As part of a national campaign a call was made by North Lincolnshire Council last week for people to put themselves forward as adoptive parents.
This week we hear from Isle couple Lisa and Simon, and their adoption story.
As a couple, Lisa and Simon took a long time to decide that adoption was the right choice for them. Having tried for almost 11 years to have their own children, they accepted that they were not going to manage it. After making the decision to adopt they talked for months about the changes they would have to make to become adoptive parents.
Lisa said: “We started the adoption course full of enthusiasm, excitement and a lot of nerves but soon got into the swing of things, switching from one emotion to another but generally wishing the course away as then we would be one step closer.”
The course gave them more information and ideas than they ever could have imagined: “This led us to have a little wobble as a lot of worst case scenarios came up leading us to question our ages and energy. This wobble led to more talking and a couple of tantrums. This probably helped us to make our relationship stronger as we learnt to communicate better during that course than in 12 years of marriage!”
Lisa and Simon also found that the communication skills they developed during the process really help with parenting.
Lisa and Simon were matched two months after being approved, which is where the hard work really started for them: “We had many delays but we eventually got there. The adoption team gave us so much information we don’t think we could have known the boys any better if they had been our own biological children. It was definitely love at first read for us.”
Their first meeting with the boys was terrifying: “We definitely had no sleep the night before and choosing what to wear was a nightmare.”
Lisa and Simon turned up to the foster carers’ house to meet the boys, but it was completely different to what they expected. Lisa said: “We were expecting the most awkward couple of hours of our life - this was far from the truth. We were welcomed with breakfast and adult conversation whilst the boys got used to strangers in their home. After what seem like an eternity out eldest boy became very inquisitive, not really speaking but showing us his favourite things and the youngest just loved to be cuddled once he made sure his foster parents were OK with us.”
The first meeting for them was perfect as the boys didn’t become overwhelmed by too much attention, but the eldest was very keen that they should ‘come back again soon’: “those kinds of statements really melt your heart.”
Each day over the next week the boys became chattier and more loving towards Lisa and Simon: “We believe this was the work of the adoption team and foster carers preparing, talking and explaining to the boys. In fact it was done so well the boys moving day was brought forward as they had accepted us and were happy with their visits.”
On the moving in day the boys were brought over to Lisa and Simon by the foster carers: “They stayed with us for a cuppa and a chat until the boys were comfortable, they then left us to it for a couple of hours (staying within a short distance just in case – this was our final safety net). We believe we are the luckiest adoptive parents around as the boys took to moving in with us as if it was the most natural thing in the world. They even slept through the night (a full 12 hours). We were in heaven.”
Lisa and Simon believe the top tips to fostering are:
Talk to the adoption team they have so many strategies for every eventuality.
Talk to other mums and dads and family members as you will want to buy everything but need none of it. “We spent a fortune on buggies and changing stations etc but the buggy was too complicated and not suitable for the school run. And the changing station is upstairs when the majority of changes occur downstairs on a changing mat, lets face it little ones are heavy and going upstairs is not convenient with a stinky bum.”
Keep things simple: “all they really need is love and time.”
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Lisa and Simon though; they have gone through the night terrors, tantrums, boundary pushing, general bad tempers and grumpiness. Lisa said: “But to see how quickly they respond to love and attention, and to learn about their little personalities is amazing. Our boys have been with us almost a year now and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. In fact I would say that two children are not enough; the more children we have in the house the happier it seems to be. Our youngest is lost when his older brother is at school. We hope to be able to become adoptive parents for even more children very soon as our boys love to be in a busy house and for us, the joy outweighs any hard times we have had.”
Lisa and Simon recently met up with the boys’ foster carers and the other children they lived with: “To say we had a good time is an understatement”, said Lisa.
“The boys loved it despite all our fears that it may upset them, they had a wonderful time. We made sure that we told them about the visit well before so that they knew it was only a visit and they would be staying with us. We needn’t have bothered as the boys were just happy to have some new friends to play with. We think the work the foster carers put in helped a lot in helping them know the difference between foster mummy and mummy. We keep talking about tummy mummy in the hope that when they are older enough to better understand, it will be an easier conversation as they will know that we are happy to talk about their other family.”
Adopting the two boys was the best thing that Lisa and Simon ever did: “All the smiles, laughter and ‘I love you mummy and daddy’ make everything worthwhile. We have two little boys that we are very proud of. We believe with a little work and a good routine any challenge that comes our way can be solved just like any other family.”