Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A tale of two adoptions

To continue our series on adoption, search and reunion, we speak to Jo, who was adopted as a baby in 1957. In 1985 she began to search for her birth mother. A few years later she was put in her birth mother's shoes when the son she put up for adoption decided to trace her.

"I was born in 1957. It was a time when young unmarried mothers were encouraged to give up their babies to avoid bringing shame on the family. I was adopted through The Children's Society, by a couple from Bristol.

"I had a good childhood. I was well loved and I didn't want for anything. I knew I was adopted from about the age of three, because my parents decided to adopt again. It was an opportune time to talk to me about it. They told me I was chosen and special. I thought that sounded wonderful, but I was too young to really comprehend what it meant.

"As I grew older I felt less and less special. I started to wonder what it was that made my parents chose me. Was it because I was the saddest, the weediest, had the biggest eyes? I began to feel like a puppy and wondered whether my parents had picked this puppy because I seemed like the least trouble.

"I had always wondered who my birth mother was. I used to fantasize and glamourise her. I imagined she was a film star or princess. But my adoptive mother had discouraged me from seeking her out. She felt there was no reason to trace birth relatives if all was well in the family.

"It was when I got married and we had our first child together that things changed. I looked at my baby and could see bits of me and my husband, but there were other things I couldn't match. I wondered where he got his eyes, his feet, and his nose from.

"I started my search in 1985. I went to see a social worker and did some counselling. I then received some information from The Children's Society, and a friend helped me look through it. We discovered an address, and the social worker wrote a letter saying I wanted to talk about something that happened in 1957. It was my maternal grandmother who received and opened the letter. She knew immediately what the reference to 1957 was. She contacted my birth mother who called the social worker straight away.

"The first time I met my birth mother was very strange. There was no wailing or running in to each others arms. I just said: "Hi, how are you?" as if it was someone I had known for ages. In a way it felt like we had known each other for ages. We had a connectivity and familiarity almost at a cellular level.

"A few years later I found myself in my birth mother's shoes, as before I was married I also gave a child up for adoption. I had always hoped that he would trace me. In the same way I fantasised about my birth mother, I had imagined what the reunion with my own son would be like.

"After the initial contact we exchanged a few letters and emails and eventually met up in London. We went out for a meal and the waiter asked us if we were on a first date. I laughed and said: "No, he's my son." My son told me afterwards that this had been a defining moment for him.

"I still have regular contact with my birth mother and my birth son. I realise I have been very fortunate with both my reunions, and realise not everyone has such a good time. I hear some very sad stories. Other adopted people I know just aren't interested in tracing, but for me it was important.

"For anyone who is adopted and interested in tracing their birth relatives I would advise not rushing in to anything. I think it's also helpful to talk to someone who has been through the process, and not just the counsellor. The empathy from others who have been in the same situation as you can be very powerful. Tracing can be isolating at times and its good to have someone with you who can understand your feelings."

Jo runs a website www.themeinside.com where adult adoptees and those effected by adoption can share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment. You can also find practical support and information at www.adoptionsearchreunion.org.uk






Thursday, 23 February 2012

Our journey to become same-sex foster carers

As LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week continues we hear from Renee who explains why she and her partner Jacqueline decided to become foster carers.

Jacqueline and I had been together 9 years and had recently taken a trip to Sri Lanka and saw the orphanages and the destruction brought on by the Tsunami. When we returned to the UK we talked about what we could do to make a difference to the lives of children. We wanted to do something worthwhile which would have a real impact. At the time Jacqueline was a Montessori teacher in a Private School and I was (and still am) working in a Law firm in Manchester, but had previously studied Paediatric Nursing. We had always talked about one day adopting a child, but Fostering was a new idea to us and so we research and interviewed various local Authorities and Fostering Agencies. The more we talked about it the more it seemed like the right thing to do!

We have now been fostering for 3 1/2 years for an Agency and we like the continuous training and support we get. During this time we have had 12 children from different cultural and religious backgrounds which have been challenging and rewarding in not always, equal measure!

We currently have two toddlers and had them for 2 years now. Most people get 9 months to prepare for having a baby, we had 2 hours to prepare for a baby a few weeks old and another 11 months older!!

