An adoptive dad of two has spoken of the privilege he feels watching his children bloom and grow.
Alex* has described becoming a father as a ‘totally new and amazing kind of joy’, and on Father’s Day is encouraging more men to consider adoption.
Through Adoption Mid and West Wales, Alex is telling his story in the hope that it will inspire.
The service supports families and individuals along every step of the adoption journey, matching children with people who can provide them with a loving, safe and stable family life.
A route to starting a family
For Alex and his wife, their decision to adopt came after unsuccessful fertility treatment which led them to reflect on their family plans.
Reaching out to their local authority adoption team, the couple were matched with a little boy just over a year from making their first enquiry.
“We had always talked about adoption as a possible route to starting a family,” he said. “We did try a round of IVF when it was clear we couldn’t conceive naturally, but after that was unsuccessful we took some time out to reflect.
“We started the process in January. We had a pretty normal year whilst going through the process - went to work as usual, went to festivals, on holiday, spent time with family and friends - and fitted meetings with social workers and courses in between.
“We did try to read up as much we could and attended extra courses and training outside of the ones organised by the local authority. We had the approval panel in December and after being successful there we didn’t have too long to wait before a match was found.
“We didn’t specify what gender we wanted our child to be, but the local authority did a very good job of finding a child that matched our lifestyle and profiles.
“We all have ways of finding our own joy, but becoming a father was a totally new and amazing kind of joy that I hadn’t experienced before.”
Such was their positive experience, that two years later Alex and his wife decided to adopt again.
“It was a more straightforward process second time around, as we knew what to expect,” he said. “We had a different social worker who hadn’t worked with second time adopters before, so she was a bit surprised at our level of confidence!”
Alex now confesses to be ‘the world’s biggest adoption bore’ and says adoption has been a positive experience with an amazing ending.
“Having spent many years without children in my life and finding joy in many other ways, I try hard not to make out that people without children are somehow inferior, but it is an utter privilege to be able to provide two children with a safe and secure environment to watch them blossom and grow as amazing human beings.
“To anyone considering adoption I would advise to go into it with your eyes open as there will be issues that will crop up that you may not have thought of, but stick with it - at the end of the day these are children we are talking about not bug-eyed monsters!
“There are lots of support groups for adoptive mums, but very little for dads, so if the opportunity comes up to go for a beer with an adoptive dad then take it - you will find out that adoption is way more normal and commonplace than you think! Oh, and if you have access to the Apple TV channel then watch ‘Trying’. A very funny and fairly accurate summing up of the whole process!”
This Father’s Day - weather permitting - Alex and his family are going camping.
“The relationship I had with my own father was a lot more traditional, so I am trying to be a lot more open and loving with my children. When I spend time with my friends who are also dads, I don’t feel any different to them - I love my children unconditionally and I’m extremely proud of them.”
Supporting adoptive families
Adoption Mid and West Wales is a dedicated service that supports adoptive families to come together.
The team recruits, trains and assesses prospective adopters to provide high-quality adoptive placements for local children and young people, enabling them to live with permanent new families.
There is no set criteria to becoming an adoptive parent - it doesn’t matter whether prospective adopters already have children, whether they’re single or a couple (straight or LGBT+), whether they’re married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.
Children are matched and placed with adoptive parents who are assessed as being able to provide a stable and nurturing environment and have the skills to meet the needs of the children.
Ongoing support is provided to adopters and their families throughout the adopted child’s life.
Locally, there is a need for adopters from a variety of backgrounds so children can be placed with families and individuals who share their own culture, language and religion.
Anyone interested in finding out more can visit adoptionmwwales.org.uk for advice and information.
An online information session is being held on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 6.30pm - register before Friday, July 16, 2021.
Enquiries can also be made with a member of the adoption team - email email@example.com or call 0300 30 32 505.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children