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October 19, 2015
*Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality
We decided to adopt after many years of consideration and after the positive experience of a family friend, of a similar age to ourselves, who had adopted an older child.
At first, we were concerned that our ages might work against us, but that was not the case. We discovered that, although you have to be 21 years or over to adopt, there is no upper age limit for adoption. Adoption agencies do need to check that you are in good health and likely to be able to support an adopted child into adulthood, but we were reassured that many people in their 40s and 50s successfully adopt children – especially children who fall into an ‘older’ age bracket.
We began our journey with St. Francis’ Children’s Society, and had a great relationship with our social worker. The home visits, when your social worker spends time with you discussing all aspects of your life and your suitability to become adoptive parents, can be challenging at times. But the preparation training, follow-on training sessions and support services which SFCS provide were invaluable.
After we had been approved by the Adoption Panel, we began the search for our child. After viewing various child profiles, we saw Freya, and knew we had found the child we wanted to adopt. Our social worker took things from there, requesting additional information from the local authority who were caring for her, and finding out as much about her as possible. As well as the written profiles, we were lucky to be able to see a short DVD of her too.
After attending a matching panel, we were formally matched to Freya, and plans were made for our ‘Introduction period’. This period lasts for around two weeks, beginning with an hour or two of supervised time with your social worker and the foster parents, then gradually increasing to longer periods alone with your child.
Our first meeting with Freya was a hugely emotional moment for all three of us with a lot of excitement, butterflies and overwhelming love. We knew that life would never be the same again now that we had our beautiful daughter. We were now a family.
Our lives have changed in every way since Freya joined us. Unfortunately, Sarah has had to give up her job temporarily as her employer was not supportive of her working reduced hours, and this has had an impact on finances and on Sarah personally, as she enjoyed her job and her colleagues. And our general lifestyle has certainly changed – nothing is done on impulse anymore!
But 18 months on, we can cheerfully report that adopting our now 8-year-old daughter was the best decision we have ever made. She has changed our lives completely and we feel fortunate that we found each other.
Please don’t forget about the older ones, they are just as ‘adoptable’ as the younger children waiting. With an older child, you will have a clearer picture of their specific needs and potential problems, such as a delay in their physical and/or emotional development. This is a definite advantage. An older child can also articulate their needs and feelings more, which can be a challenge but also a bonus! Freya’s ability to express how she is feeling – whether it be good or bad – has been invaluable to us as parents.
It goes to show what love, nurturing and having fun can do, and it is a joy to see Freya turning many corners and achieving confidence and security. We recognise the challenges that we will face but are committed to doing all we can to ensure she has the loving, supportive and nurturing home and family she most certainly deserves. We would not change a thing.
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.