Guest List: Gay Dads and Their Adoption Story

Guest List: Gay Dads and Their Adoption Story

unnamed-6This list makes me cry every time. Its not even sad. In fact the story of Tom AKA @unlikelydad  and his husband’s journey to adopting their son is an upliftitng one.

It’s the goosebumpy feeling of hearing a story of people who were destined to be together, that gets me.  With these parents and their boy it certainly feels as if that was the case (see, I’m choking up again).

Here Tom talks through the step by step process of adoption as two gay men:


  • My husband and I met when I was just 17. He was 23. #cradlesnatcher

  • I came out to my family on our first date. He said I should just do it and I thought “Even if I don’t stay with this guy, this is who I am and I need to do it”. I so text my brother to tell my mum!

  • We had nine beautiful years including college, flat moves, house moves and career changes before getting married in 2011.

  • Three years later we realised we wanted our own family. Before then, kids seemed to be completely off the cards really. We loved city breaks and brunches far too much. But it got to the point I think where we thought “Is this it?”

  • We toyed with surrogacy but knew adoption was right for us. We started the adoption process in July 2014. I was a marketing manager for an adoption charity at the time, so the insight and knowledge I gained was beyond helpful.

  • Children come into care for a million different reasons. It’s not always pretty. But the end result (hopefully) would be.

  • We had an amazing social worker assigned to us. She was cool, from the city, had gay friends. She just got us (not that we felt any different to straight adopters!)

  • We went through assessment meetings, checks, medicals… it’s like therapy to a degree and if you love talking about your life, then you’ll love this. I hear so many adopters coming against struggles. But for us, it felt good. It felt, dare I say it, easy. We had no skeletons. It was just seamless and I fully believe it was down to our positive outlook on it.

  • After all the prep work and training came panel. Panel is made up of a team of people from the agency you’re adopting through, adopters, doctors etc. The first panel you have is to approve you as an adopter. Your social worker created a document on you. It’s massive. The panel read this front to back before they meet you. We were ready for this.

  • We received a unanimous ‘Yes’ at panel. We were officially ‘approved to adopt’ in November 2014. It was remarkably quick.

  • Then started the process of finding our boy. It sounds crazy, but it’s almost like looking for a house or a dating website (obviously way more serious). You receive profiles. These contain a photo (two or three if you’re lucky!) and a brief description about the child. We were relatively open at this point. At 30 I felt young and fit enough for the demands of a baby. But all we were told was you wouldn’t find a child under three.

  • I remember the day like it was yesterday. December 10th 2014. Having dinner with our best friend, Rosie. I received an email from our family finder containing a profile of a little boy. Ten months old. I opened the attachment and knew I was looking at my son. He looked just like my husband. I always doubted adopters I spoke to when they said “Oh you’ll just know when you see the face of your child”. I thought “that’s silly, of course you can’t tell!” But I did know. I was looking at my baby boy.

  • We registered our interest. No one else was going to be that boy’s parents but us. I felt it in my heart. In my soul. It was completely written out like this for us all to be together.

  • There are so many factors into being ‘matched’ with a child. The child has a social worker, like you do, and they ultimately decide if they’d take you through to the next stages.

  • It was so close to Christmas and we were hearing nothing. Nada. Zilch. Plus social workers have quite possibly the worst reputation for delays. It’s not their fault, budget cuts left right and centre means they deal with so many cases it’s unreal. It was quite possibly the most tense time of our lives. Just waiting. We had family asking “Have you seen any profiles recently?” all the time. It was painful but we didn’t want to say a word. This boy’s social worker could quite easily see a family she thought were perfect for this little boy and never even meet us.

  • Refreshing my emails every ten minutes, making calls every day… I must’ve been pissing these people off something chronic.

  • Christmas came and went. Not a sausage. But the Christmas-new year limbo fired me up. I wasn’t one to sit around and do nothing. So onto Ikea.com I went and started getting furniture for the nursery. If this boy was to be mine, I had to start making room for him.unnamed-4

  • Mid-January, his social worker came to our house us for an official visit.

  • I had never cleaned like that before. I had baked my famous brownies. I had fresh coffee on tap. This was our moment. This woman needed to see that this boy belonged with us, in this house, in his room.

  • Not to skim over it in a blasé fashion, but lots of information about him, birth parents, his situation were all shared. It made us want him more.

  • The social worker wrapped up the meeting. She told us another family was interested in our little baby boy. She also said she won’t be visiting them. That she feels we are the right match for him. In that moment… we had won.

  • She left. We looked at one another in utter disbelief and then sat down with our social worker. Did this really just happen?

  • It would be another three months before he came home. We had medical meetings, we met the birth parents, we met the foster carer, saw where he lived, his room, his toys (he wasn’t present) and had a final panel. This was Matching Panel. Same set up as before but to be approved to adopt this darling, little boy.

  • We entered that meeting ready. We had claimed him as our son in December last year. This was our time. We received a unanimous ‘Yes’ again. That was it. He’d be coming home in a week.

  • Up next was a week of ‘introductions’. We’d sent photos and videos of us playing peekaboo to the foster carer to show him. Introductions is when we’d finally meet our son. In the comforts of his home with his foster carer (where he’d been since birth, which was amazing for him!). Nothing will ever prepare you for that week. The emotions are higher than high and you’re learning. You’re wanting this child to love you instantly. But it takes time.

  • That day he came crawling round the corner as we sat on the foster carers floor waiting for him to approach us, will stay with me forever. He crawled onto my husband’s lap. In that moment, my heart quadrupled in size and my life changed forever. I was a dad. And I was looking at my son.

  • Two and half years in… I forget we adopted. I feel as though he came from me. The bond is incredible. We attached so well and early on. He made this all so easy for us. I have to remind myself we went through this process. We have a job to do. The older he gets we need to be open and explain to him his journey. But for now, I’m just going to keep sniffing his head for as long as he lets me.unnamed-5

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3 thoughts on “Guest List: Gay Dads and Their Adoption Story

  1. Oh my Goodness Im in absolute floods of tears reading this (which is a bit awks as Im at my desk at work) What a truly amazing story, I never really understood the adoption process before, it sounds so tense and emotional! Such an amazing outcome but hats off to anyone who goes through it, I feel like I want to give each and every adoptive parent a HUGE hug! xx

    Like

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