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October 20, 2015
*All names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality
After many years of trying naturally for a baby, we tried various fertility treatments including IVF, sadly to no avail.
It became clear that, although there was no medical reason as to why we couldn’t get pregnant, given our ages it was unlikely to happen naturally for us. We desperately wanted a family and so we began contemplating the possibility of adoption.
At the very beginning, before we enquired about adoption, I think we believed we would be asked a few questions, fill in a few forms, have children ready and waiting for us and within a short time we would be waltzing off into the sunset with our new family. We quickly learned that the adoption process is not quite as simple as that!
Our Adoption Connections social worker guided us through the process. It was a steep learning curve, but we were particularly surprised at the in-depth and often intimate questions we had to answer about all aspects of our lives. We did however learn an awful lot about ourselves throughout the process, and came to understand why it was necessary for us to answer those difficult questions.
We were approved as adopters and eventually, we were matched with siblings – Matthew and Hannah.
The time came for us to meet them for the first time. We stayed in rented accommodation over the period of the formal ‘Introductions’ process. The day we met them we left our ‘holiday home’ with a mix of excitement and trepidation.
Not wanting to be late, we arrived early and parked round the corner from the foster carer’s house. As we sat in the car and counted down the minutes, we couldn’t quite believe that we were sitting just metres away from where our children were currently playing, and in a few short moments our life was going to change forever. What if they didn’t like us? What if we didn’t like them?
It is the most surreal experience meeting your children for the first time. Everything you have done up until now, throughout the adoption process, has been leading up to this very moment and suddenly you are in someone else’s house, swapping pleasantries with strangers, knowing that your children are behind a door, just a few short feet away.
When you do first clap eyes on them, you want to race in, scoop them up, cover them in kisses, hug them like your life depended on it and weep from the sheer joy of it all. But you can’t. Instead, with an audience of a foster carer and two social workers, you sit in someone else’s front room making your acquaintance with children you’ve never met before, all the while doing your best to remain calm, friendly and relaxed in the least natural situation you may ever experience!
Matthew and Hannah were aged 33 months and 20 months when they came to live with us, and our lives changed completely.
Being older parents (aged 46 and 42 when the children moved in) we had both worked for ourselves and were in control of our lives. We had a very civilised life and a neat and tidy home. Our weekends consisted of lazy mornings, long lie-ins and relaxed brunches. In the evenings we might take a trip to the cinema or dine out with friends. Basically, our lives were our own.
Fast forward three years, and it’s all about early mornings and endless re-runs of Peppa Pig! Our weekend trips are now to the park and soft play, and the only parties we attend these days are kids’ birthday parties. In spite of this and perhaps strangely, not least to us, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are many challenges that will undoubtedly arise due to the very nature of adopting a child/children from difficult beginnings. However, these are definitely outnumbered by the numerous positives that children will bring to your life.
The best advice, in my opinion, for those just considering adoption is to remain open minded and positive. Challenge your own thoughts and opinions and accept that things may not always go according to plan. You’ll often require nerves of steel while at the same time remaining flexible in your thinking. There will be challenges along the way but embrace them and remember what brought you to this place. It’s all part of the great adoption journey.
If you are considering adoption, you can find out more about our Adoption Connections service here. You can also check out our adoption resources, read more real adoption stories and find out about our next information events. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to hear from you.