Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Well Finally

I'm not depressed any more! That's right, folks. Unfortunately, it's because I'm too busy being mad. Today, in a monumental error of 'I can't believe that actually happened' proportions, I found out that our adoption approval body completely ignored my requests for confidentiality and sent an employee reference request straight to my workplace.

A while ago, I mentioned that J and I were limiting who we told about this whole adoption process until we had a positive outcome at a UK approval panel. This means that, apart from one very close friend and my boss (who needed to know, to provide the reference that has caused all the trouble) nobody at my work knows what's going on. Mostly, I think this has been the right decision. The downside is that when I come in emotionally shaken up after a difficult SW visit, nobody cuts me any slack. The upside, though, is that when I come in emotionally shaken up after a difficult SW meeting, I don't have to talk about it. And I don't have explain myself, or our decisions, to anybody, and by the time we tell them what's going on it will be something that IS happening, not something we are considering.

So, when we had a conversation with our SW a few weeks ago about employers' references, I was really, really careful to specify that, actually, I'm keeping this quiet at work at the moment and please don't send the reference request to the employment address on my application form. I'll spare you the details, but it felt a little like my conversation with the doctor's receptionist a few months ago. I said, repeatedly, that I work deep within central administration at a university where everyone knows everyone else. And I've never, ever met a worse bunch of gossips. And our adoption is my personal information, and I really want to control when to share this. Don't send it to human resources, because I know people in human resources. Don't send it to finance, because I know people in finance. Don't send it to me at work, because people are extremely nosy about each others' mail, and I don't want to have to explain it. And totally, certainly, absolutely do NOT send it to my boss's direct address, because he is far too senior to do anything as menial as open his own post and his team of assistants are all people with whom I work really closely. Please only, only send this to my home address. I can give it to him by hand. I reiterated and reiterated this, and was 100% sure I had made it crystal clear.

You can probably guess where this story is going. Actually, I guess I already told you in the first paragraph.

So anyway, I had one of my regular meetings with my boss this morning, and at one point he casually mentioned that he had received and filled in my reference form. Which is obviously not what I expected, as it had not yet arrived at my house, but at the time I had to ignore the flashing red sirens and 'ding ding ding' alarm bells that were going off deep in my brain so that I could concentrate on thinking about the 1.8 million pounds of funding we seem to have lost in the last week. And we finished our meeting and I went back to my desk.

About five minutes later the sirens suddenly reached a pitch where I could no longer ignore them, millions of pounds or no millions of pounds, and I found myself stomping back down the stairs into his office to talk to his PA. I hauled her into a vacant room and asked whether she had, errrr, needed to open a letter to R that was, errrr, actually about me. And yes, she had, and she said she felt really bad about it because she knew that she wasn't supposed to know, and she hadn't wanted to tell me that she knew because she felt really bad. And of course I'm not mad at her - she's a good friend, and obviously it's not her fault, and she was in an impossible position. The agency, on the other hand - a different story. I was really looking forward to telling this friend that we were adopting, and now I'm not even going to get to do that. I'm certainly going to let the agency know that I don't want this happening again, but I did think it was clear the first time - what will it change if I shout at someone? I wish I could, though. These things are really personal, and how many more times do I have to have my privacy unexpectedly invaded before this process is over?

In the meantime..... ummm..... I promised something cheerful, so please enjoy this delightful picture of a cat.

more animals


  1. Oh no! I am so furious with you!

  2. Ugh, how piss poor of them to ignore your privacy like that. I would definitely have some choice words for the responsible party...


  3. Thanks v. much! I know it could have been worse, but... ugh, and furious, indeed!

  4. wow! that is TERRIBLE. I hope you do track down who is responsible for that SNAFU. BTW, I cannot believe the amount of SW visits you have to go through/have already done. We had 4!!! That is INTENSE!!

  5. Oh boy.

    I think a carefully worded letter to the agency may be in order. You're good at that sort of thing and then you don't have the danger of bursting into tears at the crucial moment (as I know I would do).

    Or I could ring them for you..... *flexes muscles, cracks knuckles and tries unsuccessfully to look scary*. That totally sucks.

  6. Ugh. This is going to make a great chapter in the book I hope you write of your adoption story.

  7. Just checking in to see how you are. I was worried about you given the recent breach in privacy regarding the adoption plans and such...


Over to you!