Sam is from Derbyshire originally and I (Luke) am from Perth, Western Australia. We met in London in 2011 and ended up moving to the North West where we now live near the beach. We both have very busy corporate careers and I own a business which means we used to work very long hours.
I always wanted children, which is one of the reasons I moved over to UK from Australia as adoption, let alone same sex parent adoption in Australia is extremely difficult and not generally done. When I left Australia, I always assumed we would go through surrogacy however when I met Sam, he had no intention of having children let alone surrogacy. After a number of years together, we felt there was more to life than constantly working, eating out, travelling the globe and socialising. We felt there was more purpose and as we edged towards our early 30’s, decided it was time to settle down and have a family.
We discussed surrogacy at length and have a number of close friends who have done it however, we both agreed that there was no reason to bring a further life into the world when there were enough children who needed a family and we knew we would have no issues in loving a child who was not biologically ours. I decided to donate to a local hospital so I could help other families to fulfil their dreams too. We started the information gathering process in May 2014.
We chose Adoption Matters after our initial call with one of the Social Workers who helpfully answered all my questions and eased my concerns over being a same sex couple.
We phoned about 5-6 other agencies plus local authorities and didn’t get the sort of response we got from Adoption Matters.
The process was long and at times quite tedious with a lot of waiting however we loved the Groups we attended and we felt supported the whole time. We managed to meet a lot of other adopters including one adopter who presented at our Group and happened to live nearby. We would recommend those going through the process to socialise and meet others going through the same process or those who had completed the process as these people are the only ones who truly understand what you are going through. They became our support network!
We initially entered the process with a view to adopting one boy 4+ years old and during the process, we were told that there were not many children in the system and we would be waiting a long time. Throughout the process however, we became aware of all the siblings waiting for a forever home and we were planning on adopting two children at some stage so we agreed to add a preference for a male sibling pair. As we believed we would be waiting for so long, we decided to buy a bigger house and give ourselves a renovation project… it didn’t happen how we thought it would!
Our panel was in the Spring of 2015, and the very next day we received a call about our two boys aged 4 & 6 years old. We immediately knew they were for us the moment we saw their profile. By August 2015, our boys had moved in!
The first 6 months were life changing. We initially struggled with our decision particularly because it was extremely difficult and although we had been prepared, nothing could prepare us for how we felt, the exhaustion and the emotions. 2 and half years down the line and we would not change it for the world. We have our ups and downs like any family however when we see how significantly they have improved in every aspect of life, particularly at school, communication, dealing with new experiences and when we tuck our boys into bed at night and they say “I love you Dad and Daddy”, it makes it all worth it
We get a huge sense of pride when we go to Parents evening and the teachers comment on their achievements. We have attended assemblies, plays and pageants, children’s birthday parties (every weekend!), play dates and more, just like a ‘regular’ family!
The boys school have been amazing! With the ability to be given first preference on schools, we met with all the schools in the area and had some mixed feedback, some not so great. We chose the school the boys attend based on how therapeutic and focused on emotions they were rather than academia as we knew our boys needed that extra arm around them to get them through.
The school even offers yoga to our boys to help them regulate their emotions, focus and concentrate in school. They have had absolutely no issue with us being same sex parents and from the moment we met them, it felt warm, accepting and comfortable. As the school is a church school, we thought it would be the last place to be so accepting of our same sex family but we have made some amazing friends from the school and have never once had an issue. They have been absolutely amazing, they approached us to discuss how they will be approaching Mother’s day with the boys. Our boys would never have been where they are now without their support
The challenges we have faced through the adoption process have been mainly emotional and psychological. As any new parent knows, it can be absolutely exhausting however with adoption, there is an added layer which consumes your every day in the first few months but quickly diminishes. We know how difficult it was for us and can only guess how hard it has been for the boys but the tantrums, the anger, the rage, the sadness and the pain they experience exhausts you and consumes you.
Add this to constantly second guessing yourselves and your parenting, as well as knowing nothing about your children. It was only after six months that we have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, our boys are more relaxed, happier, settled, attached and thriving. We understand them better and they understand us, we have our routines, they know the boundaries (although they challenge them daily) and have started to read one another better. We still don’t know them like we would a birth child as we missed some significant years of their lives however we are still constantly learning new things about them every day which can be both enjoyable and challenging. We now feel like a family and our friends only recently commented how relaxed we have all now seem.
We would tell anyone thinking about adoption to think carefully about your decision and preferences as the challenges can seem to outweigh the benefits especially during the early days. However you experience amazing moments and feelings you would never have experienced otherwise. This process throws your emotions up in the air and is difficult.
Adoption is not for the feint hearted and you need to go into this with your eyes open and talk to as many people as you can who have experienced this too. Surround yourself with family and good friends as you will need them! Although every child who are seeking a forever family need love and support, many also need very firm boundaries to feel safe. With boundaries and routine comes safety and security for any child to thrive.
Be prepared to be strong willed and consistent from day one and you will experience the benefits in the long term. Start as you mean to go on!
Luke also has his own blog at: www.thegayadopter.wordpress.com
If you want to find out more about adopting with us, call us on 0300 123 1066 or complete our short online enquiry form to download a free information pack.