Justine and Spencer
“Spencer and I felt that adoption was the way we needed to proceed to create our forever family, and just over 6 years ago we began that journey. We felt ready to take on siblings once we’d made the decision to adopt as we wanted to keep them together and avoid the heartbreak of them going off to different families. The beginning of the process was an anxious time for us and we had so many questions – we were excited that we could provide children with a forever home, but could we cope? Would our relationship as husband and wife stay as strong as it had always been? However, despite the anxieties, once we started the process we never looked back.
The pre-adoption training process we went through was beneficial in giving us an insight of what to expect, although we were just wishing it could have been completed sooner! Our social workers were a great support and offered us amazing support throughout the whole process. Once we got to panel, we found that our nerves about the whole thing were unfounded – panel were always friendly, encouraging and supportive towards us. We were approved as adopters and matched with a child, and suddenly all of our worries disappeared to be replaced by an overwhelming sense of joy and excitement. It also began to feel very real – I just hoped I would be the best mum I could be.
Of the four children who we’re now parents to, our first has been with us over 6 years, our second nearly 6 years, our third for 5 and a half years, and our fourth for nearly a year now. They are all extremely close and as they get older they will all be able to share experiences, thoughts and concerns with each other. They have a shared identity and the bond between them is incredibly strong; we would have hated to see them moved apart. Their love, togetherness, similarities and differences make them so important to each other.
The biggest challenge for us to adapt to was that within the space of a year, we were instantly parents to three children all aged under 2 and a half! This was not only life changing for us as parents, but also each sibling had to quickly adjust to us, their new home, and plenty more. For 13 years it had just been the two of us as a couple, so the change in dynamics we faced was a significant challenge.
Our fourth had a slightly different journey to his siblings. He was taken into foster care from birth before returning to his birth parents. However, after serious doubts over the level of his care had been raised, it was decided by the courts that he would be placed for adoption. We adopted him only last year when he was almost four-years-old, which bought further challenges both for us as parents to adjust to, but more so for the children as the dynamics they’d got used to also changed. Despite all the challenges though, we were thrilled we were able to unite all our children and provide a home for them all together.
It’s now been around six years since we adopted our first three, which was with our local authority, and by the time we came to adopt our fourth child last year they had entered in to an innovative partnership with TACT. Because of the wonderful experience we’d had before, we were grateful that staff had been retained and we had the same social worker as before, who’d been a constant source of support. She provided us with honesty and reassurance, which was so helpful as we adjusted to going through the same journey we had some years previously. If anything, the support provided this time by TACT was even better, particularly from the member of staff who helped with the life story work – we found her to be so willing, open to change and completely child-focused.
Every achievement, no matter how small, mean so much to you after adopting – the children have all learnt to read, write, swim, ride their bikes and so much more. Most of all though, they are happy, safe and secure, and so close to each other and to us as mummy and daddy. Adoption is a life changing experience; there are times when it’s hard, you worry about things that can manifest themselves at a later stage, and you need to be strong as an individual or a couple as it will test you! But overall, the joy, pride, love and how it enriches yours and the children’s lives far outweigh the challenges of adopting.
My advice to anyone thinking about adoption is go for it, stay strong, be yourself and embrace it all!”