This is the first of a series of Adoption Diaries which first appeared in The Door. We plan to publish an article on alternate months. In this episode, a couple who adopted through the Diocesan agency, Parents And Children Together (PACT), tell what happens when you explore the adoption option.
Caroline, a counsellor in a busy supermarket HR department, and Roger, a welder, met and married relatively late in the midst of fulfilling careers for both of them. They had a large extended clan of young people to enjoy and nurture and never felt the need to have their own children. With happy experiences of adoption within their own family, though, adoption was definitely an option.
“We approached PACT in February of one year and set out on the application process, including a home study, various workshops and the opportunity to meet a birth mother who had given up her child for adoption. We got increasingly excited as life with an adopted child was laid before us ‘warts and all’ and we soon came to understand the reality of disturbance (and, importantly, how to deal with it) and the support which would be available to us for a lifetime, if we need it”, says Caroline.
“It was always clear that there was no obligation to continue with the process and it did, indeed, become uncomfortable on one or two occasions. It’s obvious, really, that, if an agency is going to check a couple’s motivation and stability, the questions that will be asked and the documentation that will be needed is going to be fairly intrusive.
“You get interviewed with and without your partner, (although I gather that PACT doesn’t require prospective adopters to be in a relationship at all). Six of us went forward to the full application with PACT and I think we’d all agree we’ve become lifelong friends – and supporters of each other’s new families – as a result. Because we ourselves had set a pause in the application process because of bereavement, we were accepted as prospective adopters in November of the same year.
“When it came to choosing a child, we realised our own limitations and that there were things we wouldn’t be able to manage, and that was fine by PACT. They called it our ‘comfort zone’: for us that included feeling we didn’t have the skills to cope with a disabled child, although we knew that, with support, we had something to offer a disturbed or abused youngster. We also specifically wanted a boy, so as not to put the noses of the girls in our existing extended family out of joint.
“In the end, we reviewed sixteen sets of papers before deciding on our lovely Jon in February the following year. We met him in his foster home in March and he came to live with us permanently in June.
“Jon wants to write about that transition in the next Adoption Diary”.