Adopting Together – Laura and Steve

“We spent lockdown getting ready to welcome two adopted children to our home”

“It feels like all our Christmases have come at once! They feel like they’re ours already and we haven’t even met them yet.”

 

First-time parents Laura and Steve* have just had the news that they’ve been approved to adopt a little brother and sister. They’ll be moving in to the couple’s home sometime in October.

 

The couple met in 2012 and got married three years later. On one of their very first dates they talked about having children and both knew that they wanted a family.

 

“As we met later in life, we didn’t want to waste any time,” explains Laura, who’s worked with children for the last 18 years. “I was thrilled when Steve said he wanted children too but after several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, we realised that it just wasn’t meant to be for us.

 

“We had already started discussing adoption before the end of the last round and neither of us had any doubts about it at all. I feel like we took a negative situation and were able to turn it into a positive. To be honest, we’ve never seen adoption as a second choice, we just see it as a different way of completing our family.”

 

As Steve says, “What’s been great is that since deciding to adopt, we’ve been on the same journey together. When we were going through IVF, I was very aware that it was Laura who was having to take the medication, it was her body that was being affected and sometimes I felt pretty helpless. With adoption, we’re both in it together. We’re completely equal and just feel that this was meant to be.”

 

The couple first started doing some research a year ago, in August 2019, and came across the Adopting Together website.

 

Adopting Together is the first project of its kind in Wales to deliver a targeted approach to finding suitable adopters for specific children and offer a bespoke package of therapeutic support for both the children and the adopters through every stage of their childhood, until the child turns 18.

 

Led by St David’s Children Society, the service aims to find families to adopt children who have been waiting the longest for a family. Typically, these tend to be children who are over four years old, who are brothers and sisters who need to stay together, who have additional needs or uncertainty around their development or who are from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

 

Steve explains, “The lady we spoke to when we first called to enquire about adopting was so friendly and helpful. We were obviously both grieving for the fact that we couldn’t become parents biologically but she was so understanding of our situation that we felt at ease straight away and just knew we were doing the right thing.”

 

The couple had a home visit from their social worker soon after their initial call and then attended a series of training workshops, which they both found incredibly enlightening.

 

Steve says, “For me, the training was like a massive light bulb moment – everything that we had previously read about adoption suddenly made perfect sense as they gave us practical and real-life examples of the world that we were about to step into.

“They really encourage and guide you into this very different, therapeutic method of parenting, bringing the pages of the books to life. It was actually very emotional too as it made us both look back at how our own childhoods and understand our own parents shaped the way that we will now parent our children.

“When you’ve had a loving family around you all your life, you can take it for granted and just don’t realise what an impact that just being loved has on you – or what an impact not being loved, or experiencing neglect or a chaotic start to life can have on a child. I honestly believe that every parent should have training like this!”

More sure than ever that adoption was the right path for them, Laura and Steve then had to fill in a detailed application and undergo a rigorous series of checks but were approved to be adopters in August.

 

They first saw the photo and profile of the two children they’ll be adopting at a profiling event that had to be held over Skype during lockdown. They expressed interest in three different sibling groups and their social worker explored each one before coming back with advice on which would be the best match.

 

Steve says they had no fixed idea about the children they wanted to adopt before starting the process.

 

“I know that most people probably go into this with a rough idea of the type of child they are looking for but we honestly didn’t mind. From the very start we weren’t looking for ‘the perfect children for us’. We just wanted to find children who we would be the right parents for, if that makes sense?”

 

“We knew we would have been happy to adopt up to three children and both felt very strongly that we didn’t want any siblings to be split up. We’re both very close to our siblings and to us, it just didn’t seem right to take a child away from their brother or sister when they’ve already been through so much trauma in their little lives.

 

“Although we know that having two children join our family at once will probably be more challenging than just one child, having each other will hopefully help them adjust to their new lives with us.”

 

Laura adds, “As we’ll be older parents, I think people were probably expecting us to adopt older children but we both have so much energy that our social worker just kept saying that we would be perfect parents for this little boy and girl, and we trusted her completely.”

