Finally we began to feel that the end was in sight and we could relax and begin to prepare our girls for the next step of placement. Introductions (the period of time when you are introduced to the child in their foster family’s home and you begin the process of slowly transitioning their care from their foster family to their new adoptive family) had been pencilled in for the week after the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) decision and there was a rough outline of how Introductions would look.
And then, ten days after Panel agreed to the match, the ADM DEFERRED the decision. She wanted more information on a number of areas. She would make a decision two weeks later.
All provisional plans for intros were cancelled. Mr Six cancelled the start of his Adoption Leave. And we waited.
The date two weeks later came and went. And we heard nothing.
Our Social Worker (SW) contacted Rainbow Girl’s SW the following morning to be told that the ADM had requested more information from her and we should have an answer from the ADM by the end of the week. We later found out that the ADM was so horrified at how out of date Rainbow Girl’s Child Permanence Report was, that she was refusing to approve the match until she was happy that she (and we) had seen an up to date version of the report.
Our SW went on planned annual leave that afternoon, having expected everything to be progressing following a yes from the ADM. We then took a call from Rainbow Girl’s SW with a raft of issues that the ADM had raised with her, most of which should have been resolved before our case had even been taken to Matching Panel. This was three and a half weeks after Matching Panel.
In desperation, I rang our SW’s Manager and cried down the phone with her, explaining the phone conversation I had just had with Rainbow Girl’s SW. I gave her all the information I had, along with answers to all of the ADM’s additional questions. And so she sprang into action. By the end of that afternoon, our SW’s Manager had not only resolved the issues, she had spoken directly to the ADM and answered all of her questions. She had also gained a verbal
from the ADM and confirmation that we would have an official signing off on the match the following Monday.
It ‘only’ took four and a half weeks after Matching Panel, but by the end of June 2015 we were all systems go!
WE WERE FINALLY MATCHED!
Because of the delays and deferrals, Introductions were set to start one week later. The relief was unreal! It wasn’t the ideal preparation period for us or our girls. The wait had taken its toll and they were anxious, as were we. We felt very strongly that we had been played by the placing Local Authority (LA) and were nervous about what other untruths we had been told over the previous six months since our first contact with them.
But for now, we had to find a way to put that to one side, in order to concentrate on preparing to meet our Rainbow Girl.