What adoption meant for me! An adopted adult’s story.

As part of National Adoption Week, we spoke to Rebecca who is an adopted adult. Rebecca reflects on her life story, shares her feelings of adoption, and gives her views on some of the things prospective adopters need to know. Here’s what she had to say:

How old were you when you were adopted?

My parents adopted me from birth. They were working in Malaysia, and expressed an interest in adoption because they thought they could not have children. My birth mother had informed the hospital that she wished to relinquish me at birth and she left the hospital soon after giving birth to me. So I was placed with my parents when I was 2 days old.

When did you find out that you were adopted, and were your parents openly discussing adoption and sharing information with you?

I’m Chinese Malay and my parents are both Welsh, so I’ve always known that I was adopted. It was something that we always discussed, and it was never hidden from me. I know they didn’t have any choice but to tell me as I clearly didn’t look like their biological child. However, I think that always knowing was a positive thing. It meant that, it wasn’t a shock finding out, I grew up knowing that my parents chose me to be their child and because my parents always shared as much information as they could, I never felt that it was a taboo subject. I learnt that my birth father had passed away in a motorbike crash, but there was never much information about my birth mother. I know she was 16 having me, and I’d like to think, that her age led to her decision that she could not care for me.

What did it feel like as a child being adopted?

As I didn’t look like my adoptive parents, this inevitably marked me out as different. This was even more evident when my younger sister, who is their biological child was born two years later. However, they never made me feel that I was anything other than their first daughter because they treated me exactly the same as my sister in terms of love and telling me off!

Naturally and perhaps even more poignant for me because of my ethnicity, I went through the phase of wondering if I looked like my birth mother or father, whether I had any brothers and sisters or whether I was good at something because my mother or father were. However, wondering about these things didn’t mean I loved my adoptive parents any less or indeed that they were less important to me. I recognised as I was growing up and perhaps even more so as an adult that it is their love and commitment that has formed me into the adult that I am, given me the opportunity to formulate the principles that are important to me and given me the foundation and drive to pursue what I have achieved.

Was your experience of adoption positive?

Most definitely. I know it might sound strange but being adopted is something I’m very proud of. My parents gave me permanence, and whatever reasons my birth mother had for giving me up, I know that it has given me opportunities I would not have had if I had remained with her.

However, I appreciate that I have had a very positive experience and that is not the case for everyone. I have met other adoptees and their stories haven’t been as positive as mine and I know adoptive parents who have gone through difficult times with their adoptive child but to be honest I think that parenting is a difficult job whether you are the parent of an adopted or biological child. So  ultimately it boils down to, all you can do as a parent is to provide a positive, loving and healthy environment for your child to meet their potential and become whoever it is that they will be.

My parents did that for me and my childhood was full of rebelliousness (on my part) and arguments but a whole lot of laughter and much love too and for me the difficulties we faced have as much shaped my experience being a positive one as all the laughter and good times. As it was the process of working through the difficult times that sometimes proves to us as children, that despite us being difficult and annoying you still love us.

What are your greatest achievements?

I am proud of the achievements I have made in terms of my career, and that I had the opportunity to go to university, but for me my greatest achievement is my family.

My mum and dad provided us with amazing opportunities whilst we were growing up, my sister and I travelled around the world with them and we had some great experiences and some truly harrowing ones like being stuck out in the Iraq/Iran war and the Gulf War. Both my parents coming from Llandeilo meant that we settled back in Wales when I was in my early teens. My mum sadly passed away when I was in my 30’s but my father, who is nearly 80 has a really close relationship with my son and they are both football mad. My husband, being Welsh is more a rugby fan but seeing the three of them going off in the car on a weekend to watch my son play football really does give me the best feeling. When I have my sister, her husband, my two nephews and niece who I absolutely adore and their black Labrador and my dad come over on a weekend,  it’s a mad house but when we all get together, and I watch my family laughing around our table, clichéd as it sounds I know that this is my greatest achievement.

Have you had contact with any siblings/birth family?

As I was adopted abroad and in the 70’s it would not be as easy to get in touch with my birth family as it might be for children adopted more recently. However, I’ve never felt the need to go looking for my birth family. For me, it simply wasn’t something that I have had a strong urge to do. I thought this might change when I had my own child, but now I finally have someone in the world who looks like me I feel even less inclined to seek out my biological family.

I do sometimes wonder whether my mum thinks about me on my birthday, whether I have brothers or sisters and if I look like or have characteristics of either of my parents but I think this is something that all adoptive children will naturally consider at some point in their lives. Just as biological children often wonder if they look more like their father or their mother or have any of their attributes. However, having discussed it with some of my other friends who are adopted and have sought out their biological family, the need to find our biological families is individual and not necessarily a barometer of the how they feel about their adoptive family. I know my adoptive family would have been fully supportive if I wanted to explore this and the safety of knowing I would have their support and was able to do this with their blessing makes me love them even more.

