After much nagging and pestering we have finally had a response from the SW from our LA following up from the initial home visit she made in the middle of December. According to the email, her children have been ill and so she has been off work for 3 weeks. As a result of this, she still hasn't spoken to her manager about our case, and no decision has been made about whether they will take us on as prospective adopters. Although I have every sympathy for the SW, it is very frustrating that our journey is being held up for so long. Obviously I don't know all the details of her situation, so I am not really in a place to judge, but I have to admit that I find it strange that she hasn't been able to discuss anything with her manager by phone or email, even if she has been unable to get into the office.
On a more positive note, on Monday we had went to an information evening held by another LA - one based in another nearby city. The majority of the information presented was stuff we already knew - the adoption process is broadly similar whichever agency you work with, but there were some details which have made us wonder if we should sign up with them, rather than the LA for our home city.
- The second city seem to be working on a much faster time scale - they reckon they have a period of about 6 months between the preparation course and linking children to families. Our home LA told us they aim to do that in 8-10 months
- They offer training/information courses to friends and family as well as to the prospective adopters. I don't know how useful the course is, but at the very least it seems to be a sign that the LA have a focus on help families prepare as much as possible for the challenges ahead.
- They offer training courses on various topics after prospective adopters have been approved by panel but before a link is made and offer lots of support after the link as well. I'm not certain if our home LA does the same, but they certainly didn't promote it as actively.
- Because they are a small LA (even smaller than our home LA) everyone in the office is aware of most of the other workers cases. Although some people might find that a bit off-putting, Patchwork and I liked the idea that if our SW wasn't available, other people at the LA would still be able to help us. This seems a very significant difference from our home LA, especially given the issues we've had already!
We've decided that we will ask the second LA for a home visit and see how that goes. If our own LA get back to us before then, we may have to think hard about which authority to work with.