The Initial Visit had almost become the stuff of legend by the time it arrived on our doorstep. I’d spent weeks fixating on decorating the house, as if a high-gloss skirting board was all that stood in the way of us and a child of our own. So I primed and painted. We cleaned and we cleaned. And finally, the Social Worker knocked on our door.
She was late, so by the time we ushered her into the living room, we were both tightly wound balls of nervous energy. Time for the first faux pas of the day. I’d baked cookies, to be nonchalantly offered with an air of, “Oh yes, I bake!” Instead of bringing them in and placing them ceremoniously on the coffee table, Sarah asked the Social Worker: “Would you like anything to eat?” Of course, she didn’t. So my cookies remained cling-wrapped in the cupboard. Gutting.
Getting down to business, the Social Worker wanted to know everything about us – condensed down into a two-hour nutshell. Our upbringing, our families, our highs, our lows, our finances, our motivation – it went on. I’m not a big sharer, so the whole experience was pretty uncomfortable for me. But eventually, I grew resigned to the chat-show format and accustomed to my share of the spotlight. The Social Worker was nice, seemed reasonable and the visit went ok.
I did feel like we were being pressed for a sob story. Of course, they are looking for the clanger that would rule us out as adoptive parents. So we talked about coming out, bullying – really scraping the barrel of despair for suitable nuggets. At the end of the day, reassuringly, there’s really nothing prohibitive about us. We’re fairly boring, it turns out. Positively mundane.
Between you and me, I think there was a bit of snooping going on during toilet trips. Fair play. I was only disappointed she didn’t ask for a tour since I’d spent so long preparing the house for the occasion. In the end, she decreed that we’d be good candidates for prospective adopters. The next step was to put in an application – but not before we’d both lined up volunteering at a nursery. That was another stress to be honest, as I couldn’t see how we were going to fit in volunteering (for a year!) with full-time jobs. But everything we’ve been through so far has proven that, when there’s a will, there’s a way.
She left us relieved and happy. It was a good result. But as we talked about what to do next, we stress-ate the cookies into oblivion.