Born in China

Intercountry Adoption Through My Eyes and Beyond

Panel Day

September20

It was finally here the day that we had awaited with anticipation as well as fear and dread.  We felt like it was ‘D Day’ !  My husband had a much better way of focusing on the climatic day; he said he saw it very much like a graduation ceremony rather than an examination.  I have to admit, my feelings swayed towards the prior!

Surprisingly enough the night before we both slept like logs; having slept fractiously for several weeks prior to our fixed date of 20th September 2006.  The alarm clock kicked in at the usual time and contrary to tradition we both sprung into action.  I decided to go with my husband’s theory of a celebratory appointment and sat at the dressing table to create a more flamboyant hair style for the day rather than the standard ponytail.  ‘Straightners’ as well as ‘Curling tongs’ were needed for this particular hair-do!  We both dressed up for the occasion, my husband suited and booted and myself in a cream trouser suit.  A little Wedding like, I suppose but in a way that is how I felt and expressed this to our Social Worker later on.  Panel Day for me was on a par with my Wedding Day.  Today, we would find out if we would be parents, metaphorically speaking the conception of our daughter: Molly-May!

We had decided upon this name shortly after completing our ‘Home Study’.  I had taught a child during my short spell as a Year 1 Infant School Teacher with this name.  She was dark haired bright and cheerful whose personality had made a great impression on me and I thought it would suit a dark haired child.  Association- I guess!  Another reason we thought was a nice link was that both names were attached to our respective grandmothers.

We arrived on time with no hiccups as with previous journeys and were guided to the same room that we sat in on our first ever meeting at ‘PACT’.  I gravitated to the same chair that I had sat in before.  The nerves had well and truly started and my stomach was doing the usual ‘back-flip’ routine.  Our Social Worker arrived a few minutes later and breezed in with an air of confidence.  She made light conversation, attempting to put us at ease but to no avail.  We ran through the procedure:

  1. SW meets the panel and puts our case forward and answers questions put forward by the 12 representatives.
  2. SW collects us – we are called in to meet the panel.
  3. We are asked a few questions by the panel based on our ‘Home Study’ portfolio.
  4. We leave the room and Panel make their decision with our SW present.
  5. We are then informed by our SW of whether approval has been granted or not, on her return.
  6. Formal letter is then sent in the post of result.

Just as our SW finished briefing us another SW entered the room and approached her – much excitement and jollity took over the room at this point.  They had not seen each other since the early 70’s and apparently had trained together.  As you can imagine our being there was of little significance in the few moments that followed as they chattered excitedly.  This didn’t bother us as the spectacle took our minds off our reason for being there.  Then another visitor this time the ‘Head of the Overseas Adoption Agency’ came into the room, five minutes earlier than expected and told us that things had been slightly altered this morning and that our application was going to be considered now.  The procedure began!  I was unable to sit still and paced the room.  I was making my husband feel uncomfortable and more on edge and he tried to persuade me to sit down and insisted that I would feel more calm.  We could hear the panel’s voices in the adjoining room.  They were a blur of sound and as much as we strained to make out the dialogue we were unable to.  I joked with my husband to put a glass to the wall to hear what was being said!  We both nervously giggled at this idea!  What seemed like an eternity finally ended as we were collected and taken to meet the panel.

