Stage one – background checks

Having entered stage one, we were given a number of forms to fill in.

It was a real test of memory. You have to list every address you have lived in and every place you have ever worked.

You also need to select some referees – in our case we each chose 1 family member and 2 friends who had known us for a while. It was amusing that, despite the references intention being to get the opinion of those people, two or three of our referees asked us if what they had written was OK!

We had to note down significant events in our lives too.

Fortunately my sister has a fantastic memory, so was able to identify most addresses and dates of things like deaths of grandparents.

The area which took the most time was the medical. Not because it’s very lengthy, but because you need a double appointment and it’s usually a three week wait for a single appointment at our doctors’ surgery in the first place. It was fairly obvious that our doctor did not get many of these forms to fill in as he asked me and my wife all of the answers for our forms! The only issues that came up for me were my weight (surprise, surprise!) and my blood pressure, but neither affected our application since I took steps to improve both.

The most complicated bit was getting our dog assessed. There are so few people who can do so, but we managed to find one trainer who had done something similar and I’m pleased to say the dog came through with flying colours (it helped massively that we were able to “borrow” a friend’s young child at the time of that assessment), although we’d never take that for granted.

Stage one also includes the first prep group, which I will cover in a different post.