As I mentioned in my last post, part of your homestudy (or Certificado de idoneidad) process for adoption is a series of one-to-one interviews with the social workers and psychologists of your appointed ICIF (Institución Colaboradora para la Integración Familiar). The first one takes place immediately after the end of your introductory session, which is carried out in a group setting with other adoption applicants.
Immediately before my first interview, I had given the ICIF workers a feedback form whereby I had criticised (perhaps a bit too heavily) their lack of consideration and awareness of my single status. I therefore entered the room slightly sheepishly; aware that making a good impression on the people who were put in charge of my homestudy carried an enormous power that is pivotal to any adoption.
I met with the eldest member of the four-strong ICIF team, the one who was most prominent in the group sessions and who seemed, well, the most serious. You know the type, the earnest middle age public servants, who live and breathe policy and can cut you down in a flash at any notion of how 'the system' could maybe be more flexible and accommodating to a wider set of personal circumstances.
Almost as soon as I sat down at her desk she said, “Meredith, you are completely right, and I apologise.” Well, that was a relief! We spent the next 15 minutes talking about how the Generalitat should consider introducing special adoption introductory sessions for singles and same sex couples. With that out of the way, we got onto my case.
She asked me about the circumstances that had led to my decision to adopt, and I told her about my time as a volunteer in a West African orphanage. I rattled on for about 10 minutes until she stopped me mid sentence and said, “But it seems as though you are speaking about a specific child.” My heart stopped.
I am going to make a confession here readers, something I should have perhaps made clearer in the beginning of this blog: ‘choosing’ a child to adopt, as I had done, is an absolute no-no according to the law in Spain. Adoption agencies allocate you a child, taking into account age and gender preferences.
By choosing a child to adopt, I had put my whole process in jeopardy. Or had I? I’ll tell you in my next post.