Our first point of contact was our local authority, but after going to an initial meeting, our hopes were dashed when they informed us that they had a long waiting list and to get back to them in a few months. A few months! To someone who had already waited patiently for what seemed like forever to become a mother, this was like asking me to wait another decade. I didn’t give up hope though, and rang round all our other nearest local authorities, only to be faced with the same answer….join a waiting list. I had expected to be snapped up; after all, I knew that sadly there are tens of thousands of children in care needing a forever family.
My spirits were very low when I started to look into other agencies who might be able to help us adopt. Faith in Families came up first in my search. I rang and spoke to the duty social worker, admittedly rather glumly, as I expected the same answer that everyone else had given. However the lady at the other end of the phone was kind, helpful and best of all, positive, and explained that there was no waiting list and asked if we would like to come to a ‘First Thursday’ meeting. Yes, we would!
From that very first phone call, to the First Thursday meeting, and every interaction with Faith in Families since, we have found them to be professional, sensitive, caring and supportive. Now we actually feel pleased that our first enquiries into adopting with local authorities did not work out, as we wouldn’t have found Faith in Families if they had.
The training and preparation process was extremely thorough and the chance to meet with adoptive parents who were further down the line than us was so valuable. It was clear that they were not finding parenting an adopted child easy, but ultimately had no regrets and were so happy to finally be parents…and this is exactly how it has been for us.
Our little boy was two a half when he came to live with us. I will never forget the first moment I saw him, on our first day of introductions…a beautiful little boy, with a mop of blond hair and big blue eyes, wrapped up in a green coat with a furry hood. He was playing outside in the foster carer’s back garden, despite the cold, and asked my husband and I to play football with him. We exchanged a quick look, which said it all…he likes us! He wants us to play with him! Isn’t he gorgeous! After that first short visit, we went for a long walk, too excited and emotional to sit still, already counting down until we could visit him again the next day. So too, I clearly remember the first time he reached out his hand to me for comfort, the first time he sat on my lap, the first time he said “Mummy”.
That was three years ago and our son is now five and a half: a funny, bright, active little school boy who loves cars and nature. We have spent many more hours playing outside in all weathers, watched him learn to ride a bike, to read and swim, walked with him to collect conkers, helped him hang up his stocking on Christmas Eve…all things I had dreamed of doing for so long.
The road has not been smooth, far from it, and we know that there will continue to be ups and downs for a long while to come, if not forever. A child who has experienced trauma needs love, security and patience while they try to deal with the grief, loss and confusion caused by their early life experiences; feelings which do not go away, but can come out as anger and hurt and sadness, and the child needs help to process and make sense of it all. For us, this has not made for an easy few years and we have needed the support of our family and friends, and of Faith in Families. They have always been there for us all, and will continue to be there in the future. Despite all the tricky times though, it’s the happy memories that we remember; like the first time he saw the beach, played in the snow, tried on his school uniform and scored his first goal for his football team.
We love him fiercely and proudly, and becoming a little family of three was the best thing we ever did.