Hello, welcome to Two Poofs! Tell us a little bit about your blended family.
We are a two father family (Daddy and Papa) with a little boy (toddler) through adoption. We also have two dogs (Boston terriers).
What area of the UK do you live in?
We live in south London.
Did you always know you wanted children? Who instigated the conversation?
I (Daddy) always wanted children (I didn’t know how but I always did). We talked about our future quite early on in our relationship just to make sure we were on the same page, we both wanted children but Papa never thought he’d be able to (he comes from a different country where at the time it wasn’t legal to adopt as a gay couple).
Was your agency a local authority or voluntary agency?
We adopted through a local authority; it was recommended to us by friends who had adopted through them. We did do information sessions with other LAs but ultimately landed on the one that was recommended. One of the reasons being the two social workers that presented were really articulate and competent, they made you feel like they really had the experience to take you through the process successfully, ultimately one of them became our social work and she’s brilliant.
Did you read any adoption stories before you started? If so where? (eg blog, Instagram, books)
We’d spoken to a couple of people that had adopted but for whatever reason struggled at the time to find the resource online that related to us, particularly LGBT. We first started looking in 2014/15.
What was your biggest worry before you started the process?
How we would be treated as a gay couple by social services and other parents on the journey. Also ultimately how the general public would respond to us as a family once we had a child.
How long did the process take from the point of deciding you wanted to adopt to your child(ren) coming home?
So we started really looking in early 2015 but I was made redundant and we decided to put in hold until I had a new job and we were settled. Once I started the new job we bought a house (we lived in a flat) so we wanted that to be sorted and settled too. We then finally entered into stage 1 with our LA in February 2017 & were approved in December 2017. We had a two month stop in the middle of the assessment because of a family health issue and then our social worker was on summer holidays. We ultimately took our adopted son home earlier this year. See the next questions for why it took so long to match to him!
What age and number of children were you approved for? Were you matched to a different age or number of children from this?
We were approved for Early Permanence/Foster to Adopt with an age range of 0 – 2 (however we were told we could adopt older if we wanted). We were initially matched to a 6-week old baby when we did foster to adopt last year (which became interrupted see below) but our son this year was within the age range.
How did the matching process work? Did you look at lots of profiles?
Early permanence is different to straight forward adoption, you don’t get profiles per se, you get a phone call with limited information about a baby that is either about to be born or that just has been, the information therefor centres around the birth parents no really the child. We were presented with about 4 that we said yes to but then the court decided on things like residential assessments and not early permanence, we did eventually take a baby in mid-2018 which became interrupted (see below).
After some time out from the loss of the little boy started matching again but for straight foreword adoption only. We were presented with a number of different options (age range, siblings etc…) in the first batch was the little boy we ultimately have now and we held a strong draw to him from day one. After a month or so we agreed he was the one and wanted to meet his social worker and the rest is history!
What has been the most difficult part of the process?
Early permanence was definitely the most difficult part and losing the little boy we had. The short version is that a birth family member had been miss assessed as negative before we were contacted. Then about 2 weeks into the placement we found out that family member was being reassessed due to poor quality work in the initial assessment. Ultimately that member was approved so we had to hand the baby over. There is a lot more detail about this which I have blogged about if anyone is interested. The loss of that little boy will haunt me for the rest of my life, the only things I can take from it is that we gave him the best start we could and we learnt a lot about childcare and attachment.
Have you needed to access additional help and support from your agency since your child came home? If so, what and did it meet your needs?
Yes, when we had the early permanence placement. I had counselling to help me manage my emotions when we still had him but knew he was going and then a bit after he’d gone. This was provided by our local authority via PAC UK.
What has been your best memory since your child(ren) came home?
So many, after the loss of the boy last year it makes you remember everyday how lucky you are to have them. The day he called me Dada was a heart melt moment, but our first holiday in the UK as a family was just such a defining point where you realise this is it now, and it is your family from now on.
If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself about the process before you started, what would you tell yourself?
I would probably talk about work-life/balance. You don’t realise how much energy this process takes from you. Also, the ups/downs post-panel approval through matching and placement requires a lot of flexibility. Don’t stress the little things…. There are much bigger things to put your energy into. My whole life perspective has changed but I don’t think you can truly understand that until you go through it!