Alan and Joanna’s Story

Alan (mid-50s) and Joanna, (mid-40s) – not their real names – adopted a sibling pair (boy and girl), now aged 9 and 3, during the Covid-19 pandemic:

‘Unprecedented’ is the way most describe the last 12 months – definitely our experience – but 2020 was also, for us, shaped by Faith in Families’ support.

Before our panel for approval as adopters, in early April 2020, our Social Worker Jo really got to know us, as individuals and a couple. We got through plenty of paperwork – and reflection. Our Panel was a few weeks into the first lockdown, making us among the first to do this via a Zoom meeting. Our preparation meant we knew what questions to expect, to answer honestly and to be ourselves.

Family Finding

We began the slightly surreal process of family finding. Looking at children’s profiles (our preference was siblings) we were drawn to a brother and sister with a significant age gap. Most adopters won’t consider this. Our adopted children’s local authority had been considering separating the children, to find them families.

After more meetings, information and deliberations over summer 2020 – whilst we ‘nest built’ at home – we went to Matching Panel. We hadn’t met the children before Panel; though we were able to see them playing nearby while we picnicked, without them realising.

Introductions

Introductions began late September 2020 and were exhausting! When we first got the children home we didn’t feel like a family unit. Group training talks about ‘forming, storming, norming and performing’.

Covid-19 restrictions, in the early stages, meant not even being able to meet up with people listed as our practical and emotional support. A low point was our youngest testing Covid-19 positive pre-Christmas and the rest of us feeling unwell. Throughout, Jo kept in touch, advocating for us and keeping us going.

Adoption isn’t for the faint-hearted. Adjusting is an enormous task and, sometimes, placed overwhelming pressure on us. However, we’re now proud parents of two beautiful, intelligent – sometimes delightful – children. Our lives are enhanced and we couldn’t imagine being without them. For all this and more we thank Faith in Families.