With, er, lemon curd?
Anyway, we went over to the latest adoption agency today as I said and had what was a pretty productive, but lengthy and tiring, chat. It was almost all focussed on the adoption process and our story to date, and very little on what we do and enjoy and are like, but that will no doubt come later.
The social worker we spoke to seemed relatively knowledgeable about both inter-country adoption in general (as she should be, but this part is going to be very helpful as the arcane windings of the DCSF are no doubt going to become part of our own personal family swear-words) and US domestic adoption ("please don't say in your profile you are hoping to 'complete your family circle' as I will have to strangle you". "No, that's OK, and we also promise not to say 'we think God has brought you into our lives'".). There were a couple of things that might be slightly concerning - because the law is different in the two countries about things like TPR, we'll have to tread carefully on our opinion of the two, and also since we won't be doing a Hague adoption, but everyone here has Hague firmly planted in their heads, we may have to keep reminding them, for example, that we are allowed to be pleased about birth parents, rather than agencies, choosing us - this is a Hague no-no.
Anyway, they don't do the CRB check now because, as I hoped, they sensibly do it later in parallel with other things; we may (fingers and toes very firmly crossed!) not have to do all of the preparation course, having done our fostering course; and even if we do have to do it, then dates in July are perfectly possible given the time frame (there's also an August one that would clash with a trip we're planning).
So, we are supposed to go away and "think", and I know we've been "thinking" for about 3 years, but I suspect we're not supposed to ring back this afternoon, perhaps next week will be soon enough, and while we're doing that, and she did say it would be today, she'll ring DCSF and say "this is an unusual case, is it OK with you", which is not a question you want after you've shelled out for a home study. But she was very impressed with the name of our UK lawyer, and said if we need people at DCSF to quake in their boots, it's the right name (many thanks, 3rdculturemum - old blog link, I'm afraid).
And yes, we will need criminal records checks from the US (easy to do as per instructions from US Embassy website) and from the two African countries where I've lived for longer periods of time (er... will they accept dodgy PI website court report summaries, do you think? There are lots of those about!), and our referees will need re-poking, and convincing that indeed, this time, we are serious, yes, honest. As she said, it makes you feel like you are doing something. Here begins death by paperwork.
So, we came home on the train, it is raining VERY hard, and I had to go and run a couple of errands, though I was supposed to be getting on with some hard writing this afternoon - but I feel like someone hit me with a big stick. So I bought a bun and had a cup of tea. But I've never had a Bath bun that had lemon curd in it. Strange.