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

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