The first stage…

We had a wait of a few days following the phone call saying that we had been approved to proceed on to the first stage. After what felt like a lifetime we got an email from the same social worker who had done our screening call, she told us that she would be our allocated social worker for the first phase. She introduced herself and told us that she wanted to meet us at her office in two weeks to go through the formal checks, ID and DBS checks etc. The DBS forms were posted to us and we had to bring the completed forms with us as well as contact details for both our managers so that our work and employment could be verified.

We met our social worker two weeks after the email, it was a very relaxed and chilled meeting. We had a brief chat about a learning/training group that they wanted us to go on which would be towards the end of the first stage.
Our social worker gave us a folder with information on how the process was going to go including the meeting with another social worker at the end of the process which would determine if we would then proceed on to the second stage. We were also given more paperwork that they wanted us to fill out, such as our childhood chronology, financial information (our income and expenditure, any savings and debts such as credit cards), our family tree and finally a learning diary that they wanted us to fill in through out the process (any reading or learning we did related to adoption).

Following the meeting we were asked to read up on attachment theories which we would discuss during our next meeting. This is where our social worker got a little annoyed! I found that they were more focussed on the old school theories of attachment, such as Bowlby. This was super frustrating as all these theories and based on the ‘traditional’ families such as a mother and father. I found more research that was based on positive parental interaction with a child it enhances a strong attachment. Our social worker was a bit taken aback and put off by this, it was obvious that they were not aware of this research. She asked how I came across by this research and how was this research relevant, I explained that it was more relevant to our situation i.e being two gay men about to bring up a child! I was really having to bite my tongue during this meeting, I was starting to feel that they didn’t want us to be proactive in our learning!.

This stage was very much focussed on paperwork and getting the formal things sorted. We had to sign consent for the councils medical advisor to obtain our medical notes from our GP. We also had a health and safety check done on our apartment, although this didn’t go too well. Our social worker felt that the child’s bedroom was too small despite it being a double bedroom, and that our balcony could be deemed dangerous, because we had Moroccan lanterns. She felt that the child could use the lanterns to climb over the side of the balcony..however she was not reassured that we would obviously not allow the child onto the balcony unsupervised. I was so frustrated with this because these were aspects that shouldn’t cause any problems or be an obstacle with our adoption process. However, it was clear that our social worker felt that our two double bedroom sized apartment was not big enough to raise a child. Following this we decided to sell our apartment following some positive valuations on it. We had always envisaged having a family home but now just seemed to be the best time to do it (this would later be a real pain!!). We listed our apartment the following week.

We attended the learning group in Lewisham that we spoke about during our first meeting with our social worker. Due to the dates that the group was being run on meant that our first stage slightly overran. The day learning group was more of an insight into adoption and learning about how the process is run and what we need to learn to show that we are able to care for adopted children who have had traumatic experiences in their previous lives. It was really great as there were also couples who had previously adopted and decided to go through it again, this was quite nice and reassuring to see that these couples were going through the process the second time. During the learning group breaks both myself and Ricky spoke with them to get advice and to hear their personal stories and experiences of the process.Β Β It was reassuring to see and hear that despite all the stress we have been through and the stress that is to come, there is an end and that it is totally worth it.

A week or two following the learning group we had the meeting with our social worker and another social worker to discuss our learning and to answer questions related to us and our family as well as what we could offer our future child. The meeting only laster an hour or so, during which we were both asked questions some of which were quite repetitive as were our answers, such as what have we learnt and how can we implement this. We had to wait for about two weeks for our ‘case’ (as they kept putting it) to be put forward to the rest of the pre-adoption team who would decide whether we would be progressed onto the second stage. This was a crazy long wait, everyday I was checking my emails throughout the day to see if our social worker had emailed us. The waiting is the worst, there is a complete feeling of being out of control, something that I am not used to and hate feeling.

Finally I got an email from our social worker asking me to call her when I was free. Both myself and Ricky had a random, very rare day off together, so we called her and put her on loudspeaker. It was great news. We were progressing on to the next stage of the adoption process. YAY!!!! The call was very composed and we were told that there would be a short wait whilst we wait to have a new social worker allocated to us. Once we put the phone down there was loads of jumping and shouting going on. It was such a great feeling. After so much paperwork, unnecesary reading and learning we were moving forward and going to be parents!!!

For now it was just another wait…..something we soon learn to deal with as it would happen very frequently.

The initial call….

So after we posted the form of interest in adopting we had a bit of a wait before we heard anything back. The one day whilst I was at work I got a phone call from a social worker at Greenwich social services, she wanted to go through the form that we had sent off the other week and had a few questions for me. She told me that it would be a quick phone call and however this turned in to a 40 minute phone call (totally not the best of times for this chat as I was on my way to meet a family, but you know needs must and all!!). She asked a heap of questions relating to both mine and Ricky’s childhoods and upbringing, schooling (I hardly knew anything of Rickys childhood other than the basics so I kinda had to fob her off on some of this!), our finances such as our income and expenditure. Also what are our current jobs and is anything changing. She then started asking things about both of our child care experiences……I totally had this one in the bag!!

So after the 40minute intensive phone call she explained to me the call was a screening call and she has to now discuss our application with her manager before she can tell us whether we will be taken on as potential adopters with the borough. We should find out by the end of the week is all she could tell me. I was completely thrown off, partly because I was not expecting the phone call but also the questions were completely unexpected, I felt as if this should have been discussed either in person with both myself and Ricky there or over the phone with both us present. It was odd but then again something that I had no control over and couldn’t really mention my true feelings (something I would soon come to find is a regular feeling during a potential adopters journey).

