We could see the three faces peeking out above the windowsill, eagerly awaiting our arrival. They were 2 , 3 and just 5. We had spent most of the previous year thinking about this moment, when we would become Mum and Dad to a family. Many meetings with our social worker, group training sessions, lots of talking with our family and friends, had led us to that day.
The faces disappeared from the window, and 3 little people came charging out of the house, the youngest shouting “ Mummy , mummy, MY mummy”. At that point I started crying, picked up and hugged our son very tight, and the long journey of parenthood began.
In the early days we were exhausted and at times we yearned for our previous life of peace and quiet. Any parents of 3 children will find life hard at times , but the shock of being parachuted into family life could sometimes be overwhelming. We were lucky to have an extensive network of friends and family we could call on to give us support. Our social worker was also always there for us as well – her favourite saying was “That is so positive ! ”, and we would say ( or cry ) “ but how come it doesn’t feel like it ?!......”
Over the last 10 years, amongst the hard work and rollercoaster of emotions, there has been lots of fun and many, many special moments .
We have watched the children develop and grow into the beautiful and confident young people they are now. People often say how lucky the children are to have found us, but it is truly the other way around – we are so lucky to have found them. Thank you to Families for Children for bringing us together and supporting us to become the family we are now.
My phone rang at work, and I scribbled down notes as a social worker spoke: “Girl, five years old; feisty, screams a lot, communication issues, charismatic, likes grapes, unidentified triggers, when can we see you?”. Two months later and there she stood – tiny – on my doormat; delivered unceremoniously along with three heartbreaking black bin bags full of stuff.
The journey adoption takes you on is extraordinary. It brings out the very best - and some of the worst – in me. Not only have I discovered skills and resources I never knew I had, but I have this amazing, tenacious child to inspire me every single day. Our family is a jam-packed adventure filled with love, challenge, tears - and triumph.
I first started thinking about adoption at age 14. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have ‘my own’ kids, it’s just that I did want to ‘scoop up someone who had been through the wringer’. For me this was option one. I mulled it over for years, and when I finally made the call to Families for Children, I instantly knew they were the agency for me because of the services and support they provide; just as I knew Laura was the one the moment I took that call.
The whole process of assessment period, passing panel and finding Laura took just 15 months; a total whirlwind. I really got to know my family social worker, and this helped no end during the delicate matching process and beyond. She is our Guardian Angel, and together we make quite a formidable team.
The first day I met Laura there was an instant and profound unspoken promise between us, that whatever life had to throw at us, we would tackle it – together.
Adoption is a different kind of parenting, but as a family we are just the same. I see it as a privilege that she has learned to trust me, and follows my lead to help her discover the lightness and joy in her life, and to make sense of her difficult past. Watching her grow and blossom makes me realise with every day that this is the best thing I have ever done.
I can’t imagine my life without her.
Find us and hear more of our story at The Mumdrah Diaries
“At ages 40 and 42, we decided to reapply to be adopters, after resolving a lot of key health issues that had been the reason for being declined the first time round. Unlike conceiving you own family naturally, adoption isn't for the faint hearted, the pre adoption process is sometimes difficult, testing and requires a lot of soul bearing, but if you can go into this with open honesty then you will open the door to a whole new world of experiences, from good, bad, difficult and testing to the downright fantastic as your child reaches a new milestone/achievement!
We would like to make one request to potential adoptees. Please do consider adopting a child with a disability or extra needs, some will have very mild and moderate learning difficulties/ disabilities and with the right encouragement and support will grow up to become independent and self-reliant adults.
Families for Children don't just do adoption. If you adopt through Families for Children, you get the whole package from pre-adoption assessments, to being matching up with a new individual with hidden gems of magic waiting to be unlocked and after adoption support that is second to none. FFC has a wealth of experience in adoption and have given us many tools that we have found invaluable, when faced with challenging periods of raising our ten year old son. Yet the rewards are ten times better, when you’re eight year old born with a severe degree of muscle atrophy rides his two wheeled bike independently for the first time and yells "Daddy I can ride my bike!” One tearful father had to discretely turn his head back to the garage and pretend to be busy. Then there was the occasion when my wife cried tears of happiness when he won his first set of gymnastics medals at the age of 6. He is now aged 10 and progressing well at school and has qualified for the Special Needs Gymnastics Nationals in 2013.
The journey has been challenging at times but the majority of it has been so rewarding and Families for Children have played a huge part in that journey.”
