I always knew I’d end up adopting a child. Being single and openly lesbian meant that I wasn’t going to begin a family any other way. I’ve always worked in the special education sector and I wanted to use my experience to give a disabled child in care the chance to have a loving home and family.
When I was in my twenties, I went through the process of adoption for the very first time. Instead of being nervous, I found the whole process so exciting and remember pacing the docks at Preston in anticipation! My dream was about to come true; one I feared may never happen.
I found a little boy named Timmy who had cerebral palsy with severe learning disabilities. He’d actually already been placed with an adoptive family previously, however, when they met him, they decided to pull out; dealing with the extra responsibility wasn’t something they felt capable of doing.
I was able to meet him first before we went through the matching process just in case the same thing happened again. Obviously, I fell in love with him straight away! I mean, truth be told, I was already hooked just from reading the information provided beforehand.
Timmy came home with me when he was 2 years, 8 months old. It wasn’t always easy; he had quadriplegic cerebral palsy meaning that he couldn’t walk, couldn’t speak and had to have lots of physio. I took three months adoption leave and then went back to work part time, so he started to go to a special school twice a week and a childminder – who happens to be a friend of mine – one day per week.
He learnt to sit up within three months of being with me and he was absolutely delightful; we bonded quickly. Timmy developed various illnesses as he grew up but remained a very happy boy. After I’d had him with me for two years, I decided that it was time to expand our little family.
I went back and got assessed again and ended up with a beautiful little girl, Chelsea. She also had special needs, partially due to being born prematurely, but developed much better than predicted and became a bright and pleasant child. She learned to talk, however, this meant that I now had two children in wheelchairs. Timmy grew fond of his new sister and they enjoyed many activities together, swings, walks, drives and more as they grew side by side.
When Timmy was 10 and Chelsea was 6, I met Barbara. When I first started seeing Barbara, I kept the children under wraps to start with. It was soon obvious that our relationship was moving fast and once we became serious, she started spending more time at the house with them.
Timmy and Chelsea loved her from the start and by the time Barbara moved in, we were just desperate to all be under the same roof. Timmy really did think that she was the best thing ever! It just worked, and we got married soon afterwards.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of pitfalls. I was very tired and lacking in energy as a single parent in the early days. As children continued to grow and flourish, we also faced various challenges with acquiring the correct support that they needed. We wrestled with agencies, endured battles, lived through housing adaptations loved and cried together.
That said, we still feel so very lucky, having ended up with two beautiful, loving children. They are a wonderful gift and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to do it. In fact, we’ve decided to look at doing it all over again ourselves!