The room was stony silent and not welcoming at all.  The 12 faces of the panel were for the most part well into middle age and fairly austere looking, not at all friendly, as we had been led to believe.  This particular scene looked remarkably like a high powered interview situation with straight backs and clip boards.  Each member of the panel was asked to introduce themselves; having their names displayed on gold coloured plates in front of them for us to read.  Each person delivered his or her miniature identity portrait robotically, with no warmth.  The cast was arranged in a rectangular formation, with us being part of one of the longer sides.  I would have preferred the panel to be totally in front of us.  If this had been the case then we could have addressed our audience like we would do within the classroom.  This arrangement made me feel enclosed and it felt like eyes from all directions wer boring into me.  My husband felt the same.  The Head of the Ageny began the ordeal by thanking our Social Worker for a comprehensive assessment of us as a couple and that they felt like they knew us well although they had only just met us.  She then said that a few of the panel had questions for us.  My mouth went completely dry and my mind felt like it was going to switch off, stage fright was taking place.  Normally I am confident and a fairly good communicator but today wasn’t one of those days.  The first question was asked about how I would ensure the culture of the child would be promoted and developed during her upbringing.  As I write this down in retrospect I feel stupid, thinking back to my answer.  I could hardly repeat my name let alone discuss my parenting skills on how to deal with ‘identity issues’.  I started off by explaining that I would be learning the language of Mandarin and that at a later stage I would give my child the opportunity of learning her native tongue ( a little hard at this stage to define as we will not know for nearly a year about her region of birth).  The rest of my answer is just fuzz as I then remember my husband coming to my rescue by discussing the group of people we know in Brighton that have already adopted from China and that we intend to celebrate festivities and traditions with them.  Our SW then prompted me to talk about my treasure chest that I had started to collect for.  This visual stimulus would act as a talking point to initiate discussion about her homeland and identity.  I attempted to tackle this subject incoherently.  It was strange, usually I am an individual who rises to the event but my nerves blocked me.  We were asked other questions that in my opinion were broad and divergent and did not take into consideration our anxiety.  One of which was ‘How did I think I would respond to her as a teenager, knowing that I was a demanding adolescent in my youth?’  What an unknown quantity?  How is the world going to change in the next fifteen years?  What will our children be exposed to environmentally, scientifically, socially that could affect the way in which I parent my child?  All of these things were flashing through my head at the time – what did the Panel expect me to say?  All I can remember blurting out is that as a teacher on a daily basis I rub shoulders with the youth of today and know all the tricks of the trade and that I would draw upon this experience to help me deal with teenage issues that may arise.

We both bumbled through the rest of the grilling and ended on a more positive note but being asked about how we had felt about the process to date.  I commended our SW on her organsiation and methodical way of working and said that we felt she had made it as stress free as possible for us.  My husband said that the ‘Home Study’ had not been as intrusive as other people had said it would be and commented that perhaps that was because we were an open couple about our views and life style.  We were then granted leave and shown back into the original room to await the verdict…

Our SW re-emerged some 10 minutes later to deliver the news.  The funny thing is she didn’t actually tell us whether we had passed panel or not?  She entered smiling and joined us in the seating area and sat next to me, remarking on how incredibly nervous I had been and was and that she wanted to hold my hand during the Panel Meeting.  She said that it had gone well and that they though we ‘were a breath of fresh air!’  Absolutely amazing because that wasn’t the impression they gave to us and I’m used to reading body language and faces for a living!  I conveyed my thoughts about talking absolute rubbish and she said that we were both fine. (Tactful untruth!).  After some minutes my husband interrupte by asking when we would know the decision and she laughed out loud- ‘Didn’t I tell you?  You’ve been approved – I thought you’d gathered that!’  We both looked at each other and simultaneously let out a huge sigh of relief, both sets of shoulders visibly dropped.

At this conjuncture I presented our Social Worker with a small gift (a silver bracelet) and a handcrafted card designed by me from my collection of greetings cards that I have designed.  She was genuinely touched and said it wasn’t at all necessary as she was only doing her job.  I said that we felt it she had made the process run smoothly for us and that as a teacher I appreciated children that thanked me personally when they had passed an examination with my help.  She agreed and told us that we had been a pleasure to work with and kissed us both.  The three of us left the Head Offices of PACT in Reading to continue our day.  I nearly had a spring in my step; if it wasn’t for the new shoes I was wearing digging into my heels unceremoniously!  We would not be meeting again for nearly a year when it would be time to make the travel arrangements to go to China and more paper work was to be completed.  This date though for me was the last hoop to get through.  All other hurdles leading up to going to China would be surmountable and with good organisation and patience I was sure that we would be fine!  On our way home we stopped off for a Country Pub lunch and asked the waitress to take a photograph of us to mark the occasion.  This picture would go into Molly-May’s treasure chest.  We also decided that we would buy some ‘winter jasmine’ to celebrate being approved by Panel.  We would plant this climber at the back of our garden in front of our tired old blue shed and watch grow over the coming months and this would serve as our pregnancy bump.  The evening was a buzzing one with lots of phone calls and texts flying in from all our thoughtful friends and family sending their congratulations.  I ended up with a tension headache unfortunately but I suppose totally understandable after the big day!

