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National Adoption Week call for more people in Norfolk to consider adoption

Norfolk County Council, 17 October 2022 00:00

Adoption can enrich your life and the life of the child who joins your family, it's a positive choice and not a last chance saloon.

This is the experience of two Norfolk families who have adopted children through the county council's Ofsted outstanding-rated Adoption Service.

Both families are thriving, having embraced the modern adoption approach of supporting their children to create links, connecting them to their past and their birth families, to help them develop a sense of identity as they build a bright future together.

In National Adoption Week (17-23 October) we are calling for more people to consider adoption with our service.

North Norfolk couple *Rob (38), a stay-at-home dad, and his wife *Erin (33), a teacher, adopted 15-month-old *Ted in October 2021. Now two years old, the little boy loves playing outside, puddles and the family dog and has just started nursery.

Rob said: "I'm passionate about sharing the message that adoption is one of the most mutually wonderful things anyone can do, it's a positive choice not a last chance saloon.

"We wanted to give a child in need a home rather than bringing another child into the world.

"The afternoon when we first read Ted's profile, we knew we wanted him, it was like winning the lottery, even though back then we didn't even know his name and we hadn't even seen his picture.

"He is the most perfect little boy. In truth, since we first met him, we just haven't stopped smiling."

Norwich couple *Leah (33), an administrator, and her husband *Jake (36), an electrical engineer, adopted *Ben, who is now three and a half and his brother *George, now four a half, in May 2020. Described as incredibly charming, the lively and energetic brothers adore each other along with riding their bikes, mud kitchens, the great outdoors, and cars.

Leah said: "Adoption was the first choice for us. We have a strong Christian faith and part of that for us was wanting to help other people.

"It's the hardest and best thing we've ever done. The boys enrich our lives beyond anything we could have understood when we started this journey.

"I can't imagine we could love them any more if there was a biological connection. We can't think there's anything better in the world we could be doing with our lives. We fit so well it feels like we were always meant to be together as a family."

Both couples had wanted to have a family and came to the idea of adoption as the way forward after chance encounters with the stories of other adoptive parents.

For Rob, a former British Army contract manager, he and his wife first got the idea after he had recovered from a life-changing accident which left him seriously ill for 18 months and resulted in him having his leg amputated.

He said: "When I did recover, we just felt so grateful and like the universe had been really good to us and it was our turn to be good to the universe.

"We were on a plane on our way to a holiday in Turkey when Erin randomly happened to be reading a gossip magazine and there was a piece about adoption and she just said what do you think, shall we do it? I said yes straight away."

Leah said: "It was Jake's idea - he had been listening to a BBC Sounds podcast while he was at work following a story about adoption and was really inspired by it. He came home and we talked about it and decided to go for it."

Cllr Daniel Elmer, deputy cabinet member for Norfolk's Children's Services, said: "It's fantastic to hear what strong support our adoption service has been able to give these two amazing families and the joy adopting a Norfolk child has created for them both.

"I would encourage anyone considering creating or growing their family in Norfolk to contact us and find out more from our friendly teams."

The first step on the journey to adopting is to register an expression of interest and both couples did this with Norfolk County Council's Adoption Service, which meant they could adopt a child from Norfolk and receive the service's Ofsted training and support through the two-stage application process.

Rob said: "The training we were given was brilliant. We met two other couples also applying to adopt and we've remained close, and we still meet once a month for dinners and days out.

"It's been great having them as part of our support network to share experiences with."

Leah said: "Every aspect of your life gets checked out, no stone is left unturned. And that's right they have to make sure you're ready.

"We had a really good relationship with our social worker and the whole thing was a positive experience. We've also benefitted from brilliant post-adoption support with play and attachment-focused therapy and a nurturing attachment group.

"We've kept in touch with another adopter from our training and met other people through it, it's great to be with other adopters who just get it - they get what we're going through."

This year's National Adoption Week, called You Can Adopt, focuses on the theme of identity, exploring how important it can be for adopted people to be able to understand and feel connected to their past to enable them to develop their sense of identity as they grow up.

Rob said: "We have agreed to direct contact with Ted's birth parents once a year and indirect contact by letters and cards twice a year.

"We think it will be really positive for him to know his birth parents love him, even though they weren't able to raise him they are lovely people, and they have lots to give.

"We think foster parents are also important. Ted's foster carers are so special, some of the nicest people I've met in my life. They cared for Ted for over a year and so we keep in touch with them too."

Leah said: "Our boys are incredible, but they have had a tough time and we've had to make sure our home is a space where they can process their trauma.

"Direct contact with birth parents isn't possible for them, but we have made sure we met their birth mum and talked to her, and we've kept a record of that conversation for the boys.

"They each have a picture book they can look at, they'll be able to read about their birth mum, and we send two contact letters a year. We talk about their birth family openly with them, it's part of who they are and how they came to us, so it's really important."

Both couples had advice for people considering adoption.

Rob said: "It took a long time for us from the time we applied to when Ted finally came to live with us and that was challenging sometimes. I'd say you have to be patient from the outset and have faith in the process."

Leah said: "It's definitely an emotional rollercoaster but you just have to be prepared and go for it, it's so amazingly special."

Find out more about adopting a child through Norfolk County Council's Adoption Service at or call 01603 638343.

People from all sorts of different backgrounds, occupations and walks of life can make good adopters. We do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, sexuality or disability. We need adopters for children of all ages. We are particularly looking for adopters for brothers and sisters, toddlers and young children aged four and older, and children with disabilities.

*The names of both couples and their children have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:44

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