This month, the charity Diagrama is keen to remind prospective adopters that they welcome all applications regardless of age, faith, sexual orientation, ethnicity or whether you are single or a couple.
Jason and Eric, from Catford, became parents to a son called Toby - this is their story:
'Eric and I always dreamed of having children but never really thought it was a possibility and assumed that the closest we would get was being uncles or godparents. We knew that we had so much to offer a child who may not have had the best start in life and that adoption was the best way forward for us.
We were pleasantly surprised by how straightforward the adoption process was. We saw an information event advertised by the charity Diagrama and instantly felt that they would be the agency for us.
The comprehensive training we received helped us to identify our parenting styles and values and gave us great insight into the needs that an adoptive child may have. We immediately felt that our appointed social worker understood us as a family and had a clear picture of the type of child we were looking for. Nine months after attending the initial information evening, we were approved as adopters and began the journey to become parents.
Although the process of finding our child felt long and frustrating at times, it actually only took five months. Our social worker supported us throughout and kept us positive by reassuring us that it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ we would find the right child to adopt.
We read a profile of a little boy called Toby and submitted our interest and were delighted when his social workers asked to meet us. The meeting went well and once they agreed that we were a good match, we got to hear more about Toby and went to meet him at his foster carer’s home. The first meeting was a bit daunting but exciting and he won us over with his charm and humour immediately.
We spent a few months getting to know Toby before he moved in and when he first came home with us, we all enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon period, but as he settled and felt increasingly comfortable around us, we faced a more challenging time. There were occasions when he would become distressed and angry and he had a few meltdowns, but our social worker really helped us get through these times. The support and training we’d received was invaluable in enabling us to understand Toby’s needs and how we could support him. We started to realise what the triggers were for his behaviour and how we could try and avoid them. It was just Toby’s way of testing the boundaries and to find out what would happen. He needed to know that he was safe and loved by us no matter what and that he could trust us.
We are now much better at spotting the signs – we can usually resolve issues quickly without things escalating but I won’t deny it ... parenting can be exhausting!
Looking at Toby now it is difficult to imagine that he is the same boy who had such a sad start to life. He has shown true resilience and we are proud beyond words! Our families and friends love him to bits and we only ever hear positive things, from school and the clubs he attends about how kind and helpful he is.
Having same-sex parents hasn’t really been an issue so far for Toby – in fact, he loves telling anyone who will listen that he has two dads! We do sometimes worry about how we will be perceived, but we are lucky to have a very diverse network of friends and Toby appreciates that everyone is different and deserving of respect. We’ve explained to Toby that what is important is the love within your family not who we are. Staff at his school have been very welcoming and supportive too. We’ve only ever experienced one problem when another parent made a comment but the Headteacher challenged it and reinforced the point that the school is inclusive and respectful of everyone’s differences.
Like any family we have our up and downs, but the rewards of parenthood are priceless. We feel blessed that we have such an incredible son with whom we share so much joy, love and laughter. He is the centre of our universe and we love being able to support and guide him as he grows and witness the progress he makes. He has made our lives complete.'
Diagrama welcomes all adoption enquiries regardless of age, faith, sexuality, ethnicity or whether you are single or a couple – to find out more visit its website
The stats: In the last two years 15.7 per cent - or 1 in 6 - of Diagrama’s approved adopters were in a same-sex relationship.