As an adopted person yourself, what advice would you give to prospective adopters? What do you think they’d need to know, to support an adopted child?

Every child is different. However, I feel that it is important to be open and honest and to share their child’s life story with them. I don’t think adopters should worry about their child’s history, it’s a part of who they are, and they should share the information with them (in an age-appropriate way), when the time is right.

I was naturally curious about my birth family, and because my parents shared what they knew, which wasn’t very much, it’s something that I grew up knowing and it was not a shock or big secret. My parent’s openness helped me to understand my history and allowed me to accept why I was adopted. As a child I did not realise how distressing the experience was for them until recently, when my dad explained how scared they both were that up until the point the papers were signed and the adoption order was made, my mother could have asked for me back.

Talking about the fact that your child is adopted with them and showing them that you are comfortable answering questions about birth family or indeed any other queries they might have, will mean they feel they can be open with you. It will also reassure them that it is not a subject you do not want to discuss with them. Even if it is hard for you. I felt I could and wanted to discuss being adopted with my mum and dad because they were my safe place and it laid good foundations for us being able to work out lots of complicated and challenging issues that did not have anything to do with being adopted.

If Rebecca’s story has inspired you to consider adoption as a means of starting or expanding your family, then please contact us. https://adoptionmwwales.org.uk/contact-us/

We need adopters from a variety of backgrounds so we can place children with families and individuals who share their own culture, language, and religion, and many people now decide to start a family later in life.

We are interested in what you can bring to a child’s life. Ultimately it is your capacity to make a commitment to providing a loving and permanent home to a child which makes a difference.

There are many reasons why people think they are not eligible to adopt, but here are some of the myths that surround adoption. https://adoptionmwwales.org.uk/adoption-myths/

The school summer holidays have arrived, and as adopters, our children’s routines are thrown into disarray.

We spoke to Rhys an Adopter from Mid and West Wales, who has shared his experience of therapeutic parenting, and how he prepares his son for the loss of routine during the school holidays.

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us about what inspired you to adopt?

My name’s Rhys and I adopted with my husband. Being in a same-sex relationship, adoption was our preferred option to be able to have a family of our own. I was always worried about having children in a same-sex relationship, that they would be teased or bullied, but after getting married, I could see how much acceptance there was for me and my husband and we knew how much support we would get and could see that things were very different to what they used to be.

Can you tell us a bit about your adoption journey?

We approached Adoption Mid & West Wales in January 2017 and were on the preparation to adopt course by the March, before we met our amazing Social Worker who carried out our assessment. The assessment was very intrusive, and no stone was left unturned, but the process gave us the opportunity to reflect on our upbringings, our relationship and how we would be parenting our child. After Panel we had a match immediately and we got to meet our amazing son in May 2018.

What is the PACE parenting approach and how do you incorporate that way of parenting?

We learnt a lot about parenting in a therapeutic way during the process, through discussions with our Social Worker and on various training we attended. The PACE parenting approach is Playfulness, which we found to be the easiest to implement. As an example, one thing we’ve learnt, instead of saying “it’s bedtime, up you go”, which would lead to sulking and a mini tantrum, we turn it into a game, where I would say “When I fall asleep, I’ll wake up and you’ll be hiding upstairs”, works every time.

With the Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy elements of PACE, it took more to put these into practice. Our son was 4 when he became part of our family and understood more about what was happening in his life, so it was vitally important that we showed him that we accepted that it was difficult for him to process things, like moving from his foster carers, where he felt safe, and we showed empathy around it, whilst reassuring him that we are his Dadi’s, and it was our job to keep him safe now.

We’ve used the curiosity element a lot with school. If we can see, after school that he was struggling, and we were made aware of something that had happened that day, we would start wondering out loud, we don’t necessarily direct the questions at our son, but would have a discussion between ourselves, so that he could hear.

Why would you recommend PACE?

I have fallen into the trap of asking, “why are you doing that?” on a few occasions, which can lead to him feeling shame, when he is clearly struggling with some big feelings, and finding his past traumas difficult to process. PACE has helped steer our parenting in a more positive light.

By following the PACE parenting approach, we can calmly redirect, by introducing playfulness, but we always try to come back to the feelings by helping him to manage them, and showing that we accept he’s found it difficult, and show empathy.

We’ve heard that you are a very organised individual! What do you do to stay organised and why is it important to you?

A major lesson we learnt in the early days of the adoption was the importance of structure and routine. When our son first moved to live with us, we stuck to the same routine that the foster family used, as any major changes would have made him feel even more unsettled.

We introduced routine charts from the very first night, to help him visually see what his morning and bedtime routines looked like. Our son loved the visual aids and they helped him follow the structured routines.

We have used various charts over the past few years, including one highlighting when he was going to be in school, going to breakfast club/after school club and when PE was happening in school, etc.