We were pleased that despite being an "Out" and open couple we got on with the parents of these children, this always makes every ones life easier as you can work with the parents during the parenting assessment and they don't feel as isolated from the children. There has only been one parent who has asked for their children to be removed from our care because we were a same sex couple. Luckily we have an amazingly supportive Supervising Social Worker who along with the Local Authority who had placed the children with us, decided that the children were happy and settled and despite the "Religious justification" the parent was quoting, the children would remain with us.

Within a year of the babies arriving it was decided that the children would be placed on the Adoption Register - a new experience for us. Every other child/ren that have been placed with us, has always been returned home. We have been working closely with Adoption Social Workers trying to identify the traits and skills that we would want to see in these children's new adoptive parents. After many assessments and therapists, it has been identified that the elder of the children has moderate learning difficulties, global developmental delay and potentially sits on the Autistic spectrum. Due to this range of complex needs, prospective adoptive parents haven't been as forth coming as they might have been.

We are currently in a situation where these children may be separated as the younger child is being negatively impacted by the elder - the elder child causes anxiety and lashes out at their younger sibling - its such a difficult situation. As we are working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, we want to ensure the best outcomes for each child individually as well as together.

Many people say "I don't know how you do it, arent you good" but we dont do this for the praise and good opinion of others, yes we do feel like we are doing a worthwhile thing, yes, its heartbreaking when children leave you, yes it tough at times and you are part of making difficult decisions, but we feel fortunate to have known so many amazing children. Each child has taught us something and has made us a better person in some way.Whatever happens with the children we have now, we will always work in the best interest of every child we have in our care and I see many years of Fostering ahead of us and  I would like to see "Fostering" as a recognised profession!

For more info about LGBT adoption and fostering, please visiti the main BAAF website. To read more personal accounts from LGBT adopters and foster carers, please visit BAAF's online bookstore.






Wednesday, 22 February 2012

LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week

(c) ToniFish
Last night saw members of the LGBT community gather on Twitter to discuss their experiences of adoption and fostering as part of BAAF's celebration of the inaugural LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week. If you missed last night's chat, read on below for a full transcript of what was said - most recent tweets appear first.


WhoCaresTrust
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @WhoCaresTrust @lgbtadoptfoster

BatBSustained
RT @BAAFAdoption: Don't forget the check the BAAF blog - bit.ly/977pnx - tomorrow for a round up of #adoptfosterchat

changekitchen
RT @BAAFAdoption: Don't forget the check the BAAF blog - bit.ly/977pnx - tomorrow for a round up of #adoptfosterchat

ConfCounselling
RT @BAAFAdoption: Don't forget the check the BAAF blog - bit.ly/977pnx - tomorrow for a round up of #adoptfosterchat

loz1221
RT @lgbtadoptfoster: RT @theresauno: Gay/lesbian Adoption. A foster Carer's View. xcentricreality.blogspot.com/2011/06/gayles… @BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat #respect

PACTCHARITY
RT @SatSandhu: #adoptfosterchat #LGBT anyone within 2hrs of London or Reading wanting to adopt or foster with us welcome @PACTCHARITY

TorDocherty
RT @BAAFAdoption: Just over 3% of children adopted from care last year in England were adopted by same-sex coupels #adoptfosterchat #LGBT

lgbtadoptfoster
Night everyone x #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
Check out @lgbtadoptfoster week here ow.ly/9cET9 and NFS support community here ow.ly/9cEY1 #adoptfosterchat

SazMills
RT @BAAFAdoption: Just over 3% of children adopted from care last year in England were adopted by same-sex coupels #adoptfosterchat #LGBT

Sundaykoffron
RT @BAAFAdoption: More info/advice about LGBT adoption/fostering on our website: bit.ly/AEDjYn #adoptfosterchat

SatSandhu
@SatSandhu @pactcharity #adoptfosterchat #LGBT foster or adopt WITH us! i am positive you won't want to adopt us! Nite all! Great chat!

lgbtadoptfoster
@baafadoption thanx hosting tonight. Been good to talk / listen. #adoptfosterchat

Theresauno
RT @BAAFAdoption: Don't forget the check the BAAF blog - bit.ly/977pnx - tomorrow for a round up of #adoptfosterchat

