If I’m honest, Day Three was a bit of an anti-climax. I think it was partly to do with the fact that Day Two had been so good, and partly because the structure of the day was looser. And it was also because the group had, bizarrely, got slightly fractious.
There was lots of valuable stuff, don’t get me wrong. My highlight was hearing from another adopter. She was slightly older, had suffered a lot with failed IVF cycles and had a husband who was slightly reluctant to engage with social services. So, if nothing else, I felt that if they could do it – surely we could? If it was issues top trumps, I reckon the gay thing would be small fry. She was really nice anyway and had fairly recently had a toddler placed with her. She went against everything the social workers had been trying to drill into us by saying that her preparation group had “all got babies” and that no-one she knew did direct contact with birth parents. She was clearly loving the whole experience and you couldn’t help but be so happy for her. Something to aspire to.
We then spent quite a bit of time going over attachment. Again. They really are rather keen on it. And then a few people in the group seemed to take issue with some fairly innocuous but certainly social-workey comments. They were like dogs with bones – they just would not let it drop. The whole atmosphere was kind of argumentative and confrontational. My partner and I exchanged a couple of raised eyebrows but other than that the only thing to do was sit there until they had worked it all through. Weird.
This was a day for note-taking. As our Preparation Group drew to a close with me not feeling anywhere near prepared, I started to scribble down a million book recommendations that I won’t possibly have time to read. After a round-up and a few motivational speeches, we were out on our ear. And then came the awkwardness of swapping numbers. If you think about it, the prep group is kind of like your ante-natal class. These people could be a valuable support in the coming months and even, years. So we tentatively started to approach people we’d got on well with before one very organised attendee took it upon herself to get everyone’s details and email around a spread sheet. A true mum-in-the-making. There’s always one – and they’re always indispensable.
So that’s it. We’re ‘prepared’. Well, actually, we’re not. But we’ve got the compulsory training under our belt. And, as our social worker’s more frequent calls keep reminding us, the panel is creeping ever closer.