When it came to the time for my husband to go back to working shifts, and for me to start shared parental leave, our son found it difficult, when he woke up or was going to bed and my husband wasn’t there, so we introduced a chart that showed when he was going to be home for the morning and bedtime routine, which appeased our son’s anxiety to the situation.

We’ve got to the stage, that each school holiday, our son announces that “it’s half term, we need a new chart to show what we’re going to do in the holidays!”

What tips do you have for adopters going away as a family for the first time?

For the school holidays, we’ve always created a chart that counted down the number of days until school started back, where he would put a sticker on each day. When we were going abroad for the first time, we used the same chart to put 2 aeroplane stickers on the day we were flying out and the day we were returning home.

We spoke a lot about going on a plane and showed him YouTube videos of planes taking off and landing (top tip – watch the videos yourselves before showing to your child/ren, as some are not appropriate). When discussing going on holiday, we always reassure him that we are coming back. We’d never been on a holiday before where the main point covered was returning home, but it was important for him to know that this is our home, and we would be returning to it.

And finally, what has adoption meant to you?

Adoption has changed our lives. Our little boy has filled our house with so many toys and so much joy. Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments like every family, but the positives far outweigh the negatives by a long shot. I am very close to my family, and to see the way he has fitted in with everyone has been amazing. A very important part of our son’s life was the time he spent with his foster carers, and we very much see them as part of our extended family.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Dad speaks on Father’s Day about amazing experience of adopting

An adoptive dad of two has spoken of the privilege he feels watching his children bloom and grow.

Alex* has described becoming a father as a ‘totally new and amazing kind of joy’, and on Father’s Day is encouraging more men to consider adoption.

Through Adoption Mid and West Wales, Alex is telling his story in the hope that it will inspire.

The service supports families and individuals along every step of the adoption journey, matching children with people who can provide them with a loving, safe and stable family life.

For Alex and his wife, their decision to adopt came after unsuccessful fertility treatment which led them to reflect on their family plans.

Reaching out to their local authority adoption team, the couple were matched with a little boy just over a year from making their first enquiry.

“We had always talked about adoption as a possible route to starting a family,” he said. “We did try a round of IVF when it was clear we couldn’t conceive naturally, but after that was unsuccessful we took some time out to reflect.

“We started the process in January. We had a pretty normal year whilst going through the process – went to work as usual, went to festivals, on holiday, spent time with family and friends – and fitted meetings with social workers and courses in between.

“We did try to read up as much we could and attended extra courses and training outside of the ones organised by the local authority. We had the approval panel in December and after being successful there we didn’t have too long to wait before a match was found.

“We didn’t specify what gender we wanted our child to be, but the local authority did a very good job of finding a child that matched our lifestyle and profiles.

“We all have ways of finding our own joy, but becoming a father was a totally new and amazing kind of joy that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Such was their positive experience, that two years later Alex and his wife decided to adopt again.

“It was a more straightforward process second time around, as we knew what to expect,” he said. “We had a different social worker who hadn’t worked with second time adopters before, so she was a bit surprised at our level of confidence!”

Alex now confesses to be ‘the world’s biggest adoption bore’ and says adoption has been a positive experience with an amazing ending.

“Having spent many years without children in my life and finding joy in many other ways, I try hard not to make out that people without children are somehow inferior, but it is an utter privilege to be able to provide two children with a safe and secure environment to watch them blossom and grow as amazing human beings.

“To anyone considering adoption I would advise to go into it with your eyes open as there will be issues that will crop up that you may not have thought of, but stick with it – at the end of the day these are children we are talking about not bug-eyed monsters!

“There are lots of support groups for adoptive mums, but very little for dads, so if the opportunity comes up to go for a beer with an adoptive dad then take it – you will find out that adoption is way more normal and commonplace than you think! Oh, and if you have access to the Apple TV channel then watch ‘Trying’. A very funny and fairly accurate summing up of the whole process!”

This Father’s Day – weather permitting – Alex and his family are going camping.

“The relationship I had with my own father was a lot more traditional, so I am trying to be a lot more open and loving with my children. When I spend time with my friends who are also dads, I don’t feel any different to them – I love my children unconditionally and I’m extremely proud of them.”

Adoption Mid and West Wales is a dedicated service that supports adoptive families to come together.

The team recruits, trains and assesses prospective adopters to provide high-quality adoptive placements for local children and young people, enabling them to live with permanent new families.

There is no set criteria to becoming an adoptive parent – it doesn’t matter whether prospective adopters already have children, whether they’re single or a couple (straight or LGBT+), whether they’re married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.

Children are matched and placed with adoptive parents who are assessed as being able to provide a stable and nurturing environment and have the skills to meet the needs of the children.

Ongoing support is provided to adopters and their families throughout the adopted child’s life.

Locally,there is a need for adopters from a variety of backgrounds so children can be placed with families and individuals who share their own culture, language and religion.

Anyone interested in finding out more can visit adoptionmwwales.org.uk for advice and information.