Theresauno
@BAAFAdoption @lgbtadoptfoster Thanks for hostin gr8 #adoptfosterchat - only caught last half but very interesting. T :-)

BAAFAdoption
Don't forget the check the BAAF blog - bit.ly/977pnx - tomorrow for a round up of #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
More info/advice about LGBT adoption/fostering on our website: bit.ly/AEDjYn #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@threebecomefour @_TwoDads There are many bloggers out there from all backgrounds who follow/read and support each other #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Check out the LGBT part of our online bookstore for more adoption/fostering reading: bit.ly/A2w1Zz #adoptfosterchat

SatSandhu #adoptfosterchat #LGBT anyone within a couple of hrs of London or Reading wanting to adopt or foster us welcome @PACTCHARITY

BAAFAdoption
Thanks to everyone for joining us tonight - especially New Family Social @lgbtadoptfoster! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Threebecomefour Agree - support is so vital #adoptfosterchat

_TwoDads
@Threebecomefour @BAAFAdoption @lgbtadoptfoster we have an all encompassing network which the LGBT aspect is part of #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@threebecomefour I'd hope that the common bond of having adopted would be enough to unite all adopters/foster carers #adoptfosterchat

_TwoDads
@Threebecomefour @BAAFAdoption @lgbtadoptfoster #adoptfosterchat I think we do, NFS was instrumental in expanding our support network

valwarr
@BAAFAdoption I just thought there would have been some in b my parent. Even sw said it is not that common. #mixedheritage #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@threebecomefour We've got a large online and actual support network of other LGBT adopters but ... #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
RT @Lawsey1974: @BAAFAdoption Wow, that figure is growing. We can offer happy homes. Who wouldn't support that! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@valwarr LAs in larger cities are likely to need adopters for children of mixed heritage #adoptfosterchat

SatSandhu
@lgbtadoptfoster Ur welcome! :) Gr8 that numbers growing! Would like to see adoption become No1 choice for LGBT parents! #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@boopybreeze are you a NFS member at all? This is where we tend to find our volunteers (who we are always in need of!) #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
#adoptfosterchat my partner & I want to adopt an Asian & White #mixedrace child to match our ethnicity. But there don't seem 2 b many?

BAAFAdoption
Just over 3% of children adopted from care last year in England were adopted by same-sex coupels #adoptfosterchat #LGBT

lgbtadoptfoster
@satsandhu (blushes) thanks! We'll RT that! Our membership is growing by the day & more meet ups happening every week. #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@bluegrass_ryan See links here - follow through to DfE website: bit.ly/feamhA #adoptfosterchat

pinkladylou
@BAAFAdoption @juicemore #adoptfosterchat that's amazing to hear, me and my husband are waiting for our match panel ?

bluegrass_ryan
Are there any stats available on the number of LGBT adopters? #adoptfosterchat

SatSandhu
#adoptfosterchat I think @lgbtadoptfoster have been instrumental in harnessing the message of what is achievable for our looked after kids!

BAAFAdoption
RT @Theresauno: Children in care nd stable/nurturing/loving homes-Gd adopters cn provide tht w/e their sexual orientation. #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@SatSandhu In agencies where there are LGBT sws, it has helped to pave the way #adoptfosterchat

Theresauno
Children in care need stable/nurturing/loving homes - Good adopters can provide that, whatever their sexual orientation. #adoptfosterchat

_TwoDads
@BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat There'll be 2 gay dads from 2 families and a lesbian couple talking, expecting 2-200 - a wide est. lol

SatSandhu
@BAAFAdoption agreed! it needs people internal to the agency to lead and pioneer change. @PACTCHARITY is a good example #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
#adoptfosterchat slowly slowly catchy monkey

lgbtadoptfoster
@baafadoption @threebecomefour but we're not aware of any negative feedback on this (I think?!?) #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@baafadoption @threebecomefour I think the very nature of any online forum tends to channel people into specific groups #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Threebecomefour We haven't found that to be true - perhaps @lgbtadoptfoster can help #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Threebecomefour Have you spoken to New Family Social @lgbtadoptfoster? #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Threebecomefour In recent years we've seen more lesbians and gay men interested in fostering #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Threebecomefour Hard to measure - statistics not recorded #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@SatSandhu A good point, but hard to guarantee #adoptfosterchat

boopybreeze
@SatSandhu @BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat what a great idea!

