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As we come to the end of 2021, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our adopters who have bravely shared their stories this year.

In the Spring we spoke to Dan and Jay, who had recently adopted a one-year-old boy, and Jen and Aly, who had recently adopted siblings. Both couples shared their experiences for LGBT adoption week to encourage everyone with a desire to adopt a child to come forward for consideration.

Jen said:
“There are lots of children out there that need to be loved, so why should being from the LGBTQ+ community stop anyone. Being a same sex couple has never been an issue. Our social worker knows us better than anyone, and you never feel like you are going to be judged or treated differently.”

At the start of summer, Louise and Lee talked about the many benefits of adopting a slightly older child. The couple had adopted a 6-year-old little boy, which had worked well for their family, and they were keen to encourage potential adopters to at least consider adopting slightly older children.

Louise said:
“I do understand why most people might want to adopt babies, especially if you haven’t had any birth children, but I’d had two babies and so that wasn’t something I felt I needed.

Older children do get overlooked and I think that’s so sad, to be facing a life in the care system at 6 years old.

For us, there were so many benefits to adopting a 6-year-old. You’re able to get much more background information about the child you’re adopting, for example about their health and how they’re doing in school, so you know what you’re getting into.

As he was a little bit older, he understood what was happening. On that first day when he was finally coming to live with us permanently, he was so happy. We picked him up from his foster carer’s house and the adults were all emotional about it, but he didn’t have a care in the world.”

In July, we met Rosie and Dave, who had adopted sisters with some additional needs and talked openly about the ups and downs that adoption can bring.

Dave said:
“As with any children, there have been challenges along the way. We reached an interesting point after the girls had been with us for six months. It looked like they had settled so well, but the reality was that they had been working hard to be ok.

After around six months they started to relax into being with us and it did get more challenging, because there were more tantrums, but it also felt like real progress, because we knew they were comfortable with us and could really be themselves.”

In the Autumn, James and Kate, who had adopted twin boys, reflected on their experiences of adoption, and the different sources of support they’d been able to access, both formal and informal.

Kate said:
“We did a course of Theraplay, which introduced us to some new play activities to do with the children, that encourage challenge and empathy. The boys were possibly a little too young to benefit from it but it was a real asset for us, as it encouraged us to explore therapeutic parenting and that has made a real difference to our life as a family.

“Our social worker also identified some drama therapy for the boys, which is very gentle, and allows them to explore different feelings.

“All families who have adopted can talk to a social worker at any time, the support doesn’t end after you’ve adopted, but we’re now in a place where we don’t need to do that. James and I get our support from each other; we always talk to each other about how things are going and often have a little review at the end of the day, which we find really helpful.”

National Adoption Week, at the end of October, encouraged everyone to think about ‘Modern Adoption’ and what those words might mean for them.

Steven and Matt, who had adopted two boys with a two-year gap in between their adoptions, shared their thoughts.

Steven said:
““For me, ‘Modern Adoption’ means everyone being open to different types of families, both parents and children.

“As a family, we don’t necessarily look like everyone else’s expectation of what a family might be, so that could be called modern, but it’s also really good.

“Throughout the adoption process, the fact that we were two men wasn’t really spoken about, we were never made to feel different, the focus is all about matching the right child with the right family.”

Each of the families we’ve met this year has had their own individual reasons for adopting and their own unique adoption journeys.

But some strong common messages about adoption have emerged as each family has shared their story:

Adoption is not something people go into lightly. It takes months and often years for families to reach the decision to adopt. It’s important to take your time, to do your research and get as much information as you can; speak to people who have adopted before, contact Together for Adoption for an informal chat, go to open events.

No matter how much you consider what ‘type’ of child you think you would like to adopt, it’s important to be open minded and trust the matching process and the ‘right’ child or children for you may sometimes be surprising.

The adoption process may seem daunting at first but although it is a thorough process (and needs to be to ensure that the right child is matched with the right family) it can often be enjoyable, as you will learn a lot about yourself along the way.

There is lots of support available and the support doesn’t end at the point of adoption, it continues for as long as you need it to.

Finally, everyone we spoke to about their experiences of adoption this year, said a very similar version of the same thing: whilst adoption will undoubtedly at times be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, it will also inevitably be the best.

Kate said:
“Nothing can prepare you for the journey ahead, but we’ve always been happy to meet the challenges that have come our way.

Adopting the boys is the best thing we’ve ever done, and we wouldn’t want things to be any different.”

Are you thinking about adopting? End 2021 by growing your family with Together for Adoption. Start your journey today by filling in our online enquiry form or calling the team on 01942 487272.

We are now taking bookings for our upcoming virtual information events on 11th and 25th January. Hear more about the adoption process from our friendly team and ask any questions you have about adoption. Book your place now!

Posted on Wednesday 22nd December 2021