Our Fairy-tale Journey.
Once upon a time in a little part of Cornwall a little older man and a little older lady were busy dreaming of finding their forever children. They met a very wise owl who had tremendous knowledge and skills as well as loads of patience and passion. She took them on a journey flying by their side, leading them safely over some very rough ground and guiding them round tight jagged corners. She introduced them to all her wonderful helpers and to others venturing out on similar yet unknown terrain. There were lots of laughs as well as tears and tantrums for the little older man and the little older lady but the wise owl never ruffled a feather, shared words of wisdom and kept her eyes wide open.
Ten years have passed since that first dream and the now bigger old man and the bigger old lady have had the privilege of being a forever mum and dad to two very special amazing children for 9 and 7 years. Families for Children made our fairy-tale dream reality not once but twice. As we continue, on our never ending journey together, whether its lots of laughs or times of tears and tantrums we know the wise owls of Families for Children are looking out for us. They flew with us at the beginning of our journey and they fly with us now as part of our forever family. They are the icing on the cake because it’s the icing that seals our cake.
"When we decided to adopt, we already had the perfect family: our two birth children; one healthy girl and one healthy boy. However we thoroughly enjoyed being parents and felt we would be a good match for a disabled child. We approached Families for Children who agreed to assess us and after several homestudy visits we were approved. We didn't mind the wait for approval, as we had a good relationship with our social worker, Angela, and knew that the information the agency gathered through the homestudy would help her find the right child for us.
Teddy joined us when he was 6 months old. He was diagnosed with Down's syndrome at birth and his parents felt they couldn't cope. Introductions went seamlessly and we still have contact with Teddy's foster carers (they recently came to see him at his school's Christmas play.)
Teddy is a happy, easy child and we feel lucky he is part of our family. He has a close relationship with his older brother and sister who are his biggest advocates and celebrate every achievement he makes, however small it may be. Since Teddy joined us almost 3 years ago, we have been blessed by another birth child and Teddy is very gentle and loving with his baby sister. We couldn't be happier with our family. It was worth the wait and we are very grateful to Teddy's birth family, his foster carers and all the social workers involved for bringing him to us."
We are Sally and Adrian, our 2 sons were on the point of leaving home, and having given respite care for children with disabilities for several years we decided we could offer a permanent home for a child.
The adoption process can be exhausting at times but with the support of a great social worker we went through the panel and were matched with Jasmine.
Jasmine, who is beautiful has autism and severe learning disabilities. She has given us a new lease of life having been with us now for 7 years. She can be challenging at times, but can give us big smiles and cuddles at other times. We go for walks and Jasmine loves the rain and puddles!
Although we haven’t needed support from Families for Children since the adoption it is good to know they are only a phone call away.
We have never regretted our decision to adopt Jasmine and would recommend anyone thinking of adoption to find out more as there are so many children needing a permanent family.
“Adopting is life changing in so many ways. We would not change anything as we all bring each other so much pleasure. We are lucky to have such a nice family and would encourage people to adopt. The support from FFC is incredible. They are there for us and our children every step of the way. We have no regrets on our choice of adoption agency or adopting children.”
Adoption is an extreme sport. Adoption is not for the faint hearted, or the half-hearted. Adoption changes you and your life in a profound way. There are more than a few hours of labour pains to become a family this way. The journey is intense and challenging. The children are challenging … and with time, the most fulfilling and amazing challenge of my life.
Being an adoptive parent is not a quick fix, (if that’s what you’re after then get a puppy/kitten) it’s a life given to re-parenting and re-forming damaged, hurt children. The adrenaline rush, the high comes with realising that the effort has been worth it when you see the progress that’s been made. These incredible children, with all their past difficulties are yours forever. And you’re a family. And you’re all happy about that. And you realise you’ve fallen in love with each other. Then, the pleasure and pride is immeasurable. Forever.
“I first contacted Families for Children after a negative response from our Local Authority. The lady Penny I spoke to was very nice and helpful and spoke to me for about an hour. This was four years ago and for the last two and a half years we have had a little girl via Families for Children. There is lots of support along the way as it is not an easy process or a quick process and the good thing about Families for Children is that they continue to offer support for your family until the adopted child is 18 years old. They also organise lots of events throughout the year such as barbecues, Christmas pudding making etc. so that you and your family can meet other adoptees and adopters.”