BAAFAdoption
@juicemore Great to hear! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
RT @juicemore: #adoptfosterchat jst celebrated 2nd anniversary of meetin our 3yo-amazing times-slog of the adoption process is so worth it:)

juicemore
#adoptfosterchat just celebrated 2nd anniversary of meeting our 3yold - amazing times - the slog of the adoption process is so worth it:)

SatSandhu
#adoptfosterchat Agencies must have LGBT Ambassadors to show how much the community have to offer & lead the agency to ppl who want 2 parent

lgbtadoptfoster
RT @theresauno: Gay/lesbian Adoption. A foster Carer's View. xcentricreality.blogspot.com/2011/06/gayles… @BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat #respect

valwarr
#adoptfosterchat I wonder if anyone has suffered at religious schools? Our mates adopted kids had major proba. Clearly masking real issue!

BAAFAdoption
RT @Theresauno: Gay/lesbian Adoption. A foster Carer's View. bit.ly/AetwsW @BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat #respect

BAAFAdoption
RT @SatSandhu: #adoptfosterchat Ppl still encountering prejudice bt it's case of strength in nos.Success in LGBT fostering adoption is high!

Theresauno
Gay/lesbian Adoption. A foster Carer's View. xcentricreality.blogspot.com/2011/06/gayles… @BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat #respect

SatSandhu
#adoptfosterchat People still encountering prejudice but it is a case of strength in numbers.Success in LGBT fostering adoption is high!

BAAFAdoption
Great!RT @SatSandhu: #adoptfosterchat We had7couples&3single people at our LGBTevent last night at PACTCharity!Lots enthusiasm&energy2adopt!

BAAFAdoption
RT @boopybreeze: #adoptfosterchat Any other Gay Foster carers had to deal with homophobic parents??Insisting children placed elsewhere?

SatSandhu
#adoptfosterchat We had 7 couples and 3 single people at our LGBT event last night at PACTCharity! Lots of enthusiasm & energy to adopt!

BAAFAdoption
RT @bluegrass_ryan: I'd like to highlight the relative invisibility of, and dearth of resources for, T adopters. #adoptfosterchat

boopybreeze
@BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat Any other Gay Foster carers had to deal with homophobic parents?? Insisting children placed elsewhere??

BAAFAdoption
RT @boopybreeze: #adoptfosterchat my wife and I were really lucky! Positive experiences when interviewing LA's & Agencies re: being gay FC's

bluegrass_ryan
I'd like to highlight the relative invisibility of, and dearth of resources for, T adopters. #adoptfosterchat

boopybreeze
#adoptfosterchat @BAAFAdoption my wife and I were really lucky! Positive experiences when interviewing LA's and Agencies re: being gay FC's

BAAFAdoption
RT @Threebecomefour: @bluegrass_ryan Congratulations!! We're just about to celebrate 2 years. Still can't believe it! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
If you need info/advice about becoming an adoptive parent/foster carer, visit our LGBT pages: bit.ly/AEDjYn #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@valwarr Great to hear your determination! #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
#adoptfosterchat it wad really hard. But we stuck with the LA. One bad apple did not ruin the whole bunch!

BAAFAdoption
Excellent! A good experience? RT @KallyBlueEyes: #adoptfosterchat It's been 9 years since my Aunties adopted my cousins ^_^

KallyBlueEyes
#adoptfosterchat It's been 9 years since my Aunties adopted my cousins ^_^

BAAFAdoption
@lgbtadoptfoster Congrats Mat! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@valwarr It's an on-going process to educate sws - but hopefully we'll get there #adoptfosterchat

boopybreeze
@valwarr @baafadoption #adoptfosterchat what was homophobic? The LA?? Can you give example??

lgbtadoptfoster
@bluegrass_ryan Congrats! I'm preparing for our arrival in 4 weeks time! (via Mat) #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Congrats! RT @bluegrass_ryan: Today we're celebrating the one year anniversary of our two girls moving in. #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
@BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat the LA were shocked to hear how #homophobic the questioning of them was. Very very negative in tone

