‘The rewards for us have been fantastic and I don’t regret it for a second.’
Before the change in legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt, I just accepted that I would never have children. Because we grew up thinking that we wouldn’t be dads, my partner and I had been together for 14 years before we started to consider adoption. This was a big decision as we thought having children is what other people did.
About 6 years ago, we moved to the North-West in a nice rural spot and I got a job where it mean that *Martyn could potentially be a stay at home Dad; so about 4 years ago, we started to talk about it seriously.
*Luca has now been with us for 3 and a half years and the formal adoption took place 3 years ago. Whilst, like all parents, we have had some challenging moments, it has been exceptionally rewarding. In terms of going through the process, Caritas made everything crystal clear to us from the beginning, from the moment we had our first visit from a social worker to the present day.
My husband, Martyn and I really feel like we were guided and supported through it all. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a thorough, robust process, as it has to be, however, we’ve had no negative experiences at all.
From an LGBT point of view, being a same-sex couple really hasn’t made a difference at all. The only times we discussed it with our social worker were to consider any potential future implications for Luca having two Dads and how we would deal with that if it comes up. We are very comfortable talking about that and Luca is too.
The planning leading up to the first meetings and introductions was very thorough. We put together a book of photos to send to Luca’s foster carers and we also made him a short video showing him around our house and garden.
We had already met his foster carers a couple of times before the introductions began and we had seen Luca from afar: a very moving and worthwhile thing to do. Because of the book and video, when we actually met him properly, he recognised us straight away. Luca is a lovely, warm and affectionate little boy and attached to us very quickly.
The preparation is absolutely critical; the more you’re prepared to put in prior to the placement, the more you’ll get out of it at the other side. The introductions are hard work, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We had a two-week introduction period and it was very trying. We also had to stay away from home as it was too far to travel to the foster carers’ house on a daily basis. However, putting in that time and effort paid off once we were home.
My advice to others would be to go for it and get in touch with Caritas to have an informal chat. It doesn’t commit you to anything and it doesn’t mean that because you’ve spoken to a social worker once, you’ll have a child appearing on your doorstep next week!
It took just under 12 months from first contact to placement of our son and it all went pretty smoothly. To any potential LGBT adopters, sometimes you may go into this thinking: ‘Oh we’re going to get a real grilling or going to have to through some extra processes because we’re a same-sex couple’ compared to a heterosexual couple but that’s just not the case.
Dip your toe in the water and have those initial discussions. If it turns out that adoption isn’t for you, that’s ok. It’s not for everybody. However, the rewards for us have been fantastic and I don’t regret it for a second.
*names changed to protect identities