We finally met with our Home Study Report Assessor (a VWO social worker assigned to assess our suitability to adopt). It was a long wait. We submitted our application to adopt in Aug/Sep 2014 and our 1st interview with her was in March 2015.
If I recall correctly, our first adoption took almost 2 years for everything to be completed (most of the waiting was due to ICA). It’s going to be another long journey.
Our first VWO assessor was an experienced social worker with 2 young kids of her own. Her assessment was thorough but very assuring. She was also willing to meet us in the evenings or weekends. The other social worker from the government who assessed us at a later stage had children of our age. She had staunch views about parenting but was also very accepting of varied kinds of upbringing and assured us of the range of adoptive parents she has approved of. From young to old; from poor to rich; from childless to those with many kids.
Our 2nd assessor this time round is a very young lady who does not appear to have her own kids; she also appears relatively new on the job. Our conversations with her was peppered with a wee bit too much of her personal opinions about parenting; and a little too much sharing about her other adoption clients (this process was supposed to be confidential). What irked me was how theoretical / research-based her sharings were.
Firstly, as a social worker, counsellor, assessor or the likes, their job is to listen, observe and help the client process and produce their own solution. She was talking and advising too much.
What irked me the most was her opinion that I needed 3 months to bond with my 2nd child… cos research says so. I shared with her about my 1-month transition plan for my 2nd child, she readily kept urging me to consider taking longer leave because adopted children experienced separate before and needed more time and assurance to bond with another.
I said whether adopted or not, all children go through emotional needs and pains. They will eventually adjust and adapt. Moreover, I needed both my kids to jump into the long-term routine sooner than later so that it will be easier to cope for everyone and that both kids don’t really have to transit twice. Why use 3 months to get them settled in 1 routine and after that work it out all over again to settle them into the long-term routine? Then comes the research quote again about taking 3 months to bond which did not counter what I just said but she still repeated it anyway.
Then I highlighted that the government was only giving me 1 month of adoption leave. But she almost insisted that I had to take 3 months’ leave.
Then, apparently warning us, she said that she needs to see us have a plan for the transition of both kids in order for her to write a favourable report. In actual fact, I already had a plan but she didn’t agree with it and so saw it as no plan.
Boy was it irritating. But I breathed and remained calm and nice.
On the 2nd interview, she said that we needed a child-gate at the stairs and grilles on the windows. I replied that we might not get to install them because it was my parents’ house. Besides, 2 kids (mine and my brother’s) grew up in that house without any stairwell gate (actually, more than 13 kids – us and my cousins – did).
She replied that it was her recommendation and it will be written in her report.
While I totally can see that she was just informing and didn’t mean anything to sound threatening, it did. Together with her advise of the 3-month transition period, I wondered whether social work suited her. And yes, it was a little worrying that she was assessing us in a very textbook style.
Other adoptive parents in our support group shared that their 2nd time round was fast and easy. But I felt that it was similarly long and now a lot less assuring.
I know rookies have to start somewhere, but when the lives of other people are at stake, having a rookie involved is no fun. I hope she is just doing adoption and not handling suicidal cases.
Right now, can only hope and pray that our 2nd adoption will be smooth and quick.
Looking forward to loving Baby Z.