We first met husbands, Andi and Darren, in 2020 when they talked through their journey to adopt their daughter. A lot has changed for the couple since we last spoke to them. Andi talks us through what’s happened over the last two years.
Since we last spoke to NCT, our daughter has received multiple medical diagnoses which has meant having to spend a huge amount of time attending appointments and navigating our way through different pathways to seek the right support…all through a pandemic!
Doing it again
In 2020 we decided to start the ball rolling in getting approved to be second-time adopters.
We were blessed to have the same social worker as our previous adoption, which was brilliant, as it meant we didn’t have to start from scratch in relationship-building and explaining everything about us. Our social worker also had a relationship with our daughter which was a huge advantage. This process was a lot different to the first time around.
Not only because as second-time adopters we didn’t have to do certain parts of the training but we also had to take into account the needs of our daughter, which would be the perfect match for us. Sadly, this meant a longer wait and unfortunately meant us saying no to some profiles that were presented to us.
This is an extremely hard thing to do and can be upsetting, however you have to be realistic about what you can manage as a couple and it would be wrong to take on some level of needs that you aren’t going to be able to meet and could also be to the detriment of the sibling.
Meeting our little boy
We were approached by our social worker about a baby boy, again due to his young age there wasn’t a huge amount about him but we felt positive about this profile. I think we were both really wary of getting too excited in case it was another profile that we had to say no to. However, that wasn’t the case and when we saw his picture it was like looking at our daughter at that age, he was just perfect!
After the court hearing had all taken place it was time to arrange introductions and the transitions. We were keen to make the move as quick as possible, we felt it was in the best interest of our son to bring him to his forever home as soon as possible to start building on attachments.
Prior to meeting our son, we had the opportunity to have a video call with his foster carers to ask all of those questions that you need to ask such as likes/dislikes, any routines etc. We found this invaluable as the information we had been given from our son’s social worker turned out to be inaccurate.
Following this meeting, we were given the schedule of how introductions would work. This was very different to the first time which was 6 weeks of planned play dates (due to a legal delay!) This time around, introductions lasted over a course of four days but it was the best thing just to get moving with it all.
Things to be aware of
One thing you have to be mindful of is paternity leave for the secondary carer. Darren works in a school so is unable to take any ‘annual leave’, therefore any introduction days that fell on a weekday would eat into his two weeks paternity leave.
Unfortunately, unlike our first time adopting we have been faced with a number of barriers by social services which meant a huge delay in us being able to complete his legal adoption, however this has now been resolved.
Like any parent, it has been a huge change going from one child to having two. Particularly when you have one child with such complex needs.
Whilst some days are really hard and of course we get normal siblings falling out, it is all worth it with the unconditional love that the children give to you and it is so heartwarming when you watch those moments of the children playing and sharing together.
Dadda n Daddy
Andi is now a full time parent carer of two. He runs the Instagram page Dadda_n_Daddy and is passionate about offering support to others going through the adoption process.
The page gives an honest account of what parenting adopted children can be like and gives an insight to the life of parenting a child with complex needs. The page has been shortlisted for a 2022 Fatherhood Award.
Andi has also contributed to the parliamentary manifesto 1001 Critical Days led by Andrea Leadsom MP.
You can read the first part of Andi and Darren's adoption journey here.
New Family Social is a charity for LGBT+ adoptive and foster families. Check out their website.
You can also find advice about adoption at Adoption UK.
TACT is the UK's largest fostering and adoption charity. Visit their website.