My dp and I have just started the process of hoping to become adoptive parents. At the second exploratory meeting, before we had even officially applied, the social workers asked us to consider a specific little girl.
Is this as unusual as it appears to us? I'm not complaining and we are very excited about the prospect of adopting this dc, but reading other's experiences of waiting for months / years it seems a bit odd. We're both in our 40's and have bc from previous marriages, so I wonder if this makes a difference.
Can only give our experience of our adoption process. We had adopted 7 DC's (door was shut as far as we were concerned) and out of the blue had a phone call would we consider having a 3 year old. Of course we said yes we were in our 60's Social Services bend rules when it suits.
The adoption process itself is quite long. It can take 6 months or more.
If this DC is now 5 she will be older and more problematic before she is settled with you both. It's sad to think she has already been placed with two previous families and its not worked out. Alarm bells would be ringing if it were me. Just concentrate on getting through the process. It is so worthwhile. If things don't materialise with this DC then there will be another.
In answer to your question - matching before the process starts - it happened to us. We just did not know anything about it. We were told once we were approved. We now have our DS and DD.
We were matched before approval without knowing it, too (came out of panel and given DD's details straightaway to consider)
I would echo what others have said about proceeding with caution and not feeling bound in to only considering this one little girl. She might turn out to be perfect for you, but the home study process is supposed to give the agency time to get to know you, and you time to consider what you are able to deal with (and even if you want to go ahead with adopting at all)