Last week -phone call to a friend of a friend who lives in the next (vast, rural) county north of us, who has a little boy, aged four, been with them a year, adopted through their Local Authority. As only two women who have never met but have an important subject in common can, we talked for an hour and still had a lot to say. Their adoption procedure sounded boring and long-winded (it might be slightly better with non-LA agency because of how most of the voluntary agencies structure theirs) but ultimately well-run and they are very happy with their little boy. They both work in health/social care fields and had been through fertility treatments and said "no more". Their little boy sounds intelligent, sensitive, and advanced ("Mummy, do octopuses have teeth? How do they clean them under the ocean?"). I asked if they felt the social workers had matched them well to him and they said they felt it had been taken into account that they would be the kind of family to suit a bright and articulate child.
Yesterday - after a bit of trouble arranging it (her husband thinks everyone on the Internet is weird - well, can you blame him) - phone call to a nice woman who posts on two internet fora I frequent (one full of babydust I'm afraid, but very UK-oriented, one full of scary people with children with severe mental health problems, but also helpful in a practical sense). She lives about the same distance from us but slightly nearer Big City. Again, as only two women ..... we talked for an hour and still had a lot to say. They had been through a voluntary agency quite some time ago and their older child was placed with them, and then they had done concurrent placement and had a baby placed with them. Although far more children placed though concurrent placement stay with their adoptive parents, I get the impression from a few different people that social workers minimise this risk, and in their case the child was returned to the birth parents. Another poster on one of these boards whose child stayed with them, I think, said they felt torn between wanting the birth parents to set themselves straight, and wanting them not to, so the baby could stay with them. I'm also not sure whether concurrent placements that result in the child returning to their birth parents will include ongoing involvement in the child's life - most regular foster carers can do this, unless there's something specifically to prevent it. They then adopted their little girl through a LA they don't live in, but who was also quite young (about 12 or 18 months I think). Both children again sound delightful, allowing for the fact that the boy is a teenager! I also asked if the social workers had matched them well to their children, in her opinion - yes, they are always being told the kids look like them.
I am not quite sure if a) the two women understood my question about matching rather differently or b) they have very different priorities in matching and the social workers took this into account or c) they have very different priorities in matching and by chance the social workers got it right. I do know that of all the children I have seen on social work websites/magazines the pair that has stood out most for me was a pair of African descent who were noted to be advanced for their age. I'm pretty sure Mr Spouse would not be up for this particular pair but I guess what this tells me is I don't mind if people don't tell me the children look like us... I know they think about this when allocating donor sperm or eggs, but at this point I suppose what I'm trying to say is it would be a luxury, rather than a necessity.
So I've now got Wednesday afternoon down as my afternoon to ring the first agency - the one that does concurrent placement. Despite the lengthy contact sessions and the risk of the child going back to birth parents, I feel this is a good way to go. I don't think the risk of placement breakdown is any greater than with a regular adoption - although it might be differently upsetting to have a child returned to their birth parents rather than leave because we could no longer handle them or they put other children at risk. It remains to be seen whether our geographical distance from the contact centre can be put aside since our travelling time is no longer than many other much closer families (it's only 10 minutes longer than the woman I spoke to, for example).
Voicemails - mainly to the miscarriage nurse, again, I'm afraid. I finally got the information sheet from the clinical trial but I still want to find out about what happens if my prolactin levels are still too high, can we be tested for the balanced translocation (very rare I know, and probably only in my mind because of Julia, but also I have these niggling doubts about the very high number of only children in Mr Spouse's family), and my acupuncturist keeps on at me to find out if the progesterone cream is OK to use. She thinks not (it could stop the progesterone receptors working, she thinks, and I never specifically asked the nurse, and feel that (though it would be much easier) I cannot lie to my acupuncturist...
[Edited because I had put up some information I shouldn't have]