Well, as you can imagine, even the suggestion of Adoption just blew us away! We had never even considered Adoption before this, possibly for more than one reason!
1) It could not be possible for a same sex couple to Adopt Children, surely! As it was at that point in time, there was no talk of Civil Partnerships and to be honest, Tris and I did not fancy the "Sun" newspaper camped on our doorstep! Yes, we had, at one point, considered surrogacy, but the costs and the uncertainty of it all did not appeal to either of us.
2) It is highly unlikely that any Birth Parent would consider allowing their child to be adopted by a same sex couple. I will not hide the fact that Tris and I are well aware of specific stories in the press about same sex Couples who had sexually abused children. We deeply felt that people who did not know us that well would worry that that could be us.
3) How could you raise a child with same sex parents?
Those are three of the questions that we asked ourselves, and it really worried us, hence the reason we had NEVER even considered Adoption. The letter seemed genuinely sincere, so what should we do?
Well, we had a long long chat about it between us. In fact it was not just the one conversation, we must have had at least 8 conversations. Kelly had a point when she said that we would find it difficult handing back children after fostering. I am not too sure whether we had even thought about handing children back before that. Looking back, I can not believe we did not think about it before this, and it worried me. It worried me because, would I be selfish in feeling like this? How long would it take to come to terms with a child moving on? What if the Adoption route did not work? Would we be able to go back to Adoption? I suppose only I could answer this, but what if we took in our first Foster Child/Children and the left and it left me devastated - would it be worth it?
At this point, Tris felt the same. He could not help but wonder how he would deal with this situation, and I felt much better, as at least I was not the only one feeling like this. So, what was next? Should we see what was around? Should we ring someone? Should we go ahead with Fostering?
As if fate took over a few days later and it was Adoption Week, Adoption Week 2003 to be precise. Tris was driving home from the Train Station and was listening to one of the local radio stations. Low and behold there was an advert on before the news and it was an interview with a Social Worker from one of the local authorities. She was explaining how they never had enough Adopters and were currently recruiting, they would consider anyone, single, married, gay, straight, as long as they were over the age of 18. She gave the number and Tris saved it into his mobile.
I got home at around 6pm and Tris told me what he had heard. I am not a great believer in fate, although, I have to say a lot of things do happen for a reason, and this seemed to be one of those things! We both agreed that we had nothing to loose by calling the number, and even if it did not work out, we had tried.
The next day Tris called the number. The lady appeared quite keen, in fact, she asked if we had any problem with her doing an initial visit that evening! Wow, that was quick, and if she was coming to visit that quickly, could this be the right thing to do? Tris rung me to check I was ok with this, of course it made me a little nervous, but I was not going to say no!
So, at about 7pm that evening the door knocked. Feeling a little less nervous this time, I answered it and showed the Social Worker, Lucy, into the lounge. Tris kept her busy while I made the tea - no shaky hand this time!
This meeting was a lot less formal. It was explained to us that we would be invited to a welcome meeting, and there it would be explained all about the Adoption Process, if, after that, we were still interested then we would be invited to a Prepare to Adopt course. Wow, so she was telling us that all it would take would be for us to go to a few meetings and then we could adopt!
I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS IS WHAT WE WERE TOLD, BUT WE WERE!
We were lead to believe that it could take about 8 weeks until we couuld adopt. Naive? Stupid? Yes, we were both. We had done no homework on timescales, or the actual process of Adoption! We believed what Lucy had told us as that is all that we knew. Financially we could not afford to sign up to all of the Adoption Literature, so how were we to know? Well, to be fair, if you are going to go into Adoption then you really need to open your eyes, and understand the process and children that come with the process. We waited on the waiting list of this particular authority (no names mentioned!) for 2 YEARS - 2 years we waited to hear about the Prepare to Adopt Course. Looking back we can not believe how stupid we were, and how patient we were! We waited so long...............
So, what was next, were they all going to be like this? Was it because we were same sex? Who knows, and to be honest, we were probably too scared to ask the question. Was there going to be anything that we could do? Actually, yes, there was. Two years to the day, almost, and Tris was in the same situation, driving home from the train station in the car, and again listening to the radio. It was another station this time. Bizarrely, I had heard the same advert the day before, and mentioned it, but was it all really worth it, and could I be bothered going through anymore?