Mark 32, and James 33*, kindly agreed to do an interview to tell us all about their adoption experience and to help others considering adoption in the LGBT community. They completed the process with Blackpool Council Adoption Service and give an honest insight and overview of their experience.
Why did you decide to adopt / what were your motivations to adopt?
We have both reached a point in life where we have been together for several years and were settled in our jobs. Naturally, as friends began to start their families, it was something we began to discuss. Despite our concerns that we were not the traditional husband and wife family we felt we had a huge amount to offer a child. We also felt that, as having children naturally wasn’t really possible, we could do something incredible for another young person and bring them into our lives.
What was the deciding factor in making an enquiry / taking those first steps?
Ultimately we debated the idea for almost 12 months however seeing a TV programme and starting to talk to people. We found an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea and decided we had nothing to lose as everyone is very clear that there is no obligation to continue if you reach a point of concern. We decided to start the process, take it a step at a time and see where we ended up....which is happily matched to our wonderful new child.
Did you have any preconceptions or concerns prior to starting the process? If so, did the team help you to address them?
As soon as we met the team we immediately felt that we had made the right choice. We were treated fairly and as equal to any other couple and have never felt at a disadvantage. We had some concerns that we may be looked upon differently or only be considered for certain types of children however it rapidly became obvious this wasn’t the case.
Outside of the adoption itself we also had some worries about how family and friends may view things. They have always been supportive of our general lifestyles but we wondered if this was a bit outside the box for some people. We decided to be very open about our decision to start looking into the process and have kept everyone up to date as we moved through the system. Overwhelmingly our family, friends and neighbours have been incredibly supportive and have enjoyed living the experience with us. They often had similar questions and concerns as we had had but as I think by the end of our process many people were more excited than we were. I would strongly recommend anyone to be open about it as we have – it’s amazing how many people have been adopted, have adopted or just have interesting stories or advice to impart.
What made you choose Blackpool Council Adoption Services?
Recommendation from a friend.
How did you find the process?
Looking back on the process (as we are now fortunate to be doing) it has been a challenging experience and a bit of a rollercoaster but also incredibly cathartic. We have met all sorts of people from walks of life we would never have otherwise had the fortune to meet. It has really helped clarify that this was the right decision for us and it also helped prepare us for what was the end.
The period from initial enquiry to panel approval to adopt is well structured and it is predominantly an exciting but nerve racking time and overall we felt we were being well prepared.
Once approved it is literally a waiting game – we found it quite hard to feel positive all the time, especially where you started to feel there was a child where it looked like a match was possible - only to find it wasn’t. Looking back, things have actually happened very quickly for us but at the time it felt like a lifetime of waiting and hoping.
Could it be improved?
There are times where the inevitable paperwork and tick boxing that adoption seems to require became frustrating and repetitive. Some of the decisions don’t always seem to be the most obvious solution. However we accepted that the process wouldn’t be a delight 100% of the time and overall we got where we needed to with relatively little drama.
Favourite part of your experience?
Welcoming our little bundle of energy into our lives, but also the way it has a hugely positive impact on relationships with everyone who has been along for the ride. We never anticipated it would capture people’s imagination so well or that so many people would be just genuinely delighted to be involved in any small way in our adventure.
What was the hardest part of the journey?
Waiting for a match - we have very little influence over it so it sometimes feels like you’re getting nowhere. However, if you have a social worker as good as ours then they will help to get you through the wait.
If you could give any advice to prospective applicants from the LGBT community who are considering adoption - what would it be?
Don’t worry about the LGBT part! You will be treated in just the same way as anyone else. Just decide if it’s something you really are interested in or not and then go for it.
Try to keep your mind as open as possible and be receptive to information and advice along the way – it’s amazing how far from our original thoughts we have ended up.
From my personal experience I would strongly recommend being very open about it to anyone who cares for you – if they are along with you from the start then they will learn the same things you do and will have a lot of their questions answered along the way.
If you'd like to learn more about adopting with Blackpool Council, why not have a read of our comprehensive website, contact us to ask any questions, or request a free information pack. Alternatively, you can call our friendly and experienced team on 01253 477888 for further details.
Start the conversation by giving us a call on 01253 477888 or alternatively, request a free callback and we'll be in touch with you as soon as possible, within 5 working days.