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Michael and James' adoption story

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Michael and James* come from large families and always wanted to be parents themselves, but being gay meant they couldn't go down the normal route. They decided they wanted to take a child out of the system rather than create a new child via surrogacy.

The support they received from Norfolk Adoption Service was excellent. They did plenty of research and read around the subject on the county council's website and New Family Social before attending an Adoption Information Event at County Hall.

"We thought before we started the research that it was going to be a really difficult process. But as we got into the reality, we realised that it was easy. The social workers were there to help us, they wanted to get a child into the right home, and so they were working with us."

"The training was great. The reading list was superb and included LGBT friendly books as well as generic adoption books. We learned about foetal alcohol syndrome and other separation issues that adopted children can have."

The social workers made it clear that they weren't there to trip them up. They wanted to match the right child to the right family. "It was about making sure that we didn't get a child that wouldn't suit us either through age or unique needs, but one that we would enjoy caring for and bringing up."

Michael and James were assigned an adoption buddy to support them through the process, and enjoyed talking to someone who had been through it before and asking them questions they perhaps felt uncomfortable asking a social worker. They were also put in touch with other same-sex adoptive couples.

"When we were volunteering to get some experience with children, we met another same-sex couple that were going through the process too, and so now we've got a few friends who've been in a similar position either before or after, that we can share experiences with."

Michael and James were offered a child shortly after they were approved, and the process went quite quickly from placement to adoption. "Foster to adoptƗ can have some horror stories, but our social worker was very clear with us about possible risks. The staff at the contact centre were lovely and supportive. We felt it would be good for us and for our child, and we actually built quite a rapport with his birth family."

In the future they'd like to adopt another child into their family so their son can have the same strong bonds they have with their siblings. They're also open to the idea of their son continuing to have strong relationships with his birth siblings who they still see regularly.

*Names have been changed to protect identities
ƗFoster to Adopt is now called Early Permanence

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