 

After agreeing that they wanted to continue with the match, the couple were then shown more recent photos of the children and much more detailed information from the foster carers’ report. One of the siblings has a medical issue, which is common among children who are waiting to be adopted, but as Steve explains, that doesn’t concern them.

 

“If we had been able to conceive naturally, we wouldn’t have known how our children would have turned out in terms of their health, development or ability, so we really are not worried about that at all.

 

“Throughout our own childhoods and growing up, there’s never been any pressure on us and Laura and I feel the same way about our children. We’ll always encourage them to do whatever they want to do but just want them to be happy.”

 

The next step in the Adopting Together process was a ‘Team for the Child’ meeting, where the couple met with the social workers, foster carer, psychologist and health professionals to find out as much as possible about the children they were hoping to adopt and explore different parenting styles.

 

“Before that meeting, we thought we already knew a lot about the children but the level of detail they went into that day was incredible. They gave us a huge amount of information about them both, as a pair and individually, which really helped us to feel like we know them already. It was also a really good way of identifying any possible issues that might come up in future and get us thinking about how we can adapt our parenting techniques.”

 

The couple have since been through lots more training, have been buddied up with other adoptive parents who’ve already been through the programme and have been able to give them advice and support, have seen videos of the brother and sister playing together and have seen them over a Skype call with their foster carer, but they still haven’t actually met them yet.

 

Laura says, “When we saw them in the background over Skype, we just couldn’t take our eyes off them. They just immediately felt like they were ours. They even look a bit like us, and have got the same colour hair and eyes as Steve.”

 

As well as preparing themselves to be parents over the last few months and creating introduction books and videos for the children, to help them get to know their new family, the couple have also been busy getting their house ready for the two little ones to arrive.

 

“We had a huge clear-out over lockdown and although we were probably jumping the gun a bit as we hadn’t been approved at that stage, we’ve had two of the bedrooms decorated and ready for the children to arrive since July!

 

“We’ve kept them pretty neutral and really similar so that they can make them feel like their own rooms as they grow but for now, they’re full of cuddly toys and things that we think they’ll like. They’ve each got a teepee in their rooms too, which we hope will be their safe place, when they’re feeling sad or unsettled,” says Laura, who knows that there will be plenty of challenges ahead.

 

“Everyone keeps telling us that this is the perfect end to our story but we know it’s really just the beginning. We do think that it will be tough as well as amazing but we’re prepared for that. In fact, I think we’re much more prepared now than we would be if we’d been able to conceive naturally because of all the help and support we’ve had, the therapeutic play sessions and the training workshops.”

 

Steve admits he’s had limited experience with children until their niece was born two years ago, but that’s made him want to be a dad even more than ever. After working with babies and toddlers for her whole career, Laura says her experience at work has definitely helped her to feel more prepared.

 

“I adore children and have always been surrounded by them so it just wouldn’t feel right for me to not to be a mum. I’ve always dreamt about having twins so when people ask how we’ll cope with two at similar ages, I’m not scared by that. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to me.”

 

The couple will finally get to meet their two children over the next few weeks but the transition from their foster carers’ home will be gradual, giving the children time to adjust and feel comfortable with their new parents, new home and new lives.

 

As the day draws closer, they can’t help feeling apprehensive about how the children will feel.

 

“We are both really excited about meeting them and welcoming them into our home but I have to admit, I am nervous too. Luckily, children have always really taken to me but my biggest fear is ‘what if they don’t like us?’ I’m sure that’s natural but I just want it all to work out well, for us and for them.

 

“When I think about what’s ahead of them over the next few months, I just have such a mixture of emotions. In one way, my heart sings at the thought of having them both here with us but at the same time, it’s breaking at the thought of putting them through all this upset and upheaval.

 

“We just have to keep reminding ourselves that it’s the right thing for them in the long run and although they are both really happy at the moment with their foster carer, we will be their forever family. We’ll give them the stability and security they need and will love them so, so much.”

