Yesterday was our screening visit. The first visit to prospective adopters, to establish lots of things really. It checks whether they are who they say they are, whether their home is appropriate, whether they have considered all the aspects of adopting a child and are sure that they wish to proceed, and it covers many bases.
As we are already adopters we were less daunted by the prospect of this visit than we had been the first time around and felt ready for all it might throw at us, or so we thought.
I was looking at this through rose tinted specs I feel. Imagining already what life would be like with this other child and avoiding the uncomfortable feelings it stirred when I thought about what could go wrong.
The meeting started well, and I was confidently describing Little Bear's early experiences with us and how he is now. I was dwelling not on the issues he faces but rather on the support which he is receiving and we continue to access for him. I talked about his knowledge of adoption and his birth family and that is was the understanding on his birth siblings which led him on to thinking about a sibling who might live with us.
Then we his crunch time. The social worker put down her pad and pen and said "How do you think Little Bear will cope with such a big change in circumstances, when he has had such difficulty settling in school, and is so anxious away from you?" We tried to think of responses to that which were positive and realistic but sadly there were none. The genuine answer is "He wont cope." We were then advised to wait until after September when Little Bear has experienced some changes and there is a sort of proof of his ability to accept change. Time and time again she said "You are doing a good job with LB and I am sure you would be able to parent another adopted child just as well, but in my opinion this is not the right time for LB".
She is correct.
Although with all that in mind I am not sure that there will ever be a 'right time' for LB to share us full-time with another child. He just will not cope. It all comes down to doing the best for LB. He is 100% our responsibility and the most wonderful gift to us as a family. He makes our lives richer and gives them more meaning. There is no way that either of us would do anything to jeopardise LB or our relationship as a family unit. Although it seemed right at one point through my rose tinted specs, it would not be right for any of us, least of all LB. If I am honest I can't imagine another child here with us.
Little Bear has been and continues to be a joy to parent (despite his struggles with peer relationships). He is gentle and loving, demonstrative, so obviously grateful for time spent just being with him. He is clever and very very funny and he is ours.
A few months ago Little Bear had been talking about his two families and how he has two Mummies and two Daddies. After a long pause he turned to me and said "You're my best Mummy". That is all I want to be and all I will ever need.