An online information session is being held on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 6.30pm – register before Friday, July 16, 2021.

Enquiries can also be made with a member of the adoption team – email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 0300 30 32 505.

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children

What’s it like to adopt as a single parent and what support do you get?

We spoke to Sarah about her experience, advice and why she’d recommend Theraplay to everyone.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to adopt?

I always knew I wanted to be a mother but not necessarily a wife. I tried that, and it didn’t work out for me. I was coming up to my 35th birthday and I’d been on my own for almost 10 years, so I needed to decide if I wanted to keep waiting until I met somebody or do it on my own. Ultimately, I decided I did not want to wait any longer, so I started my adoption journey.  

Can you tell us a bit about your adoption journey?

The entire process took about two years until the right match was found for me, but that’s because I had a very set idea of who I wanted to adopt. I attended an adoption roadshow in Cardiff, where all the different councils had stands. The first person I spoke to was a Trainee Social Worker, that matched me with my daughter, So it was meant to be!

The introduction stage was about a week. Initially this felt like a lifetime for me because I was so ready to start my happily ever after with my daughter but in reality I realised it wasn’t very long at all!

Did you find it difficult to adopt as a single person?

No, I didn’t find it difficult but sometimes it was a bit lonely doing it on my own. I talked to friends and family about it but it’s not the same as sharing it with someone. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but next time I’d hope to share the journey with a partner.

Did you need or get any post-adoption support?

The first year was relatively easy. Looking back, I think that might have been because she hadn’t settled in yet. Once she did settle, some issues did begin to arise, so I got in touch with her social worker to ask for help. My social worker suggested Theraplay.

Our Theraplay worker was amazing. She came in to do an assessment and then we had weekly sessions with her for almost a year to help us.  She also went to my daughters’ school to make sure the teachers understood the best ways to work with my daughter. This support has been so important for us.

What did Theraplay mean to you?  

Theraplay helped my daughter regulate her behaviour. The social worker picked up on little things that I hadn’t ever thought about, such as her not keeping eye contact with me. She showed me the footage from our assessment video and it was clear on the tape, but it wasn’t something I’d ever thought about.

We started doing a simple game of blowing a cotton ball between us where we had to keep eye contact. We were only playing but it helped us connect.

I would recommend it to everybody as it really helped us.

What has lockdown been like for you?

Lockdown has been quite positive for us because it’s given us that quality time to spend together. This has been a game changer. My daughter has thrived having my full attention and it’s brought us closer and solidified our relationship.

What is your advice to anyone who has just started the adoption process?

My best advice would be don’t get put off by the stories you hear about adoption from other people. Everybody’s journey is different and you can’t compare your experience to anyone else, so just go for it.

And finally, what has adoption meant to your life?

It has completed me. I sometimes forget that I haven’t given birth to her because she’s very much like me, she’s got my mannerisms and my sassiness. She’s one hundred percent completed me. Don’t get me wrong, there has been difficult times and I don’t want to sugar coat that, but I would do it all over again to have her in my life. I always wanted to be a mum and she’s made that happen. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Why is it important to be able to adopt in Welsh?

In honour of St. David’s Day, we spoke to Louise and Eurion about their adoption journey, what the Welsh language means to them and why it’s important to be able to adopt in Welsh.

Can you tell us a little about your family and why you adopted?

After getting married, we tried to have children naturally. After trying for a couple years with no luck, we decided to go down the IVF route. On our third round of IVF we were successful and had our daughter. We had both experienced sibling relationships growing up and always wanted to have more kids, but we didn’t want to go through IVF again, so we looked into surrogacy and adoption as ways to extend our family.

We left it for a couple years to focus on our daughter but when she was around four we decided it was time and started looking into adoption. We then took the step, filled in the forms and from there it was just a rollercoaster.

You are both Welsh speakers, did you request to do the adoption process in Welsh?

We didn’t specify that we wanted to do it in Welsh over English, it just so happened that we were appointed a social worker who was a Welsh speaker and she brought along a student social worker who was also a Welsh speaker. The courses we did were all in English but during the breaks there was plenty of opportunity for us to speak Welsh.

It was really beneficial for us to be able to connect with our social worker in Welsh because we both feel more confident speaking in Welsh and the conversations with your social worker are very deep and emotional.

We could’ve chosen to go to panel in Welsh as well, but we made the decision to do it in English. Throughout the whole process we were always aware that we could do everything in Welsh, so it was always our decision whether it was done in English or Welsh.

What does the Welsh language mean to you?

Welsh is our heritage and our background. We were both brought up in traditional Welsh families where the Welsh language was very important and now it’s very important to us to maintain that language as part of our society. We want our children to be able to converse in both Welsh and English and use the Welsh language in everyday life as we believe it enriches character.

Your son was very young when you adopted him, how have you introduced him to the Welsh language?