 

As Steve says, even though they haven’t met the children yet, the whole experience so far has been life-changing.

 

“We haven’t had a single regret since starting this process. We’ve just felt so supported throughout and have really enjoyed the journey we’ve been on already.

 

“We are realistic about what’s ahead but we’re going into this with our eyes wide open. What’s absolutely brilliant about Adopting Together is the level of support we’ll get, not just in the early days when the children first move in, but we’ll have access to therapeutic parenting advice, clinical psychological support and just someone to talk to about any issues that may crop up throughout the children’s childhood, if we need it.

 

“We just feel ready now and are looking forward to all four of us helping each other as we grow together as a family.”

 

If you are interested in adopting a child through Adopting Together, visit www.adoptionwales/adoptingtogether for more information or call 029 2066 7007.

 

 

* Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons

Adopting together – Tony and Mike

“Lockdown has been tough but the support we’ve had has got us through.”

 

Mike and Tony were one of the first families to experience the Adopting Together model, having adopted a little boy just after the service first launched in 2018.

 

“We both always knew we wanted children, ever since we got together 18 years ago, but we needed to make some lifestyle adjustments to make sure we were completely ready,” says Tony.

 

“Mike had been working late shifts in his job in retail so he moved into recruitment to allow him to work during office hours – we just wanted to feel completely prepared to welcome a little person into our lives.

 

“I’m definitely the researcher in our relationship so I was the one who first started trawling the internet for information. I saw that St David’s Children Society had had fantastic reviews and that it had just launched a new child-focussed adoption service that offered additional support to the adopters and to the children, so I gave them a call.

 

“From the very start, our expectations have been blown out of the water. We’ve been really impressed by the initial training, the social workers, the flexibility and the ongoing support we’ve received from Adopting Together.

 

“At the initial training, they really do prepare you for what’s to come and don’t sugar coat it in any way, which was great for us as we wanted to go into this with our eyes wide open. They take you through the worst possible scenarios for what could happen when the children move in, how they could react to different circumstances and teach you ways to deal with every eventuality.”

 

Adopting Together is the first project of its kind in Wales to deliver a targeted approach to finding suitable adopters for specific children and offer a bespoke package of therapeutic support for both the children and the adopters through every stage of their childhood, until the child turns 18.

 

Led by St David’s Children Society, the service aims to find families to adopt children who have been waiting the longest for a family. Typically, these tend to be children who are over four years old, brothers and sisters who need to stay together, have additional needs or uncertainty around their development or – due to concerns over inter-racial adoption – from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

 

Tony adds: “When it came to the stage of finding the right child for us, both of us were excited but anxious too. We just didn’t know what to expect. We’d been told about the family-finding and profiling events that Adopting Together organises where the prospective adopters go along to either meet foster carers and social workers and see profiles and videos of children, and it was great.

 

“We’d had a very fixed idea beforehand of the type of child we wanted to adopt but that all went out of the window during the process and we found ourselves drawn to a few children in particular who were nothing like what we’d originally had in mind.

 

“We first saw a video of our little boy at a profiling event and immediately feel in love with his little smile.

 

“We got all of his background information, quickly decided that we wanted to go ahead and very soon afterwards, we were told we could progress with the match.  We were thrilled! You then have to go through a series of checks and approvals, where you find out loads of information about the child, meet their social worker, foster carer and get a really detailed psychological report,  but you’re supported every step of the way and encouraged to talk about any concerns or doubts you may have.

 

“We were so excited to welcome him to our home but knew it would be very emotional and unsettling for him so the guys at Adopting Together made sure that the transition was taken at his pace and completely led by him.

 

“When he first came to us, our son was extremely quiet and shy. He started at nursery and would just sit in the corner and play by himself, not wanting to interact with any of the other children but you should see him now! He loves to be the centre of attention, he has loads of friends, buckets of confidence and we can’t stop him talking!

 

“That’s not to say it’s all been plain sailing. About a year ago, he was waking regularly with night terrors, which was incredibly upsetting. We wanted to make sure there was nothing more we could be doing to help him and were able to just arrange a session with the psychologist who was a huge help.

