Our assessments with Cool SW were over. We then had a visit from the manager just to go through everything and make sure we were happy with everything that had been discussed. She was very nice, but she didnt give too much away even though I had tried to weasel bits of information out of her. She explained that next step was a date for panel. This came through pretty quickly..and approximately 3 to 4 weeks later we found ourselves in the reception of social services waiting to go in front of a panel to hear our fate…… well this isn’t strictly true…to be refused at panel some random madman would have to run into the room and shout “Stop! Don’t go any further you can’t let these two freaks have a child, they are both serial killers!!” or something on those lines, ie something hideous would have had to have come out of the woodwork at the last minute to change their decision. (Though at this point I am still slightly worried about the incident with the car radio and the chill dog in the cinema back in 1992, but like I said previously I was young and feisty and didnt know any better). But seriously its still very nerve wracking sat there waiting whilst 12 complete strangers are sat in another room contemplating your fate.
So there we are TT and I sat in this room. Waiting to be called in lke a pair of naughty school kids. Everytime we heard a noise outside the pair of us would sit up straight and our eyes would zoom towards the door..this happened probably about 53 times on average in the space of 10 minutes whilst waiting.
And then. “Mr and Mrs Burke?”
We both looked up and a very pleasant gentleman in a suit came in and introduced himself. I cannot for the life of me to this day rememember his name, and then led us into the room next door. We took our seats at the end of the table and I quickly scanned the room. The gentleman who was chairing the panel asked everyone to introduce themselves. It was a real mixed bag. A couple of social workers, a medical expert, two ladies who themselves had been been adopted, two ladies who were adopters, a lady from the post adoption team, it was all a bit of a blur.
And the questions began. What can you offer a child? How would I manage to look after a child if I was away on trips? And the best question was for TT.
A lady leaned forward (I think it was a lady adopter) and said specifically to TT:
“What if you get a difficult child?”. TT came back as quick as lightening with “And what if he gets a difficult dad?”. This was met with laughter and lots of head nodding and note making. Touche TT!
“Well Mrs and Mrs Burke, we are now going to have a little discussion with your social worker, so if you could kindly leave the room and I will be in to see you very soon with our decision.”
We walked out, walked back into the room and sat there like a pair of lemons.
I leant back on the chair and said to TT, “Do you remember Crown Court? That TV programme back in the seventies that was on at lunchtime? It reminds me of that being a criminal waiting” This was a completely useless comment of mine and was met with “I’m not as old as you remember” and a withering look.
“Mr and Mrs Burke?”
It was the chairman of the panel. We both shot up from our chairs.
“Congratulations. It was a unanimous decision. You are going to be a mummy and a daddy”.