BAAFAdoption
@_TwoDads Ooh - what can you share with us? #adoptfosterchat

bluegrass_ryan
Today we're celebrating the one year anniversary of our two girls moving in. #adoptfosterchat

_TwoDads
@BAAFAdoption #adoptfosterchat evening! went to an preparation session for the Nottingham event, there's plenty planned :-)

BAAFAdoption
RT @lgbtadoptfoster: @boopybreeze Tameside tomorrow night-any use? More events here ow.ly/9cAwr #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@boopybreeze Tameside tomorrow night-any use? More events here ow.ly/9cAwr #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
Was very scary feeling we had nowhere to turn with our concerns. It has taken over a year to come clean with the LA. #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Some great LGBT adoption & fostering stories on our blog this month: bit.ly/h7qn9v #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@valwarr Glad you have new sw - if you need advice, call our lines later this week: bit.ly/mFGCam #adoptfosterchat

boopybreeze
@lgbtadoptfoster whats going on in Manchester #adoptfosterchat

valwarr
#adoptfosterchat partner & I suffered with a judgemental and homophobic sw & only just had a change. We felt trapped with her & hid feelings

BAAFAdoption
RT @Lawsey1974: @BAAFAdoption No complaints.Our social worker was lovely and so supportive. Being2 mums made no difference. #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Excellent! Anyone else? RT @boopybreeze: @BAAFAdoption have been posting stuff on facebook and raising profile at work!! #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
Yes @baafadoption it's going great. Loads of good feedback from events & we've been tweeting loads of media feature links. #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
@Lawsey1974 How was the adoption process for you and your partner? #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
You too! RT @Threebecomefour: @BAAFAdoption Hi there. Good to "see" you! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
How is the week going, @lgbtadoptfoster? Lots more lined up? #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
@baafadoption evening all! #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Yesterday marked the start of LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week, launched by @lgbtadoptfoster.What have you done to celebrate? #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Hi all! Welcome to #adoptfosterchat, this month focusing on LGBT adoption & fostering

BAAFAdoption
@boopybreeze Oops - good thinking! @DIVAmagazine - join us in a few mins for LGBT #adoptfosterchat? bit.ly/wuEq00

boopybreeze
RT @danielfrench: Dear gays. @BAAFAdoption is discussing LGBT adoption & fostering tonight 7-8pm. Follow #adoptfosterchat & join the chat.

NCLW12
RT @lgbtadoptfoster: Join us & @BAAFAdoption tonight at 7pm on Twitter follwing #adoptfosterchat for a Q&A session bit.ly/wuEq00

lgbtadoptfoster
RT @baafadoption: #britawards don't start until 8pm - so could can join us for #adoptfosterchat at 7! bit.ly/wuEq00

BAAFAdoption
#britawards don't start until 8pm - so could can join us for #adoptfosterchat at 7! bit.ly/wuEq00

BAAFAdoption
You can also follow tonight's #adoptfosterchat on our blog: bit.ly/h7qn9v

drjamiewallis
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @A_Barton @NickyAACampbell @lisafaulkner1

BAAFAdoption
RT @lgbtadoptfoster: Join us & @BAAFAdoption tonight at 7pm on Twitter follwing #adoptfosterchat for a Q&A session bit.ly/wuEq00

lgbtadoptfoster
Join us & @BAAFAdoption tonight at 7pm on Twitter follwing #adoptfosterchat for a Q&A session bit.ly/wuEq00

Threebecomefour
@BAAFAdoption Hope your chat goes well tonight! #adoptfosterchat

Threebecomefour
RT @BAAFAdoption: 4 hours until #adoptfosterchat! Who's joining us?

BAAFAdoption
4 hours until #adoptfosterchat! Who's joining us?

BAAFAdoption
Join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @AttitudeMag @GayTimesMag

SoSoGay
RT @danielfrench: Dear gays. @BAAFAdoption is discussing LGBT adoption & fostering tonight 7-8pm. Follow #adoptfosterchat & join the chat.

