Read some of the stories from those who have adopted or been adopted.
James' adoption storySHOW
James and his partner have recently adopted two sisters, aged two and three.
“We wanted to adopt as we’ve both always felt we wanted the opportunity to be parents after coming from big families ourselves. The assessment process took around 10 months and was really interesting. My partner and I were paired with a social worker who visited our home to spend time with us. The discussions got us thinking about what we could offer a child or children. During this period our social worker really got to know us and was best placed to match us with the ideal children.
In the time our children have been with us we’ve experienced the same joys that all parents have. We have an amazingly supportive family and group of friends who have taken our children into their hearts just as much as us.
Since then we've worked with the adoption team to put together life storybooks for the children. These will be used to help them understand the journey we have all gone on to be the family we are.
If you’re considering adoption then I would urge you to be curious and find out more. There are so many children who just need a safe and loving home to grow up in and have the best chance in life. If you think you can offer that, or want to find out more I’d recommend attending an information evening, it might just change your life - it certainly has ours!”
Jayne's adoption storySHOW
Jayne was adopted as a young child and shares some of her earliest memories with us. Here's Jayne's adoption story:
“One of the first things I can recall is being in my cot, feeling content and happy in my new home. Dad had built a 'Wendy house' at the bottom of the garden and a small, pretend 'wishing well', which I loved.
We did lots of camping when I was a toddler and the first time we stayed in a caravan by the sea, I thought it was a lovely dolls house! I can remember that my brother (who isn’t related to me and was also adopted) was very disappointed to find out that the sea was just water!
My adoptive family gave me a childhood of great memories and a secure, happy home. Sadly I lost my adopted dad when I was in my thirties but I have so many wonderful memories of him, my adopted brother is someone with whom I am very close to, along with my adopted mum.”
Now 52, Jayne is fully aware of the commitment that adopters make. She explains, “The time, planning and work that adoptive parents have to do before they have even met the child, I feel is invaluable. I think adoptive parents should share their adoption journey with their child as I feel it would help to further demonstrate how much they are wanted.
I also think it is invaluable for adoptive parents to try and not be too judgmental around birth family. I’d also encourage their commitment and the 'stick ability' factor with their new family unit, early difficulties will often settle down in time. Things didn’t work out with the first family I was placed with but the second family that adopted me, around a year later, became my permanent home.
I have three full siblings and a half-sister all of whom stayed with my birth family. I found my birth family independently at around 21 years of age and as everything went well, I then introduced my adoptive parents. I holiday with my birth family and I am in weekly contact with them. My adoptive family are fine with this, they have met each other and correspond regularly. I feel I have an extended family in my birth family with the added bonus of going from the youngest in one family, to the eldest of five with my birth family, which has given me a new perspective that I am quite enjoying!
If you’re considering adoption then get as much information as you can, talk to other adopters about their experiences and go along to any meetings that are held. Ask your relatives and friends for their input as well. As an adopted person I am very grateful to my adoptive parents for the love they’ve given me and count my blessings that I became a part of such a lovely family.’”
Mr & Mrs B's fostering to adopt storySHOW
"My husband and I were approved as second time adopters in July 2014 having adopted a baby girl three years ago. Our first experience of adoption was good and we considered ourselves fortunate to have been blessed with a little girl of 11 months. This was a relatively young age, knowing how long adoption court proceedings can take. Under the standard adoption route we were told we would be lucky to be placed with a child under three years, so to have a baby move in with us before her first birthday, and Christmas, was unexpected and amazing.
"As a female who had undergone seven cycles of failed IVF, I was desperate to experience the baby years and although I only had a few weeks of bottle feeding and crawling before our little girl started to walk, it was incredible to be able to share those special moments of bonding with her."
"When we received a phone call from our social worker asking how we felt about going down the fostering to adopt route, second time round, our heads were sent into a bit of a whirl! They told us that there was a very young baby boy that they were looking to place. We were so excited, but tried not to get our hopes up.
"With fostering to adopt the process is often still being contested in court so we needed to be sure of the risks. The hard truth is that a family member could come forward, or with a relinquished child the birth parents have a three-month period in which they can change their minds, or with a contested adoption the courts may decide the child should return to the birth parents. So we were quite unsure what to do. We did a lot of soul searching and weighed up the pros and cons and decided that the positives were far greater than the risks. This was our once in a lifetime opportunity to have the baby months that I had longed for. Not only that, but we had confidence in our Local Authority that if the chances were slim of the fostering to adoption working, that this baby would be put into standard foster care until the outcome for the child was more certain. So we took the gamble and are so glad that we did.
Our baby boy bonded with us from day one and we adore him. We have enjoyed watching him grow and have been privileged to experience his first moments in everything. We never had that chance with our daughter through standard adoption. It has also been amazing to see the bond between the two children grow and how loving our daughter is to our baby boy.
“If the process had not worked out, we would have been heart broken, but we felt we were strong enough to take the knock if it came. Obviously taking the risk also meant that there wouldn’t be the potential disruption for the child by them being moved from foster carer to adopters, or further foster homes.
"With fostering to adopt you are approved as adopters and also as foster carers, but you only have to undertake one assessment process. When we were contacted about taking the placement of our little boy, we literally had less than a week to prepare for a new born, most people have nine months!
“It was a shock to the system to start with, growing from a family of three to four in less than a week took some guts and serious organisation, but we had amazing support and help from friends. The last year has been tiring, sleepless nights and dirty nappies are no easy feat, but we would not change a single thing.
"We are so pleased that the Government are reforming the adoption process. They should be aware however that more needs to be done, as it is often social services who get the blame for the lengthy adoption process, it is in fact the English legal system that needs updating. If they could speed that up, more children would be placed in permanent homes much quicker than they currently are."
Sue's adoption storySHOW
Sue has been a foster carer for over 20 years and has adopted three of the children she cared for. Sue told us, “I love each of the children dearly. All children deserve to live in a family and my boys are no exception. I feel 10 years younger than I am! I have three lovely boys and do school runs, homework and play in the park with them! They make me feel incredibly happy!”
"The first child I decided to adopt was in a foster placement with me from the age of two. After he’d been with me for a number of years, I realised he’d become part of my family. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to, as I’m older than many people who adopt, but was glad to find out that I could.
The second child I adopted came to me at five days old. He was placed with his mum in a parent and child foster placement but mum left us after a week. He needed a permanent home. As he had additional needs, Social Services found it more difficult to find a family to adopt him. There have been many challenges but as he was so young when I fostered him, it was like he was my own son, so it’s been easy to meet his needs.
My third also came to us as part of a parent and child foster placement. By the age of two, he’d had a number of changes of home. When the opportunity to adopt him came up, I didn’t hesitate, even though his behaviour can be challenging. He has attachment issues but he's loved very much, so this will change over time. He has spent most of his life with my family and I, and we couldn't imagine our lives without him.
Post adoption support is always available. During the application process additional support or needs are identified and you are put in touch with appropriate professionals."