This week’s interview is with Rebecca and Jon who share their journey to find their beautiful daughter.
Introduce yourself and your family
Hi, we are Rebecca and Jon. We’re both 30 years old and are first time adopters. Rebecca is a teacher and Jon works for a water company. Our little Munchkin came home on the 1st of July 2019 when she was 20 months old.
What area of the UK do you live in?
We live in rainy old Wales!
Was your agency a local authority or voluntary agency?
We adopted through a voluntary agency, St David’s Children’s society. They’ve been amazing. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Did you read any adoption stories before you started? If so where? (eg blog, Instagram, books)
I read a few adoption stories before we started. My favourite was ‘No matter what’ by Sally Donovan. I wish I’d known about this magazine before we had started the process!
We attended every possible training that was put on by our adoption agency. At each of these trainings they brought in adopters to tell their story. I found this incredibly inciteful and helpful.
What was your biggest worry before you started?
Rebecca-My biggest worry was that this wouldn’t happen for us. Whether it would be because we weren’t approved or because a match wouldn’t happen for us. It’s no secret that adoption is a hard process. There are so many hoops to jump through. I would jump through all those hoops all over again if I needed to because she’s worth it every second of every day!
Jon- My biggest worry was that I wouldn’t bond with the child that we adopted. I needn’t have worried though. Munchkin is amazing and we have a really strong bond. When she runs over and hugs me when I come in from work makes my day.
How long did the process take from the point of deciding you wanted to adopt to your child coming home?
We rang St David’s on the 24th January 2018. We had a conversation with one of the social workers there who answered all our questions and gave us a short overview of the process. Another social worker then did an initial visit to our home. They answered a lot more of our questions and talked to us about the children who were out there looking for forever families. We were approved to adopt on the 10th December 2018 and then the matching process began. Our little girl came home on the 1st of July 2019 after two weeks of introductions.
What age and number of children were you approved for? Were you matched to a different age or number of children from this?
We were approved for up to three children of any age. Between us we had lots of different debates whether we should adopt a sibling group or a single child. These were not easy debates and one of us would feel one way one week and then completely change the next. In the end we decided to look at all options and we thoroughly believed that we would know which child was the right one for our family.
How did the matching process work? Did you look at lots of profiles?
I found matching the hardest part of the process. Up to that point there was always something to do. A form to fill in or a family tree to complete. But once we were approved, all we could do was wait and hope. I found this extremely frustrating and hard.
After a few weeks with no updates, I asked our social worker if we could join Link Maker. Seeing all the profiles of the children on there was an eye opener but also really exciting. Adoption really is a rollercoaster of emotions!
Both of us were immediately drawn to the profile of a little girl. We decided to enquire about her and get told that she was already matched with another family. We were gutted but felt that because we didn’t know much about her, that we would move on and explore other matches.
Our social worker brought us the profile of a little boy. However, we felt that we had to say no because his birth family lived so close to us that it would restrict our movements significantly. It broke our hearts to say no but we felt it was better for his safeguarding.
We also attended an activity day with a few other adopters from our initial adoption group. We enjoyed the day and met lots of lovely children who were full of smiles and happiness. However, looking back, I feel that we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to get over the little girl mentioned above as we kept bringing our thoughts back to her.
I had set link maker to notify me every time a new profile was added and one day I was in work when a notification came through. I checked my phone right away and it turned out to be the girl we’d originally seen!
That day I rang our social worker five times, emailed her twice and texted her three times. We couldn’t believe her profile had popped back up. Was it a mistake? It turned out that her match had fallen through. We were then looked at as a potential match (this was because we had been so persistent in pursuing the match, their words not ours!).
We went to matching panel and received a unanimous yes. One panel member even told us that she wholeheartedly believed this was fate. That little girl became our Munchkin. Our gut had told us that she was supposed to be our daughter from the start and we were right!
What has been the most difficult part about the process?
Rebecca- As I mentioned above, I found matching the most difficult part. The unknown and emotional ups and downs were hard for me. The thought of and eventually having to say no to a match was horrendous. I still think of that little boy and hope that he’s found his forever home.
Jon- I found the introductions part of the process quite hard. I struggled to be in someone else’s house for that period of time. And even though we weren’t, I felt like I was being watched and judged. We were also four hours away from home which didn’t help.
Have you needed to access additional help and support from your agency since your child came home? If so, what and did it meet your needs?
We haven’t needed any additional help per se. There was a time when there were a few questions regarding Munchkin’s development and potential delays. Our agency was always there for us just to chat or for advice and we’ve taken them up on this on many different occasions.
What has been your best memory since your child came home?
Oh my gosh, there are so many!
Rebecca- Christmas has got to be the big one for me! Taking her to see Santa, the reindeer parade and decorating the house together. Her face on Christmas morning was a picture. Well worth the three hours on Christmas Eve building the toy kitchen! Getting to spend it surrounded by family was amazing.
Jon- Seeing her develop our little quirks and characteristics. She’s picked up so much in such a short time. Even to the point where people are saying how much she looks like us! Random people will come up to us in the street to tell us how alike we all look.
If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself about the process before you started, what would you tell yourself?
Go with your gut and stick to your guns! If you think you’re right about something, you nearly always are. Sometimes just a little extra push will get you where you need to be. Enjoy ever second and keep a diary, especially during introductions.