‘I’m having twins!’ Tom and Andy's adoption story
After a busy life travelling the country and the world, Tom and Andy decided it was time to settle down. This is their adoption story...
Tom and his partner Andy had been together since they were in their late teens, and both worked in the theatre, meaning they travelled around England and other countries performing in major productions.
The couple always wanted to have a family and soon after they got married in 2015 they both decided to look into adopting a child and settling down.
As Tom recalls: “We had been together a long time and had discussed having a family, but once we were married this came much more into focus and when we got support from our parents to get our own house we realised that we had the stability to look into adopting.
The training made us realise that you are starting a family with all the joys and all the challenges
“Initially we didn’t take adoption seriously because we thought it took years and years, but we put our name down and attended an information event to find out more.
“When we found out that it was achievable and that it wasn't such a long process we decided to have a serious conversation about it. After that information event we had a few months off stage. It was during this time that we both realised that we would rather become a family and find stable jobs. We both became teachers as a result.”
Getting ready to adopt
Asked about the adoption training process Andy said: “On the first day of training we found out the many different reasons why children are in care and where they have been and we were emotional wrecks."
“The training made us realise that you are starting a family with all the joys and all the challenges. We also discovered that we did not have any fixed ideas regarding who we would adopt, and looking around the room we were amongst an eclectic group of people which really represented the diversity of Birmingham.
“Looking back we were that enthused by both the training we had and the support we had from our key worker that we even considered becoming social workers ourselves, the training was that inspiring.”
When Tom and Andy did adopt they ended up as a family of four not the original thought of three. Said Andy: “We have a little two-bed house and at the time didn’t know that adopting two children was even an option, but our social worker May said ‘what about twins?’ One look into Tom’s eyes and I could see him saying ‘I’m having twins!’"
Meeting our children
"We were approved at the beginning of October and matched the next month and by December we were introduced to our children. I remember there was crazy snow at the time and we had to shovel it out of our drive, but at that stage we would have walked for a whole day to see our children.
“We had to spend the first week in hospital with our son as he was having trouble feeding, and we ended up sleeping at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but we were very fortunate that we were able to spend our first Christmas together at home as a family, along with celebrating the twins first birthday’s shortly after at home too.”
For Tom and Andy it was important to introduce their children to their parents, and Tom recalls that first day: “We had no choice but to make very early introductions with my parents as we were spending so much time in hospital, and we all ended up meeting in a local garden centre, but everyone had a lovely time and I can remember all the decorated trees and tinsel surrounding us all.”
Asked what advice to give prospective adopters Tom said: “Now when I see a family struggling with a crying baby in a supermarket or on an aeroplane I say well done for remaining calm. In terms of any expectations you need to drop them, and do the training, and above all be honest with yourself and your partner if you have one. Every day during the training you learn to assess yourself.
“We have got two beautiful children and we know that one day we will need to tell them the story of how they came to be adopted and their back story before being part of our family. This will be hard, but we have had such outstanding support from our key worker who has been open and honest throughout, that we are confident when that day comes we will be able to handle it.”
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