TmStvns
RT @danielfrench: Dear gays. @BAAFAdoption is discussing LGBT adoption & fostering tonight 7-8pm. Follow #adoptfosterchat & join the chat.

danielfrench
More info here: baaf.org.uk/node/3992 #adoptfosterchat

danielfrench
Dear gays. @BAAFAdoption is discussing LGBT adoption & fostering tonight 7-8pm. Follow #adoptfosterchat & join the chat.

boopybreeze
#adoptfosterchat looking forward to tonights chat!

fosteringnet
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @fosteringnet @PACTCHARITY @TACTcare @theNSPCC

PACTCHARITY
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @fosteringnet @PACTCHARITY @TACTcare @theNSPCC

lgbtadoptfoster
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @WhoCaresTrust @lgbtadoptfoster

Coram
As part of LGBT adoption and fostering week @baafadoption are having an #adoptfosterchat at 7pm bit.ly/wuEq00 ...

NickyAACampbell
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @A_Barton @NickyAACampbell @lisafaulkner1

BAAFAdoption
A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @WhoCaresTrust @lgbtadoptfoster

lisafaulkner1
RT @BAAFAdoption: A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @A_Barton @NickyAACampbell @lisafaulkner1

BAAFAdoption
A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @fosteringnet @PACTCHARITY @TACTcare @theNSPCC

BAAFAdoption
A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @AdoptionUK @aslongasittakes @barnardos @Coram

BAAFAdoption
A reminder to join us tonight for LGBT #adoptfosterchat: bit.ly/wuEq00 // cc @A_Barton @NickyAACampbell @lisafaulkner1

netnatives
RT @baafadoption: BAAF holding Twitter Chat as part of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week on Tuesday 21st February 7-8 pm #adoptfosterchat

lgbtadoptfoster
RT @baafadoption: Join us tomorrow, 7-8pm to discuss LGBT adoption & fostering: bit.ly/wuEq00 #adoptfosterchat #lgbtadoptfoster

bellymunchie
RT @BAAFAdoption: Join us tomorrow, 7-8pm to discuss LGBT adoption & fostering: bit.ly/wuEq00 #adoptfosterchat // cc @lgbtadoptfoster

BAAFAdoption
Join us tomorrow, 7-8pm to discuss LGBT adoption & fostering: bit.ly/wuEq00 #adoptfosterchat // cc @lgbtadoptfoster

BAAFAdoption
Calling all LGBT peeps with adoption/fostering experience - or those considering adoption/fostering! bit.ly/wuEq00 #adoptfosterchat

BAAFAdoption
Join us? @LGBTadoptfoster RT @danielfrench: Join us Tue,Feb 21 7-8pm 2discuss LGBT adoption&fostering bit.ly/wuEq00 #adoptfosterchat


For more information about LGBT Adoption & Fostering, visit the main BAAF website. To find books about the subject, head to our online bookstore.






Monday, 13 February 2012

Two mums, two kids, one family

This week on the blog we speak to adoptive mum Helen, who describes her adoption experience as "as close to magical as you can get".

This morning on the walk to school our boy told me he loves it when it's Father's Day, because he doesn't have to do anything and can enjoy 'free play' while the other children make cards. I reminded him that on Mother's Day he has to work extra hard and make two cards while everyone else makes one. He slapped his forehead and said, 'oh yeah, I forgot about that.'

Our two adopted children have lived with my partner and I for three years now and I can honestly say that we haven't received one single bit animosity or non-acceptance. Not even so much as a 'tut' when we walk by. We genuinely forget that we are any different to any other family and I often describe us as a very 'conventional non-conventional' family, in that are probably a bit boring. We play in the park, we go out for dinners, we go to museums and we try to remember to get more use out of our National Trust membership every year. So far so very, very normal.

We genuinely found the whole adoption process to be quite wonderful. We never felt we were treated any differently or ever made to feel awkward. Ironically, the one person who did make us feel uncomfortable was another gay man on the training course. He made a snide comment during an exercise we did on how people fit into the world, insinuating that it would be hard for us to be accepted in our community. Well, he got that wrong.

