When you Adopt / Foster to adopt a ‘Bridging’ week is required. This is when you rock up to the foster parents house with your social worker and meet the child’s social worker. You kinda start living together as a family. You arrive before the children wake and leave when they go to sleep.
Initially you will spend time with your child in the foster carer’s home getting to know the child in an environment that is comfortable for them. You will have the opportunity to learn from the current routines that the child is familiar with. As you begin to build your relationship you may take the child out, perhaps to a local park.
These meetings will be built up over a week or two and at a pace that is right for the child and you. You will be involved in the child’s mealtimes and bedtimes as you gradually begin to take over some of the child’s care.
The child will visit your home, together with their foster carer or social worker, and soon you and the child will feel confident of enjoying time together alone.
When we arrived at Pickles foster parents house our hearts were literally in our arses. We sat in the car parked a little down the road from the house. We looked at each other and I said something silly like ‘there’s time to turn around and go home’, then Sally tapped on my window; it was too late to change our mind haha!
She asked us how we were feeling and asked how the preparation to the house had been going. We still had a lot to get done but planned to do it in the evenings during bridging week. We proceeded to the door of the foster parents. Christ just typing this is giving me all the feels from that day!
Sally knocked on the door and Sarah opened the door, big smiles and just as friendly as the first time we met her. She welcomed us into her home and we made our way into a candle-lit hallway. She told us Pickle was just in the kitchen as he’s just had his breakfast.
She opened the door slowly and made her way over to the highchair in the kitchen. Then we saw him, well, we saw a tuft of hair sticking up above the back of the highchair. This was it. We were about to meet him face to face and we both started welling up.
I looked at Sally and she already had tears rolling down her face. We made our way to the front of the highchair and there he was. There was our beautiful little boy.
Brown Eyed boy
His big brown eyes and cheeky smile grabbed us right away. Sarah asked us if we wanted to hold him and I instantly bottled out and said Mark would have him first. We sat down in the lounge and she brought him over.
He was so frikken small and cute! Mark held him first and it was such a beaut sight! Seeing my future husband with our baby boy was so surreal. As I wigged out I didn’t hold him for quite a while, I suppose I was scared that he would cry or something… He didn’t. He was such a chilled out little chap.
Sarah really welcomed us into her home, which was ideal as we would be spending a lot of time there over the next week. She made us a brew as we held Pickle for the very first time. We had our first family picture taken that morning by Sally and it was absolutely perfect.
That day we took in his routine, Sarah told us all his likes and dislikes. Taught us how to feed him is milk as we had no clue. She even taught us how to change a nappy. I can’t convey how grateful we were to Sarah that day. She gave us a crash course into parenting and not once did we feel like she was judging us. She genuinely seemed happy that we were chosen for Pickle and this felt nice as she knew our son best!
As the day progressed we learnt so much about Pickle and what we needed for him. Suddenly we felt so unprepared. It was then time for us to have our first bridging meeting. This meant that we had to say goodbye to Pickle, just for the meeting, and I remember it being so hard to leave, already at that initial stage.
Are we sure?
We arrived at the meeting with a buzz, we couldn’t believe we had just met our son. The meeting room attendees consisted of Mark and I, Sally (our social worker), Pickles social worker and Mike (Pickles foster parent, Sarahs husband) and a meeting chairperson. At the meeting we discussed the bridging plan and if we were comfortable with it.
It all seemed very rushed but we just agreed to get the meeting done so we could get back to Pickle. Towards the end of the discussions the chairperson asked us one final, very dramatic question. Are you certain you want to continue with bridging week which will result in you taking Pickle home?
I don’t think I need to tell you my answer! As soon as the meeting was concluded we made our way back to Sarah and Mikes house. Ready for Pickles dinner time and bedtime routine.
Sarah let us feed him and then went through his bedtime routine step by step, showing us how she baths him at night and gets him ready… We didn’t even know how to put a baby grow on him, WE WERE THAT CLUELESS HAH!
And in a blink of an eye we were putting our son to bed. We said our goodbye to Sarah and Mike and told them we looked forward to spending the day with them tomorrow. We got into our car and looked at each other and both said a work in unison with each other. WOW.
So that’s it! The day we met our beautiful little boy.