Meet the adopters
Here are some of the things that our adopters say about North Lincolnshire’s Adoption Service:
- We live in a different area but decided to come to North Lincolnshire because they placed our first child with us and we got an excellent service from them
- Very good – quick, good relationship with our social worker – very pleased
- We have found the whole process very enjoyable and relaxed
- We have received excellent service, with no complaints
- We have been listened to and given lots of information and questions have been answered
- Our Social Worker was organised, sensitive and supportive throughout
- We have been very pleased with the service we have received, especially given the geographical distances involved
- The workshops in particular were enjoyable – an opportunity to meet other prospective adopters
It was something they had always wanted but never thought possible. Tom and Billie are from Scunthorpe, they are in their thirties and, as a gay couple, imagined they would be turned down as adoptive parents. Although they knew of other single sex couples who had adopted, Tom said he thought they stood less of a chance because he and Billie weren’t in a civil partnership and didn’t own a property together:
“We weren’t sure where we’d stand but as it turned out these things didn’t cause any problem. North Lincolnshire Council just wanted to make sure that we were obviously a solid couple and that there were no concerns regarding bringing up a child.”
The couple had an introductory meeting with an adoption social worker and then after taking a few months out to thoroughly consider it, they enrolled on an adoption course. Billie was surprised how quickly it all happened after that:
“From the day we started the course to the placement it took twelve months which was really quick and it can be done even quicker I think. I thought it would be much more disruptive but it’s not. As long as you’re honest and open with the social workers, they can help you.”
During this time the couple, along with their adoption social worker, developed a good understanding of the kind of child that would be right for them. Billie said they couldn’t believe their luck when the first boy they were matched with, one year old Samuel, turned out to be spot on:
“I thought that it might take a few attempts but our little boy was the first one we said yes to and we didn’t feel any pressure. We just felt straight away that he was the right one. We discussed this afterwards together and thought that social workers do a great job to find the right children for the right parents.”
Now as adoring parents their lives have changed massively. Billie has taken long-term leave from work to be at home with Samuel and all three have developed a new family routine. Tom said becoming a dad is amazing:
“It feels like we’ve become more of a family and we fit in. For instance my brother and sister have children of a similar age so now we’re always talking about our little boy like they’re always talking about their children!”
In fact the couple are so happy with their son that they’re keen to adopt again as soon as possible. This means waiting a year before embarking on the process once more.
Tom and Billie are in no doubt that they would recommend adoption.
Tom said, “other same sex couples need to make sure that they are definitely committed to each other. Gather all the information because we didn’t realise it at first, but it is possible to adopt. And there are plenty of children out there that need a loving home and somebody to take care of them.”
Maria was always maternal and dreamed of having a family of her own one day. But it wasn’t until her late thirties that she met the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, and then their attempts to conceive a baby naturally failed. Although they did give IVF a go, after it didn’t work for a second time, they decided enough was enough. In any case, by this time Maria said she knew she wanted to adopt:
“It didn’t matter if it was my child or somebody else’s child. All I knew was that I wanted a family unit. And when I suggested adoption to my husband and he agreed we got on with the process straight away.”
Before long they were enrolled on an adoption course by North Lincolnshire Council’s Adoption Service. At this time they were also allocated a specialist social worker who over the coming months visited them regularly in their home. Together they struck up a good connection and the social worker soon asked Maria and her husband to summarise their own life stories. This was so, as prospective parents, they could reflect on how they might help a child as he or she grew up. Maria said it felt cathartic and wasn’t invasive:
“I know some people think they’re being nosy but I think it’s a necessary process because your social worker can then work out the right child for you and your circumstances. She certainly found the right one for us”.
Afterwards their case was heard by an Adoption Panel who formally supported Maria and her husband’s application. From then on, to the moment when she first saw a photo of her son-to-be, time sped by for Maria. By this point they had already been told about two year old Simon and had decided that he was the boy for them. They were introduced to Simon gently and over time, starting with a short visit to his foster care home. This was followed by a walk together and eventually a visit and a sleepover at their house. Maria said it took a while for them all to adjust and it was a particularly confusing time for Simon:
“He didn’t want to cuddle us straight away but then that’s understandable because he needed to get to know us. The first few weeks were really hard but after a while he settled and we started to get on with our new lives together”.
