Saturday 21st October 2017, 6.30pm
Missed out on seeing Lion? Or perhaps want to see it again? Join CCS on Saturday 21st October for a special screening with Adoption Q&A at Watershed, Bristol as part of National Adoption Week 2017. Read more
13 years ago we decided to pursue adoption as a means of fulfilling our desire to become parents, it would be fair to say that our lives have now changed beyond all recognition. We are now a family – our house is noisy, busy, happy, our children special – precious. It is without doubt the best and most fulfilling decision we have ever made – to date we have adopted 3 children.
That’s not to say it’s all been plain sailing, we’ve had to work extremely hard to do things we doubted we were capable of and we are no means perfect parents but we are the perfect parents for our children.
Which agency you use is very much a personal decision, CCS Adoption felt right for us – they were professional, friendly, enthusiastic and extremely efficient. We have been fortunate enough to work with the same social worker each time we have adopted. We have also gained childcare experience and attended study days run by CCS where topics covered included attachment, loss, identity and so much more. We learnt so much about ourselves and each other during the assessment stage – who would have known my husband likes roller coasters! Our assessment (PAR) has needed updating each time we have adopted.
Once approved the search for ‘our’ child was on – and believe you me you just know when it’s meant to be – this ‘feeling’ has been spot on 3 times now – fortunately for us everyone else agreed.
When we met Joseph 12 years ago he was 2 1/4 with a background of neglect and developmental delay. I can remember the nerves and excitement about meeting him – we knew he liked large bald men so my husband was a huge hit. I had to work much harder to gain this little boy’s trust, but with consistency and patience we got there. For practical reasons we decided on a bit of role reversal, I was to go to work and my husband was to be a house husband.
Overtime it became obvious that his developmental delay was more than that – we needed help, a referral to a paediatrician who after assessment diagnosed ADHD later followed by autism. We hadn’t signed up for this but perhaps this has made us who we are today. We had to be proactive advocates for our son getting statemented, finding the right school and getting support from other professionals. CCS were right there for us – providing advice, being a sounding board and on a more practical level writing letters of support. Today at nearly 14 he is happy, a computer whizz, doing well at school and towering way above me!
Four years later the time was right for a little addition to our family and we consciously made the decision to adopt a child with special needs, this little boy was Alfie, 16 months old and born with a physical disability. This time, during introductions, I was so lucky to experience such a special moment when he crawled into my lap cuddled in and fell asleep.
Our joy at bringing him home was marred by a unexpected medical development, with the level of care he needed I was very aware that my returning to work after adoption leave was not in anyone’s interests so after 20 years in my profession I resigned! Probably now one of my best ideas as I’m the stay at home mum I always wanted to be – I’m even on the PTA!
Not surprisingly help for Alfie was more readily available as his disability was so visible, CCS were consistent as ever, always there, and the placing authority have also been very supportive both financially and practically and 6 years post adoption they remain so.
Alfie is the most amazing little superhero, feisty and determined – he loves life.
…..but we weren’t finished yet! In 2012 a beautiful little girl joined us all, Grace 22 months at placement, from a lovely foster family where she was adored. Again we wanted a child with special needs, she has developmental delay and sensory issues. She is perfect, settled brilliantly and doing well, she’s added a splash of pink and is definitely a princess.
We have been fortunate that with each adoption our children have coped amazingly well, we were honest and open about each adoption, realistic with time scales and had them help with preparing for a new sibling. We are extremely proud of our children and their relationships with each other.
I wanted to mention introduction week, a very emotional and tiring week but so awesome (as my 3 would say), we’ll never forget the moment we met each of the children, they too had been prepared by their foster parents and seen pics, books and videos prepared by us so when they saw us there was definite recognition. The bond you share grows throughout the week and by the end you feel 100% their parents. We were lucky to have the support of my mum during intros to help with the boys which they enjoyed and was a fantastic help for us.
Over the last 13 years as members of the CCS family we have felt supported and our abilities as parents valued…are we finished yet?…Watch this space!