Sitting around Owen* and Anna’s* large kitchen table, you wouldn’t think anything was out of the ordinary about this family. Miles* their eldest son is at school and Iestyn* their youngest son plays in the background, attempting to make friends with the family cat, toddling after her and giggling.
Adoption was always on the radar for Owen and Anna. They had discussed the possibility of adoption even before having their own birth son Miles. A few years after having Miles, Owen and Anna decided that it was time to extend their family. After trying to conceive naturally, they decided that they would like to look at adoption further as a route to extending their family.
Studies show that Secondary Infertility can affect as many as 1 in 5 couples and for many of these couples Secondary Infertility goes undiagnosed. All options for couples in this position come with their own potential rewards and challenges.
Owen and Anna contacted Vale, Valley and Cardiff Collaborative and after attending an information evening and the training course, they decided that adoption felt like the right process for them.
They expressed their interest to become prospective adopters and were assigned a Social Worker. Their Social Worker visited their house every fortnight to go through the application process with them.
“We found the application process a really positive experience” commented Anna. “We got on well with our assigned Social Worker and felt really supported through the whole process.”
During the process of the assessment, their birth son Miles was diagnosed with mild Autism. This came as a shock to Anna and Owen. At this point they took some time out to come to an understanding of the diagnosis for themselves and consider if this would affect their decision to adopt. They decided it was something that they could manage. However, the diagnosis had to be taken into account in their assessment especially as at the time the plan was for Miles to share a room with his potential adoptive brother for at least the first few years.
Owen and Anna where advised by their Social Worker that they should seek to enlarge their house and add another bedroom to give them a wider scope for potential matches with children and for Miles to have his own space. Owen and Anna decided that this was right for them and took some time out to support Miles and make the relevant changes to their house.
Finding the right match can take time and at this point there were only a small group of children requiring adoption.
During the renovations, they stayed in touch with their social worker. Shortly after notifying the social worker that the building work on their house had been completed, Owen and Anna’s Social Worker approached them with a potential match.
Owen and Anna were excited and nervous but after being shown Iestyn’s profile, they decided to pursue the match.
“We first met with Iestyn’s* foster carers and the professionals who were working on his case. His foster carers clearly thought a lot of him. From everything that all the people around him said, he seemed to tick all our boxes.”
“Meeting Iestyn for the first time was nerve-wracking,” commented Owen “We didn’t know him and he didn’t know us. We just didn’t know how it would go. However it was evident from our first meeting that he was a very loving child. That gave us a strong indication that we were meant to be together, as both parties had a lot of love to give.”
“Upon our first meeting Iestyn was beaming and excited to see us. We and the foster carers believe that he recognised our voice / our appearance from the recording of our voices and the photos of our family that were given to him in a book format a week before. That day will stay with us forever, it simply couldn’t have been better and reinforced our initial hunch that this was going to be a great match.”
After a few meetings, Anna and Owen brought Miles along to meet Iestyn. The two got along and Owen and Anna decided that the match was right for all of them.
“Up until that point we had sometimes got frustrated that the process seemed to be taking a long time for us especially with the diagnosis of Mile’s Autism and the building work but Iestyn was worth the wait! We really do feel like he is the perfect child for us. If we had got through the process faster we may never have met him and we can’t imagine life without him!”
“Miles is really excited to have a younger brother. He genuinely believes he is the reason that Iestyn has come to live with us because he kept asking for a younger brother. When we take him to school, he wants to introduce all his friends to his new brother. Iestyn already really looks up to Miles and they enjoy playing together, having cuddles and being silly together.”
“Both children seem to have adapted well to the change and really get on. We have used this to our advantage. Both our sons can be fussy eaters but when we praise one and then the other they respond very well and watching each other’s behaviour being praised encourages them both. We believe that it is really important to praise both our children and have already noticed that they respond really well to this.”
“Iestyn was around one years old when he came to live to us and so had not become verbal yet. We are a tri-lingual family and Iestyn has started to pick up all of these languages and becomes more and more confident in his communication every day. We are really proud of the progress he is making.”
“We feel blessed having been given the opportunity to become parents for a second time. We feel overwhelmed with love for both our children; our birth child and our adopted child. They have bonded fantastically well and it’s difficult to imagine a time when there were only the three of us.”
“To people considering adopting when they already have birth children we would say: It’s worth it! So far our experience of welcoming our new family member has gone swimmingly. Careful preparation to lay the foundations for his arrival with our birth son meant no great surprises for him and probably engendered a feeling of engagement in the process. To see our eldest doting on our new youngest is such a heart-warming experience, as is the way that it is reciprocated. It really has been a fantastic match for us all and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.”