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Franky and Alex’s story

This case study is part of a series done by Caritas Care where adoptive parents write letters about their experience.

Dear Adopter,

There is nothing more you want than to have a family with the person you love, you’re ready for that next stage in life. However, with being in a LGBT relationship it is not going to happen naturally.

At the beginning, it’s a mix bag of emotion. You’re really excited, as well as, slightly nervous and a little unsure as to the whole adoption process. You can go online and search stories regarding adoption and as you read them you become more eager and just want to get started. If this is the case, you are 100% like Alex and I.

You are at the start of a very exciting journey which will change your life for the good, forever. Now I know you’re excited and there are hundreds of questions you keep asking yourself; will we make good parents? How long will it take? What type of child will you adopt? Can I adopt if I am in a LGBT relationship? There are loads of question you can ask yourself. Many of them you can get the answers for from your social worker as and when you are assigned one.

You need to sit back relax. Most importantly, you need to be patient and honest to yourself and each other.

We remember, at the beginning, we were very nervous. We were nervous right up until we met with our social worker in the comfort of our home and we went from there. She was amazing and we still speak with her now.

Not at one point throughout the whole process did we ever feel judged or criticised for being in a same sex relationship, which made myself and my partner feel at ease. So, don’t worry about that, it’s not even an issue, everyone was very supportive and understood how much we wanted a family of our own.

If that is all you think about and talk about for the whole of the process, however long that shall be, don’t worry, it is normal as we were the same. To be honest, nothing else mattered to us apart from getting our child, are you feeling like this?

During the process you’re asked a lot of questions, don’t ever feel judged as this is not the case. You just need to be completely open about everything in your life, past and present. All this is so your social worker can get your PAR (Prospective Adopter Report) together. This is basically a report about you and your partner, it’s like a big book of your lives and it is made to make sure you get the best suitable child to join your family.

Don’t get me wrong there are bumps in the road realistically and we came across some…

The training you have leading up to the adoption made everything so much clearer for us. We were shown the amount of support you have even after you have adopted your child. This prepared our expectations, as in, it showed us how the adopted child will be feeling and what you can do to make their life as normal as it possibly can be.

Most importantly, it made us as a couple want to adopt more not for our own reason but to help a child who has not had the best start to life through no fault of their own.

As soon as our social worker mentioned the panel we were really nervous. These people you have never met before will be making the biggest decision of your life for you. With us only being 24 and 25-years-old at the time it seemed very daunting. We were very nervous and were all the way until the big day. Of course, it’s normal, you will be nervous just as we were, right?

Everyone was very friendly and it was actually a very calm environment. They asked us a few questions about ourselves and asked us what it would mean for us to have a child of our own. Being nervous for that short amount of time is well worth the outcome and always remember you will get your child as the end result and nothing can beat that.

We found that the whole process brought us so much closer together. It’s something you don’t normally go through as a couple but we came out the other side stronger than ever.

This is where the excitement really begins, all the questions about your child that you have put into the back of your mind have come to the forefront and you can start to imagine what your complete family is going to look like.

You find your child and you’re counting down the days until they come home. You have got a lot of stuff to be sorting out in the meantime. Then the day you meet your little one is here. The feeling is amazing. The memories begin.

We made our little lad a book which he would look at to show him pictures of me and Alex, pictures of his bedroom, our car and our dogs. So he would be familiar with us and our home before we met him for the first time. With him being very young we filled it with big bright letters and decorated it with stickers. It was really fun and made us realise that it’s real and it’s happening. Have you thought about the type of things you will put into your book?

We also did a DVD for him. It was very funny to make… It took us a while as we couldn’t stop smiling and giggling. His foster carer played it to him in hope that we wouldn’t be complete strangers to him on the day we meet him. That he would be familiar with our voices and faces.

To this day, our little boy still loves watching the DVD and smiles every time it’s on. We also got him a teddy which we slept with so it would have our scent on. He received all of this a couple of weeks before we met him.

We now have a son and he is perfect. He has a mummy and a mammy. He is beautiful, cheeky and everything we had ever dreamed of.

The first night, when he was in his own bed in our home, gave us the best feeling. Though it was strange. There was a little man upstairs who we were responsible for and that feeling was scary, exciting and thrilling.

We are now ready for the next addition to join our family, a little brother or sister for our little man. We are planning on starting the process again early next year. How many children do you want?

With us being tomboys, being into boxing and football, we thought a little boy would suit our family better. Do you have an idea of the gender of the child you want? Or are you open to any? This is something you will need to think about…

When picking a child to adopt, we decided to ask our social worker to pick who she thought would be a suitable child for us, as she knew us best and we trusted she would find us the best possible match.

When we received his profile, well I remember it like it was yesterday. Unluckily for me, Alex wasn’t home and I have got to admit it was very tempting to open it up and have a good look. I was so excited, as you could imagine, like, who wouldn’t be. However, I waited until she came home and we both agreed we would read his profile first before looking at any pictures. Simply so we didn’t just fall straight in love with his picture first! Which we would have done, because he is gorgeous!

We read his profile twice before looking at his pictures. Now don’t get me wrong, on paper this little boy brought up a lot of uncertainty as he was only young. But we discussed it and we felt as a couple we could face this uncertainness head on. No matter how bad things got, we would be able to cope. That’s when we allowed ourselves to fall in love with his pictures and we looked at them every day until he came home.

When he came home, we were nervous but ready. You will be ready; to be the best mummies or daddies you can be. It takes a lot of getting used to. But remember, any questions or support you need, you have your social worker who will do visits and they’re only at the end of the phone if you need anything.

Our little man is a cheeky chap and is very sociable. When he came to live with us he had only just turned one, he was just a baby. He didn’t really know what was going on and took a good couple of weeks to adjust to his new home, as anybody would young or old. We had the amazing support of everyone, family, friends and Caritas Care.

I never thought having a child would make our lives this great but he does. We have lots of fun times together. Everyone we have met him with and explained he has two mummies to is great about it. No-one has ever said a bad word, if anything they all have good things to say about it.

This special little boy came with a lot of his own clothes and teddies and toys which he had collected from the first year of his life. We could not believe how much one little man could own! And that was on top of everything we had already bought which was ready for him in his bedroom. We had to make more room!

Nothing can get you ready for when your child comes home and you’re now a parent. But this is normal!

Even if you were to have your own children and bring them home from the hospital, it’s a change of life. And it’s a change for the better. I could not imagine our life any differently, everything we do is for our boy and with him not having the best start to life we will make sure we make it up for him. He will live the best possible life we can and will give him.

We can’t forget what he has been through, knowing everything about it is hard. When our little man is old enough we will talk to him about it and support him with any future problems he may have. Any questions he may ask, we will do our very best to answer, as he is our son.

Now we have had our little man coming up to two years and we look back and think, it WAS a roller coaster of emotions, but now we have our family and it’s perfect. He is our world and it keeps getting better and better.

It’s an amazing feeling when he calls us mummy and mammy and asked for kisses it’s priceless.

Finally, we want to say, good luck with your own story and I hope one day I will read your letter, about your experience of becoming a family. It’s worth every minute and having your own family, well there is nothing better in the world… so let the fun begin.

Love,

Franky and Alex xxx

Thank you to Caritas Care for providing us with this case study from their website: http://caritascare-iadopt.org.uk/