We didn’t set out on our fostering journey to adopt a child, but it has been a year now since the adoption was finalised and we couldn’t be happier.
Millie was five days old when I went to collect her from the hospital. She had been born four weeks prematurely and had spent her first four days in an incubator. We’d received the referral to foster Mille a couple of days before, so we had been able to prepare and buy the things that we needed. We weren’t however prepared for how tiny she was and nothing I had bought in a newborn size fit her!
When fostering a newborn baby, the birth parents are given six months to attend various courses, have contact and receive support to enable them to make the changes needed to provide a safe home for their child. There had been quite a lot of history there and so we were informed that the likelihood of Millie staying in care and being put up for adoption was quite high. As a foster carer, it is really important during this time that you are as supportive as possible and put any judgements to the side. During this time, circumstances for the parents continued to escalate and contact wasn’t maintained meaning Millie would remain in care.
She was quite poorly after being born prematurely, so I spent some time in hospital with her and I think that was the point that I bonded to her so deeply and knew that I wanted to adopt her. The more we spoke to our supervising social worker about it, the more possible the option seemed to become. Due to the circumstances and as time went on, the likelihood of Millie needing to be adopted was almost a certainty.
Once we’d made the decision, we then had to contend with all the delays that Covid had wrought in the courts. In normal times, an adoption needs to happen within a certain timeframe before a baby is taken back into care to find adoptive parents. With the courts not able to provide a date through this period, we began receiving a lot of pressure from the local authority which was particularly stressful. We had tremendous support from our supervising social worker and our solicitor, but we had to fight each step of the way about the court delay which was just totally out of our control.
On the day of the court hearing, we weren’t allowed to attend. We knew that the parents had written to the court to give their approval of our adoption, but by 3pm we still hadn’t heard anything. After some calling around, we finally found out that everything had gone through in the morning with no problem, but no one had let us know. We were so relieved, but also completely exhausted after waiting and worrying all day.
We weren’t able to attend court for the celebration hearing (where you receive the official certificate) due to Covid, so we are very much looking forward to throwing a big party for Millie in March to celebrate. We are now clear to start fostering again too which is fantastic.