After this first proper assessment I was feeling really happy but understandably still very aware of what could lie ahead. It must have been fate then that on my next two following trips I met two people who had been through/were going through the adoption process and both had very different outlooks. My next trip was a 9day Singapore/Sydney, I had been dreading this a little, purely as someone with obviously one brain cell had rostered me as the ONLY girl on the crew with 13 men. Plus 3 flight deck who were also male. Great. So shopping and dinner for one on the agenda as let me tell you now an all male crew on a 9 day trip will only have two things on their mind. Getting leathered and getting even more leathered. As it turned out, it was a really good trip, I quickly became one of the lads so to speak but at the end of the 9 days I was crawling the walls for conversation that didn’t include the size of womens breasts, Alex Ferguson and various sexual positions with actions to match just incase I didn’t quite get it. Anyway halfway through the trip I got chatting to the incharge crew member, a really nice bloke, no names but we will call him B. Again as I have previously explained..usual questions, married, kids etc. So this time I mentioned that we were going through adoption and had just had our first assessment.
“Been there Jo, got the t shirt. its pretty intrusive isn’t it” remarked B.
My face lit up with realising we had something in common. “So you have adopted then??”
He nodded. I was busy pouring juices for the passengers. But stopped mid flow after hearing the next part.
“Yes we did. And to be honest Jo, it was the worst thing we have ever done.”
Now THAT I wasn’t really expecting. All my fluffy wispy dreams just evaporated there and then all over the galley top and right down my pinny.
So it unfolded. He admitted that he and his wife had been so desperate for a child/children that they had probably ignored a shed load of warning signs. He also said it was definitely a postcode lottery of where you lived and how good your local county council were. He felt a lot of stuff had been “hidden” from them. He also told me that if the child/children had been to a few foster homes (his had been to over 10) then steer clear. They had adopted a 3 yr old and 5 yr old. Now I would like to point out here before anyone jumps in and says that they adopted an child of that age or had been adopted at an older age that not all children are like that, but his two children has suffered extreme mental and emotional abuse from their birth mother and should have been removed a lot earlier, thus the problem had got worse. There was no happy ending. Now 16 years later he told me that he and his wife had reached the end of their tether and at that moment in time one of the children was on the run as the police had a warrant out for their arrest. He said their marriage had nearly broken up with the stress ans strain. It was a very sad story.
“I hope I haven’t put you off Jo” said B.
“To be honest I am glad I have met you and we have got talking about this” I replied. I still hadn’t poured out the drinks at this point. Poor passengers, Singapore to Sydney nice little 9 hour jaunt and there’s me still not poured them any juice as I am too busy listening to a potential lets not take this any further situation.
And I’ll be very honest. As much as it was a bit of “bring you back down to earth” revelation, well when I say bit it was bloody scary. I am glad he told me. I think I am pretty much a realist when it comes to certain situations and it was very easy to get carried away with all the nice bits about adoption. We swapped email addresses as he asked to keep him up to speed with the outcome. I did message him recently and he was thrilled with my news but they had definitely reached the end of their story as he and his wife were now completely estranged from both the children and had started a new life abroad. He stated that they could no longer carry on with the constant phonecalls or knocks on the door from the police.
My next trip was a nice little jaunt to Tel Aviv. Short flight and good food. Let me tell you now, THE best hummous you will ever taste is in Tel Aviv in a little run down beach bar and that’s where the next instalment takes place. I was working in ecomony, and we had a really nice little crew working down there. One lovely girl in particular I shall call her A. Now by now you know the script…I don’t have to tell you the usual crew questions do I? But this time I wasn’t met with yes, I have two lovely children and a holiday home in the Algarve, I was met with…..”And we are going through adoption at the moment….”
I nearly spat out my hideously weak airplane tea and threw my copy of OK in the air.
“Are u kidding??? So am I!!”. The OK has landed and nearly whacked me on the nose.
“Jo, I have just got goosebumps you saying that. I can’t believe it” said A. So then we hatched out plan, get to hotel, quick shower, dress and out for some food and a serious adoption gossip.
An hour after landing we were walking round the back streets of Tel Aviv talking nineteen to a dozen. It was brilliant to chat to someone who was also crew and would be able to relate to all things airline and adoption. A was ahead of us in the process, they had most of their assessments, with just one to go if my memory serves me well and then waiting for a date for panel.
We chatted our views on the whole political correctness of the system, and how parts of the course had been brilliant and really helpful there was also parts that we both thought were just textbook so to speak and you just couldn’t always carry through in the real world.
As we sat in the beach bar (It’s the Banana bar folks if you ever end up in Tel Aviv, cheap as chips and totally yummy food) eating our lamb kebabs, hummous and pitta, we exchanged mobile numbers and made a note to request as facebook friends. 18 months on we both still keep in touch and will be meeting up (when we both get our arses into gear) and both ended up with our little families. Funnily enough I had been swapped onto that trip to keep me on another..looking back I had obviously been meant to do it. Life’s funny like that.