E & A’s Adoption Blog

National Adoption Week 2021 - E and A

I had gone through three cycles of IVF in a previous relationship but, unfortunately, I had two negative rounds and one that led to a medical miscarriage.

When that relationship broke down and I then met A, conversations about my desire to become a parent were had pretty early on as this was one of the biggest reasons my previous relationship ended and I saw parenthood as a necessity, something that would happen with or without a partner to do it with.
We got married in 2016 and started our IVF journey with London Women’s Clinic at the Bridge Centre in 2017, after a move south with A’s work in the Royal Naval Reserves. I’d privately funded IVF with my ex-partner due to the postcode lottery of support, and this went against us for receiving any further funding. As far as the NHS were concerned, if we were going to go through the IVF route then we were going to have to pay for it.
We did three rounds of IVF between 2017 and 2018, but none of the results were positive, with the middle round included a miscarriage discovered at our 8 week scan for which I required surgery – it was more than a bit of a rollercoaster. After that, we needed to take some downtime to decide what we wanted to do as I was physically and emotionally exhausted. We went away on holiday, and while we were there, we had a more in-depth conversation about adoption. I realised that my biggest dream was to be a parent, and how I became a parent didn’t matter as much anymore.

In June 2018, we contacted SSAFA – a military charity that this year celebrates 21 years of its adoption service. A is in the Royal Navy, and a lot of local authorities were uncertain around how they would support a military family, since we can move around quite a bit. We attended a four-day preparation course in March 2019, after which we were linked with our social worker. After months of intense ‘interviews’ and the creation of our PAR (Prospective Adopters Report) we went to approval panel in September 2019 and received a unanimous YES to adopt. In January 2020, due to a house move back north, we began the family finding process. We used an online service called LinkMaker and at the end of February 2020 we made contact with a local authority about a child’s profile and were linked with a little lady who was to become our daughter!

Image description: Two pairs of lace up shoes, one green and one purple on a patch of grass. In between both pairs of shoes is a card that reads "Today we went to matching panel" and features a cartoon frog.

Then covid hit so everything started to go a lot slower than we had expected and the normal information gathering processes became online chats or phone calls. As the first lockdown was lifted we entered into a 14 day total lockdown at home ready for our virtual matching panel, that took place at the end of June via email, and a week later we began introductions. June the 26th 2020 will always be a date we will never forget as it was the first time we met our little girl.

On 1st July she spent her first night with us in her new home and 5 days later she was officially placed, at which point the foster carer returned home and we were then the sole carers for her with shared parental responsibility with her local authority.

After 10 weeks we submitted our application to adopt to court and, in December 2020, we received the phone call from her social worker to say that the adoption order had been granted and she was now legally part of our family. In May 2021 we had, a very delayed again due to covid restrictions, virtual Celebration Hearing with friends and family members joining a zoom call to share in the moment our local judge welcomed our daughter into our family.
The adoption process meant we felt way more prepared to tackle trauma based responses and behaviours from the day she came home, possibly than we would have been if we’d naturally gotten pregnant, but we also felt completely unprepared for all of the natural stages of development and the worries all parents have about whether they are doing the right things!
Our daughter already knows that she has two mummies. She loves books, so most of her books are as inclusive as we can get them – not just on LGBTQ+ issues, but a cross-section of diversity. Because books are so important for her, I’ve already created a picture book with pictures of her with her birth family, her foster carer, and then with us. It tells the story of how she came home and she’s free to pull that off the shelf whenever she wants to. Her journey to us is something we will never shy away from talking about.

What I would say to anyone who was considering adoption as a possibility is: don’t let the scare stories affect you. Of course, there are some hard realities, but it’s the most amazing and rewarding experience to bring a child home and give them everything they need, that they didn’t necessarily have before. And to experience that unconditional love that you didn’t think was going to happen.
Parenthood has given me an inner strength I never realised I had. I always thought I was an advocate for things before, but I’m a super passionate adoption advocate for my daughter.

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The Queer Parenting Partnership was launched in 2020, in response to the shocking lack of birth and parenting support services for LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

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