After staggering out of our successful first panel (spoiler alert – there is another……), we were then able to have access to the real profiles of children who are currently up for adoption. Through PACT, (http://pactcharity.org/) we had a dedicated profile finder who promised to send us profiles that very day. On top of this we then had access to a site call Link Finder, which I can only describe as a speed matching site for children, which is as strange as it sounds. On this site you complete a profile, select the criteria of the children you are looking for and review profiles that come through – and sadly there are loads of profiles on there. This is also a time our social workers takes a step back, although is always available if we need (this did give us a chance to re-stock our tea supply and learn a few more jokes to keep her entertained).
MY TIP – Be proactive, update your profile, check the site regularity, and respond personally and promptly to any that you think are appropriate.
MY TIP – There is an option to check for new profiles added since last logged on – that was the most useful for me to see new profiles quickly.
As I mentioned our profile finder promised to send us some profiles after we passed the panel, and so S and I headed home with a lot of excitement and a bit of trepidation. As we got home we had the ping of ‘you’ve got mail’ (ok we don’t really live in the 90’s, so we actually just had a normal notification on my phone = but am I the only one that harks back to that age when email was exciting (and a little bit mysterious)).
So I jumped on the computer and opened up the email and boy was I surprised. Not just 1 or 2 profiles, but around 15 landed on our lap. Each one had details of one or 2 children and varying degrees of information about them. The level of detail varied by profile (in all honesty the variety was extreme as some were beautifully presented with photos and personality of the children shinning through, while others were light on detail or personality and one of them actually made the children look like the Usual Suspect line up).
MY TIP – read them quickly when you get them and print off the ones you like, then have a re-read. If you are still interested (even slightly) then request further information. Better to get more options and less.
Both S and I reviewed each of the profiles separately then discussed what we felt about them. (We had made a conscious decision that if either of us was not keen for what ever reason, the other would not try to persuade them to change the mind – we felt it important that both of us should be totally free to express our feelings in this without the other subconsciously putting pressure on them to change their mind ( and I was very happy with this option, as S is much better at negotiator than I am 🙂 got to love the right to veto )
MY TIP – Make a matrix of what you like and dislike in each profile or just what stood out (this helps you narrow down your criteria and to keep track). Also include where you are in the process (rejected, requested more info, fuller profiles etc) other wise you could get quite confused (i did and actually ended up confusing a profile of a boy with one of a girl – but sometimes the names are not clear – and there are some strange names out there).
From the first set of profiles we requested more information on 3 children and then sat back to wait (although only until the next day when the next wave of profiles came through:-) -can not fault the team for searching for profiles to send :-)). Some of the authorities came back quickly, while others took weeks (or did not actually respond at all). If the authorities like your profile too, they will send you a full report called a CPR – which is around 30 -40 pages.
Now I will only briefly touch on the CPR’s as they can be quite harrowing. They show in-depth (and I really mean in-depth) information on the children including medical reports, police and social services reports, abuse they have seen or has happened to them, as well as behavioural reports and reports on the extended families.
They can be an extremely tough read, and there were some that S and I could not finish without shedding a tear (and feeling angry), but they do give you a huge amount of information and background to help you decide if these children are the ones for you. One of the toughest parts for us, was saying no to some of the children, as you really would like to provide a safe home for them all, but in our hearts, we knew we are not equiped to offer them the level of care they deserve.
MY Tip– Read the reports when you have some clear time and space. Try not to feel bad when you go back saying that you do not want to progress. You need to be sure and there is not point taking on something that you know you can not handle.
This process continued for about a month, with us getting profiles sent to us, or us finding new profiles on the Link Maker site. It really was a roller-coaster, as we saw many children that tugged at our heart strings, and also got rejected by some authorities, as they felt we were not the ideal match. It was like having the best and worst job interviews all on the same day, every day. We also felt that we have to be ready at a moments notice to respond to new profiles, in case we missed out on our children by being too slow. We may have put too much pressure on ourselves – but it did mean we were able to see over 50 different profiles and respond to almost a dozen (i think we surprised our profile finder on how quickly we got back to her – and we wanted to make sure she was on her toes).
My Tip – as S pointed, out don’t worry if at times you develop a darker sense of humour…..it is a coping mechanism and be assured your heart is in the right place….. but maybe don’t share outside the ‘circle of trust’ as they may not understand 🙂