My parents were always very open with me about my adoption, even from a young age – they welcomed questions, and I had a children's book explaining what adoption is, which was given to me as soon as I learnt to read.
My birth mother was 16 when she fell pregnant with me and knew she wanted to have me adopted. I was placed with a foster family after birth and then six weeks later, I moved in with my adoptive mum and dad. I'm 26 now but I still receive birthday cards from my foster mum!
Growing up, mum and dad were always supportive and I had everything I could possibly want and need from a family. I lived on a farm in the most beautiful countryside with a big family around me – dad would teach me how to ride the tractor. He's very patient, which he needs to be when it comes to me! We get along well and he shows interest in what I do and takes time to understand and ask about what I'm doing. He's a typical Devon farmer, which is where we're different. Dad comes from a long line of traditional families, so in that sense I'm a bit of a black sheep. But even when I came out to dad in my first year of uni, he supported me and accepted me for who I am.
This Father's Day, I'm hoping to go back home and visit my family. In previous years the whole family would gather round for a big lunch. I'm really lucky to have been welcomed into a loving family, and I have the same relationship with my parents as anyone who hasn't been adopted.
Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, birthdays, Easter – they are all huge family celebrations for us. I remember on my 18th birthday – and I'll never forget this – my mum turned to me, upset. When I asked why she was upset, she said, "because your biological mother hasn't been able to see you grow up the way I have." Your parents aren't your DNA – they are the people who support you and help you grow into what you become, which is why I'm so fortunate to have my mum and dad.
When it comes to having my own family, as a gay man, adoption is absolutely a route that I would explore – but the time has to be right. You have to be emotionally resilient – my adoption was quite straight-forward, but I can imagine it would be really tough in different circumstances.
For more info and advice about adoption, visit the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF)’s website: www.baaf.org.uk
To watch videos from adoptive fathers, head over to the BAAF YouTube channel.