Meet some of our adopters
Meet Michelle and Stephen. They are an Aberdeen couple in their early 50s. They adopted their daughter 4 years ago and continue to support the service to recruit more adoptive parents and foster carers.
”Our daughter first came to live with us 4 years ago. She was 4 and had been with her foster carers for two and a half years. She was lucky to have had amazing foster carers who had done a wonderful job with her and she was in a good routine. We spent time with the foster carers getting to know these routines and stuck to them when she moved to us and so the transition was relatively easy for both our daughter and us. We can recall however the first 3 months being a bit of a blur - we were as prepared as could be but nobody had prepared us for having to hit the ground running when she arrived. Gone were the lazy evenings on the sofa - now we had bath times and bedtime routines. Nobody could have prepared us for really what a 4 year old was like. Just the simple things - lying in bed the morning after she arrived and worrying that she had been sleeping for 11 hours. Was this normal? And milk ....could she drink semi-skimmed or would it have to be full fat? Thank goodness we had people we could ask. Silly little things but these were the things we didn't know. But soon we had all settled in to our new lives and we never looked back.
And really the 4 years have gone in a flash. We've watched her grow in to a delightful young girl who is happy, loving, friendly and kind and brings us so much happiness and joy. Not only to us but to our extended family. It’s like she's always been in our lives. She’s now 8 (going on 18!). She knows her life story and in fact we still keep in touch with her foster carers and meet up at least a couple of times a year. They were a huge part of her life and indeed she was a huge part of theirs. It’s interesting to see how her attachments from them have fully transferred over to us and actually this happened over quite a short period of time. The anxiety that we had about her meeting with them has all gone now and when they meet, it's like she's meeting old friends she hasn't seen in a while.
On top of this, she also has a half-brother who she has contact with. Their plan is that they should meet up 4 times a year. We actually try and meet up with him as much as we can as we believe it’s important for her to maintain a relationship with him. The contact is always a joy to see, it’s so heart-warming to watch them greet each other and interact.
We've never regretted our decision to adopt. Our life feels complete with her in our lives. We spend most of our time now no longer relaxing on the sofa, but taking her to the various activities that she's involved in. And none of it is a chore or a thought. We love doing it.
Without a doubt, adopting her is the best thing we have ever done."
Meet Helen. Helen is a single adoptive parent of two young boys, alongside her own birth son. Here she describes some of her experiences.
"I was very nervous as I walked up to the door one day during the Easter holidays in 2011. I wasn’t sure I was what they were looking for, I thought I might be sent away when they found out I was on my own. Looking back I can say it was the day that changed my life, in just over six years I’ve gained two sons, life is very busy and hectic at times but I wouldn’t have it any other way! When I walked through the door that day I was greeted by smiling face and shown to a side room where I was met by the duty social worker. They took some details and explained the process in detail to me. It was informal and she put me at ease very quickly...
Aberdeen was in the fortunate position that they didn’t have any children that met my requirements. We waited but there was no sign of any. Scotland then decided to trial Adoption Exchange Events, they had been used in England with great success. I signed up and waited for the dates to come around. First I went to another local authority, there I was greeted by a room full of pictures of children all looking for a forever family. There were social workers and foster carers all ready to talk about the children giving valuable insight and helping to turn the pictures on the boards into real little people. Everyone was so accommodating and knowledgeable. Here I stumbled across the consortium table and on it a little boy who had similar interests to members of my own family, his favourite song was the same as my sons and his favourite activity was swimming the same as me and my son, it seemed too good to be true. I even walked away and left his profile initially before returning to collect it on my way out and leaving mine with the lady. There was two weeks before the next event. I had passed the profiles I had collected to my worker with the consortium table boy on the top. He was definitely our first choice. Then the work started.
Fast forward two and a bit years to September 2015, life as a family of three was very settled, my boys were very close and I had moved jobs and was happily employed! We had always talked about going back and seeing if we could extend the family again. I spoke to both of my boys and they were delighted. My youngest was very excited to not be the baby brother and was very keen to teach a new brother how to do things. My oldest was again happy (it is not cool to show excitement at his age) and we started the process again.
The panel were great again this time they were even quicker to come to a decision. It had taken us 18 months to get to this point, we hunkered down ready for the long wait to find our next little man but little did we know what the following three months would have in store.
My worker and I discussed the plan, again Aberdeen didn’t have children the right age for us, we looked at Adoption Exchange Days again, Linkmaker (an online system) was now available to adopters, and there were Activity Days too. I struggled with the idea of an activity day, seeing the actual children there I felt I would want to take them all home so we made the decision to go with an upcoming Exchange Day and re-evaluate the Activity Day at a later stage. I was signed up and waited for the day to arrive.
One week later I was walking in the woods when my phone rang. The reception was patchy but when I found a good spot my worker told me that she had attended the Activity Day, she had seen a little boy who she thought we should enquire further about. I was excited but nervous. I logged on to Linkmaker and was approved by my worker, I looked up the little boy and found his profile. His needs seemed greater than I thought we could manage, but I’d been here before. Sometimes seeing it in black and white can make it seem worse than it is. Time to do the homework, questions had to be asked and people spoken to. Again this time I took time to speak with foster carers, social workers, and school teachers. The more I heard the more I loved my wee man before I had even met him.
Today I am a single mother of three very active boys. My house is a mess, there is never any peace or quiet, there are finger marks on the walls and windows and the fridge is never full for long!
Would I have it any other way? No. Would I change what I have done? Never. Do I love my hectic life? Of course.
Would I recommend adoption to others? Yes, if you have the patience, love and time to spend with a child, making them feel secure, giving them somewhere to belong and someone to belong to then the hard work is worth it. It is not always easy, the waiting can be hard, the introductions and first few months can be tricky but being there, allowing them time to adjust, keeping routines familiar and allowing contact with foster carers (phone, Facetime) help them to trust you and feel secure in their new home, allow them to adjust quickly and embrace their new life in the their new family. As with any children there are ups and downs are adopted children are no different. They come with a past we can’t always understand and sometimes they don’t either.
Today I have three lovely boys who make my life complete, I am sure they would say the same. We may not be a ‘normally’ created family but this is my family, they make me laugh every day, they are all very different but together we are a team who have such a strong bond I know I have made the right decisions for them all and two boys who had no family to call their own now have a family forever."
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