So today came round fast. I have spent the best part of the last 2 weeks clearing out our house, clearing the garden and getting the box room decorated (Ava’s room was decorated at the same time too). Preparations for the first visit were kind of tedious because I hate cleaning and tidying. With 3 young children it’s a thankless task and I made my peace with mess years ago. This is the cleanest and tidiest my house has been in the 8 years we have lived here! It wont last, it never does. I was honest with the social workers too and told them that while I wanted to make a good FIRST impression, the house wont ever look like this again!
Before they arrived I also began fretting about what I looked like and swung between wanting to blowdry my hair and wear my fringe to thinking I want them to see “weekday Helen”, which basically means I look like the crypt keeper; make-up-less and with my fringe pinned back in an unflattering way.
At the last minute I changed my mind and put a bit of makeup on, not much, just a little to make me look, well, erm, more confident? Who knows. I did keep it minimal though because if they show up on a day when I am not wearing make-up I don’t want them to get a fright and think I am not coping or am having some sort of psychotic episode.
Yes, the difference between my face with make-up and without is stark. Without make-up I look ill and sleep deprived and OLD, but I feel I owe it to my daughters to be confident (one day) with their make-up-less faces by seeing that I am confident with my naturalness (is that even a word?!).
Actually, in the interest of honesty, I just can’t be arsed with the faff and the effort it takes to try and transform myself every morning. Sorry Wallingford.
I didn’t sleep much last night or the night before. I don’t know why, the unknown I suppose. No one could tell me what the visit would be like!
I managed to pass the first few hours of the day with minimal stress. Seren got me up at 5.30am, so by the time 7am came round and we had all got up, had breakfast and got dressed, I felt like half the morning had gone. I scooted the girls over to the dentist for their regular 6 monthly check and while their teeth look fab and clean and healthy, they are all overcrowded. I get the feeling we are going to be a house of braces in a few years time! The dentist was very lovely, and having transferred from another dentist (at the same practice) to this one, today was the first time he had met the girls. He put them all at ease. Seren went last and he chatted to her and asked her questions directly. When she couldn’t answer or he couldn’t understand her efforts to speak, I helped, but he continued to direct questions at her rather than to me which is lovely. Seren loves people talking to her, even if she does go a little shy sometimes and I have to help out (a lot) with the conversation!
Anyway. 3.45pm loomed. I was pacing.
Bang on 3.45pm, the doorbell went. A male and female social worker greeted us, in casual clothing, with smiles and warm greetings. The next 1 hour and 45 minutes was spent chatting, going over stuff, talking about the various types of foster care, us being quizzed by them, them being quizzed by us… Surprisingly we also had a few good laughs! We were brutally honest, they liked that. Red decided to join in the conversation and sat on a dining chair (as she does!) and I guess they were amused by that too. All in all, it went well. We have filled in the forms and await our training days. There will be 4 evenings that both Matt and I have to attend, either separately or together, whatever our schedules allow.
We will be officially assigned a social worker (perhaps one that came today, or potentially another one) and then we will be visited 6-8 times in the coming 4-6 months.
We have to disclose our financial status, outline our family tree / background. We have to document our parents parenting style and our own. We will be observed as parents, the children will be observed and questioned (where possible) . We need medicals. The girls schools will be approached. Teachers, head teachers, the lot. Matt needs to provide employer references…
We need to find 6 personal references too (friends, be warned!) two of whom will be visited by the social workers, and Matt and I wont ever find out which two unless those referees want to tell us!
We have been told in no uncertain terms that our lives will be scrutinised to the core. So far so good and we say BRING IT ON!