He was 8 months when he came to us and his foster family did not speak Welsh, but they would play Welsh cartoons and once we knew he’d be placed with us, we gave them a Welsh nursery rhyme CD to play in the background to just get him used to hearing the Welsh language more.

Our social worker encouraged us to just keep going as we were when he came home to us, so we continued just speaking Welsh and his first words were Mami and Dadi and now he converses in Welsh, goes to a Welsh nursery and knows no different.

Did you do his Life Journey Work in Welsh?  

Our son’s social worker was a Welsh speaker which meant we could easily converse with her and she did offer to do his Life Journey Work in Welsh but we actually chose to have it done in English. Looking back now, we’re not entirely sure why we made that decision but I suppose we’ve taken it upon ourselves to explain it to him in Welsh and we have conversations about his biological mother with both him and our daughter in Welsh.

We do have a book in Welsh that we prepared for panel with pictures and family names for him.

Why is it important that you’re able to do the adoption process in Welsh?

It’s massively important that the option to do it in Welsh is there. People converse better in their mother tongue and having that level of support in the language you’re most comfortable in makes such a difference.

For us, the main thing was having social workers that could speak Welsh because it can be quite an intrusive process and for some people it’ll be the first time they talk to others about their family and upbringing so it’s important they feel secure in the language they’re using for that.

That was especially clear when they had to speak to our families who are all Welsh speakers and were a bit sceptical of us adopting. Our social worker went above and beyond and went to spend an afternoon with them, made them feel at ease and answered all their questions. They wouldn’t have been comfortable doing that in English, so it really meant a lot to us that it was done in Welsh.

What advice would you give others considering adoption?

Our biggest piece of advice is that if you are thinking about adoption just go and have that conversation with a social worker because they are really helpful in explaining the process. The conversations we had early on where really helpful and answered some of our initial reservations. We never felt under any pressure at all and everything was done at our pace.  

We thoroughly recommend the whole team at Mid and West Wales Adoption. They were amazing and went above and beyond for us. The adoption process is a very emotional and reflective process but there wasn’t a single time where we couldn’t just phone Mid and West Wales to get help and support and that’s still the case today.

What has adoption meant to your life?

Adoption gave us the final piece of the jigsaw that’s made up our family. It’s allowed us to have the family we always dreamed of and seeing our daughter and son growing as siblings has been a dream come true for us. It was never just about us having another child, it was about building that family and life for our children and giving them that sibling bond.

People will come up to us and say, ‘gosh, he looks exactly like you’ and we have to pinch ourselves to remind us that he’s not our biological son. He feels like our biological son and we can’t imagine not having him and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t look at each other and wonder ‘what was our life like without him?’.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Adopting siblings as an LGBT couple during lockdown

What is it like to adopt siblings as a gay couple in the middle of a national lockdown? We spoke to Ben and Lee to find out.

Can you tell us a little about your family and what inspired to you to adopt?

As a gay man growing up in the 90s, I never thought I’d be able to have children. Thankfully that’s no longer the case, so when Lee and I got together and realised children was something we both wanted, we were able to be parents.  

We are both from big, close-knit families and dreamed of having a family like that of our own which is why we decided to adopt.

Can you tell us a bit about your adoption journey?

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. We started by attending an open evening to get a general idea of the process, but right from the word go we knew adoption was the right journey for us.

We then went on a preparation course and after completing that we were introduced to our social worker who did the 12 home visits with us. We clicked with her instantly and found it easy to open up to her.

Throughout the whole process we just kept reminding ourselves of the end goal which was having our own family and that definitely helped us through it.

You decided to adopt siblings, can you tell us about that decision?

It was early in the process actually. We always wanted at least two children, and Lee was the one who first suggested adopting siblings. We felt that by adopting siblings from the start, we wouldn’t have to worry about any potential difficulties introducing a second child into the family later on.

What has it been like to adopt siblings? 

It’s been incredible. Our girls are really close in age, so it’s been great because they have each other to play with and I think it gives them some reassurance being together. They have a special bond which is amazing to see.

Can you tell us a bit how you prepared to bring home siblings?

We were lucky to have a good connection with the foster carer and she let us ask her pretty much every question under the sun. We wanted to make sure everything was the same for them and she really reassured and guided us.

As for the shopping, we just had to buy everything in double, so we got two cots, a double buggy.

You adopted during the coronavirus lockdown. How has the pandemic and lockdown impacted your adoption journey?

We had one bump-in day before we went into lockdown where we went and interacted with the girls in a soft-play centre. Everything else was then delayed because of the lockdown which meant we started our introductions over video call which actually proved to be quite a good thing for us because we got to build a really good relationship before physically starting our introductions. It gave us more time to prepare and get ready.  

Another positive for us has been the amount of time we’ve both had off and got to spend with the girls. I was originally only going to have three months off but with lockdown, I’ve had pretty much a year off with them which has really helped us bond.

