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Galapagos' 2012 to 2013 posts

It's official!!!!!! Floreana is now our legal daughter - 6 February 2013

Find herewith the story of our celebration hearing

After what feels like an eternity, I am pleased to announce that we have had our celebration hearing at the county court. This was attended by Floreana , her social worker, our social worker , my dear husband and I.

It was a surreal experience. Floreana was playing with her soft toy, a balloon and a book in the most officious of environments. We were called into the court by an usher in her black regalia and led by her to our seats in the oak clad rows in front of the judges bench. Yippee!!!

Floreana was in a playful mood, batting her balloon between us.The balloon floated across the table just as we were instructed to rise, as the judge entered the room. There followed a conversation about Disney characters and a recitation of a story by Floreana. Then, as quick as a breath, the order was made. The judge conferred on us the roles of mummy, daddy and daughter. Then, we all played musical chairs and took some photos, before leaving court.

It is somewhat ironic that the celebration hearing was as brief as the handover experience, marking the end of introductions. Both lasted 15 minutes. Both were legal situations and contrasted massively with the seemingly endless months that stretched before and betwixt these events.

With love and best wishes
Galapagosx

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Celebration hearing here we come. Yippee!!!!! - 17 January 2013

We have had the final hearing and are now awaiting the celebration hearing

After what seems like an eternity we have had the final hearing and floreanas birth parents did not object to the adoption. the judge also agreed with us regarding no direct contact with certain family members, due to the danger posed by their forensic mental health backgrounds. Not long now and Floreana will be ours. I will write soon but Floreana needs me now. She is doing dot to dot drawing and needs my help when she gets past 20..... not bad for a child who is under 3.5 years old.

Bye for now

galapagos xxxx

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We have submitted our adoption application form to court - 14 October 2012

This blog entry details the process of making an adoption application, which in our case involved yet more time spent waitng!!!!!

In true British tradition, we spent the best part of a month waiting for the social workers to provide Floreana's court papers, that we required to submit our 'application for an adoption order: Section 46 Adoption and Children Act 2002' paperwork to the county court. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the court papers were forwarded to us. Hooray! We were one step nearer formally adopting Floreana. However, our hopes were rapidly dashed... Unfortunately the adoption application could not be saved on line but had to be filled in and printed during one sitting. Eek!!! With Floreana constantly at my side wanting to work on my computer it was impossible to type the form in one session. Another day passed! I decided it would be quicker to print the document and complete it by hand - An easy task you might think????? No you guessed it! I couldn't print the application form. Due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to open the form online and therefore unable to print it. I was beginning to despair. However, after a further twenty four hours waiting for the internet to work I was finally able to access the website and print the PDF form.

The adoption application form stretched into pages and required so much information: our details, the details of the birth family, the local authority personnel's details and accompanying documentation regarding other linked legal proceedings. Oh no!!! My heart sank! We did not have any information regarding other court proceedings involving Floreana's siblings! Once again I had to contact the social workers for more information. Not surprisingly this caused another delay in the submission process. It took another week before I was able to complete the form, photocopy it and deliver it to court together with the £160 fee. I felt absolute relief and felt my shoulders relax for the first time in months. Adoption is definitely a stressful process. The counter lady was lovely and informed me that we would be notified of a directions hearing date and that I would hear about this within ten days. Guess what??? Fourteen days later I had not heard a thing. So I rang the court only to be told that for security reasons only one person deals with adoptions, the papers are locked away, no one could help me and that I would have to wait another week for her return. I am still waiting!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the court process the directions hearing is usually attended by the birth family and the local authority representatives where both put their cases. The judge makes directions and sets a timetable for all parties to submit further information as required. The birth family can lodge an appeal and in theory the process can be delayed to enable the appellants to be assessed and for Floreana to be returned to them. The most distressing bit is that we are not invited to this hearing. Hopefully the birth family will not be allowed a further right to appeal as they have done so in the past and have been refused the right to parent Floreana. Only time will tell. But, the directions hearing should be about four weeks after the submission of our paperwork to court. Here's hoping the hearing takes place in two weeks! At the directions hearing the Judge also sets the date of the final hearing. It is at this hearing, that with luck, we will be able to formally adopt Floreana.

With best wishes

Galapagos

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An update on our journey towards formally adopting floreana - 16 September 2012

Details of our daily routine, starting nursery and the initial stages of completing the adoption apllication form.

My little priincess Floreana woke me up this morning at 6am: 'mummy it's light', she said. I opened one eyelid and replied: 'is it darling come and have a cuddle'. 'I want to go downstairs' she whimpered'. So out of bed I 'bounced' and came downstairs where she jumped on the sofa for a cuddle. Typical!!!! Oh how my days have changed!!!! I used to wake up in my own time go to the gym and then drive to work. Now that I am on adoption leave I have lost track of time except in so far as my sleep pattern has changed to match Floreana's and I never get time to go to the gym! My only light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that Floreana has started nursery part time. However, my life is so full of meetings with health and social care professionals: our social worker, Floreana's social worker, the health visitor, community paediatric nurse, nursery outreach worker and teachers' all vying for my time that I do not know when I will make it to the gym!! And moreover, I am now seriously concerned as to how I will fit my busy job back into my daily routine when I return after my year's leave!!!!

Floreana still has times when she misses her foster carer and when she expresses guilt at what has happened. She sits forlornly and says: 'it's all my fault'. Bless her. I stick to the same story and say: 'No. It's not your fault. Your birth mummy and daddy couldn't look after you and keep you safe. So you went to live with your foster carer and then you came to mummy and daddy. We will look after you until you are an adult and we will always love you' just like your nanny and grandma love your daddy and I.' We usually have a cuddle and then I use a form of diversion to help Floreana move onto something positive, for example we might read or play a game. Hopefully when she is adopted she will feel more secure. Only the future will tell. For the moment whenever I am absent she cries for my return. This hurts as she is 'suffering' and fearing another loss but, it is also good as it shows she is attached to me. I am working hard on giving Floreana transitional objects such as a voice recorder picture album and her family book that she can look at when at nursery. Fortunately she likes nursery so, after a wobbly couple of sessions, she came out of her last class skipping, jumping and holding hands with her friend.

My husband and I are in the process of completing the adoption application form. It is very complicated and requires a lot of information. Unfortunately we do not have all the paper work that the court requires so we have yet another delay in the adoption process. I hope that the social worker brings the details when she visits this week. Then we can submit the forms to the court and hopefully get a hearing date for some time this year.

Bye for now
Love Galapagos x

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