A Story of Adoption – Being adopted is something that will forever be a part of me -

View videos →

My name is Gerry, I am 31 and am currently training to be a teacher for drama in secondary schools. I was fostered at the age of 2 along with my older brother and younger sister. When I was 4 all three of us moved from Croydon to Wales to live with our adoptive parents together. Due to the low percentages of three siblings being adopted together, my brother and I were placed in one foster home and my sister, being a baby at this time, was placed in a separate one. Being two years old myself, I didn’t really understand what was going on at the time as at this moment in time. A year later we were all moved back into one foster home. I presume, this was due to my parents wanting us all together.

I don’t remember much of the adoption process being so young at the time. I vaguely remember meeting my adopted parents at my foster home, not really knowing who they were several times. I remember sitting in my parents’ car and leaving the foster home, not aware of where we were going.  The process of being fostered, separated from my sister and moving to a forever family was scary in truth. The age we all were, made it difficult to comprehend what exactly was going on no matter how many people tried explaining it to us. This left me feeling unsettled, defensive and prickly once we had moved in with our adopted parents. I would say it was the first year that was the hardest.  I felt out of place, insecure and unaware of where I was and why I had moved again for the third time in 2 years with three different families. I remember feeling so out of my comfort zone that I didn’t call my mother ‘mum’ for that first year of us moving, only using her first name to converse with her, which she must have found so hard. I also followed my brother everywhere for that year, using him as my constant, my stability, the familiar thing I had in an unfamiliar environment.  When we were at school, my sister would get so upset and cry because she was so confused and overwhelmed about what was going on in our lives at that point. The teachers would call me in from the class next door to comfort her. After she stopped crying, I would go back to my class and have a little cry myself, struggling to comprehend the massive change that had happened to us.

My parents were fantastic. They were patient, caring, kind, understanding and most importantly loving. They let the three of us open up in our own time, not pressuring any of us to consider us a family until we were ready in our own minds. they did things with us, bike rides, playing football in the garden, where my father would be the goalie and announce our entrances as we came running out onto the pitch. We joined local football teams, cubs/scouts, gym club, school teams, made friends at school etc. we were introduced to the rest of the family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and close family friends. My parents gave us every opportunity to fit in and feel comfortable and, slowly, through that first-year, things began to fall into place and we felt more and more like a family and like this place was our home.

In July 1997 we were certified as being adopted, I was seven years old by this point. This was three years after we had moved in with our parents. The day was very odd to me as by this time I considered us to be an ordinary, everyday, run of the mill family. The fact that we had to attend court and see a judge was confusing for me. I remember that my family and I were stood to the right of the judge and there were people we knew, friends, family and social workers stood to the left of him. The whole occasion felt weird and quite intimidating especially since an hour before my brother, sister and I were enjoying our schools’ sports day, which we were slightly upset about missing due to our massive competitiveness with each other. The judge looked serious and fairly frightening to me. He was sat in his big chair at the front of the court, raised slightly higher than the rest of us, who were standing. He could see we were all on edge and nervous.  To make us settle slightly, he removed his wig which made us all laugh and let us take photos of us sitting in his massive chair (which I still keep on my bedside table). I don’t remember much else from this day other than the judge asking some questions and everyone clapping. Before we left, the judge spoke about marking this day every year in celebration. We did this by having a meal together in the same restaurant every year. For me, the whole day was weird and slightly surreal…..but I got a Chinese out of it and so had little to complain about!

After this day there was nothing that I felt made us different from any other family. Life seemed simply ordinary to us, except for the fact that when people found out, they often thought it fascinating. You couldn’t stand a few families in a row and pick us out as the ones who were adopted.

I strongly feel that I was lucky to be adopted with my siblings. It was such a big comfort to have two people with me who understood exactly what I was going through because, in all honesty, no one does. Not even adoptive parents can understand or relate to how you feel when you are taken from one home and placed in another sometimes several times before you are told this one is your forever family. But when I found times difficult, especially in that first year. I could go to my brother or sister and they would get it completely which was unbelievably reassuring.

