What adopters and children say

Our ready-made family – Belinda and Andrew’s Devon Adoption story

Posted on: 22 October 2014

Belinda and Andrew - Devon adopters

Andrew and Belinda from North Devon met in their 40s and tried for years to conceive naturally. They’ve since adopted two boys who are half-brothers. Here, Belinda tells their story:

“We’d tried basic fertility treatment but the medics were not happy to put us through the emotional and financial strain of IVF for something they felt had a 2% chance of working.

“Andrew was the one who thought we should investigate adoption: I was a little reluctant at first.

“Years ago, someone said to me they could never adopt as they would be worried they wouldn’t love an adopted child as much as a ‘natural’ one and it kind of stuck with me. Load of old rubbish – I couldn’t love my boys more!”

 

How did you find the adoption process?

“Some parts were easy, others not so easy. We were utterly exhausted after some visits from our social worker (who was brilliant and amazing – she taught us so much).

“Our approval panel was a challenge – even our very experienced social worker thought so. But we did it.

“Whatever way anybody has a child, it’s not always easy.  Being pregnant involves prodding and poking and intrusions; the adoption process is not a lot different.”

 

Before adopting, what did you think adoption would be like?

“We didn’t really have a clue. Andrew has two adopted cousins and my brother-in-law has an adopted sister… but in those days you were just handed a baby, signed on the dotted line, and were left to get on with it.  I think today’s system is far better as we were ‘educated’ about so many things.  We also made some lovely friends who truly understand the complex subject that is adoption.”

 

And what is the reality now? 

“It feels like we’ve never been without our lovely little boys. I no longer grieve for the fact that we couldn’t do it naturally; that is just biology.  It’s all the other parenting stuff that is important. We are their parents without a doubt.  Some people even think they look like us!

“They are happy, well adjusted, secure, and do all the things five-and-a-half and three-year-old boys do: get into mischief, try our patience, bring us joy and delight, make us proud, make us laugh and cry. We feel fiercely protective of them and love them to bits – as do all the family.  I actually fell in love with both of them the minute I saw them.”

“We are lucky in that our eldest has been with us since he was two-and-a-half and has little memories of his foster home and some of the trauma he went through.

“Our youngest came to us at eight months old, so we are all he has known. We are so glad we have two little boys related by blood.  As they get older they will each have someone who ‘gets’ it and truly understands the issues the other may have.

 

Do you think that your life experience helped you adopt?

“In some ways, yes – we were older and done all our partying and going out. We have learnt a few life lessons between us. I have lots of friends with children, I have seven godchildren, Andrew has three nieces and a nephew. We both had strong, family-based upbringings in loving families.

“I am one of four, Andrew is one of three and in our extended family, adoption and step-children are quite normal and accepted. We have a lot of experience of children, so we know with our own sons which battles are worth fighting and some of the tips to deal with certain behaviours.”

 

What advice would you give to other people doing the same thing?

“Be patient. Don’t give up during the process, or once your child has been placed with you. No new parent has a clue what they’re doing. You learn on the run and when you’re in the thick of it.

“Seek advice and support from wherever and whoever you can. Believe in yourself and your own abilities.  Remember – labour pains have a fabulous end result…so does the adoption process.”

 

If you can help change someone’s life, please get in touch and take the first step to completing your family through Devon Adoption.

Find out more by coming to an Information Session, contact us on 0345 155 1076  or email adoption@devon.gov.uk