The Third and Last Parenting Course

June7

We started the session by sharing our research from our media watch, several people had cut out the same article in the Sunday papers about a single woman who had adopted from India – a well known food writer.  Others had highlighted the poverty in rural parts of China where factory workers were making the latest i-pod gadgets for less than the price of one unit for a year’s salary.  We then shared our ‘family tree’ projects.  I was a little embarrassed as I had tackled the homework with such enthusiasm that my poster stood out glaringly among the A4 notepad efforts.  We were quick to fold away our presentation as not to make the other group members feel awkward.

We discussed today the key issues that a child might face in establishing their identity.  The following areas were discussed:

  • Looking different from the rest of the immediate family
  • Coming to terms with dual heritage
  • Learning about background- lack of roots, no knowledge of birth family, rejection.

All were in strong agreement that we had responsibilities toward our child and their heritage.  These were my pledges:

  • To hold in trust for her – her culture, country and language
  • We intend to give her the opportunity to learn her birth language
  • We intend to give her the chance to revisit her homeland during her childhood
  • We will incorporate key chinese festivities alongside British celebrations throughout the year.

We discussed how we could help our child to develop resilient qualities.  I’m going to quote my husband’s answer:

Let them know and show them via your actions and love that they will always have a stable and loving home life on which they can depend and use as the basis for further development in life and to fall back on in times of trouble.

Second Parenting Course

May18

Day two of the Parenting Course was quite depressing.  The hard hitting facts of adoption were focused on.  We dealt with Loss and it’s relevance to adoption and Child Health and Resilience.  We looked at loss both from the perspective of not only the child learning to understand why they were adopted but from the perspectives of birth families and adoptive families.  We watched video footage from a birth mother’s perspective as she was coming to terms with giving her child up for adoption for a better future and education- her words.  It was heart wrenching to watch and several people in our group were in tears as it was real life emotion being played out before us.  This was the first time I had really thought about how a birth mother would feel – all the time I had given credence to my own thoughts and anxieties and those of the child but never really spent too long considering the true emotion of the third person in the triangle.  I had thought that their loss would be my gain and that I would just be so grateful to be given the chance of motherhood.  Loss was talked of as being a positive thing as it helped enrich society.  Through us not having our own birth children we were now able to offer a loving home to a child that would not have had one otherwise and be able to help integrate a different culture in the multi cultural world we all live in.

We discussed in small groups ‘Managing Children’s Behaviour’ – we reflected upon our own experiences as a child of being disciplined both at home and school and we looked at how as parents we could manage behaviour positively with our children.  The last session concentrated on Child Health and Development.  All of this was quite heavy and the realisation of the fact that you really do not know what your child’s background is health wise hit home.  All that is sent to England prior to you going to collect your baby is a medical report that will need to get looked at by a pediatrician in this country for more details.  This I feel is ridiculous as without the child infront of the doctor for a thorough examination , how can a second opinion be given?  The initial examination done by the chosen country therefore has to be taken at face value.  The lack of control is a scary prospect.  We were told that the statistics are extremely low for a child to be severely ill without obvious warning signs but we would need to be aware that we could be that case.

We were asked to do some preparation work for the last session:

  • Media Watch – monitoring the media for items relevant to domestic or Intercountry Adoption – to collect press cuttings.
  • To consider our ‘Care Plan’ for our child
  • To prepare a family tree

Everyone bonded well on the course and although the content was serious we did manage to lighten the atmosphere with a bit of jesting every now and then and we shared a lovely lunch at the country pub down the road!

