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Obligated to attend panel?

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We have panel coming up and just wondered if we have to attend? We are not the best communicators, especially under stressful circumstances. So feel that not attending would be best, as they can just judge us by the PAR rather than first impressions.

The SW has automatically assumed we are attending, but from some things we have read it suggests that we have the opportunity to attend which is voluntary and that choosing not to will not go against us.

Thanks


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Not quite sure what stage you are at - is this for approval or matching?


I've never heard of a prospective adopter not attending a panel meeting before - I'm sure panel members would prefer to see you to get a better picture of who you are and be able to ask you any questions that may crop up. Also you are likely to have to attend a number of meetings in the future for your child and this would show you can handle them.


I can see it maybe being an option for a matching panel if they met you when you were approved?


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If it's matching, you absolutely need to go. If it's approval, I would look at it as a rehearsal for matching, especially if you are nervous or unsure - because the experience isn't that different. You need to remember that they wouldn't put together such a big meeting without wanting you to succeed. They are on your side - but they do want to see you and they do want to communicate with you personally. I may be overstepping the mark, but I'm wondering if you are nervous about not being able to communicate, rather than actually not being good communicators. You would not have gotten this far without being able to communicate a good deal about yourselves, so there must be some skill there!


I get nervous speaking in front of people, and so I was terrified when it was us at approval panel. I held on to my husband's hand the entire time, I had rehearsed answers - and don't think I needed any of them! The questions were all based on things that were in our paperwork. I made a mistake in something I said, which made it sound like we would be a family of six, not four - I had an intake of breath moment and then we all laughed.


They will expect you to be nervous. They know the stakes are high, not just for you, but for your potential family. They want it to work and they will be empathetic towards you, honestly. All you can do is be honest and be yourself. 'Yourself' was good enough to for your SW and their supervisors to want to take to panel - they won't take you if you're likely to be turned down.


Chat to your SW about what they might ask and make some notes. Take them with you. At panel, be honest and say you've brought some notes, because you get a bit nervous and worry about not being able to communicate effectively. Refer to them if you need to. We're all human. Oh and take hankies, because when you are approved (I'm assuming this is what stage you're at) you will cry, with relief, happiness, a bit of fear for the next part! I did!


best of luck! Hx


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I have matching panel coming up and I have been told adopters don't need to attend. It's not mandatory for matching but rare not to attend. I'm not going (although I would like to) because it's a 10 hour round trip and not in the best interests of my children who can't be left for that long and would find the travelling too much to cope with.


However I don't think it would've been agreed to if it was any other reason then the best interests of the children.


If it's approval panel then it's very good experience for when you meet children's social workers and go to matching panel


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I think the paperwork you get about Panel probably gives the impression that your attendance is optional (which it is) but it wouldn't look good if you didn't attend, plus, what if there was a question your SW couldn't answer for you and it was all delayed unnecessarily? As others have said, treat it as getting good practice in for Matching Panel. Everyone is nervous at Panel; it's just one of those things you have to go through but just be yourselves and try to be like you are with your SW during home assessment. Panel members know and expect you to be nervous and both your SW and the Panel Chair (who will come out to introduce themselves and explain a little bit about panel) will do their best to put you at ease; there are lots of warm faces looking back at you - they want to approve you!! Yes they will ask you questions about you/your PAR but there shouldn't be any surprises.


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I was extremely nervous at approval panel and almost started crying as soon as I sat down. My voice started wobbling and I could barely get my words out BUT, everyone was so nice. They could see I was nervous and made some joke to put me at ease. Honestly, like everyone has said they want you to get through and are rooting for you.


Also, don't forget your social worker and their manager will be there to support you and will prompt you with things if you are faltering. They know your PAR inside out and will remind you of things you have forgotten if your mind goes blank.


And you will be on such a high when they approve you that all the stress will disappear. I went round hugging everyone and it's a great moment.


If you really don't want to go though, I would discuss it with your social worker. I also read it wasn't mandatory but I'm not 100% sure


Good luck either way.


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I’d be a bit worried if you were my sw and didn’t go! Adoption process is hard- it takes you out of your comfort zone. I remember having to have an MRI scan during the process- the results of which determine if I could adopt. It was flipping horrible! All the way through I kept telling myself ‘ this child had better be cute!!!!’. I’ know it’s challenginf- I’m a confident person and a social worker so used to that environment but I still felt sick going in!


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I think its very important to attend panel. the members will want to speak to you directly as they did to us. They will have particular questions to ask which they will want answers directly from yourself and not through your social worker.

It also demonstrates your commitment and ability to travel outside your comfort zone - which is what adoption is all about.


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I'm not sure it is that important to attend. Firstly attendance is optional and the chances of you adding any additional information to the reports of the SW are minimal. Equally you could mess it up for yourself by giving an inappropriate answer because you are very nervous.

It is not that long ago that the prospective adopters were not actually invited to panel unless they specifically asked to go. The first part of the panel (and the longest part) is conducted with you out of the room. The SW and their manager will present your case to the panel and each of the specialists on the panel, like the medical examiner, will present their reports. The decision is formed in the meeting and there is not a lot you can do to influence it. Remember it is the SW's opinion of your suitability that counts as they have spent the best part of the previous six months working to prepare reports and assess you and they wouldn't recommend you to panel unless they were sure they had a very good chance of getting you approved. Before you even get to the panel meeting, they have read your PAR and all of the reports which has been in the possession of each panel member for at least three weeks beforehand.


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We went. Like others we were told it's optional, but the social worker who did our prep agreed that that we would be as well to go. She said , in case of any last minute questions and because the panel would want to meet us if we could make it there. 10 minute wait while they chatted , then a few minutes in and a couple of simple questions, which we answered with the same answers we had given in our par form. They were very warm and friendly towards us, five minute wait afterwards and then they came and said it was fine and we were approved.

We made a day of ( a bit of a trek to get to the place) by having a celebratory meal afterwards ! approval is, after all , the first official milestone in the process of adopting, second being matching panel.


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I think it's good to go. They might wonder why if you said no and doubt they'd see not being good at communicating as a good reason. I am sometimes involved in staff recruitment - not the same but seeing people in the flesh is not the same as reading about them. Plus I don't think the decision would be based on anything you said unless it was downright odd! You can rehearse possible answers beforehand.


I'm not a natural public speaker but have become confident through needing to at work and having dealt with innumerable meetings re my children. The key is knowing what you want to say, believing in yourself and practice, practice, practice!


Talk over possible questions with your sw and decide on responses. You'll be fine!


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