Alan, 50, and Paul, 43, have been together for over 20 years and were one of the first couples to enter a civil partnerships in the West Midlands. Paul had always wanted children of his own but Alan wasn't as sure.


Making the decision

The turning point came in 2010 whilst Paul was doing some voluntary work with young children in Africa. Alan realised how important children were to Paul and decided to make some tentative enquiries about adoption.

"Our initial enquiry was made to the local council as we were unaware that you could adopt through voluntary sector organisations such as Action for Children. We attended an information evening where families had been asked to talk about their experiences of adoption. It was here we realised that some of the children looking for their ‘forever family’ have had and extremely traumatic first few years in their life and this often manifests in some very challenging behaviour. But we both felt we were capable to give a child a second chance at having a happy life.

Within 24 hours of contacting the charity we had been invited to attend a first meeting to discuss the possibilities of adoption.

"We both now felt that we had reached a time in our lives and had the space in our house and time to give a child a loving home." - Alan

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Choosing your adoption agency is probably one of the most important decisions that you will make in the whole adoption process. We would advise anyone considering adoption to look at a number of different adoption agencies before deciding on which one to go with.

Although we only found Action for Children by chance, we have been overwhelmed by all of the support and preparation that they have given us. We have found the team in Birmingham to be absolutely remarkable and are so glad that we chose them. We have nothing but praise for them and cannot recommend them enough.


The adoption process

Once our application had been accepted, we were asked to attend a four day preparation course for adoption. The course gave us lots of useful information about the adoption process, the reasons why children are in care and lots of useful information about managing challenging behaviour and general parenting skills.

The next part of our adoption journey was the assessment process. This took approximately 6 months and involved us meeting with our larger than life assessing social worker called Eddie. We met Eddie once every few weeks for an hour or so. Eddie asked lots of questions about our upbringing and our own families. This made us both realise how important your early years are in shaping your later development into an adult. By the end of the process, he seemed to be more of a friend coming around to visit rather than being a social worker. We actually missed seeing him when his visits stopped!

After Eddie had finished his reports we were invited to attend an assessment panel in December. This sounds much more daunting than it actually was. The panel consisted of about 12 people who had read Eddie’s report and had to make a decision about our suitability to become adopters. After spending about twenty minutes with the panel and after a brief adjournment, we were told that they had made a unanimous decision to approve us to adopt one or two boys- quite an emotional moment!

Find out more about the adoption process

Meeting our boys

Immediately after the panel meeting were introduced to Sue, our new social worker who was going to support us through the process of finding our boys. Over the following few weeks we received more information about the boys that we were interested in. After lots of advice and discussion with our social worker we agreed that Jack and Alex were the two who we wanted to adopt.

A meeting was arranged between us and the boys during the day and later that evening we got the news that they thought we would be a great match for the boys and they wanted to move forward. Words cannot describe how we felt.

A month or so later we were invited to a matching panel meeting to formalise the adoption. Again the panel were very supportive and agreed that the adoption should go ahead. Things then started to move very quickly.

We will never forget picking the boys up from their foster family. After ringing the doorbell, they both greeted us calling us both ‘daddy’. Within minutes, it felt like we had known known the boys forever.

We cannot explain what it was to have just the two of us living at home one evening and then having two lively toddlers moving in the following day. Our lives and house was literally turned upside down overnight. Even our dog looked shell shocked!

We had lots of support from Action for Children over the following days, weeks and months until the adoption was formalised in Court. And as a same sex couple, we also found the New Family Social website to be excellent. There was lots of advice on their forum about the whole adoption process from other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adopters. In fact throughout the process it was clear that Action for Children whole-heartedly embrace, promote and support diversity."

Find out who can adopt

Our decision to adopt was a life changing decision for both us and the boys. It was the most important decision that we will ever make in our lives. We have been so lucky in adopting two wonderful boys. It feels like we have been together forever and that the match could not have been more perfect.

Messages for people considering adoption

  • Do it! We cannot explain how much our lives have changed for the better.
  • Go to an adoption information evening and find out more about the whole process.
  • Think carefully about which agency you decide to go with.
  • Do your research.
  • Don’t be put off by some of the horror stories which you hear about adoption and the adoption process. Ours journey to adoption was amazing and could not have been any better.
"Our only regret about adoption is that we didn’t do it sooner."

Paul and Alan,