Rose* and Simon* adopted their son Jay* in 2020 when he was 14 months old. Rose is a secondary school music teacher and Simon is a church minister.
Rose said they always talked about adoption as a way of creating their family and had supported the work of Home for Good for some time. (Home for Good is a movement that inspires Christians to adopt or foster and equips churches to be welcoming communities for adoptive and foster families.) She said: “We felt that as Christians we should be concerned for the many, many children who were in need of a family. We discovered that it would not be straightforward for us to have birth children so decided to make adoption our positive choice as the path we wanted to go down to grow our family. We are so convinced that the best thing for a child is to grow up in a loving family and we felt that we could offer that to a child that needed one.”
Simon and Rose heard about PACT through Home for Good and knew that PACT had a reputation for being efficient and supportive, both during the adoption process and afterwards. “One of our key priorities was that there would be support longer term if we needed it and we were really impressed with PACT’s training and support events, as well as their dedicated therapeutic social workers who would be available for support after our child came home.”
They attended an information evening which they found to be very warm and welcoming: “Social workers were ready to answer our questions and followed up with us after the event. There was no question for us, we knew we wanted to adopt with PACT.”
Rose and Simon were adopting around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rose said that while it was a strange time for everyone, it had become their new normal. “We found it was a really positive thing to be working towards in a time where we were at home more and our usual diary of events wasn’t happening.” She found that the extra time they had available while the country experienced varying degrees of local and national lockdowns was actually a benefit. “I was worried that it would slow the process but if anything, I think it probably made it a bit quicker.”
She did, however, find it frustrating having to do everything virtually. “Virtual is just not as good as in real life and there always seems to be some sort of technical hitch with an online meeting!” Rose and Simon’s adoption panel was conducted virtually by PACT and they found the experience of this and the matching panel to be positive, despite not being there in person. “At both panels, they did a brilliant job of making it as warm and welcoming as it can be on Zoom but we wished we had been able to enjoy that moment of being approved and matched in person, with all of those people who had just made a life-changing decision for us!”
Before meeting their son in person for the first time, Rose and Simon had several virtual introductions over video call. Though this felt strange, it also gave them a chance to get to know Jay a little before their first meeting. Rose said: “This made it all the more wonderful when we could actually see him in the flesh and hold him! It felt incredibly momentous, a day that had been so longed for and then all of a sudden you are on the floor and have a little one who wants to play and crawl all over you!” She said the foster carers were brilliant at helping them to feel relaxed in their home and they had prepared Jay really well for meeting his new family.
When Jay first moved in with them, they found it to be a wonderful but exhausting experience. While it was tiring to keep going back and forth to the foster carers during the introductions, Rose said their son managed the transition to his new home really well. “Being all together at home and feeling like a proper family was the most wonderful feeling and it was a very special time.” She said that PACT had been very supportive throughout the whole process. Their family have not needed any extra support from PACT yet, but she says it is good to know that support is available. “It is a real comfort to know that we can access support from them in years to come.“
The training Simon and Rose received during the assessment process helped them to understand more about Jay’s background and his birth parents, which gave them a new perspective on what it is like for all those involved in the adoption process. Rose said that openness is important to them, and they always want Jay to be able to ask questions about where he came from. “In time he will get a life story book which will be a really valuable resource to help him understand his story and all the different people involved in making him who he is!”
Q: What have been the highlights of your experience so far?
“Bringing our boy home and getting to know him has to be the absolutely highlight. It makes the whole process worthwhile and is definitely worth the wait. It has been the really normal things which we are doing together that have often been the most precious: the little moments where he comes to us for cuddles, his infectious giggle, watching him learn new things every day knowing you are part of that journey for him.
“It has also been great to put all the training into practice and understand how it helps once your child comes home. I really feel that PACT prepared us brilliantly for the transition and the early days. We will always be learning but I come back to things from training every day!”
Q: Did your faith background affect your experience of the adoption process?
“We felt that our faith background and motivation to adopt was really positively valued throughout the process. We didn’t feel that we had to fit into a mould and our social worker really sought to listen and understand us.
“Our faith motivation and church support network were noted as strengths throughout PACT’s assessment process.”
To anyone thinking about adoption, Rose says:
“Definitely consider it! We recognise it isn’t for everyone, but it has been a wonderful blessing to us.
“Take it one step at a time. It is a long process but a large part of it is learning and working out alongside your social worker whether adoption is right for you and if so, what that might look like and what child might fit into your family.
“Talk to other adopters and take every opportunity to ask them questions. We found it really helpful meeting up with people locally who had adopted and connecting with the adoption community on Instagram and Facebook. Even once your child or children are home, it is great to have people around who are ahead of you on their journey.
“Finally, be honest and open with your family and support network. This was really important for us and helped them feel a part of the journey to our little one coming home too.”
*Names changed in line with confidentiality