Three years on and Simon is thriving. He is a typical six year old boy about to have his best friend around for tea after school and still averse to eating up his vegetables:
“Peas and baked beans are still the devil themselves”, laughed Maria as she also confessed that her son is an absolute delight:
“We’re so proud of his progress especially because he had such an unstable beginning. Children are so resilient. If they’ve given the right environment they will develop.”
On reflection, Maria feels fortunate that she has been able to offer this stability to Simon whilst at the same time also tapping in to her innate instinct to nurture. She said that for those who have the energy and the time she would recommend adoption, particularly when you consider the vulnerable situations some of these children are in:
“If you can adopt a child then it’s one more child that’s not going to be either dragged up or pushed from pillar to post and be in care for the rest of their lives. They need a home, they need a family and they need love.”
It’s something she had been thinking about since her mid-twenties but it was a life changing accident which prompted Claire from North Lincolnshire to fulfil her dream of adoption. Seven years ago Claire suffered a serious spinal injury. It signalled the end of a job she loved in childcare as she focused on trying to learn to walk again.
“I’d always thought that if I didn’t meet the right person and have children then I would adopt. So when I suffered a spinal trauma I thought if I get through this then now is the time to start living my life.”
It was this goal, and as Claire describes, her stubbornness and determination, that got her through. A year later she was back in a new role within childcare and as life began to settle she plucked up the courage to finally make that call to North Lincolnshire Council’s Adoption Service:
“I got the number and spent about two weeks dithering. Eventually I was in the car and I just pulled over and thought now’s the time. And when I did and they answered it felt like the first step. I was committed.”
Claire was invited to an open evening where she met others also considering adoption. She didn’t feel different from them and explained from the start that she was on her own. North Lincolnshire Council welcomes single applicants and from then on Claire was invited to bring along a member of her family for support. She was allocated an adoption social worker who began to visit her in her home as she continued with the process:
“The first time they pulled up in my cul de sac they could probably smell the bleach! They ask all sorts of questions and you have to be open and honest. But it helps to build a profile of you so that they can share that information and try and find you the best match.”
Claire imagined that as a single woman she would be encouraged to adopt a girl, but early on it was made clear that this didn’t need to be the case. As it turned out, she went on to adopt a two year old boy. She had been shown Jake’s profile at a National Adoption Event by a social worker from another local authority who considered her to be a good match. Claire was immediately struck by Jake and decided to go ahead with the adoption process. Soon after began the whirlwind of sorting out her home, buying clothes and toys, a pushchair and a car seat as the reality began to sink in. Finally she met her son in his foster home – a moment which she described as amazing:
“He was sat on the floor with some profile pictures to help him recognize new faces. When I walked in he looked at me and looked at the picture and just smiled and that was it.”
That was three years ago. Today Jake is five years old and adored by Claire as well as her family and friends who have all accepted him into their lives. She feels that her dream has come true and she now mentors other single adopters offering them a second opinion over the phone and guiding them through the process. Claire finds the post adoption support she receives from North Lincolnshire Council invaluable:
“You’re not just abandoned afterwards and I think that’s the biggest thing with North Lincolnshire. They organise lots of get together’s so the kids get to see there are others like them and I think it gives them an open mind and a positive outlook on life”.
However difficult or uncertain it feels, Claire believes that single women, or anyone else considering adoption should be brave and pick up the phone:
“Being equipped with the information is the best way to make informed decisions”.
As she looks to the future, Claire is determined to do right by her son, a young boy who had such a difficult start in life:
“I’m going to do the best that I can to let him grow into his own personality and give him opportunities that perhaps he wouldn’t have before. I hope my little boy can look back and think my mum did a good job – she made sure I was safe and happy and we helped each other”
North Lincolnshire is looking for adoptive parents. Do you think you are who we are looking for? We are looking for people who can make a real difference to the children we care for.
We know that making the decision to adopt is one of the biggest steps that anyone can take but it is also one of the most rewarding. We would like to hear from people who can offer time, commitment, patience and a loving and stable home. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ adopter and we want people who have different experiences and different things to offer. This is to reflect the various different ages and needs of the children we are family finding for.
We welcome all applicants over the age of 21 years including:
- Married couples or couples living together in a stable relationship
- Same sex couples living together or in a civil partnership
- Single applicants
We welcome interest from those who live in North Lincolnshire and from those who live outside of North Lincolnshire. We are always looking for adopters that we will be able to place North Lincolnshire children with.
We do not discriminate on the grounds of age, class, culture, disability, race or sexual orientation.
Call us on 01724 297024 to find out when our next Information Event is and/or to speak to an adoption social worker.
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