The three of us went onto to college and all of us received degrees at university. I have a qualification that allows me to teach English anywhere in the world and went on to act professionally after my degree. I spent 6 months touring the whole of Italy, teaching English through drama, I spent another 6 months touring California coaching soccer to 4- to 14-year-olds. I trekked through the Himalayas and spent a month in north Queensland of Australia. I am now training to be a teacher of drama. Without my family, I could not have done any of it. Without the stability of my brother and sister, I would not have felt safe when I moved to a strange place. without the patience, love, care, guidance and support from not just my parents but my whole family, I would not have grasped the ambition to achieve my goals and become the person I am today. Without the family net that we had as children, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, close friends. I would not have the courage to take risks and know that if I fall or get something wrong, my family will be there no matter what, brush me off and tell me to try again. These people are the reason I am who I am today and I could not be more grateful for my family and for being adopted.

I have said that we as a family didn’t feel different to any other. This does not mean that I don’t feel adopted, but rather that we embraced our adoption and were so thankful for it. Being adopted is something that will forever be a part of me, which is meant in the most happy and positive way I can think of.

Join the Big Adoption Conversation on Thursday 27th January 10.00am to 12.30pm 

 

Help shape the future priorities for adoption in Wales Register – www.adoptionvoices.wales

 

This free virtual event is for adoptive families, adopted people, social workers, representatives from the Welsh Government, senior managers, strategic planners and practitioners in the adoption community.

 

Using the latest survey results of Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer report alongside other information we will begin to consider the priorities that will guide the work of the National Adoption Service (NAS) as it develops the emerging Adopt Cymru 2025* plan.

 

Please register for one of the following workshops,

 

  1. Teenage years and transitions to adulthood
  2. Education
  3. Contact with birth family
  4. Becoming an adoptive family

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details for joining the event. www.adoptionvoices.wales

 

*The current service plan for NAS runs to the end of March 2022. NAS is therefore aiming to develop a plan for Welsh adoption services up to the end of 2025 – this will be known as Adopt Cymru 2025.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ymunwch â’r Sgwrs Mabwysiadu Fawr ar Ddydd Iau 27eg o Ionawr 10.00yb i 12.30yp 

 

Helpu i lunio blaenoriaethau’r dyfodol ar gyfer mabwysiadu yng Nghymru Cofrestru – www.adoptionvoices.wales/?lang=cy

 

Mae’r rhith ddigwyddiad rhad ac am ddim hwn ar gyfer teuluoedd sy’n mabwysiadu, pobl wedi’u mabwysiadu, gweithwyr cymdeithasol, cynrychiolwyr o Lywodraeth Cymru, uwch reolwyr, cynllunwyr strategol ac ymarferwyr yn y gymuned fabwysiadu.

 

Gan ddefnyddio canlyniadau diweddaraf adroddiad Baromedr Mabwysiadu Adoption UK ochr yn ochr â gwybodaeth arall, byddwn yn dechrau ystyried y blaenoriaethau a fydd yn llywio gwaith y Gwasanaeth Mabwysiadu Cenedlaethol (GMC/NAS) wrth iddo ddatblygu cynllun Adopt Cymru 2025* sy’n dod i’r amlwg.

 

Cofrestrwch ar gyfer un o’r gweithdai sy’n dilyn,

 

  1. Blynyddoedd yr Arddegau a Phontio i fod yn Oedolyn
  2. Addysg
  3. Cyswllt â theulu biolegol
  4. Dod yn deulu mabwysiadol

 

Ar ôl cofrestru, byddwch yn cael ebost cadarnhau yn cynnwys gwybodaeth am ymuno â’r digwyddiad.

 

*Mae’r cynllun gwasanaeth presennol ar gyfer GMC yn rhedeg hyd at ddiwedd Mawrth 2022. Felly, nod GMC yw datblygu cynllun ar gyfer gwasanaethau mabwysiadu Cymru hyd at ddiwedd 2025 – gelwir hwn yn Adopt Cymru 2025.

 

By trial and error we’ve got to know each other’s personalities, foibles and eccentricities – and it’s made us all more secure

The past three years seems to have passed both as slow as forever and as fast as the blink of an eye. Over the years we have had it all. Love. Laughs. Tantrums. Lack of sleep. Hitting. Biting. You name it, we’ve had it.

I’ve learnt that I had never actually done a hard day’s work before having children, that it’s a constant juggling act, that somewhere between 6-7pm every child turns into a cross between a spinning top and an over-stimulated chimpanzee and that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for.

