To mark LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week in the UK, we're sharing some of the best stories from Attitude's monthly 'Family Guys' feature, which celebrates some of the thousands of same-sex families around the UK. Here, London couple James and John reveal why they chose to adopt, and how it transformed not only their lives, but that of a little boy, forever...
We’ve been together nearly 20 years. We met as students down in Portsmouth. We kind of knew from the off that we both really wanted kids. Family is really important to us. When we settled years later in London, we ended up going to an adoption meeting, just because we saw it advertised and we didn’t even know if gay couples could adopt then. But they welcomed us in with open arms, and we saw that it was possible. We had the other options like surrogacy, but we felt giving a home to a child that needs a home would be a better option for us.
We had an initial meeting with the adoption agency and they suss you out and ask you lots of probing questions and you get to know the social worker. Our social worker was amazing, and it happened fairly quick for us. We were approved after about 9 months, and at that point our social worker showed us our son, as the child she had in mind for us. He was 21 months then, which is a great age because they’re still really young, you can help them grow, but it’s still tough. He was in foster care. His biological parents weren’t together at that point, they just weren’t able to look after children.
The adoption process happens over a 10 day period, it’s quite clever. Before we even met him we started making videos of us reading stories to him and stuff so by the time we went to his house, he knew us, and he was there waving in the window, it was just incredible. I’ll never forget that moment, ever. Gradually over the days, you spend more time with him, take him out, bring him home, and get him used to you, and then you move all his things, bit by bit. It was hard because he was very attached to his foster parents, and they were very attached to him. The first few weeks we didn’t see anybody for that first few weeks. We spent time together as a family, getting to know each other and the trust bond needs to start and the attachment.
He’s 7 now, and he calls us Daddy and Dad. We talk about his life process so it so it doesn’t come as a huge shock later in life. He does have a sister that we do see regularly, who was adopted by someone else, and we get on really well with them.
We’re quite involved in his school, and go in and do a reading once a week. All of his classmates know that he’s got two dads. I think because at his age they’re quite young, they think that it’s cool, some of them have said “I want two dads!” I think when they get to senior school that might change, but we need to arm him as best as we can to deal with that and we take support from groups and friends who have adopted before us.
He’s very cheeky, very boyish, really into football, lots of fun, lots of energy. He keeps us on our toes. In terms of nature versus nature, it’s a mixture of the two really. He’s definitely got a temper that doesn’t come from either of us and that is hard to understand sometimes. When it comes to nurture he’s definitely moulded to our environment and our outlook on life.
There’s nothing more natural than having a loving family behind you. We’re supplying him with love and affection and attachment and a loving home. And you can’t ask for more than that really, can you? And also he has a lot of really strong women in his life as well. He has two nanas who adore him, and aunties and friends. We are so happy and we would never ever in a million years go back to life as it was.
For more information about LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week, visit lgbtadoptfosterweek.org.uk. If you'd like your own story to feature in 'Family Guys', email a photo and a few words to [email protected].
You can read more from 'Family Guys' in Attitude's April Issue
– available in shops, to download now at pocketmags.com/attitude, and to order from newsstand.co.uk.
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