Steven and Jason* had always wanted to adopt, living in a one bedroom flat, they knew things needed to change – and after one adoption information evening they were hooked and almost overnight, their flat was up for sale and they started looking at three-bedroom family houses! Between them, Steven and Jason tell their story to Adoption North London.
“We were really motivated to start the adoption process. We’d looked at our finances, and were ready to move into a three-bedroom house, a proper family home. After what seemed like endless renovation work, our house was exactly how we wanted it and we were ready to welcome a child into our home. After recommendation, we approached the North London Adoption Consortium, who were happy to take us on, so we were very keen to get started.”
Not everything was going to plan, as Jason explains, “After a month or so into the process, I was made redundant. At first we were devastated, as I was supposed to be the one working full time, so Steven could be the stay at home parent. We thought about it and explained to our social worker that we would just swap roles – it made absolute sense! But our social worker was adamant that we should wait, take time out and stick to our original plan, Jason would find a new job in time. This wasn’t what we wanted to hear – we were frustrated and annoyed that the process and our plan to adopt would need to be on hold. But, you know what, in hindsight, this really was the best plan. During our ‘time out’ we looked after friend’s children, spent quality time with our families and friends, did lots of research, and I think when were able to start again, we came back stronger as a couple and as potential parents.
Finally we were back on track and Jason got a new job and we started back on the assessment. What’s great about the process is, it allows for a break, if needed, between Stages One and Two. The whole thing about our social worker getting to know us (Stage Two), is it quite full on – and emotional. You don’t realise how talking about your life – the good and the bad memories and hearing those of your partner can have an impact. Our social worker would visit us at home, and after each session we were exhausted but we looked forward to the sessions. It was an incredible experience for us.”
At the end of the assessment, Steven and Jason’s social worker produced a report about them and this report is presented to Panel (a group of independent people – adoptees, medical and legal representatives, etc. who make a recommendation that families can become adoptive parents).
Steven describes the day. “It was really intense - we were so nervous and terrified! The Panel representatives were all friendly but we knew that these people would, within seven whole minutes, change our lives forever. So when they said ‘yes’ there were tears of joy!”
“After being approved by the Panel, and six months later, we were to meet our son, he was four years old and his name was Daniel. Due to unusual circumstances, as Daniel was in foster care with his brothers, the move to our family needed to be carefully managed. Daniel needed a supportive and sensitive introduction to us. So we met Daniel at an event for families – again this was amazing, and immediately we met him – we just knew he was our son. He was so excitable and just wanted to play and we did just that. Afterwards we were shattered but really happy.”
A year and a half on, Steven, Jason and Daniel are incredibly happy. They are comfortable and settled at home, but it’s not all been plain sailing. Jason told us, ‘Sometimes Daniel misses the people and family he knew before he came to live with us. He would go to his special box that has photos and cards, and holds memories of his past. Sometimes he would talk about it and we needed help to manage all these emotions and know the best thing to say and do. Using funding from the Adoption Support Fund – a government funded scheme - we were able to get the therapeutic support Daniel needed and with the consortium training, we learnt some techniques that helped us help Daniel with his loss. There is lots of support out there. Working with your social worker or adoption support team, you have to work out what the issues are, and find the right support that you need to help you and your family.
Life has changed so much for us in the last one and a half years. Our lives are so different from before Daniel came to live with us – super busy, amazing and at the same time, being a parent is hard work! We now have an amazing new set of friends and from day one at school, everyone has been so nice – as two dads, we do stand out! But everyone is friendly and supportive. Most of all we have a little boy who we are incredibly proud of – he is a real show man – and for us, it’s a pleasure to be his parents.”
*Not real names