First Parenting Course

May3

We were both quite excited about our trip to Oxford and left after work by car, little did we know that the journey wasn’t going to be as smooth as we had hoped.  We just arrived at the City of Oxford when our car decided to break down- the clutch went on a roundabout in the centre of town.  Luckily for us there was a little layby for the taxis to the left of the roundabout so we were ablte to push with assistance from a nice university student in there.  We then waited for two hours for the RAC to tow us to our hotel.  I couldn’t believe it!  The notel was a lovely one with a spa and pool and with all the luxuries that were going to make this trip a momentous one and we were stuck in the car not able to sample any of it!  By the time the RAC arrived at 9.15pm it was practically time for bed!  We seemed to be jinxed as we had car problems on our first journey to meet PACT too!  The next morning I got really early determined to have an early morning dip in the pool.  The weather was glorious and the surroundings that the diocese (venue for the course) was set in was idyllic.  We were one of the first couples to arrive.  Everyone seemed to be nervous and we sat in this small room whilst we waited  for the course advisors to be ready for us.  No one spoke to each other and it did feel awkward and strained until one lady broke the ice and asked us if we had come from far.  That sparked the conversation of our nightmare breakdown scenario and within a few moments were asked to enter a much larger room and to help ourselves to tea/coffee and biscuits.  We all tucked in.  We were one of 6 couples and 2 single women wishing to adopt.  The majority of us were hoping to have children from China apart from one couple wanting to adopt from India and another couple from Guatemala.  Although we have made friends with other families who have already adopted from China these were the first people that we had met that were exactly at the same stage as us.  They were all really lovely and all of different ages although we were the youngest by a few years.  The day was an enjoyable one and informative and not patronising in the slightest as I had worried about.  the course leaders were two female social workers of different nationality – white and Afro Carribean and they each complimented each other in the delivery of the course.  There was also an independent observer who was male.  The day was well structured and broken up into different sections where we were talked through various issues via over head projection notes and then split into groups to do different tasks – scribing our thoughts on large flip chart paper and then presenting to the group.  Watching video footage of case studies from different countries and documentaries.  We had lots of whole group discussion of various topics: Attachment, Separation and its importance to adoption, Intercountry Adoption Procedures.  A suggested reading list was given and there was an opportunity to flick through the display books.  We purchased the following, which our opinion would aid us in dealing with questions that our child would ask about their origin and reason for being adopted.  These books can all be purchased through www.Amazon.co.ukLifebooks- Creating A Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley.  Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies by Ann Turner.  Why Am I different by Norma Simon.  I love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis.  Intercountry Adoption- Developments, trends and perspectives by Peter Selman.

We made a list as a group of our hopes and aspirations, these were what we wished for:-

  • Meet similar people
  • Learn about adoption/procedures
  • Gain practical knowledge
  • Learn form others experiences
  • Feel more confident/better prepared
  • Impact of Institutional care
  • How to talk to children about adoption
  • Attachment difficulties
  • Practical advice on Settling  Child

We both left the Parenting Course (Day 1) on a high as it had met our expectations and gave us food for thought.  We had truly entered into the spirit by fully involving ourselves in all group activities and gained lots of new stimulus which we could use to further our research.  A couple that we especially clicked with on the course gave us a lift back to our hotel where we waited for the RAC to tow us back home.  Back to reality for us!

 

Our Social Worker

April14

This is going to be interesting to see if first impressions are correct.  As I am writing this journal in real time, who knows if this relationship is going to be a strained one or not?  Both of us it is far to say were naturally anxious about meeting the lady that held our future in her hands and so I think for me anyway I was dubious about opening myself up and perhaps came over as too guarded.  My husband on the other hand performed in the opposite manner, in my opinion too friendly and casual. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances she was an hour late but didn’t telephone to let us know until she was supposed to be with us.  As you can imagine this stretched out the anticipation further and did not go down in her favour as I felt a phone call earlier would have been appreciated!  Anyway, when she finally arrived she seemed alright, down to earth in one respect as to her attire- casually dressed in trousers and top.  Her manner was more official though and she didn’t waste much time in getting down to business.  It felt abit like ground hog day as we were asked our reasons for wanting to adopt from China.  I suppose we should get used to this, as it will probably be a frequent question asked once the baby arrives.  Still it tends to grate on me as we had by this point already spokent to two other social workers who we had talked to indepth about our reasons and not only that we had written statements on two separate occasions explaining why.  To the individual or couple that are going through this process, it feels like you are constantly having to justify yourself and it can get tedious.  The second thing we sorted out were the dates for the diary.  I think we booked up 9 more meetings; the majority was for both of us although there were going to be a couple for each of us on our own.  She told us that they would be quite intrusive and to be prepared for this as lots of issues would be discussed.  I think she sensed that I was nervous and asked me personally if I had been worried about her impending visit.  I was totally honest and told her I had been as she would be deciding our fate!  She learnt forward at this point and said that this was not a test and it was to be seen as an opportunity for her to get to know us in order to help prepare us for what we would possibly encounter in adopting a child of another culture.  I suppose it wasn’t until she changed her stance and body language and tone of voice that I warmed to her.  The meeting lasted no more than an hour and then she left.  The next time we will see her will be after the Parenting Course.

