On our first day at prep group we were quite nervous, but also looking forward to finding out so much more about the adoption process. We knew that it was going to be a long process, but we were committed and confident that we were doing the right thing.

There were twelve other couples in the group, and it was amazing how many of us had been on such a similar journey.

The prep group was intense but very informative. We had five days of this spread out over two weeks, and actually found ourselves looking forward to each day.

We really enjoyed our time at prep group, listening to the good side as well as the bad. Hearing personal stories as well as harrowing accounts of child neglect gave us a real perspective of the challenges that lay ahead, as well as hope that we would one day be a complete family.

We needed, as a couple, to come to terms with the facts that we were about to change our lives forever

We found ourselves staying around at lunchtime to speak to the social workers or anyone who had been through the adoption process. These people were really helpful with our thirst for facts and knowledge and we felt no shame in our ‘interrogation’ technique! Everyone was so kind though, and quite happy to share their stories and advices.

After completing the course we were ready to start the next phase of our journey, with Pearl, our marvellous social worker.

This would involve regular visits from her over several months.

In hindsight, those months that Pearl spent visiting us and asking hundreds of questions were extremely valuable to us. At the time we were just eager to find children to adopt, but we were not ready.

Pearl, needed to get to know us as a couple and make sure that we were the right sort of people to adopt. We needed, as a couple, to come to terms with the facts that we were about to change our lives forever. We needed this time, to make sure that we ourselves were strong enough to cope with what was ahead for us.

Yes, it was thorough - looking into our personal lives, our friends and our finances – but we focused on the end goal, and therefore opened ourselves up to the process. You need to be true to yourselves and open and honest.

Once we had completed the assessment with Pearl we received the invitation in writing – the day of the Panel!

Patrick & Janet's Story Part III - Approval and Family Finding