This case study is part of a series done by Caritas Care where adoptive parents write letters about their experience.
To be really honest I was never the kind of person who yearned to have a child. Our attitude was very much ‘if it happens, it happens’. But it didn’t happen.
Trust us, we tried everything! At 42 years old we were considered too old to have IVF in our home town in Lancashire. We were offered a ‘dumbed down’ NHS version but it didn’t work and the drugs made me feel like I was going loopy! Then someone recommended egg donation. We explored this privately, went to see a consultant and sat on the waiting list.
The egg donation route was high risk – high risk of not getting pregnant, high risk of miscarriage and I began to feel that there was a high risk that being pumped full of more drugs every two weeks would be too difficult to handle. With such small odds of having a baby at the end of it all – I just couldn’t do it.
So we looked at adoption as another opportunity to be parents.
My hairdresser had adopted two boys through Caritas Care and from day one the agency was brilliant, the support they gave us was immense. We took it a step at a time – the interview, then a three day training course.
I questioned a lot of the things we were asked by our social worker. The enquiries felt slightly invasive and often I asked why they needed to know certain things – financial records for example? But we always got full explanations and it was all part of examining our situation and how we would manage with the arrival of a new family member.
I’ll be honest, at times I found some of the assignments frustrating. ‘Why am I doing this?’ I wondered. We had to study the milestones of a child but we didn’t know what age of child we were going to get!
My partner Ian blubbed his way through it! He’s sensitive. But I crumbled too when we finally got approved. It felt so very real for the first time – within months we could be parents. Friends and colleagues asked us ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’ ‘What do they look like?’…but of course we didn’t know at that point and people found that a very difficult idea to grasp.
We found our boy at a matching event. There were lots of stalls with children’s profiles on and it was heart wrenching having to say no, no no… We knew we were looking for a child between three and five years old by this point, a child who was healthy, eating and sleeping well, meeting all their milestones. We were emotional wrecks.
Then we saw him. A cheeky little boy with ginger hair. His Family Finding Officer showed us a DVD of him playing in the foster family’s garden and we knew we wanted to go ahead with him. 13 months after we first approached Caritas Care he came home.
What a whirlwind! When he arrived at our house he already knew the layout from a DVD we’d sent him and he promptly announced he was going to his room! We knew he needed some time and space to explore and we could hear him looking around. We’d bought him a Nintendo WII and he offered to set it all up – he was four-years-old at the time!
He has such strength of character and such openness about his adoption that the day the adoption order came through he stood up in front of 300 of his school friends and teachers and announced that he had a new name! Apparently there wasn’t a dry eye in the school.
Looking back, I would give myself two pieces of advice; don’t take everything so personally and don’t underestimate how tired you will be. Remember that it’s ok to go through the process at your own pace – if you’re not ready to tackle an exercise then that’s fine. Wait until you are.
Quite often people say that our little boy looks like me – to which I reply ‘oh really, because he’s adopted!’ but it does feel like that perfect fit, like it was always meant to be.
Months after he arrived he came up to me whilst I was washing up and said “I never give up me” and I figure if he can be so strong and have such faith that he would find his forever family, then we can too.
Thank you to Caritas Care for providing us with this case study from their website: http://caritascare-iadopt.org.uk/