The Paper Work

March8

We were both surprised at how quickly PACT started the paper work chain- within a few weeks references were asked for – three for each of us, one to include a family member.  Work and criminal checks were carried out and we each had a full medical.  This was our first visit to our local GP since relocating and we were both delighted to meet a professional that was extremely supportive to our plight and told us to come and see him if we needed any further assistance or to talk about things if we were feeling under pressure whilst going through the process.  This was most reassuring and we both feel lucky to be on the books of someone who genuinely likes people and wants to do do good!  Very shortly after our medical was completed we heard from PACT regarding our Parenting course details.  We were to go on 3 separate days to Oxford to take part in a preparation course especially designed for those families wanting to adopt from Overseas.  These dates were 3rd and 18th May and 7th June.  We decided to view each of the days as holidays rather than hurdles to get over and we booked up a different hotel in Oxford for each course to vary the experience.  About a week after receiving the letter about the Parenting course we got a phone call from our new Social Worker.  She had rung to arrange our first meeting, which she wanted to tke place before we started the course.  She seemed quite upbeat on the phone with a pleasant manner.  She came across as having a full diary as it was difficult to fit in a time that was convenient for us all but we eventually settled on a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks before the course commenced.  We were told of our panel date the 20th September 2006.  We couldn’t believe that we already knew when hopefully everything would be rubber stamped and sent to China.  Naturally we broke open the champagne!

Interview with PACT

February26

We both agreed that this was to be the biggest interview of our life and the result was vital to us if we were to continue on our path to gaining the golden prize of a baby.  At the start of the day- things did not get off to a great start, my husband had left the inside light on in his car the night before and so the battery was completely flat at 7am on the morning of our big day.  We thought that that was going to be the tone for the day ahead and hoped that we could make up the lost time on the motor way after jump starting the car.  We arrived at 9.45am in Reading, with 15 minutes to spare – just enough time to compose ourselves for what was to be the biggest grilling of our lives or so we thought!  PACT was situated in a large terraced storied building.  We were greeted by a friendly young receptionist who offered tea or coffee within seconds and phoned through to our SW.  We were immediately put at ease by the professionalism and friendly service.  Equally our designated SW appeared to be delightful with a bright and happy smiley face so unlike the previous Social Worker we had met.  The interview was two hours long and was intensive and intrusive as we knew it would be.  The last ten years of our lives was discussed as well as elements from our past.  My husband had to discuss how his parents divorce had effected him and I was told that my ex partner was probably going to be contacted to give a character impression of me.  I was knocked back by this and hadn’t expected it at all.  I hadn’t been intouch with him for over 8 yeards and didn’t know if he was still living in the same area of the country or anything about him now – for me this stirred up past memories that I had put to bed a long time ago.  We were told at the very start of the interview that a decision would be made at the end of the morning as to whether we would be allowed to proceed onto the next stage of the process and that nothing was guaranteed.  She needed to gain a feeling about us as a couple and our motives for adoption.  We discussed the following areas: our respective families and their geography, fertility treatment, careers, home, background, education, knowledge of political issues surrounding adopting children from China, mental/health problems that could arise.  Our hobbies and interests and whether this would be the first of severeal overseas adoptions?  Cost implications and the process of going through the Home Study.  By the end of the interview and several cups of coffee we felt drained and desperate to know what she felt about us.  She was kind and didn’t make us suffer for long – she asked us for our documents which we had been asked to provide for identification purposes and on her return after photocopying them she told us that she could sense no reason by the details we had given her as to why should not allow us to proceed to the next stage of assessment.  We could hardly contain our excitement and were both beaming from ear to ear – she felt she had to contain our enthusiasm by reminding us that there was still a long way to go but we would eventually get there!  We left the formal application form which we needed to complete before the end of March to secure the present fee of £5000 for the Home Study which was due to be revised on the 1st April.  She told us that the next four months would be the preparatory one to prepare our dossier for China.  We would have at least 7 more visits form a different Social worker nearer to our home and have to attend a 3 day Parenting course as well as produce a portfolio about us and our family.

