New parents speak to the LGF

How did you come to the decision that you wanted to adopt?

I’d been thinking for some time that our relationship was now in a place where I felt we could seriously think about starting a family. We’d both had decent, well paid jobs, had moved into a big enough house and most importantly I felt we had a lot to offer a family. We had decided that adoption was the route for us as neither of us had the longing to be a biological mother and having a family was more important to us than having a baby.

To what extent did the fact that you are a same-sex couple affect the adoption process?

Debbie and I were quite ignorant as to whether we could adopt as a same-sex couple, so we decided to phone a few agencies to try and gauge exactly how well same-sex couples were received.

Firstly Debbie phoned our local authority, who were reasonably helpful but fairly disinterested. Next she phoned Manchester Adoption Society and in response to the question “we are a same-sex couple, would that be a problem?” we received the reply “Oh we’ve got loads of those on our books.”

We decided they sounded like the agency for us!

Tell us a little bit about the process and what it entails?

The next step was to attend two information evenings. We received a lot of information about the process and also got the opportunity to speak to adoptive parents.

On the second evening we were told that they were happy to progress with us to the next stage. We attended preparation groups which highlighted phases of child development. A large proportion of the sessions were spent trying to empathise with not only the child, but also the birth parents and the reasons why they were unable to adequately parent their children.

Then the formal assessment began.

We were assigned a social worker who visited us in our home in order to create an assessment of us as individuals and as a couple.This involved in depth discussions about our family, our upbringing and our relationship and also included several close friends and family members being interviewed as character referees.

This assessment culminated with an independent panel concluding whether we were suitable to be approved as adopters based on the information in the report.

This was quite a stressful day as we were asked questions directly on how we would cope with parenting a sibling group of three, how we would cope with balancing work and family life, and how we would deal with any discrimination the children might face as a result of being parented by a same-sex couple.

Once you were approved, how did you find the children that were right for you?

It was a lot of waiting. This was probably the most difficult phase of the assessment, just waiting for the phone to ring, or an email to arrive. Four months after approval we were first told about the children, six weeks later we received all the information from which we had to decide if we wanted to proceed.

We then had to wait another 10 weeks to get to matching panel, where the match was formally agreed by another independent panel. Finally, five months after first hearing about the children we met them for the first time.

How would you describe the experience to people considering adoption?

The whole journey has been a roller coaster of emotions, but thoroughly worthwhile. It was long and draining, but now the kids are all asleep upstairs we are both so pleased that we made the journey. It’s amazing the bond we feel towards them. We are really looking forward to our future as a forever family.

Manchester Adoption Agency sadly closed its doors in 2009 and is sorely missed.