My name is James and my husband’s name is Jay, we started dating almost 11 years ago, and got married 4 years ago. We then adopted our little boy 2 and a half years ago, he’s now 5.
Both of us always knew we wanted children, but we didn’t discuss it with each other for a long time. This was mainly because Jay is Australian, so for a while, we were unsure of our future together due to visa reasons etc. It was only after we decided to get married and work towards securing Jay a visa to stay in the UK, that that is when we started the conversations around having kids.
It was only after we decided to get married and work towards securing Jay a visa to stay in the UK, that that is when we started the conversations around having kids.
We briefly discussed the idea of surrogacy, but for us, adoption just felt like the right path.
Initially, we started proceedings with a voluntary agency, which is who we did our stage one with. However, we were starting to feel that we were being pushed in a direction that we weren’t comfortable with. This was for various reasons, after completing our stage one, it was decided that we wouldn’t proceed with that agency.
We then rang our local authority, had an initial meeting to explain our experiences. They were happy for us to pick up with them, and start our stage two. Due to us doing some house renovations, we took a 6-month break between finishing stage one and starting stage two.
During the stage 2 process, we attended a couple of children’s profile events. Although we picked up a few profiles during these events, we generally found the experiences a bit uncomfortable.
One, in particular, was very busy, and you almost had to elbow your way through the crowds. We knew we didn’t want to adopt a small baby, and we were approved to adopt siblings aged between 1-4. Our son was 2 and a half when we matched.
The family finder team showed us our son’s profile before we had completed our stage two. They were very open that there was another couple also interested in him. The next couple of weeks was very strange before they decided we were the right match.
I sometimes wonder who that other couple was, have we since met them? Do we know the child they adopted instead? We were matched before completing stage two, and our two panel dates were only a week or so apart.
The whole process from the point of deciding it’s what we wanted to do, to our son coming home, probably took 2 and a half years.
During that time we got married, completely gutted and renovated an old Victorian terrace, and took a fairly lengthy break between stages one and two.
The final stages all seemed to happen very quickly. There were times I was worried that we were being rushed, or pushed into things.
I had a weird period of doubt over why my son was taken into care. There seemed to be no history of abuse etc, and I couldn’t get my head around what his birth mother had done to deserve having her child removed.
I felt a lot of guilt and doubt, initially, it didn’t seem like he was “mine’. I was able to voice these concerns with our social worker and arrange to meet with our son’s social worker. They were able to give me a much fuller picture of his situation and settle my doubts somewhat.
In the end, it felt like the scariest gamble of my life, jumping into something with my eyes closed, and thankfully the gamble paid off.
Our son bonded with us almost instantly.
You’re My Daddies
The first moment we met him, he greeted us with an enthusiastic “you’re my daddies”, which was so unexpected and completely knocked us sideways, in a good way. We were smitten from the first meeting.
I was really worried about adopting a child who would find it hard to form an attachment with us. or a child that would be silent (I had visions of a severely damaged child that never spoke). The irony is, our son bonded with us straight away, and now we can never shut him up!
Parenting is hard, it’s exhausting and emotionally draining, and parenting an adopted child is all those things turned up a notch. But it’s also absolutely brilliant. Watching them grow up is the most exhilarating thing, he’s now at school and seems to be settling so well.
Watching them grow up is also the most heartbreaking thing, I don’t feel like we had him as a toddler for long enough, he was a cheeky little 2-year-old, and all of a sudden you blink and he’s a 5 year making his own friends at school. Parenting makes you realise how fast time flies.
If ever we went again for round two, I’d tell myself to make sure we are much more in control of the process, to make sure we stick up for ourselves a bit more, to not be afraid to say no. You’re so concerned about making a good impression, and selling yourself as amazing prospective adopters, that sometimes you forget to make sure that you are still getting everything you want out of it and on your terms.
Adoption is the most amazing thing, I could wax lyrical about it all day. I’ve spoken a few times now at adopter parent training sessions at our local authority, and always happy to chat with anyone who wants to know more information about it.