PACT

February6

We left it four weeks after our initial visit and then we thought we’d chance our arm with a phone call.  My husband drew the short straw and made the call.  He explained that we had been seen by a Social Worker in our home county who had approved us for assessment and had told us that we were 7th on the list for their books and that we would be contacted within the year and that he was wondering whether we could bo on some Parent courses in the interim.  Apparently the lady he spoke to was cheerful and positive.  The complete opposite to the LEA.  He gave her our name and when she looked up our details she has no record of us – we hadn’t been passed on at all- having been told by the SW the month before that this was the case!  She told him that unfortunately the rules had now altered and we could not go on any of the courses as this happens during assessment.  She did say though that she would send us a prelimary pack that we could fill in and arrange our initial visit which would form the first stage of our assessment.  This was going to be £135.  The phone call was made on the Friday and the pack arrived on Monday.  We sent the cheque and form off on the Tuesday and we received a letter back on Friday asking us to come for our interview the following Tuesday.  We accepted.  We like the sound of PACT – so far so good – they appear to be highly efficient!

Chinese New Year Party

January29

We received an email from Maria to invite us to share in the Chinese New Year Party being held in her local town hall.  She told us that several other families who have already adopted from China would be there and it would be good for use to meet them and get some pointers.  We accepted with pleasure and enjoyed the afternoon’s celebrations watching beautiful dancing and tasting chinese coffee which is so much sweeter than what we are used to.  There was a real sense of community and much of what was on offer was complimentary – so different from our culture!  It was a lovely atmosphere and we felt privaleged to be part of it.  We chatted to one other lady in particular who was extremely excited as her papers had just been sent off to China for her second child, so she was awaiting referral.  She told us not to worry about PACT taking over from the LEA as that was a good thing – they would in her opinion move things much quicker for us than the local authority would.  She told us to keep pestering and phone them and ask whether we could go on the Parenting courses that were required in the mean time until our turn arrived.  She had moved things on quicker herself by employing a social worker privately to carry out her Home Study.  More encouragement and advice – finally we felt that like minded people were on our side!

The Initial Visit

January10

The day that we were both dreading was here.  Firstly, as we knew it was judgement day – the decision would be made on this visit as to whether we would be put forward for assessment and secondly because the social worker visiting us was the woman I had first spoken to on the telephone and felt was negative towards our application.  We had cleaned the house from top to toe the day before and had escaped from school on the bell as to be on time for our ‘home visit’ at 4pm.  The lady arrived promptly at 4pm and although her face was a pleasant one her general demeanour and lack of smile was as we had both imagined it to be.  However, we were prepared – Maria had told us that this was standard behaviour and that we must stay positive and not sway from our resolve- this was part of the game to deter us from opting for the Overseas route!  The interview was brief and our house was not inspected our designated Social Worker walked from the hall to the back room only glancing at the kitchen.  We discussed our infertility and she probed queite persistently to assess whether we had fully come to terms with it and stated that it appeared we had but under physcological assessment they may discover otherwise.  Attachment disorder was heavily discussed.  She stated that an infant can suffer badly through separation form her mother even after a week and that it would be impossible for a child/adult to form proper relationships for life.  We did not say too much about this – just listened.  This too we felt could be the case with a child adopted domestically but we didn’t pursue this point at this stage – wanting so desperately to be able to jump through the first hoop successfully.  We were given the title of a book to read on this matter – which we subsequently purchased – ‘First Steps in Parentling the Child Who Hurts’ by Caroline Archer.  The next issue that was raised was that of the financial cost implication.  This was something that didn’t add up to us as in our research we had budgeted on £10,000 inclusive of Homestudy/Chinese fees/flights and accommodation to China.  She told us that it would be in the region of £18,000.  We were not given a break down and the lady seemed reticent to do so as she said things were changing in our county and all Over seas adoption assessments were being handed over to an agency called PACT (Parents and children together), who hadn’t set their fees at present.  We felt again we were being given this huge figure to discourage s from proceeding with our application.  We stood united as one and my husband stepped in within an instant stating that this would not be a problem – next hurdle please!  Our families were then brought into the equation and we were told that they too would have to be included in the assessment and would be interviewed.  This was no surprise as we were aware of this and were more than happy for any member of our respective families to be interviewed – bring it on!  Everyone is behind us!  Her final javelin was the hardest to accept – due to this new agency (PACT) being linked with the Council she was unable to give us a time when our assessment would take place.  She said we would be number 7 on the list in our county but it could take up to a year for us to be seen before our Homestudy report could start.  What can you do – we are in their hands.  Frustrated but realistic we asked to be added to the list and told her that we were used to waiting and so put us on list with the others…

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