As we stood up nervously to meet the foster parents they approached with big smile. We introduced ourselves, as did they, and right away they seemed lovely.
The lady (we will call her Sarah), gave us hugs and we gave her the flowers we had bought on the way. We gave Mike (her husband), a handshake.
We got chatting right away as the social worker was running late. We asked a few questions about Pickle, just general questions – none that we would get in trouble asking without the social worker around to take notes. From the get-go Pickles foster parents were warm and friendly. As we were getting carried away with our conversation the social worker finally arrived.
We were then moved into a little room with sofas, Mark and I on one, Sarah and Mike on one opposite and the social worker on one further over. I’d warned them that I’ve compiled a spreadsheet of questions. However, when I whipped my laptop out it gave the meeting a very formal atmosphere; so I ended up ditching the list and let the conversation flow naturally. Which looking back I would definitely recommend taking a laid back approach, as the last thing a foster parent wants is a long list of questions.
It was clear that they loved Pickle, again we felt pricks of guilt throughout the meeting as we genuinely felt bad for taking Pickle from them; as they spoke so highly of him. During the meeting Sarah and Mike spoke about Pickles routine, what food he likes, how well he sleeps and little facts that helped paint a better picture of our future son.
The Bridging Plan
We then arrived at talking about the bridging plan, we were told by Sally that we would be starting bridging within 2 weeks. When we brought this up Sarah and Mike faces dropped. They were told they were going to have longer with Pickle. Obviously the communication at the local authority was absolutely shit. We had the adoption team telling us it was full steam ahead, then the foster team telling them a completely different story.
This clearly upset the foster parents, which is understandable. The social worker was scrambling for words to say, but in reality, she didn’t really know what was going on. Which is something we thought the whole meeting. She arrived late and there was no structure to the meeting. When the bridging topic came up and we had different commencement dates Mark and I quietened down as we didn’t really know what to say.
The issue for us now was, not only did we feel bad for taking Pickle from them, but also that we were taking him from them sooner than they expected. The social worker then suggested we pencilled in a new date for bridging to start, and we were more than happy to oblige! This gave us extra time to get stuff ready at home as there was still so much we had to purchase for him and the extra breathing space was appreciated. Furthermore, it was half term and Sarah and Mikes children were at home, so bridging would have been a lot easier when they returned to school. Plus, it was really late notice for them to make arrangements for bridging when they had their hands full.
The awkward chat moved on back to Pickle and his home life, they were telling us how he’s been doing in their care and their eyes really lit up when speaking about him. You could tell they were attached to him and that they were brilliant parents. Sarah suggested we exchange numbers so she could send us pictures of Pickle. She quickly flicked through her phone to show us some, she had hundreds of pictures of him.
The social worker called an end to the meeting, she summed up what we had discussed about bridging as we all agreed on a later date. We said our goodbyes and that was the end of the foster parent meeting.
When we got back to the car Mark and I were elated, excited and couldn’t wait to meet the little chap! Sarah and Mike painted such a lovely picture of his personality and we could really see him fitting into our lives perfectly. We discussed how silly we had been to work ourselves up pre-meeting, we were worried about all sorts; will the foster parents like us? Will they be expecting a straight couple? What if they were homophobes! Luckily they were perfect!
Shortly after we arrived home we received pictures from Sarah. We decided that night that unlike most adoptive parents we wanted Pickles foster parents to remain in his life. We agreed that we would stay in touch with them and welcome them into our future with Pickle.
Sally called later on in the afternoon to check up on how it went, we informed her that we had all decided to push bridging back a little. She was not really on board with the idea as she wanted us to have Pickle as soon as possible, which we understood; ignoring that we were still on board for the extra time to get things in place as we felt the process was being rushed.
One Last Time
That weekend we went to V Festival, one last hurrah before we became adoptive parents. The whole weekend we kept saying things like ‘This will be the last music festival for a while’ ‘imagine taking him to Glasto when he’s older’ ‘Can’t believe we are going to be parents in a month or so’. It was so surreal but a nice break away from work and the adoption process, we drank plenty and saw plenty of live performances. V Fest was special to us as that’s where I proposed to Mark years before so it was fitting that this would potentially be the last thing we did as a couple.
The Tuesday after I was working away (skiving in the office) and I saw Sally’s name pop up on the phone. I answered to a very excited Sally “Bridging is going ahead as planned! I’ve spoken to the foster team and they don’t see any reason to hold it”. She hung up shortly after running through a few things, I immediately messaged Sarah to see if she had been informed of the proceedings. She hadn’t, she was oblivious. I called Sally back to explain that I was concerned that the foster parents had not been updated and she assured me they would be that day and to not say anything to them in regards to the bridging date.
What’s Going On?!?
It’s now Friday, I’m working away having not heard from Sally; so I presumed that bridging had in fact been pushed back. Until I see her name pop up on my phone again; “Hi Kaden, Hope you are well…yada yada… Check your email, I’ve sent you your bridging certificate; you better tell work you are leaving on Sunday as you are starting bridging on TUESDAY!”
Dun dun duuuuuun.