A few days passed when and I got an email from the social worker who had phoned me earlier in the week, she asked me to call as soon as I was free so she could discuss the outcome of the meeting with me. I called as soon as I got the email and it was the best news ever……….we were being take on. We had now officially started our adoption journey. I called Ricky as soon as I got off the phone to tell him the news, we both felt so numb but we were both, obviously, so excited.

Our dream of having a family was in the making, it was weird as we knew that we could be ‘dropped’ at any point but there was also that feeling that somewhere out there is a child that could potentially be placed with us.
We could know announce our plans with other family members that we had not yet told but also to close friends and work colleagues.

We now had to wait until we were allocated a social worker to take us through the first of the two stages of adoption. We were told that we might have a short wait until one was allocated to us but we were advised to start researching the process and start some learning as this will help.

It was finally happening!!


How it all started……..

Hi!

So our journey into fatherhood began many years back, which makes me feel super old!!
As I mentioned in my last post we initially looked at going down the surrogacy route. We made an appointment to see the British Surrogacy Centre based in Essex. I had done quite a bit of research on surrogacy and read into other peoples experiences of this. To be completely honest this is what I had wanted for so long, to experience having a child biologically either mine or my partners. Also I had dreamed of having the new born baby experience, my job makes me so broody!!!

When we arrived at the centre I was super excited, we were taken to some sort of meeting room and given so much information. They went into a lot of detail and gave us both options that the centre offers, the first being surrogacy here in the UK and the second being using their office in California. After the meeting which gave us both a massive headache due to all the information these guys piled on to us we headed to a pub for food and drink! We talked over the information but it was clear that we felt both options were not for us.
Firstly the UK law surround surrogacy is dated, complicated and to be perfectly honest messed up. The way in which surrogacy works is that the surrogate is essentially a host while the egg is a donor egg, therefore the surrogate is not biologically related to the child whatsoever yet the surrogate could change her mind and keep the child meaning it would be shared parenting. In the UK the government do not recognise the agreement that would be made between us, the surrogate and the centre therefore meaning that the whole process would not be legally binding. This worried me massively as it is an expensive process yet there is no guarantee that we would have a child at the end of this either way.
Secondly the US option was a no go. Although legally the states have surrogacy on point, its legally binding no turning back. However the costs of this are huge and we would have to stay in the states for 4 weeks following the birth as you can’t fly with a child under 4 weeks of age, so again additional costs!!.
At this point it was a odd feeling, I wasn’t open to the idea of adopting at all at this point. I am quite stubborn and set in my way of thinking which probably looking back on the idea of surrogacy (and totally now having a different mindset!!!) I didn’t want to think about it or look into it. The mr had always thought about adoption but prior to the meeting I was dead-set on surrogacy. So now I was kind of lost, not knowing what to think or where to turn to.

Fast forward 2 and a bit years following a apartment purchase and we are looking at adoption! We moved to Greenwich and thought it made sense to contact Greenwich to see what the process of adopting through them was. We attended an information day to get more info etc. To be honest this didn’t really give much info it was very basic and the information event was over pretty quickly. We were given a form to fill out if we want to proceed. We had a discussion on the drive back home on what to do next, we decided that given we had little information and it didn’t seem like we would get much more info if we called we decided to fill in the form and send it off. The form asked the basics, i.e. address, names, DOB but it then asked for 7 references of people of know us. These 7 people would be asked to send the social worker a reference on us as a couple and whether they think we could adopt and what sort of life would we give the child. We also had to specify what gender we both wanted, which is something we already knew after much thought. Initially we were open to gender but after talking we realise we wanted a little boy. We filled in the form the same day after calling different people we wanted to use as a reference (family and close friends). We posted it off and it was a waiting game from then!!!

So thats my second post! Hope its helpful and not too much of a waffle on.

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My first post :)

Hi guys,

So my first ever blog, exciting right?! Well who knew I would start writing about my life. To be honest Im normally a very closed-book-type of person, don’t open up to many people but my life has taken a complete turn since my 5 year old adopted son moved in almost 10 weeks ago.
Life as I originally knew it has completely but fabulously changed. Granted there are completely horrendous days but then there are those amazing days where I just sit back and think how utterly amazing my life is and how grateful I am to be in this situation.

My journey to fatherhood began many years ago back in 2013. Myself and my husband originally looked into surrogacy, neither of us had really thought about adoption. I had looked into surrogacy and made an appointment with a centre for both of us to go and get the information we needed to see whether this was an option for both of us. UK law is super complicated and not fully easy around surrogacy. After a brief chat following the appointment we decided that this path is not for us. Firstly its super expensive (it was about the same amount as our deposit for our apartment!) but also in the UK there is no (well was at the time I’m not so sure now) guarantee that the surrogate would not try to keep the baby despite it not being biologically hers!! We did briefly look at doing it in the US but financially this would not be possible.

After 3 years of putting fatherhood on the back burner and focussing on our lives and buying our first home together we went back to the drawing board and decided to look at adoption. By this point we were living in Greenwich so we registered for their information evening. Anyway roughly 3 years after going to the information evening I am sat here writing this blog with my little guy fast asleep up in his bedroom…….seems unreal that I am now a Dad. I completely love it.

Im hoping that not only this blog help me offload but will be of some help to those going through this process or pass on some of my slight wisdom to those looking at being dads. I aim to explain the process both the good and the bad through this blog….perhaps this might become something and I can author it who knows!!!

Anyways, I think I might have waffled on for ages now and probably it might be absolute chaos and make zero sense but hey ho! The next entry will for sure make sense!!!

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