Caroline and Gardner

We arrived for Day 1 of the 4 Day Prep Sessions, we were both a bit nervous and unsure of what to expect but the staff made us feel very welcome. As everyone arrived we noticed we all had the same nervous look on our faces but we quickly began to chat to one another.

Colin and Alex introduced themselves as our tutors for the first session and encouraged everyone to participate during the sessions; they explained everything thoroughly and worked well together.  We began the day with an ice breaker getting to know one another which helped us all relax. We then moved on to discuss Child Development and what is important to a child at each stage in their life. The key area is the attachment process between the child and their carer within the first 18 months. We watched a heart breaking DVD about a Russian Orphanage which highlighted the lack of contact with at least one main carer in the first 18 months which causes the children to stop needing physical contact and become separated.

We reviewed real children’s scenarios and discussed the problems they faced, which is not easy to read and you realised just how lucky we have been with our families.  Discussing the Gains and Losses of Adopting children and then comparing them to birth children was really enlightening to know that there aren’t many differences.

We finished the first day on a high, watching a DVD on adopted children describing what adoption means to them and how happy they are with their new mums and dads. This helps to reassure potential adopters that the children can be happy and look on their adopters as their mum and dad, not their birth parents.

Returning for Day 2 everyone was more relaxed and had already started to bond as a group. We had Alex and Judy for the second session; all staff were very knowledgeable and approachable and made the sessions fun and as interactive as possible.

We spoke about our family life as a child, how it looks now and how important our names are as part of our identity.  It was interesting to know when we did the children’s behaviours activity that there’s not much difference between birth children and adopted children’s behaviour which sometimes happen at different ages depending on their experiences.

Before this session most people would not have even contemplated their adopted child having any contact with the birth parents or birth family but after the session we all fully understood how important this process is to ensuring our children have a very happy life going forward, have no gaps in their family history and understand they had done nothing wrong.

The second session came to a close by watching a DVD which opened our eyes to all sides of the children’s life story. The DVD was very emotional, we heard from the children, the birth mother and the adopters of some of the children.   The DVD really touched me when I heard the birth mothers story and now appreciate that she didn’t have a good start in life and understands her girls are now in a safer place and their adoptive parents who can give them much more.

The prep session has been very beneficial opportunity to ask all your questions and confirms everything you need to know and be prepared for.  I would definitely recommend the prep sessions to others as we have learnt lots from the first two days and looking forward to the next two days.