Ash & Graham

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We are an interabled married couple from the Durham. I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. Quite rightly I had to jump through extra hoops to adopt Bill. It meant that as part of our assessment our adoption social worker had to understand from my consultant how I manage my condition.

Bill has a rare chromosome condition called Jansen de Vries Syndrome. When we adopted him, we were told that his condition was uncertain, he would need to go to special education and he probably wouldn’t be able to read and write. Professionals were unsure if he would even be able to talk to us or not.

Bill has defied the odds and exceeded everyone’s expectations of him and he delights us every day. He is now going to attend a mainstream school in September and is starting to read three letter words and can write his name.

It is our network of people that have helped us achieve this with Bill – support in adoption is vital. Bill’s consultants are amazed by his progress and say we have parented him really well.

The truth is we are first-time parents and it is the training and ongoing support provided by Adoption Matters that has prepared us to parent Bill. We often get comments from people saying to us if we could guarantee that our adoption journey would be as good as yours they would adopt tomorrow.

Adoption Matters were absolutely superb, they tailored everything for us throughout the process and it wasn’t because I was in a wheelchair, when we talked to other adopters and you are able to do so at training, it was lovely to hear that people had different journeys and that the process is tailored to each family.

Our initial adopter preparation training taught us to have empathy and respect for birth parents.  We share regular photos with Bill’s birth Mum and Dad. They have some additional needs and not much understanding about adoption but I know that they love Bill as much as we do.

We had the most amazing journey and it’s thanks to Adoption Matters.


Kate, Ash and Graham’s Social Worker comments:

Ash and Graham were a pleasure to work with. Throughout the process, they demonstrated their commitment to adoption, an understanding of the uncertainties around children waiting for adoption, and empathy towards birth families.

As an assessing social worker, there is sometimes an additional challenge when working with families whose own needs and abilities need to be taken into account. But it is always a privilege to learn how people manage those needs and I always feel that I learn so much from families who have different lived experiences to my own. People who face challenges in their own lives are often great problem solvers and able to think outside the box. ‘Is that a parenting skill?’ – absolutely! We need prospective adopters who are able to adapt to the challenges and changes of adoptive parenting.

We often find that people rule themselves out from considering adoption for all sorts of reasons – because they are single, because they have a low disposable income, or because they have a disability, for example. All children are different and they all need different things from an adoptive family. The one thing that they do all need is a permanent home, and we need a diverse pool of adopters to provide the right homes for these children. There are many more children like Bill who need someone to accept them for who they are.

Thinking back through Ash and Graham’s journey to parenthood fills me with happiness. Although they could have been considered for any child, from any background, when they first saw the profile for Bill it was clear that they had found the right little boy to join their family. The panel that recommended the approval of the match between Ash and Graham and Bill, were able to see the strengths that Ash and Graham have as a couple, and the unique experience that they would bring to parenting a child with Bill’s condition. Many months on, I can’t image life being any other way.

To download an adoption information pack, click here.

Ash and Graham story was also featured in Hello! Magazine and The Daily Mail