So, for us in our little bubble, there has definitely been some positives to take from an otherwise negative time. 

February is LGBT+ History month. What is it like to adopt as a gay couple in 2020?

It’s been completely smooth sailing for us throughout the whole process. We were accepted by everyone at Mid and West Wales Adoption and we’ve never experienced any prejudice about us being a gay couple at all.

When we started the process, I think we were both a bit apprehensive going into the preparation course. Would we be the only gay couple there and what would the other couples think of us? As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about, there was another gay couple on the course, and everyone was so kind and accepting of us.

It’s amazing to think that anyone born these days, when they come around to adopting in 20-30 years times, it’ll just be normal but for us growing up, it was completely alien to imagine being able to adopt and have children as a gay man.

I don’t think everything is perfect for gay couples yet, there is still work to be done but we haven’t come across any negativity or had any trouble at all in the world of adoption.

Have you started thinking about how you’re going to talk to your daughters about having two dads?

We’ve bought various age-appropriate books that introduce having two mums, two dads, one mum or one dad to the children and explains the only thing that matters is being a loving unit, so we read those to them. We do a lot of reading ourselves so we’re ready for the questions they might have when they’re a bit older and there’s a lot of great resources out there we can use when the time comes.

What is your advice to anyone who has just started the adoption process?

Reach out to fellow adopters because they have been through it and can offer help and support. We joined various groups on Facebook and Instagram and read a ton of adoption blogs to understand the process.

And keep in mind, no question is silly or too small.

And finally, what has adoption brought to your life?

It’s changed our life for the better. We are certainly more busy and more active, but it’s brought so much joy to our life and given us both a sense of purpose.

Beforehand we were both busy going off to work every day but now our main focus is our family. You get to relive your own childhood almost and it’s amazing to get to pass things on to our children.

It’s been a delight seeing them settle into life here, accepting us and they just make us smile and laugh every day.  

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Adopting an older boy

What’s it like to adopt an older boy? Sindhu adopted her son when he was 7. We spoke to her about her experience, her best advice for people thinking about adoption and the support available.

Can you tell us a little about your family and what inspired to you to adopt?

We’re from India originally, and we’d always wanted to adopt but it’s uncommon there unless you’re unable to have a child naturally. As we have two biological children and with busy day-to-day life and moving to the UK, the time was just never quite right.

When our girls were a bit older, they started saying that if we wanted to adopt, we should do it now as they wanted a chance to spend some time with their new sibling. So, that was it, we decided to go for it.

Can you tell us a bit about your adoption journey?

We came across an ad from a local adoption agency and decided we would sign up. We attended events, workshops and meetings to learn more about the process in the UK.

We originally wanted to adopt a baby but then a social worker told us that older children are much more difficult to find homes for, and we realised that age didn’t really matter to us – we just wanted a child.

What has it been like to adopt an older child?

To be honest, I think it can sometimes be easier to adopt an older child. I know there is a belief that if you adopt a smaller child then it’s easier, but I don’t think that’s always true. When a child is a bit older, they have a better understanding of what they’ve been through. It’s easier for them to understand why they are where they are and to explain things to them as well.

For us, structure and having a routine has been key. Having rules that every member of the family has to follow, shows them that this is their safe place and that they are truly part of the family. I think this is easier for an older child to understand.

As with any parent, we’ve stumbled and made mistakes, but we always learn from those mistakes and then try to do better. We’re not perfect parents and adoptive parents aren’t expected to be either. We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but you just have to make sure you always learn from it.

There are currently more boys waiting for adoption than girls, can you tell us what it’s like adopting a boy and why you chose to adopt a son?

It’s funny because in India, it’s the complete opposite. Every woman wants a son, so it is very hard to adopt a boy in India. Because we already had two girls, we went in thinking we would adopt another girl but then we found out boys wait longer for adoption in the UK and almost immediately decided that we would adopt a boy. At the end of the day, they are all children and gender did not matter to us, we just wanted to give a child a loving home.  

We adopted a boy who had been in foster care for almost a year. We were made aware he had some physical issues; he was missing a foot and had a condition that meant his fingers were shorter. My husband and I said to each other, “does it really matter?” and of course,  it doesn’t. If it had been one of our girls who had been in an accident and lost a foot, would we no longer want them? We wouldn’t, so it wasn’t a concern for us.

When he first came home with us, it was a big change for him, but he bonded with us all quickly. I think the familiar Indian smells and food did make it easier for him to settle. He’s a brilliant and resilient kid, he’s so smart and he gets along with everyone. He is our baby boy, and it has just been the most amazing journey.

Did you need / get any post-adoption support?

When he first came home with us, we had a social worker and a psychologist that came and did reports and checks as well as helping us with any issues. They helped us make sure he settled in school and when our youngest daughter struggled to accept that she was no longer the baby of the house.

To this day, we have all their email addresses and numbers and if we need anything, we know we can call or email them. It is like a support for life, we know it will always be there if we need it.

