Jenny and Sarah have been together for 15 years and adopted siblings seven years ago. They have shared their story this June for Pride Month, a month-long celebration of diversity and an opportunity to raise awareness of the things that still need to change. Jenny and Sarah discuss how they came to adopt siblings, settling into parenthood, and the challenges of being parents who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
We’d been together for a little while and had been thinking about adoption. We were both aware that we were getting a bit older, and we knew that we had loads to give to a child who might need someone to love them, so we thought it might be time.
We’d gone into the process thinking that we’d adopt one child and when the option of adopting siblings came up, our first reaction was that it was just not happening! We only had one spare room and had no idea how we’d fit two cots into it. But when we saw the first photograph of them, we knew that we would find a way. We ripped out the wardrobes and made it work.
We didn’t find the process leading up to the adoption to be too difficult. We do understand that some people might find it harder, but we’ve always been open with each other, we’ve never had any secrets, if you did you might be in trouble as you do need to be prepared to open up.
Our social worker was amazing and very easy to talk to, which helped, and they worked really hard to help prepare us for adoption.
Some people say they fall in love with their adopted children almost immediately, but it wasn’t like that for us, as it didn’t feel like they were ours at first.
We had a week of introductions with the boys and then they were moving in and sometimes it takes time to form that bond. You’ve suddenly got a new identity, you’re not just a daughter or a partner, you’re someone’s mum.
When you’ve adopted, there’s a point in the process where you go to court and the adoption is officially recognised.
We’d planned a little celebration to mark the occasion, and a friend had had some posters printed, that read:
You may not have our eyes or smile,
But from that very first moment you had our hearts.
That was when it felt real.
We both took to being parents really well. It wasn’t always easy, especially in the beginning with having two small children. Only one of us could take maternity leave so practical things like managing the double buggy and two car seats on your own was difficult.
There are challenges that are unique for parents who are also part of the LGBTQ+ community.
We wondered what we should call each other, would we both be ‘Mummy’? In the end we went for ‘Mum’ and ‘Mim’ and it just seemed to work.
There are times when we’ve had appointments with the children, when a professional has said, ‘So, which one is Mum?’ And if we say that we’re both Mum, they’ll follow up with, ‘Yes, but who’s the real Mum?’ That can be hurtful, and we have complained in the past. Now we patiently explain again that we are both the children’s mum.
The children are totally fine with it and often proudly say, ‘We’ve got two mums.’ We’ve explained to them that all families are different. Some children live with their nans, some just with their dad, some have two mums. It doesn’t matter as long as everyone loves each other.
To others in the LGBTQ+ community who are considering adoption, we would say, not to worry at all. It didn’t make any difference at all during the process, and if you want to adopt, just go for it, and don’t hold back.
We sometimes wish we’d adopted earlier in life, but we also know that we’re in a much better position to be good parents now that we’re a bit older.
Our advice to all adoptive parents would be to tackle any challenges with humour if you can and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
It can sometimes be hard work, but it is so rewarding. Most of the time, we think we’re doing a great job.
If you’re thinking about adoption and want to know more, contact our team by completing our online enquiry form or call 01942 487272.
You can also find out about the adoption process at our monthly virtual information sessions.
Posted on Tuesday 21st June 2022