This month is all about.. waiting

Excuse the French but I thought this was funny and exactly how I'm feeling right now!

We started our adoption journey in May with a voluntary agency and we are being assessed as part of the new "system" as mandated by the latest government reforms to ensure children stay in care for the shortest time possible.

The turnaround time in the early Stages was relatively quick. Not as quick as I would ever like obviously but I'm mental and have zero patience (probably because it's all used up by my work colleagues), but quick compared to others. We actually received confirmation that our Registration of Interest had been accepted the day after they received it! The letter must have been posted that day which was amazing. Took a little while to meet the SW initially which meant our 8 week deadline was not that far away and the weeks that followed were a blur of assessment essays. Unfortunately - the agency must have realised the tight deadline was even tighter for them and we got a revised deadline soon after.

We carried on anyway and got all of our docs in on time. Made sure the medicals were done and knowing what an age they can be to get back, we actually walked out of the surgery with them! Our references were fantastic of course and they were all very quick to get those back so no issues there. And as the deadline nears we find out there is just one thing missing...

Our DBS forms. Annoyingly, although the SW had them from the 2nd, they didn't make it to the DBS for several weeks but they still had them in June. When we hit their "90% of all applications are completed within 28 days" target, I gave them a call. We were going to be one of the 10% and this was the problem..

Stage 4(Records held by the Police search):In Progress

Both of our applications were stuck at the local police Stage and unfortunately, though the other Stages are completed by the DBS, Stage 4 is out of their hands which means.. it can take FOREVER.

They're allowed to send a reminder through to the police after 60 days. For adopters you can send them through after 28 days BUT.. only if you have a panel date.

After 7 calls between us (I can't call for my husband obviously unless he's with me.. which isn't likely between the hours of 8.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday!), we finally made them understand that with the new system we're not going to get a panel date until we're onto Stage 2. We can't move onto Stage 2 until Stage 1 is approved. Stage 1 can't be approved without the DBS forms.. you see the dilemma!?

It was sort of amusing initially.. but eventually as the days rolled into weeks is just became annoying. The police had our DBS forms as of yesterday for 50 days. I appreciate that there are criminals that need to be caught. I wonder if one of those criminals was once in care.. maybe never had the chance of a forever home.. and found themselves in the world without people to look out for them and point them in the right direction. I'm not generalising before anyone says it.. I'm just saying.

It's frustrating.. The new system involves 2 Stages. Stage 1 - check the people you know, the places you've been, you're health, your history, your presence in the world.. Stage 2 - check deeper into who you really are and what kind of parents we'll be. Simple.. the government reforms to speed things up are fantastic if they actually do make a difference to the child at the end of the day and it doesn't just mean something has been rushed and not thought through. BUT what's the point in having deadlines if they're actually just targets. What's the point in a deadline (ours was the 31st July by the way..) for the agencies and LA's, if the people they rely on don't. There is an 8 week deadline for Stage 1, but the police can't even be chased for 60 days for the DBS forms needed to complete Stage 1. I was rubbish at maths, but even I know that won't add up!

I get why they need to do all of the checks, I've no issue with that. On our prep day they actually took us through the process they go through when removing a child from their birth families and it made total sense that they would be checking any potential new things for the same things they assess the existing ones on. And I wouldn't mind if the deadlines were realistic.. it's the expectation setting that's nonsense because the deadlines are far from realistic. The crazy thing was.. the LAs have the same deadlines and yet before the DBS took the lead in taking the longest to come back, it was an LA holding us up!

Crazy.. Anyway, we had confirmation today that both of our applications are being chased. I think they're just fed up of hearing from us.. but hopefully they won't be much longer. Hubby keeps saying that the longer it takes the more time we have to save.. damn him and his optimism. Doesn't help though :)

Our Stage 1 SW only works part time, so we'll still have a bit of a wait when they eventually arrive I imagine but that should be the last step in Stage 1 so fingers crossed...

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