There are many stages to becoming an adoptive parent. As we went through the process it felt like a huge achievement passing each step, to get closer to having a child. Being matched to a little person is a surreal experience. I remember our social worker phoning; a baby was going to be born and he could be matched to us. I was home alone and wasn't expecting the call, we had waited three years and in all honesty were losing hope that we would ever complete our family. It was a WOW and then POW moment. Amazing and scary all at once. I don't think we quite believed it would happen. We went on holiday and then got the call that our potential son had been born. We now knew his name.
It took another five months for the placement order to be granted, but after this was approved we were then allowed to see a photo of a beautiful baby boy. It then became a whirlwind; I had to tell my work that we had a serious match, we attended a matching panel which was terrifying, we met his foster carer, we started to get sent more photos and videos. Having a child was now becoming very real.
We got a resounding yes from the matching panel. This little baby was likely to become our son, but there was still the biggest part of the process we had to face. He had to like us. We had a meeting to talk through introductions with his foster carer and social services and I went on adoption leave. It is important that we met him in stages. We planned 8 days together; an hour to start, then a few hours out with us, we would be there for his morning and night time routine, take him to our house and build up our interaction every day. And at the same time we had to prepare our house, decorate his room, pick a buggy and the many other things a baby needs, buy clothes, panic, cry, celebrate.
On the 30th March he came home to live with us forever. To us it is the biggest milestone of all and the one we love to celebrate the most. Our son knows what this day means and we talk to him often about his adoption journey. As he grows older he asks more questions and is interested to find out more about his foster carer and birth family. We are always open to how he reacts and of course he may feel different emotions attached to these dates as he gets older, as he explores his identity and wants to know more about his background. We have seen over the last year how his birthday seems to be a trigger for him to ask more. He is interested to know where he came from and I'm sure as he starts to realise what adoption really means, he will be inquisitive and want to discover more about his life, before he came to live with us. It is essential that he feels safe to be able to explore these feelings and discuss anything openly with us. I have been lucky enough to be able to get to know some remarkable women over the last year who were adoptees and they have opened my eyes to what it was like for them and how they felt the sense of rejection and loss of identity extremely difficult to deal with. Of course, every experience is different, but it has made me more mindful as to the challenges our son may face in his life. We will support him every step of the way.