 

“Lockdown has been tough for him, as you’d imagine. He just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see his friends, or go to the park, or see his grandparents, and started to revert back to how he’d been when he first came to us. We both found the whole experience so stressful as we just weren’t sure what to tell him or how to make him feel better when everything around us seemed so bleak.

 

“The guys at Adopting Together were brilliant though. We were able to have a Zoom call with the clinical psychologist to discuss how we were dealing with the situation. They reassured us that some of the techniques we were using were great but also suggested some alternative solutions.

 

“We talked to him very honestly about what was going on in the world and made sure he knew that we were feeling upset by it all too, so he didn’t feel isolated in the way he was feeling. We even bought him a punchbag and named it coronavirus so that he could take out all his anger and frustration on that.

 

“It’s just so helpful to have access to this ongoing support as issues like this do crop up, as you’d expect, so to be able to speak to a professional who’ll give us a new, expert viewpoint, when we’re feeling unsure about what to do is an absolute godsend.”

 

Asked to reflect on the last two years, Mike said the reality of adopting a child had more than lived up to his hopes and expectations.

 

“When we look back on the last two years and how far we’ve all come, we feel so proud. When we entered into this, we wanted to bring up our son in the way that we’d both been brought up. I grew up in a small town in Yorkshire and spent all my school holidays with my grandparents so I think I’ve got quite old school beliefs when it comes to parenting.

 

“We both think it’s really important not to let him rule the roost, to teach mutual respect and reward him when he’s good, but also establish really clear boundaries so that he knows what’s acceptable and what’s not. We’ve stuck to our guns on that and it’s really helped to have picked up loads of great parenting tips from Adopting Together that we wouldn’t have thought of before.

 

“We absolutely love our son to bits and can’t imagine life without him. Yes, we’ve had the sleepless nights, the tantrums, and a good few challenges to deal with so far, but because we were so prepared and have had such great support, we’ve been able to deal with all of that. The training and support is unique to Adopting Together and the after-care couldn’t be better.

 

“We are really grateful to them for helping us to get the family we always wanted.”

 

If you are interested in adopting a child through Adopting Together, visit www.adoptionwales/adoptingtogether for more information or call 029 2066 7007.

Partnership graded as ‘Outstanding’

The St. David’s Children Society Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Cardiff University has been given the highest possible grading of ‘Outstanding’ by Innovate UK.

Funded by Welsh Government, the KTP was a collaboration between St. David’s Children Society, Cardiff University School of Psychology and Cardiff Business School. Supported by the National Adoption Service Cymru the KTP purpose was to strengthen adoption services, with the Adopting Together Service growing from a need identified to find families for children who wait the longest and were most at risk of having their plans changed to long term fostering arrangements.

The KTP began in September 2017. Led by St. David’s, in partnership with Barnardo’s Cymru, Adoption UK and our therapeutic partner, The Family Place, the Adopting Together Service officially launched in June 2018. Since then the Service has continued to grow, placing over 14 children with permanent families. Under its unique model, children and their families have been offered psychologist-led and therapeutic support prior to, and within the first year of placement.

The ‘outstanding’ rating reflects the whole innovative approach undertaken by the KTP to establish the Service, inclusive of support from Cardiff Business School and School of Psychology. Through direct guidance from Dr Jane Lynch at Cardiff Business School, Adopting Together created a collaborative structure behind its delivery that represented transformational change in the procurement of social care, aligning with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

Led by Professor Katherine Shelton, Cardiff University School of Psychology is evaluating the impact of the service for children and their families. Dr Shelton stated that, “This multi-agency project has been transformative in its approach to supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our society. We are absolutely delighted to see recognition from Innovate UK of this work with the ‘outstanding’ grading”.

Wendy Keidan, CEO of St. David’s stated, “The KTP has acted as an enabler of collaboration using the expertise of academic, therapeutic, statutory and voluntary sector partners to find adoptive families for some of the most vulnerable children in Wales. We are grateful for the support of Welsh Government in facilitating this unique relationship which is now going from strength to strength and to Innovate UK for recognising this sector leading approach to social care.”