Of course, when the children started bringing friends home for tea we got a lot of questions. Such as, 'Where is your dad?' 'Why don’t you live with them?' 'Where did you live before?' It went on and on. But we just answered them calmly, honestly and without any fuss. When children have questions they just want answers they can understand. There is nothing unusual about my family to everyone that knows us. I am friends with many of the mums in the playground. I go on school trips to help out. I work with the PTA putting on fundraising events. I embarrassed our children at the school Halloween party by dressing up in a hideous outfit, because that's what parents do.

From the very first phone call to the Local Authority Adoption Team to our family day in court, our adoption experience has been as close to magical as you can get. Every year we look forward to going to the adopter's picnic to say hello to the lovely people who helped put our family together. Our children are happy. They get treats. They get told off. They get everything you would want children to have. And they get all of this from their two mums!

For more information about LGBT adoption & fostering, please visit the LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week website or check out BAAF's Pink Guide To Adoption.






Thursday, 9 February 2012

Our journey to become same-sex adopters

In the run up to LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week (20-26th February 2012), we hear from a lesbian couple who share their journey to parenthood.

Being in a same-sex relationship meant Jo and I looked into all the options open to us to start a family. We both agreed that adoption was the right path for us because we knew there were children who needed a loving home and it would mean that we were both on an equal footing with our children.

We thought that it might be difficult for us to adopt as a gay couple and so did a lot of reading and research before applying to our local authority. We nervously posted the application form in the March we were visited by a social worker. In June of that year we went on a 3 day preparation course. This certainly was an eye opener and was at times very emotional but at the end of the course we were still sure we wanted to adopt.

The next few months were filled with social worker meetings, life stories and homework. We’d heard that the process could be intrusive but we had a brilliant social worker and I actually found the process to be enjoyable. It really made you think about what had happened in your life and how that would filter down to your parenting.

In readiness for our new family we decided to extend our house and the building started in November. Things were thrown into turmoil when my Dad suddenly passed away in the beginning of December, but little did we know on that very same date, decisions were already being made that would bring us to our little girl.

Adoption approval panel was in the following February and after being approved we awaited that all important phone call. A year to the day of our very first meeting, our social worker called about a 7 month old little girl called Willow, my heart was racing and I still well up now just thinking about that call. The next few weeks were a whirlwind as we scrambled to finish the house and get it ready for a baby!

The day of our first meeting was both so exciting and so terrifying I don’t think it can be put into words. Willow’s foster carer was amazing and within the first hour I’d given Willow her first bottle and she’d fallen asleep on my lap. We were hooked! Handover week was exhausting and as it drew to a close it grew harder and harder to take her back to the foster carer to sleep. Finally Willow moved in and we were a family.

It turned out to be a baptism of fire as Willow came down with chickenpox in her first week at home but this meant we bonded quicker than ever.

I cannot express how lucky and blessed we feel to become Willow’s forever family. There is no greater joy than a seeing a child advance and develop and she continues to melt our hearts daily.

We always knew we wanted more than one child so around 18 months later, we resubmitted our profile for approval. We went to panel in the December and were prepared by our social worker for a ‘long wait’ as we needed to be matched with a child who was at least 20 months younger than Willow.

It was a bit of surprise then when we received a phone call in the New Year about a little boy called Hugo. Once again we fell in love and met him a few days after his first birthday.
The introductions week was very different this time as we had to manage how Willow was introduced to her new brother. Understandably she was confused by going back and forth to the foster carers and seemed quite sad that she would no longer be the only one. All we could do is explain what was happening and keep showing her all the love she’d had before.

Now we were a family of four and I think it’s safe to say that that year was a huge emotional rollercoaster as we all adapted to the new set up. We found it really important to make time for both of us to spend one on one with both Willow and Hugo and we continue to do that now.
Willow and Hugo wouldn’t now be without each other and talking to other families seem to display all the characteristics of birth siblings – a healthy rivalry and ganging up on their mummies!
We had a great experience with our local authority’s social services and always felt we were treated with the upmost respect and fairness. We regularly take part in events that are run by social services and I have even DJ’d at the Christmas party!

Our circle of friends has also grown through adoption and we regularly get together with other adoptive families for days out.

I would heartily recommend adoption to anyone considering starting a family. It might be tough at times but you soon come to realise that what you get back in return far outweighs the negatives.

Our house is full for now, but who knows what might happen in the future...






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...