My name is Sarah Savage, born and brought up in Middlesex, but I moved to Wilmslow with my husband 13 years ago. Due to our journey I am now studying to be a counsellor, with the wish to help and support others that are going through what we have experienced.
Although we were desperate to have children and a family of our own following infertility and several attempts of IVF, I am not sure we would have endured the adoption process if we did not enter into this new journey with the support, knowledge and care from Adoption Matters social workers.
After our initial meeting discussing why we wanted to adopt, how many children would we be thinking of at the moment. Getting the tick of yes we can continue to the next stage was a step closer. From there we started our preparation groups, meeting others that all had the same desire as us and meeting some friends that we are now very close with. The four days were emotionally exhausting but great fun was had, a lot of information was given to us to help us decide if adoption really was for us, with all the highlights and low times explained to us in detail. Meeting adopters (a couple and a single man), hearing from them and the ‘real’ stories was just a deal fixer for us.
Once we had finished the prep groups we posted our intent to adopt and we were soon appointed our social worker, who was to investigate ‘every’ part of our lives. It was hard going, but our worker was with us all the way, holding our hands through the process starting to feel like part of the family. Once all the administration and forms were complete we were handed to a social worker who was to see us through Adoption Panel (gulp) and should that be successful family finding through to the final Adoption Order.
As with our first worker the relationship with our new worker became very strong. Taken into the adoption panel, sat with approx. 13 people in the room, a few questions asked but friendly and professional. I can remember the nerves our next step forward was with the decision of these faces all focused on us. We were lucky enough that the Panel Chairman was in with us that day and we had the phone call within 24 hrs, we were accepted. We were going to be a Mummy and Daddy to our choice of 2 children that were out there somewhere.
It wasn’t long until our worker turned up with a mountain of profiles, because we had chosen to adopt siblings the choice was endless and overwhelming, how do you not fall in love with everyone and their story? We chose to minimise our requirements as harsh as that may seem, who would fit within our lives and be less disturbed by the move to their forever home.
After a couple of heart wrenching knockbacks beaten to the post by another lucky family, we were approached via Adoption Matters from a local authority. Our worker called us giddy with excitement, they had two girls, sisters! that they thought would be perfect for us looking at our profiles on the database, we were their first choice.
Our worker brought their profiles round to us and over a coffee and a piece of paper with two little faces looking at us, we knew these were going to be ‘our girls’. I can’t explain the feeling, we just knew in our hearts.
The ball started rolling, with the support of our worker we had a meeting at our home with the girls social worker and family finder from the local authority, all went well, abundance of cakes and biscuits must have helped! Next steps we were to meet the girls foster carers, this was great because we got to learn about them as little people and not just on paper, all started to become very real. From this date we confirmed a date for matching panel, this would be the seal for us that these two little girls were in reaching distance.
The day of matching panel, we all congregated at the local authority offices. Lots of confirming from us all that we were happy to continue, a plan was written up on when we would start introductions, how they would proceed. The sooner the better was agreed for the girls as they had been in care too long. Two weeks after matching panel we were to meet our girls in the flesh for the first time. Over elation was, panic we need to get their rooms ready. Wonderful friends and family lending us cots and a cot bed, several trips to IKEA, mothercare, Costco etc we needed car seats, a buggy for the youngest, nappies……. how our lives soon got turned upside down.
I will never forget the frist day we went to the Foster Carers house to meet the girls, a little face of an inquisitive two and a half year old at the window, a just walking eighteen month year old waddling up the drive to meet us, then taking my hand to walk back into the house. Amazing! Once in the house the little face at the window saying hello mummy. It was love at first sight. The next two weeks we met with the girls at the Foster Carers home, going to the park, just playing and gaining their trust. They were slowly introduced them to their new home and bedrooms, which they loved immediately and climbed into their beds for an afternoon nap, before going back to their Foster home. In 2011, after what had felt a very long two weeks the day had come we were to bring them home a week before my 40th birthday, what a present!!
The following days, weeks and months we all learnt how to adapt to each other, with lots of nurturing, the most amazing hugs, not many tears but they were ickle girls that had adapted to being compliant all their short lives. Our worker from Adoption Matters was always on hand to help with worries or concerns and a frequent visitor supporting us all the way.
I have got quite emotional telling this story, it has been a journey of trials and tribulations, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We have ‘our girls’ who are so close and an absolute blessing to us.
Below: Sarah after completing the Manchester 10K run on behalf of Adoption Matters on Sunday 10 May 2015.