A Scottish couple speak anonymously about the adoption process in Scotland and spending a first Christmas with their new children.
We had always said that we would adopt after having our own family, but after years of trying and supporting the IVF industry both in the UK and abroad, we brought our plans forward and contacted Barnardo’s Scotland.
After an intensive six months, which involved various courses and a number of home visits by our caseworker, we were approved as prospective adopters.
Naively we had thought that once approved, our ideal family would simply appear and we would all live happily ever after. It’s not like that; the search for your match involves reading the profiles of dozens of children.
We found it incredibly difficult and at one point I was trying to convince my wife to adopt a sibling group of five. Amongst them, aspiring doctors, dentists, dancers, digger drivers and wee folk that just wanted to stop looking over their shoulder waiting for the next move.
Fortunately our case worker, a most wonderfully patient, kind and wise lady put me straight and convinced us that unless we got the balance and match right, it would stress us and the children so we agreed two youngsters would be our limit. I had to ask, what would happen to those who, through no fault of their own, did not get a forever family? Permanent care and then off on their own was the answer, it broke my heart.
Barnardo’s led our search and after nearly six months, which felt like forever, our case worker provided four sides of A4 which described two siblings.
Having ignored the now familiar warnings of ‘don’t get carried away’, ‘there are other prospective adopters in the picture’, ‘the tummy mum may object’ and ‘your rural location may be a disadvantage’, we read the profiles. The children loved the outdoors, they loved animals, going for walks, the countryside, and we were completely smitten. We hadn’t seen them, met them or heard them, yet we knew this was for us.
The two months to the adoption hearing passed in a heartbeat and before we knew it, we, along with our case worker, were sat in front of a panel of maybe a dozen or more who wanted to know why we would be good parents for the children. We had prepared our answers, got ready to stand up and give a good account of ourselves when our case worker stood up and took the floor. She spoke of the journey we had been on, our love for each other, our love for our animals, of the area and of life. She spoke warmly of our parents, our friends and also told the panel about our weaknesses. Finally she told the panel why we would be a good fit for the siblings.
My wife and I looked at each other, tears in our eyes, nothing else to add, our case worker knew us inside out – what more could we say. The panel asked us a few questions and we broke for ten minutes. We were called back and given the good news, honestly we felt numb, we couldn’t believe we were finally there.
We met the children towards the end of winter. I remember one afternoon being on a playpark pushing them on a swing. I could see snow laden clouds rushing in and told the children we were going back to the car. They were having none of it, so there we were, soaking wet, sleet running down our back pushing these gorgeous wee toots who were laughing and giggling, we couldn’t have wished for more and we knew we were in a good place.
We’ve just celebrated our first Christmas and Santa was good to the children, as we watched them tear open their presents we knew he’d been good to us also.”