To mark National Adoption Week, the Peterborough Telegraph is running two first person pieces from parents who have adopted with TACT Peterborough, which in April 2017 took over fostering and adoption services previously run by the city council.
Today we feature a piece from same sex couple Andi and Darren.
Andi and I had been married for three years when we felt it was the right time to start a family. We discussed the different options that were available, and as both of us are working in the children’s education sector, and Andi previously worked within children’s social care, we were aware of the high number of children in the care system who needed a loving home and felt we were able to offer that to a child, so we chose to adopt.
Right from the start of the application process we felt incredibly supported by our adoption agency TACT Peterborough. We were fortunate enough to be given a very experienced social worker who assessed our capabilities to become adopters.
The process is very thorough, but incredibly quick. From our initial enquiry to our daughter moving in with us was a period of just nine months! It did not feel quite so fast at the time.
It was such a high when we discovered we were a perfect match to our daughter. She was in the care of foster carers who were amazing while we were introduced to her, letting us take a lead in caring for her in their home, under their supervision and guidance. That was really helpful in getting to know her routines.
She moved in with us when she was a few months old, and it was a very steep learning curve. Despite the fact that we have lots of friends who have children that we have baby sat, suddenly being solely responsible for a baby was a shock.
Much of our training through the adoption process was dealing with trauma and potential issues that may affect the child, such as past neglect, and not so much about caring for a baby. Fortunately, we learnt from friends’ experiences and the foster carers were a fountain of knowledge.
Our daughter has given us so much joy. It has been very rewarding watching her develop and grow into a lovely little girl. She was welcomed into both sides of the family instantly and is totally adored. She has brought out the best in so many of our family members, and nobody has treated her any differently to other children within the family.
We have also had the opportunity to help other people either going through the adoption process or who are considering adoption as an option by speaking at events and training sessions. We have found it very rewarding being able to provide some peer support.
The advice I give to potential adopters is be realistic in terms of what needs you can and cannot meet for your adopted child - it is so important to be 100 per cent open and honest with your social worker and family finders. Also, ensure you have a solid support network of people who can help out when needed. And try to meet up with other adopters to hear about their experiences.
Most of all, make sure you are in a position in your life where you are able to give 100 per cent of your time to the adoption process. It might be the hardest, but definitely the best thing you will ever do, as Andi and I can confirm.
Anyone interested in finding out more about adoption can visit www.tactcare.org.uk/peterborough or call us on 0330 123 2250.