Suzanne Griffiths, Director of the National Adoption Service said “I am very pleased to see this recognition from Innovate UK.  It is testament to the uniquely collaborative approach that underpins this new and much needed service.”

 

 

 

“An Enlightening and Rewarding Experience”

Adopters Story

Our journey like many others, started with a very painful event; Infertility, IVF and a period of mourning.
From the moment we both met, we both knew we wanted children together. So, to be told that we now had very little hope of that happening was a tremendous blow.
We had talked about adopting during the IVF process, and so, when we had given ourselves enough time to mourn the loss of our chances of conceiving a birth child, we did some research on adoption and who to go to for help.
St. David’s stood out from the very outset. From the very first phone call which Claire made in August; she was put through to Joy. We were Instantly put at ease, and given all the right information, not so much that you felt swamped, but enough to want to find out more.
We arranged our first social worker visit within a few weeks, which was one of the most nerve-wracking things I have ever done. But within two minutes of Joy sitting down, we were chatting like old friends and any nerves had disappeared. She guided us through the whole process from training to meeting our forever family. She made us feel so excited for the future.
We started reading some of the books which are recommended, this really helped us to understand how the children have been affected by their early experiences.
We joined Mary’s training course in November, (we should have attended in September, but we had booked our first holiday for a few years for the same dates. Typical). You will hear a lot about Mary, and all for the best of reasons. Her training is AMAZING. For me it was like a massive lightbulb moment; she made sense of what we had previously read, giving practical and real-world examples and she really encourages and guides you into this very different method of parenting; she effectively brought the pages of the books to life. We honestly believe that Every parent should attend training like this, as it is so invaluable.
We filled out the required pre assessment forms shortly afterwards. The main application form was then sent to us, which was a bit more detailed and took a bit of thinking through.
In January we were assigned our social worker, Jodi. Now Jodi is one of the nicest, and easiest people to talk to, you could ever wish to meet! If like me you tend to be a little on the shy or quiet side, this is an absolute godsend. We were given our Homework (yes you get homework lol), and then talked about it during our meetings, not in an interview-y way, but an informal way, which forms part of your assessment. However, don’t worry, even though obviously it is your social workers job to asses you and find out if you are suitable to adopt, it certainly doesn’t feel like you are being tested all the time!
Now I must stress at this point, if you Embrace everything that is given to you, and are open minded and open hearted, the whole journey is a very enlightening and rewarding experience. Some of the homework you are given, will ask you about Your past, and how you have felt in different situations; which may feel uncomfortable or be upsetting at times. But, and it’s a big BUT, it is all designed to get you thinking about your identity and how you have become the person you are through experiences and nurturing. This is another lightbulb moment, because we take for granted so much when you’ve had a loving family around you, that you don’t realise what impact being loved has had on you. Conversely, you then imagine how that now affects a child who is not loved or has a chaotic start to life. Don’t worry though, about being able to write or articulate these feelings, your social worker is there to help you every step of the way.
As I write this at the end of May, we are looking to go to Panel for approval by the end of June, having had our midpoint review in March. We are one of the class of 2020, and so we have had lockdown to deal with for part of the process. But Jodi and St. David’s have been amazing, and we have completed some of our meetings Via Skype and Zoom. Different times eh…?
We are only waiting for medicals now, hopefully in the next week or so!! Covid19 and its awful effects both health wise and lockdown wise, has thankfully not affected us too badly with our adoption journey, as it has given us the time to read more, learn more, get the house child ready and ultimately talk more about it. We are right on schedule, and are as excited as ever!
For us because St. David’s offer so much, from support groups, coffee mornings (Virtual now), seminars, and blogs; we have felt totally involved and never left waiting or wanting for anything, so the last few months have flown by. We have honestly felt a part of the Society that is St. David’s.
We can’t wait for the next steps of matching and meeting our children, we don’t know who they are yet, but we love them already!
We look forward to updating our journey soon…

National Adoption Week!