Even though we had biological children of our own, that support was still essential for us because there were still so many things we did not know, and we’d have been lost without it.

What do you wish you would have known before starting the process?

We were surprised at how thorough the process was but we also understand the reason for that. It’s in the best interest of everyone involved that it takes time because ultimately the agency and social workers have to make sure the child is going to a safe place.

What advice would you give to someone who has just adopted or is thinking about adoption?

Just go for it and don’t give up. It can be a tiring process but it’s also a very rewarding one. Love is something we’ll have forever; we just need to share it. There are so many children out there who just need a little bit of that love. Adopting a child really is the most wonderful feeling, and it has without a doubt been the best decision of our lives.

How has adoption changed your life / what has adoption brought to your life?

The feeling can never be expressed, it’s just so beautiful. We feel a sense of satisfaction and relief to share what we have with a little boy who deserves all of the love in the world. You know that you have created that happiness for another person and it’s the most amazing thing.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Adoption Myths

We need adopters from a variety of backgrounds so we can place children with families and individuals who share their own culture, language, and religion, and many people now decide to start a family later in life.

We are interested in what you can bring to a child’s life. Ultimately it is your capacity to make a commitment to providing a loving and permanent home to a child which makes a difference.

There are many reasons why people think they are not eligible to adopt, but here are some of the myths that surround adoption.

Myth #1: I’m too old to adopt

There is no upper age limit for adopting a child – the only age-related stipulation for adoption is that you must be over 21 years of age. We will take into account each applicants’ individual circumstances including checking that you are in good health, you have a good support network, and you are likely to be able to support an adopted child into adulthood, but many people in their 40s and 50s have successfully adopted children.

Myth #2: I can’t adopt because I’m LGBTQ+

The law allows same sex couples, the right to adopt, and this became law in December 2005. If you are a same sex couple you don’t need to be in a Civil Partnership or married to adopt, you will need to show that you are living together in an enduring relationship.

Myth #3: I can’t adopt because I’m single

A common misconception with adoption is that you must be married to adopt. However, a single person can adopt if they would like to add a child to their life. We welcome enquiries from Single people of any gender. We will discuss the support that you have around you during the assessment process.

Myth #4: We aren’t married, so we won’t be allowed to adopt

You can adopt a child regardless of your marital status – whether you’re single, unmarried, or in a civil partnership. It is usually recommended that you and your partner have lived together for at least one year before beginning your adoption journey, but as long as you can demonstrate that you are in a stable, enduring and resilient relationship, you will be able to apply together to become adoptive parents.

Myth #5: I don’t own my own home, so I’m not eligible to adopt

You don’t need to be a homeowner to adopt a child. If you have a stable rental agreement in the property you’re renting, you can be considered for adoption. Ideally, you will need a spare bedroom for an adopted child; it is important that they have a space which they can call their own. It can also be particularly helpful when adopting a slightly older child, as relationships with existing children in the family can take time to settle down.

Myth #6: I work full time, so I can’t be considered for adoption

It’s not necessarily true that being a full-time worker will exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent. It is true that you (or your partner, if you are adopting as a couple) would be encouraged to take an extended period of adoption leave from work, to help your new child to feel safe, settled, and secure in their new family.

We encourage adopters to think about how they will manage financially whilst taking time off work.  People who are employed are entitled to paid adoption leave, but those who are self-employed will particularly need to consider how they will balance the need to work and the need to offer a child that vital stability early in the placement.

Myth #7: I’m unemployed / on benefits, so I’m not allowed to adopt

Your financial stability and money-management abilities will be discussed during the adoption assessment, but being unemployed, on a low income or on benefits will NOT automatically exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent.

If your job has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and / or you have been furloughed during the last few months, this will not automatically rule you out either. Please discuss your situation openly with us, and we will support and advise you.

In some circumstances, financial support may be available from the agency placing the child, so please talk to us before ruling yourself out.

Myth #8: I already have birth children, so I won’t be allowed to adopt

Having birth children will not necessarily prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent too. The age gap between your birth children and any prospective adoptive children will be considered, as will each child’s position within the family. Usually, agencies would want an adopted child to be the youngest in the family by at least two years.

We will work closely with you to ensure that the needs of ALL the children involved are recognised.

Myth #9: I can’t adopt because I follow a particular faith / religion

Adopters can be of any or no religious faith. Children who are waiting for adoption come from many different backgrounds, cultures and religions, and adoption agencies accordingly welcome adopters from all walks of life.

Research has shown that people of faith can be particularly motivated by altruism and a wish to care for the vulnerable, which is obviously a positive thing when it comes to adoption.

Myth #10: I live with extended family, so I can’t adopt

Living with extended family members can be a real bonus for adoptive parents, especially in terms of the support they can offer. But those family members will need to be part of the assessment process and they must understand the particular needs which adopted children may have. They may be asked to attend some appropriate training and make sure they’re around when the child is introduced to the family for the first time.