I really feel we’ve formed a strong bond with our children, and that as well as love, there is trust – we really are doing this by trial and error, but we hope we are getting something right.

I remember the unknown of going to the play park with our children in the early days when they struggled to recognise us. For a long time, they’d be looking round, and you could see on their faces the question: “Is that Daddy? I think it’s that man over there, he looks tall enough.” Likewise, we would be panicking if we couldn’t see them in case they ran off and didn’t come back to us. Not to mention having two active toddlers with a fondness for mud, bark and water, running in opposite directions straight towards trouble. Now at the play park, they recognise our voices instantly, they both “check in” with regularity and they occasionally even do what we ask them to. They still run off but are secure in the knowledge that, if they turn around to check, one of us will be there.

We like to think we know what will make them both giggle and when they are frightened or just hungry; and we recognise their cries/shouts of “dad/daddy” amongst all the other cries. Knowing them better helps us empathise with our children (adopted or not) when, through crankiness, they are just trying to control the situation, or genuinely being fearful when they’re doing something for the first time.

It has taken time to get to know each other’s personalities, foibles and eccentricities. But the knowledge has made us all more secure. I no longer worry if people can spot, I have no idea what I am doing when trying to handle a tantrum in the street, and I now know when their ears get redder and redder their desperate for sleep. They no longer hold themselves still and quiet at bedtime, instead they press every button they can to get us to let them stay up, just like every other child does.

Like all parents, we’ve had to learn how to be parents alongside learning about our children.

In adoption, the issues we face are deeply emotionally rooted, stemming from a lack of permanence as a result of multiple sets of carers and poor experiences in early life. These experiences can manifest themselves as poor or even anti-social behaviour. Having a sense of permanence means you know that things and people exist when you can’t see, touch or hear them, but without it children fear that they themselves don’t exist and need to reassure themselves constantly.

Their whirlwind tantrums, how the simplest and most menial tasks can take hours, I feel, when that moment of peace finally comes, that we got through something huge, and I say, ‘If you two were anyone else, that would not have been cool.’ I mean it. I would not take that crap from anyone else. In so many ways being an adoptive parent is exactly as joyful, relentless, messy and profound as being any parent.

We don’t have a crystal ball. We can’t predict the future. There will be many hurdles (their teenage years!), but there will be so much joy. We prepare as best we can, as we continue to learn from each other through a space of understanding, openness, honesty and love. No painting of perfection.

So, were our children going ballistic because they feel unsettled, insecure in their attachment to us and need to draw our attention constantly back to them? Have they been damaged by their early life experience and just cannot master self-control? Was it our fault – are we just awful at this parenting lark and can’t manage our own children? Do they just have energetic personalities and is it nature rather than nurture?

Or do they simply need a good sleep?

In adoption nothing is straightforward, but I can say the rewards of getting to know your children –and allowing them the time to get to know themselves – outweigh the difficulties.

Damian Kerlin

 

If you are interested in finding out more about adoption, please contact using the contact form on this website or by emailing info@stdavidscs.org

Last month, we received this letter from Hope who is 9 years old.  Hope’s Mum and Dad adopted her little sister with St. David’s a couple of years ago and this is Hope’s story.

Our Adoption Journey – By Hope aged 9.

 

When I was six years old my Mum and Dad talked about adopting a little girl or boy. I thought it was a great idea so did my brother too. I think you should as well.

A few months later Mum and Dad went on a course about adoption and me and my brother had to stay with my Nan and Granny for a day or two whilst they were on a course.

They found a perfect social worker for us. Her name was Cate, she was brilliant. She asked us some questions like “do you want a brother or sister?” “what do you like to do?” “how do you feel?” – those types of questions.

After six months Mum and Dad went to find out if we could adopt someone. THEY SAID YES!!!! It was so exciting, since that day we had all been getting ready. Woohoo.

Cate’s job was to find the most perfect little boy or girl.  After a few weeks she said she found a beautiful little girl.

Mum and Dad met her first. Two days later me and my brother went to visit her.  Then five days later we bought her to our house, it was so fun!

It felt very exciting but different.  I love her and I like how much me, my brother and our sister all get on so well.

We both like playing with the guinea pigs and rabbits together and we love going on the trampoline with each other. I love sharing a bedroom with her it is lovely she is the best.

By Hope aged 9

The below blog comes from Damian, a St. David’s adopter, who, with his partner, adopted twin boys. More of Damian’s blogs can be found on his website:

https://www.damiankerlin.com/

Let’s talk adoption


It’s been a while since I talked about adoption.


Next month (May 2021) marks three years since we met the boys and all of our lives changed forever. Andrew and I always knew we wanted more than one child. It was never a matter of if, but when. Initially, you worry about the practicalities. We had never had a family. How were we going to afford it? How would we fit anymore than one child in our home? We only had a small car.

So, when we started the assessment process, we explained our thinking to our social worker, who was happy to process our application for one child. Or so we thought. As we navigated the adoption process with the support from our social worker and we discussed in further detail our future family, it became clear to us, that we were ready and our once reasons, were only excuses. Fortunately, our social worker had predicted this so we continued to progress through the process seamlessly.

In those days before the boys moved in, I remember staring at their empty car seats we had diligently waiting, trying to picture two children (twins to be exact), our children, in them. Now they are covered in stains and crackers crumbs. The past three years seems to have passed both as slow as forever and as fast as the blink of an eye. What did we do with all this love before them? Over the years we have had it all. Laughs. Tantrums. Lack of sleep. Hitting.

You name it, we have had it.

Are these adoption related? Yes and no.

Over the years we have learned to identify behaviours which are related to and the effects of their early childhood trauma. The rest is down to not getting their own way, tiredness, growing up and learning how to handle their emotions and some days, whichever way the wind blows. You know, the ‘normal’ stuff.

Their whirlwind tantrums, how the simplest and most menial tasks can take hours, I feel, when that moment of peace finally comes, that we got through something huge, and I say, ‘If you two were anyone else, that would not have been cool.’ I mean it. I would not take that crap from anyone else. In so many ways being an adoptive parent is exactly as joyful, relentless, messy and profound as being any parent.

We don’t have crystal ball. We can’t predict the future. There will be many hurdles (their teenage years!), but there will be so much joy. We prepare as best we can, as we continue to learn from each other through a space of understanding, openness, honesty and love. No painting of perfection.

This future was not always predicted for our boys. When they went into the care system and due to their early childhood experience, there were initial conversations that they would need to be split up. The thought of this breaks my heart, but this is the reality for so many children across the country. Sibling groups are being split up as social services struggle to find them their forever home.

Last week You Can Adopt a nationwide adopter recruitment campaign which aims to raise awareness of adoption and bust myths around who is eligible to adopt launched Brothers and Sisters. A new campaign aimed at potential adopters & approved adopters to consider adopting family groups and highlights the benefits of adopting brothers and sisters together.

There are currently 2,030 children waiting to be adopted in England, of those 890 are part of a family group. 520 children who are part of a sibling group have been waiting for 18 months or more to find a home.

Adopting two (or more) children definitely comes with it challenges, but the bond between our two is one of my favourite things to watch develop, grow and thrive. They are the best of friends and like every best friend they have their up and downs but they are never not there for each other. They would not be the children they are now if they had been split up and in my honest opinion it would have been hugely detrimental to their long-term mental health.

If you are thinking about adopting, or only considering it, please check out You Can Adopt’s latest campaign because you may find you have more room, a little more money, and that car, may not be as small as you think.

 

Help to raise funds for St David’s and celebrate Captain Sir Tom’s amazing achievements in a special fundraising event over his birthday weekend.  

St David’s are inviting you, your family, and friends to take part in the Captain Tom 100 challenge from Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May.  This is help raise funds for St David’s and to celebrate Captain Sir Tom Moore’s amazing achievements over his birthday weekend. 

Friday 30th April would have been Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 101st birthday and to celebrate this year his family have pledge to celebrate his life in an event that everyone around the world can get involved in – the Captain Tom 100 

Get involved  

All you need to do is dream up your Captain Tom 100 – an activity of your choice based around the number 100 – and do it anytime and anywhere from Friday 30th April through to Bank Holiday Monday 3rd May. 

Your 100 could be walking 100 steps or running 100 metres, scoring 100 goals, baking 100 cakes, climbing 100 stairs, hopping 100 laps of the garden, building 100 sandcastles, writing a 100-word poem, flipping 100 pancakes – anything at all, inside or outside (within current Government Guidance)It’s your chance to do it your way! More ideas can be found here 

Fundraise or donate
Once you’ve decided what you’re doing, you can fundraise or donate to St David’s and share your 100 on social media, using #CaptainTom100 and tag us @adoptionwales.  

