We are officially through the screening process!!! WOOHOO!!!
I honestly feel like this massive weight has been lifted after yesterday! It seems all our hard work paid off.
Our social worker arrived yesterday afternoon for our home visit. She brought a Swedish social work student along with her who is currently doing some of her practical with the agency. They arrived from cool-ish, beginning of winter weather, into humid, hot Lowveld weather!
After a glass or two of ice-cold water to try cool off a bit, we dove straight into the remaining interview. Covering the last couple of aspects of finances, religious beliefs and community, we were then faced with some difficult questions. These question pertained to what kind of circumstances we would be happy to adopt from. They included children from rape, children from a prostitute, abandoned children, birth mothers, etc. As difficult as it is to think about the fact that you may one day have to explain to your child that he was born as a result of a rape, one cannot reject a child based on decisions that were made by their birth parents. We will not do that, regardless of the circumstances.
One of the questions that we were unable to answer and will still need to think about quite a bit is “Would you be willing to meet the birth mother?” Now, these “meetings” are completely supervised, with both our social worker and the birth mother’s social worker present, and are only about 30mins long, but it is a hugely emotional experience and we just aren’t sure whether we are able to go through that. They do cover this quite extensively during the course though, so we will make a decision when we get to that stage.
Once we were finished with the questions, we gave her a tour of the house. To be dead honest, it wasn’t at all what I expected. They really don’t come to find all the faults in your house. I’m sure if there was anything really unsafe they would bring it up, but our house passed the test! And breathe….
A perk of working at a lodge is that you are given a certain amount of bed-nights per year that you can use for family, friends, whoever you want really. Whilst planning the dates for our home visit, I mentioned this to the social worker and suggested that I could book them in at the lodge for the night of their stay. After consulting with the relevant supervisor and checking it was above board to do this, I booked her and the student in for their night’s stay.
So, once we were done with the screening interview and home check, we all made our way to the lodge for the afternoon game drive. We had a lovely drive and were incredibly lucky with amazing sightings of rhino, elephant and cheetah. We even got chased by the male elephant who is in musth at the moment! It was all handled so professionally and delicately by our ranger, who really made the afternoon a fantastic experience for everyone. The moment where I realized we were finally through the screening was when the social worker turned around to us and said “I think your little man is going to have an incredible life here”. Tears welled up and I smiled wider than I ever have.
After the drive, we enjoyed a delicious meal in the boma next to the fire and had a great time chatting about all kinds of topics! And, of course, plenty of laughs! At the end of the evening, we said our “goodnight’s” and headed home. To end off a beautiful day, as we were driving out of the game farm, we saw an animal walking in the road towards us. As it strolled towards us without a care in the world, we realized that it was a beautiful, massive, male leopard! What a fantastic end to the day!
Thank you so much to each and every one of you who sent messages of encouragement and just let us know you were thinking of us…they meant the world to us!
P.S. Excuse the rubbish photo of the Leopard, but we needed photographic evidence that he was there!