Emily and Ben felt Fostering For Adoption was the right route for them…
Emily and Ben always knew that they’d like a family one day. However, when it came to conceiving naturally, things didn’t work out as they’d hoped. They decided to go down an alternative route, opting for two rounds of IVF.
Both rounds were unsuccessful. The couple had a third one lined up, but after much soul-searching, decided that enough was enough; the pain, the drugs and the heartache simply wasn’t worth it for them.
Undeterred, they looked at other options. Emily and Ben didn’t mind how they came to have a family of their own, just that they did. The pair went along to a local information day and it was there that first heard about the concept of Fostering for Adoption (Concurrent Planning).
Emily says, ‘I instantly said, ‘No way. Not a chance. There is no way I could deal with meeting the birth family. It’s not something we’re interested in. We’re going down the adoption route.’ So that’s where we started off.
‘We began doing all the training to enable us to adopt but the more we looked into everything, the more I began to doubt my initial refusal to consider the Fostering for Adoption route.
‘The fact that Ben and I would be able to take care of a younger child and, hopefully, one that we could stop from having to go from foster home to foster home to then possibly being adopted, made me think about it all differently.’
Emily and Ben deliberated over every possible scenario before deciding that, actually this was a route that they’d like to explore after all. When they told their respective friends and family, they were all really supportive – as long as the couple were happy, then they were too.
Joshua came to live with them in February 2015 when he was 18 months old. They had been to visit Joshua’s birth family during the concurrency stage, getting to know his likes, dislikes and slowly began to build a relationship.
Joshua was with Emily and Ben for seven months when the courts ruled that he would be staying with them permanently. The adoption went through quickly. They certainly weren’t thinking about a second child when they got a call later that year to say that Joshua’s birth mum was pregnant again and was due to give birth that day.
Emily says, ‘Ben and I were then asked if we would consider taking on Joshua’s sibling too. At first, we said no. Then we decided that it was a possibility and requested more information but sadly, it didn’t work out.
There were a lot of medical issues involved and I simply didn’t feel that we could offer the right kind of environment to cater for their needs. I was looking to go back to work and Joshua is a very loud, active child so it was for the best decision for us all at the time.
After that, our mindsets had changed, and I began to think, ‘maybe now IS the time for a second child after all, before Joshua goes to school.’ We decided to get back in touch with the fostering for adoption team again.’
Just two and a half weeks later, Emily and Ben got the call about Ava, who was 13 months old. They have a court date to approve the couple as her adopters in the next few weeks and are hoping to have a final decision by November. This is when they will find out if Ava be staying with them for good or going back to her birth family.
Emily has a few pieces of advice for couple who are considering going down the concurrent planning route themselves:
- Don’t worry about timings too much. I got the call about Joshua at 1pm one day and by 7pm, he was sat on our sofa! Sometimes, it can take weeks or months and other times, it could be just hours.
- Also, you could get a court date and have your heart set on it, only to find out that it’s been postponed with very little notice so be prepared to be flexible and try to not get your hopes up with things – easier said than done, I know.
- Take time to do plenty of research and always ask questions, no matter how silly you think they may be; the social workers really are there to help you.
- Keep an open mind and enjoy the journey, knowing that whatever the outcome, you’ve been a positive part of that child’s life – no matter how long or short that period of time may be.
*all names have been changed to protect identities
For more information about Fostering for Adoption / Concurrent Planning, visit www.concurrentplanning.org