National Adoption Week
Publish Date: 03/10/2012
National Adoption Week 5th – 11th November.
National Adoption Week is about finding families for children who wait the longest. Here two people share their story of becoming a family through adoption.
Karen, 47 adopted Sam aged 4
“I’d reached a point in life where to me, it seemed like adoption was the natural next step. I had turned 40, had a secure home and job, as well as a great network of friends and thought, ‘why not?’
“I went to an Exploring Adoption event for Families that Last and from there, I was invited to one of their ‘prep groups’ – where you learn more about adoption, what it means for both you and the children.
“About seven months later I was approved by the adoption ‘Panel’, and what’s known as the ‘matching process’ began. That was a difficult time – knowing I had more or less completed the process but still needed to find my child.
“A few months later, I was matched with a child who I had seen in ‘Be My Parent’ (an adoption publication), and ‘introductions’ started a few months later
“Having the support of my friends and family has been amazing . The moral support other gay adopters can give each other is extremely important. Children in lesbian and gay families have some of the same – but also many different – issues to handle and make sense of as they grow up, so it helps that we have other people around us who ‘get it’.
“It can be hard at times, emotionally more than anything. Many of us have a clear idea of what kind of parents we will be; with an adopted child, it sometimes feels that a lot of that goes out the window as we have to respond to the individual needs of the child, and love them for who they are.
“I can’t imagine life without my son now. It happened at the right time for me, and I would say to check it out, talk to people who have adopted. Do some research and see if it’s for you!”
Matt, 42 adopted Lucy aged 5
“As a single gay man in my early 40s, many of my gay male friends encouraged me to think about adoption. I had always wanted to be a Dad and I spent a lot of time with my nephew, aged nine. I would take him to Beaver Scouts, boxing and taekwondo, as well as swimming classes and days out.
“I originally started training to become a foster carer but realised that I was better suited to adoption. A chance meeting with an old friend - a gay man, who had adopted three boys with his partner - led to me contacting Families that Last.
“Roll on around 9 months later I was approved to adopt two children of the same gender, aged three and a half to eight, white or dual-ethnicity.
“It has been a challenging journey – though cathartic at the same time. It’s important to stay focused and think of the end result. My friends and family were tremendous support, and you come to realise how much you do rely on your support networks. Some of my heterosexual friends and colleagues, who have chosen to remain childless, have been confused as to why a gay man – or lesbian – would want to adopt; likewise, younger gay men often say they couldn’t devote that much of themselves to a child permanently, or ever. It is therefore sometimes difficult having to ‘explain’ yourself to others, but I know I made the right decision – and I’m so happy to have become a father and have my daughter living with me now.
“Above all, remember that until recently, we were not even allowed or considered “suitable” to adopt children, and even though the process can seem arduous and lengthy – it’s all worth it when a child calls you “Mum” or “Dad”, especially for the first time!”
Want more Information?
· New Family Social - http://www.newfamilysocial.co.uk/
· Families that Last – www.familiesthatlast.org.uk
· Adoption UK – www.adoptionuk.org
Or visit our website for more details on LGBT same sex parenting - www.lgf.org.uk/Your-rights/same-sex-parenting/