This week (14th – 20th October) is National Adoption Week!

We are taking this week to celebrate our adopters and let you know how we can support you in your adoption journey!

Adoption Information Evening

Tuesday, 15th October
4 PM
St David’s Children Society (28 Park Place, Cardiff)

Have you been thinking about adoption but something is holding you back? Perhaps you think you’re not eligible to adopt, or you think it will be expensive? Are you unsure what an Adoption Agency actually does?

At our adoption evening we’ll answer all your questions about adoption. Come along and learn about St David’s as an organisation and how the adoption process looks, then ask us any questions of your own! If you like what you hear, you can even talk to us about how to start your adoption journey.

It’s not to be missed!

Follow along on social media!

We will be posting all week on social media, giving you information about the organisation, as well as being part of an exciting project with the National Adoption Service! Make sure you’re following us to keep up to date with us this National Adoption Week!

Twitter: @adoptionwales

Facebook: St David’s Children Society

Instagram: st.davids.children.society

With St David’s amazing support, we’re doing OK.

When our daughter’s social worker visited our home to see that we could accommodate the little person about to enter into our lives, she mentioned the “honeymoon period” that adopters often have. We said we hope that our “honeymoon period” would be as short as possible, because it’s a honeymoon for adopters but a nightmare for the adoptee.

Well, how about no honeymoon period at all?

The day we brought our daughter home wasn’t anything like we imagined it would be. We knew it was going to be a bit sad for her, but we thought there would also be happiness, excitement. Instead, it was one of the toughest days in the lives of all three of us.

The first few weeks were incredibly challenging and lonely. We had moments of happiness that felt like they were surrounded by grief and sadness. We remembered that we were told this might happen in our training, and our social worker Jane was always just a phone call away – day or night, 24/7/365.

That made it easier, and the tools that St David’s provided us with were producing results, which gave us a great sense of empowerment. We felt like “we got this”- and that whatever would be thrown at us, we can handle it.

Adopting an older child has its difficulties. It sometimes feels like we’re “sharing” her with her birth family and foster carer. She’s also burdened with so much guilt, that often if we have happy moments she’ll feel like she has to compensate by expressing her loyalty and love to the people she’s no longer with.

On the other hand, in many ways it makes things easier. She can talk and has the self awareness to help us understand what’s bothering her. She also has clear memories of her family and a connection to her past. That, we feel, takes a huge burden off her in terms of her identity and also off of us as we don’t need to “carry” her past for her – she knows what she’s been through.

There are amazing highs and devastating lows in this journey. Two weeks after our daughter moved in with us, one of our two cats of 9 years died unexpectedly. It was crushing, but we had to deal with it while we had a child who was herself grieving and finally letting out the pain that she had kept inside for a long time.

For a long time it didn’t really feel like parenting. It felt like supporting a child who was going through stuff that adults would struggle with, a child who feels like at any moment her whole world can turn on its head and once again she’ll have to start over.

Of course, when that period finally started to end after the first couple of months, other challenges came up. There’s always something, and every day has its trials and tests. But it’s different now: it feels more like parenting, she feels more and more like a child who’s confident in her place in the world. A child with a feeling of self-worth and who isn’t afraid of new experiences.

Seeing that difference in her, and hearing her social worker and other professionals say what a different girl she is to the one who moved in with us, that makes it all worth it. With St David’s amazing support, we’re doing OK.

“It feels like they have always been here with us”

 

I remember planning my outfit. It sounds ridiculous but I remember the conversation with my partner, Andrew, the night before we visited St David’s. I wanted something that said I was responsible but fun, light-hearted but protective, and fun but stern too. Upon realising that I didn’t own anything that could present all of that, I decided on my usual clobber – but with a smart shoe.

To be honest, Andrew and I did little to no research. We didn’t want our experience to be hindered by other people’s perspectives, or to be disillusioned by the whole process due to one person’s difficult experience. We treated it as if we were to read reviews: you always focus on the negative responses on TripAdvisor, as opposed to the positive. So we decided not to consume any of it. That didn’t stop me making up scenarios in my head, but it did stop them from being backed up with real stories, which wasn’t what I needed right then.

