Adoption was the best option for us as a mixed race, same sex couple
Not long after Evelyn and Ellen got together, they knew they wanted a family. Now they're proud mums to Ivy. This is their adoption story…
“We spoke about having a family very early on in our relationship, so we knew from the outset that neither of us wanted to pursue carrying a biological child. We had lots of reasons for this but one of them was that Evelyn felt certain she would favour a child she had carried over a child I had given birth to. The other main reason was that, as mixed-race lesbian couple, if we both carried a child our children couldn’t be related to each other and have the same ethnicity. For us, that didn’t make sense. It’s so important to us that our children share our British-Jamaican heritage.”
The couple contacted Birmingham Children’s Trust back in 2013 but sadly encountered prejudice from their landlords, “We were told we couldn’t live there and plan to have a child, so adoption was out of the window. We withdrew our application, but asked Birmingham Children's Trust to keep us on file.
“It was disappointing, but it focused our minds and we worked really hard to build up our savings and buy a place of our own. Of course, you can adopt if you rent your home, just not with our old snobby landlords!”
Making our application
Once Evelyn and Ellen had settled into their new home, they re-started their adoption application with Birmingham Children’s Trust.
Evelyn said, “It progressed quickly! We went to the information event in June and started our first training session in July.
“Our culture and heritage as a Jamaican-British couple is very important to us and we wanted to make sure that our child would share our heritage.”
“The first training session lasted for four days and we felt supported throughout. It helped us decide that adoption was right for us, so we carried on to stage two of the adoption process."
In part two we were assigned our social worker Julie. The Trust always try to make sure that you have the same social worker throughout your adoption process so that you are as comfortable with them as possible. We were extra lucky because Julie had also facilitated our initial training course. We felt at home with her straight away, we’re still in touch now!
Challenges along the way
The process wasn’t all easy for the couple. “You have to be prepared to be very open about your past” explains Evelyn. “I found some of our conversations hard and there were things in my childhood which were painful to talk about, but I never felt judged.” Ellen agreed, “you just need to be honest with your social worker and trust that they want you to succeed".
Being approved as adopters
At the end of the adoption assessment process, applicants are invited to attend an adoption panel. It involves a meeting with a range of people with expertise and experience in adoption. They will discuss your application with you and they recommend applicants who should be approved as adopters.
“We can’t imagine life without Ivy now. She’s everything to us.”
Ellen remembers, “we were really prepared for panel, but it was still nerve wracking! It went well and the panel members did their best to put us at ease. We were approved and the very next day we were shown the profile of a little boy that Julie felt could be a good match for us!”
“He was a lovely boy but we didn’t feel like we were the right family for him” said Evelyn. “Our culture and heritage as a Jamaican-British couple is very important to us and we wanted to make sure that our child would share our heritage. It was a difficult decision to make but it was honest, and it was the right one for all of us”.
In the end we were matched with a six month old baby girl with Jamaican-British heritage. When we saw her profile we thought it was too good to be true - but thankfully it wasn’t!”
“We can’t imagine life without Ivy now. She’s everything to us. She’s bouncy, full of energy, she’s a bit of a diva sometimes! Everything is going well and we’ve never needed post adoption support, but we would always be open to it. We know that Birmingham Children’s Trust will be there for Ivy her whole life if she ever needs them. Their support is nationally recognised.
“We celebrate the day she came home with us every year - so Ivy has a birthday and an adoption day to celebrate. I wouldn’t change the experience we’ve had. Birmingham Children’s Trust have been amazing from day one.”