“This isn’t always how I imagined my parenting journey would begin – but it feels right”
BY JENNY CAMPION
“So how does it work for lesbians, will you use a sperm donor?” This is the wildly inappropriate question a colleague asked me during my first week at a new job (I should have known it wouldn’t last). Eighteen months later, my wife and I are in a conference room at an Adoption Information event. I’m hopped up on the free coffee and furiously taking notes. This isn’t always how I imagined my parenting journey would begin – but it feels right.
When my wife and I got married in 2014, we planned to have children at some point, but not how to go about it. Would we use a donor? At a clinic or at home? Who would get pregnant? Adoption was always on the table and, ultimately, it came down to the fact that neither of us wanted to be pregnant.
Same-sex couples have been able to adopt since 2005, when The Adoption And Children Act (2002) came into effect. I was 15 then, very closeted, and unable to imagine life beyond GCSE results day. Now, I feel so lucky that we’re able to become parents and thankful to those who fought for it.
In 2019, 12% of UK adoptions were by same-sex couples. The language at the information event is thoughtful and inclusive. It’s really our age that sets us apart; most of the attendees are older than us. We’re told there are 1200 looked after children in our county alone, and that the time between now and placement could be as little as 12 months – a somewhat daunting but exciting thought.We take some time to reflect before deciding to continue.
The next step is to complete a Registration Of Interest (ROI), which includes basic information about our relationship, home and finances, and motivation to adopt. We fill it out, send it off, and wait for the response.
I keep thinking of reasons why we might not be accepted, but as always I’m worrying about nothing – after two weeks we receive the letter saying we’ve been accepted onto Stage One and that our social worker will contact us shortly. I hold the letter in my hands and wonder if our future child has already been born, out there somewhere, until our paths cross.
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