The next day we called into St David’s during one of their Drop-In Sessions and we couldn’t have felt more welcome. I have completely invented this trepidation, this idea that I would have to present myself as someone different. This very quickly subsided once we sat down with the social workers. Here, we were asked some questions to assess our readiness for adoption, but we never felt like we were being judged.  The discussion was informative but not overloading. It gave us the information required for us to be able to make an informed decision as to whether we wished to fill out the initial paperwork, progressing us to the next stage. This is literally: name, address, D.O.B, family pets and any other information we would like to disclose. We found ourselves filling out the initial paperwork there and then, although we weren’t pressured to and could just as easily have taken it away with us to discuss further.

Having come away from the Drop-In Session, we were glad we decided to limit our research. From St David’s information pack and the initial conversation with the social workers, we felt they would tell us what we needed to know to put us in good stead for the assessment process and the start of this journey.

You will always ask yourself: Am I ready? Am I good enough?

I felt I didn’t just have to learn how to become a Dadi, I also had to earn the right to be one.

We were asked by others and, more often, by ourselves: Is now the right time?

Were we 100% ready? Probably not – renovating your garden during introductions is not advised. But we did it, and we embraced the entire process from the start. And did we take ownership of it? Yes. Did we work through it with our social worker at a pace that was comfortable for us? Yes. Did we ask 101 and then some questions throughout, regardless of how stupid they sounded? Yes. Did it completely engulf our lives for 9 months? Yes!!

I can’t stress this enough: embrace it! The assessment process covered a wide array of topics around adoption – it succeeded in balancing the intensity of raising an adopted child, with the absolute “worth it” moments of forming a family. It is a positive, thought-provoking and informative experience, answering all the questions we had and many that we hadn’t even thought of. You may feel talking about your experiences as intrusive and daunting, but in fact it was highly therapeutic.

You are cautioned to expect problems and mentally you prepare for the worst, but to date, all has been well! We have the normal age-related behaviours and other aspects that perhaps need some fine tuning; however, all in all, it feels like they have always been here with us.  Together we have formed a strong attachment and we’re confident that we will manage any problems that occur in the future – as a family.

We have St David’s to thank for that!

In the end, it is completely worth it! We have beautiful, funny, energetic children and a very different feel to our home. Toys have taken over our house, nothing we own is clean anymore, fish fingers have become a delicacy, and we frequently hear:

“Dad, Dadi… look!”

“Good morning, Dad! Good morning Dadi!”

“I need a poo!”

“No, I don’t want to go to bed!”

And: “I love you Dad and Dadi.”

These are the sounds of our family setting. This is our story. It may not appear ‘perfect’, but that’s the best bit: it’s those bits in between, those imperfect bits, where you learn the most about each other, where you develop that trust that begins to connect you as a family.

A forever family.

 

St David’s Children Society has Drop-In hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm – 2pm. Why not stop by and start your journey like Andrew and Damian?

Adoption Drop In Sessions

For some time now, St. David’s Children Society have hosted Adoption Drop In Sessions, every Tuesday and Thursday from 12-2 at our Cardiff office, for people who are thinking about adoption and have questions they would like to ask.

We appreciate that for many people who initially contact us, adoption may have been something that they have been thinking about for a long time and that first contact may seem really daunting and to speak to a stranger over the phone about it may seem like a really odd thing to do!

Our Drop In sessions are a really informal way for people to find out more, ask questions of an experienced member of staff and to find out about the next steps.

If after the session, you feel that adoption is not right for you, that is absolutely fine, but if you feel like the time is right for you, we can advise you of the next steps.

Our goal is that you find out all the information that you need at whatever stage you are at, and you feel comfortable in talking to us.

No appointment is needed, just come along between 12 and 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we will put the kettle on and hopefully answer any questions you have!

If you would like any further information, please call us on 02920 667 007