You can set up a fundraising page or donate directly to St David’s by following the link https://bit.ly/2QdnW6F .   

You can find out more in general at CaptainTom100.com  

We hope you’ll join the thousands of people around the world taking part in Captain Tom 100 and spread his message of hope while raising funds for St David’s Children Society which will be used directly to help the children and families who need support 

Start Fundraising Now https://bit.ly/2QdnW6F  

Any amount is very much appreciated  

Thankyou  

Senior Practice Consultant Dee and Clinical Supervisor and Adult relationship counsellor Carola, discuss adoption and the impact this can have on families. They touch upon the importance of healthy couple relationships, working together as adoptive parents and much more. For more information visit www.relate.org.uk/cymru.

“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

“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.

There is no denying it – it is hard!

I would love to be able to say that 13 weeks in, we have established a new routine, a new normal, and every day is full of new opportunity and delight, but this is no fairytale. The reality is we take each day as it comes: some are truly inspiring and give you a glimmer of hope, that maybe you do actually have your sh*t together, while others we plough through with our heads down.

Routine was once a formidable safety blanket, but introducing and more importantly maintaining a new structure in a two up, two down terrace house, which is no longer just their home, but now an office, a gym, a playground, a school and canteen, is just damn-near impossible. Their emotions are shot, my children have already grieved heavily in the past. The loss of their birth family, their foster family, and now this.

I understand to many, they may feel I am over exaggerating, but the truth is our five year olds have experienced more trauma than many of us will face in a lifetime, and to have their routine, family and friends suddenly stripped from them alongside the emotional anguish attached is an experience they only know too well.

After the honeymoon period of being at home with Dad and Dadi ended, about two weeks in, the realisation that this wasn’t going away hit. Their behaviours started to regress, and past feelings, along with their dragon-like tantrums, started to raise their ugly head again. Chaos well and truly descended!

So, we took each day as it came, reverting back to old tactics which we were first introduced to from their foster family. Their days became structured around their meal times, breakfast, lunch and dinner, because as long as they knew they wouldn’t go hungry, which they once did, they felt secure. We then dotted in some home-schooling, garden play, PE with Joe Wicks (who I hope to never have in my living room again) around this, keeping it very much lead by them.

We vastly reduced the number of video calls. We discovered as time went on that they could unsettle the boys. The presence of a family or friend, on a screen, in our house, with only verbal interaction combined with their already mixed feelings of uncertainty, and lack of understanding only enticed their already hyper vigilant and sometimes manic behaviour. Instead, we hold off video calls until they ask, which is usually when they are excited to tell them something or want to show something off.

I myself have also struggled. Just before lockdown I was made redundant from a job I loved. Not to be too disheartened, I had a number of very positive interviews under my belt and opportunities started to dot across the horizon, yet this all came to a halt with the uncertainty brought on by lockdown. I love the boys but, personally, being a stay at home dad was never something I desired. My career is part of my identity, something I could succeed in that was my own, but now in lockdown, and with the light at the end of the tunnel constantly on dim, it is difficult to motivate yourself when you don’t actually feel you are working towards anything.

That said, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom and now as we enter our 14th week, those dragon-like tantrums are securely reigned, they are returning to school in some shape-or-form in a couple of weeks and we can meet other families in the park.

The chorus of ‘Dadi, he hit me!’ or ‘DADIIIII, he took my toy’ will resound in my ears long after lockdown but if you had the choice, being locked down with your brother who also happens to be your best friend doesn’t seem like a bad option. The pair of them are completely different, yin & yang, but lockdown has meant that they have not only found comfort in each other, but learned to appreciate each other’s differences and enjoys each other’s company through the sharing of the others interests.

I no longer feel guilty about their screen-time and the worry that they may not develop at the same rate as their peers has well and truly been erased. Comparison is the devil and as long as they feel happy, safe and content and sleep well at night we are happy.

So, for now, whether it is a long walk or simply vegging out in front of the TV, we’ll take it, and when routine finally presents itself again, we’ll relish it but more importantly be ready!!

Interested in adoption?

We would be delighted to hear from you: contact us

Get in touch

Our friendly team of representatives are on hand to answer any questions you have.

Visit our contact page