Adoption is often described as a rollercoaster of emotions which we think is really true.
We started our parenting journey in August 2019. Though you can never fully prepare yourself for being first-time parents, it just felt like the right time for us. We were married and settled, had the house, had the pets and it just felt right.
We initially considered options such as IVF and IUI before settling on adoption. Ultimately neither of us wanted to carry, and adoption seemed like the most natural fit. We were so excited to find out more and attended our first information evening at a local adoption centre which confirmed everything for us. We couldn’t wait to get the ball rolling.
We already had some prior knowledge on adoption with family members selecting the adoption route too. This was great as it gave us insight to how the process would work and how to prepare ourselves - though I don’t think you can ever fully prepare yourself for the emotional rollercoaster of adoption!
The first stage of the adoption process was the approval panel where you were assessed to see if you would be suitable parents. In all honesty I don’t think we were fully prepared for the lack of control we felt during this time. The reality was that we were being inspected in all elements of our lives. Our relationship, family, jobs, house, ex-partners and even our pets! There was no stone left unturned.
This was when the nerves started to set in. Even though we knew we were suitable and ready, it was ultimately up to the panel to decide and we couldn’t help but get a bit nervous! We were pleased that during this stage we grew closer and stronger as a couple and we were able to expand our knowledge with the system and parenting. When we received the phone call of approval, we couldn’t help but feel like a weight was lifted off our chests and the excitement soon started to flood in.
The matching panel was the next stage. We had lots of meetings with professionals before being paired with profiles. They went over again about why we wanted to adopt and what we could provide as a family so that we could be carefully matched with a child and in return they would be carefully matched to us too based on their needs, personality and interests, this was to ensure it was the best suited match for everyone.
Our social worker saw the profile of a little girl and just knew we would be the right match so got in touch with us immediately! Seeing her photo for the first time we just knew that this little person was our daughter and I think we must have emailed our social worker at least two/ three times a week up until the linking meeting and matching panels to make sure that she would definitely be coming home to us.
We familiarised ourselves with her background and needs and were also provided with plenty of photos and videos. We made sure during this time to approach the panel with questions on how we could fully prepare ourselves with her needs in mind and how we could best help her develop in a new environment. After that we felt ready for her to become part of our family.
The matching panel meeting was over Skype (due to Government Covid-guidance) which felt more personal than the approval panel over the phone as we could see and interact with panel members. We were so incredibly nervous. We had developed a bond and felt like we had a lot to lose. Thankfully after what felt like a lifetime, the reality being only a few minutes... it was a match! Words cannot describe how we felt during this time, we shed plenty tears of joy and couldn’t contain ourselves.
Now we have our wonderful child, what’s the reality of parenting? Definitely no lie in’s, teething, toys everywhere, learning to walk and most importantly a love and bond which is indescribable. Though the pandemic has been hard to adapt to, especially with a 1-year-old, it has allowed us to spend quality time together whilst on adoption leave from work. We take it day by day like any parent and assess her needs along the way. When we can the zoo is one of the first places we can’t wait to take her too and to also socialise with other babies.
Adoption has truly been the best experience. It’s been a mix of emotions, lots of highs and lows but totally worth it. Currently we aren’t planning on expanding our family just yet, but who knows what the future may hold? Never say never.