Paul and Mark had always wanted to be parents. After hearing positive things about adoption through Salford City Council they decided to go for it and apply. This is their journey...
Watching their two-year-old son tear round the house on Christmas Day was better than any Christmas present Manchester couple Paul* and Mark* could have wished for. From the minute they were matched by Salford City Council’s adoption team they fell in love with Jake*. And when he finally moved in, the couple said they had to pinch themselves, hardly believing that their dream of being parents had finally come true.
Local government worker Paul, 38, and manager Mark, 34, both love children and had always dreamed of having their own family. The couple have been together for five years and early in their relationship talked about becoming parents. But it was after Paul’s mother died, that the urge became stronger and they decided to pursue their dream. Paul and Mark agreed that adoption would be the best route for them, but they knew very little about the process.
At a drop in day for lesbian, gay and transgender people considering parenthood they heard various agencies talk about adoption and how they could help. But it was speaking to a gay couple who had adopted with Salford City Council that made them feel Salford would be right for them. “We met a couple of guys who had adopted through Salford City Council and they couldn’t say enough positive things about it,” said Paul. “That convinced us to go with Salford and we found it very positive too. The adoption process is an unknown world when you start, but everything was very inclusive. The training was also relaxed but professional.”
“When we started the process it was mostly about our desire to complete our family,” Mark continues. “It wasn’t until we began our adoption training sessions that it hit home how much of an impact we could potentially have on a child like Jake who couldn’t stay with his birth family and needed the stability and love of a family that we could provide. We wholeheartedly poured ourselves into the process.”
After they were approved the couple spent the summer viewing profiles of children needing adopting whilst their family placement worker looked for matches for them. “We just knew when the right match came along we’d know it and that’s how it was with Jake,” says Mark.
“It’s hard to say what made us instantly fall in love with him,” says Paul, “apart from the fact that he’s a beautiful little boy. We spent the morning reading and re-reading his report while constantly looking at the photos. “We just kept saying to each other ‘this is the little boy who will be our son.’”
The couple worked with Jake’s foster carers’ to ease him into moving in with them – spending time at the foster carers home and theirs. Jake had just turned two years old. They also made lots of effort to help him settle in, setting up his bedroom and bringing his toys across ready for him coming home.
“Our family placement worker was almost like a member of the family in the end,” says Mark. “She celebrated with us and supported us. We missed her when Jake moved in!”
“All in all it was like a collaboration,” Paul recalls. “We knew what we wanted and Salford City Council helped us make our dream come true.”
The couple formally adopted Jake six months after he moved in.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.