these were a little complicated, but after that it was great to chat about the rest of the family and to reflect on things like my relationship with my cousins growing up.

That complete, we then turned to my childhood, I had to think about my early memories of mum and dad, describe my relationship with mum and dad when I was younger, and think about my relationship with my siblings.

It was surprising how much I remembered, I talked a lot about pre school memories, and outings, toys, family gatherings, holidays etc.

We looked at the 'river of loss' that I had completed back on day one of prep group, and I had to pick out the most traumatic loss of my childhood/early adulthood, and I was surprised that I got a little emotional talking about the death of a very close friend when I was about 20. I was also asked how that experience affected my support network, and I realised that probably it had made our group of school friends closer than we would otherwise have been, due to the fact that we shared in that particular trauma together. She also asked if I thought the experience of losing my friend, would affect my skills as a prospective adopter. A big leap you may think, given that 12 years has passed, but actually I realised that the experience had taught me a lot about understanding the terrible affect of mental illness and it's ability to distort one's rational thought and reasoning.

My friend that died, took his own life, and was thus clearly suffering from a depression, that at the time, I was too young to have noticed. Before that experience, I had absorbed the opinion that suicide was a cheat's way out, leaving others behind to deal with the consequences of your own actions. After experiencing it so closely however, I realised that this couldn't be further from the truth, and that one cannot try and explain the actions and beliefs of a depressed person, by one's own logical thought, as the two are just on different roads. I am certainly not suggesting that our adopted child will become suicidal, but I do recognise that at some stage in their life (as for all of us, with mental health affecting 1 in 4 people) they may well be prone to depression or feelings of isolation, and I think that I can now better understand and empathise with someone in that situation.

So there you go, despite people thinking that the assessment process asks lots of questions that are just off the wall, it is interesting when you start to analyse the formation of your own opinions and study the effects of your own lifetime experiences, and consider the impact they have all had on the person they have made you, and therefore, the kind of parent that you are likely to become.

A week to go before the next visit, no homework this week. Next session we are talking about our own relationship with one another. Watch out for an update next week!

1 comment:

  1. My morning brain just read that as you have had a hundred and twenty one (121) sessions with your social worker. I was thinking... "surely not!" and then it clicked!

    Have been enjoying your updates. Thanks for keeping us informed! X