Myth #11: I have a mental health condition, so I won’t be allowed to adopt

Having a mental health condition will not automatically rule you out from adopting. Any health condition, mental or physical, would need to be discussed fully during the assessment, and all prospective adopters will have a medical in the early stages of the process.  This will help us understand your condition, any issues relating to your ability to adopt a child and how well supported you are by your family and friends.

Many people have short periods of depression, anxiety or stress in their lives and others have longer term mental health conditions which are well managed with medication. Our focus will always be to assess your ability to meet a child’s needs in a consistent way and to consider how the stress of adopting a child will affect your mental health. Talk openly with us and we will support you, regardless of the decision we make.

Myth #12: I can’t adopt because I’m disabled

Being disabled will NOT automatically exclude you from becoming an adoptive parent. Your medical will consider any issues you may experience with parenting an adopted child, but in fact, you may have specific experience and understanding which would make you an especially good adoptive parent. Please talk to us before ruling yourself out.

Myth #13: I’m overweight, so I won’t be allowed to adopt

Many adopters who are overweight successfully adopt children. However, we do need to be sure that adopters are likely to remain healthy and active enough to parent a child into adulthood and that the child will have a healthy lifestyle too.

The medical you have during the assessment will comment upon your lifestyle, BMI and any potential health implications, but we guarantee that this will be discussed with you in a sensitive and respectful way.

Myth #14: I can’t adopt because I have a criminal record

It isn’t necessarily true that a criminal record will prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent. As long as you have no convictions for offences against children or certain sexual offences against an adult, your application may still be considered. Talk to us first, be completely honest, and we will advise you further.

Myth #15: Once we’ve adopted, we’ll be on our own… we won’t get any help

Adoption Mid & West Wales offers lifelong support to its adoptive children and their families. Our adopters can access regular training workshops, support groups and a range of social events. There is also more specialised one-to-one support whenever it’s needed – from surgery appointments, through Theraplay sessions, to counselling. We’re here for you every step of the way.

Myth #16: I won’t be able to raise my child in the Welsh language if they’ve come from an English-speaking household.

Adoption Mid & West Wales place children in families that best match the needs of the child. Language isn’t a barrier when matching. We do place children from English speaking families/foster carers with Welsh speaking families, and they quickly become bilingual.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

12 days of Playfulness

Relationship Based Play (RBP) is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent/carer and child and is personal, physical, and fun!

These 12 days of Playfulness ideas are some activities that you can try and will enhance your approach of using RBP. If you do it wrong, it is just play which is great for your children! The activities need your imagination to add detail and are not competitive but playful and fun!


Day 1 (13/12/20)

Snowball fight with scrunched up toilet paper or cotton wool.

Keep hold of the snowballs to use in other games we have planned in the coming days.

Day 2 (14/12/20)

Create your own elf to put up on the wall.

Get your child to lay still on a large sheet of paper (or multiple sheets stuck together). Draw an outline of our child and colour in together.

Don’t forget to leave room for your little elf’s hat and share your creations with us.

Day 3 (15/12/20)

Snowball cup game.

Simply place paper cups on the floor/table and take in turns to throw scrunched up toilet paper or cotton wool.

Day 4 (16/12/20)

Why not make a Christmas present out of your child, by wrapping their body in wrapping paper and getting them to break out – Don’t forget the bow on top.

Or alternatively turn them into a snowman by wrapping toilet roll around them and again getting them to break out.

Day 5 (17/12/20)

Sing a Christmas song as a family and including your child’s name in the song.

“(Child’s name) the snowman was a jolly happy soul,

With a corncob pipe and a button nose

And two eyes made out of coal.”

Day 6 (18/12/20)

Build a den/grotto.

Creating a space where your child/ren can feel safe, during the big build up a week before Christmas. Use the den as a good hiding place for hide and seek.

Day 7 (19/12/20)

Snowball Basketball

Make a hoop out of your arms and take it in turns to shoot some hoops with scrunched up toilet roll or cotton wool

Day 8 (20/12/20)

This little Reindeer.

Just like ‘This little piggy’ nursery rhyme, add a festive twist by incorporating Santa’s reindeer.

Day 9 (21/12/20)

Go on a festive scavenger hunt

How many of these decorations can you spot near your home?

Christmas Tree; Festive lights on a house; Snowman; Santa; Snowman; Reindeer

Day 10 (22/12/20)

Santa Balloon tennis

Decorate a balloon as Father Christmas and/or Rudolph, and gently knock back and forth keeping the balloon from hitting the floor.

Day 11 (23/12/20)

Snowball blow

Take it in turns to blow cotton wool, back and forth with your child. This is a great exercise for children to self-regulate.

Day 12 (24/12/20)

Measuring and feeding.

Why not use string fruit sweets to measure your child’s smile.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter