In celebration of this year’s LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week, we are very glad to welcome a guest post by Daddies Diary, which narrates his rocky experience as an aspiring adoptive gay dad.
Lets take a trip down memory lane!
Where did it all begin?
Jack and I have been together for 7.5 years, 8 in November. We married back in a very wet and cold but beautiful and perfect September last year.
We arrive for our ‘pre-approval’ interview in a cold a soulless room. Having dreamed of this moment all my teenage and adolescent life I was anxious. I couldn’t quite believe we were here! Sat waiting nervously. Despite this the lady with whom we were to spend the next four hours sharing our very being with emulated warmth and made us feel at ease immediately. She reassured us she was not looking for ‘the perfect parent’, as they simply don’t exist. So we began, we began our journey.
The social worker asks “when did you first discuss having children?”. We respond with “our first date”. She seems a little surprised, almost taken aback, like she was hearing something for the first time. I found comfort in her response which was one of comfort and approval, this allowed her to understand how our desire to be parents, our desire to be a family was ingrained in us individually and collectively.
Quite literally from date one!
So lets rewind…
Date night, the first of many. We were in the local pub, making polite conversation. Full of nerves, the burning urge to impress. The desire to be the best version of ourselves.
I remember being told I’m too honest, too upfront, “You need to learn to play the game” I was told. Something I was never any good at, ask Mr Burles. My secondary school PE teacher who would regularly use me to demonstrate to the class how not to do things, like catch a ball that’s thrown at you with no forewarning from across the hall causing an immediate roar in laughter from everyone, followed by a deep sense of shame and embarrassment for me.
So, needless to say, I don’t hold back or play the proverbial game.
I can feel it coming up with no ability to silence it, it at this point has become involuntary:
“Just so you know I plan on having kids, lots of them and probably all with special needs.”. An immediate sense of relief coupled with a sense of panic. “SHIT I’VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!”
And in the same moment and breath here it is, I’ve said it, it’s out there and much to my surprise he’s still sat facing me, smiling knowingly. Smiling knowingly then and now 7.5 years on, my husband and father of our children to be.
We explored the possibility of fostering but decided that the permanence was an issue for us both. So we withdrew.
In January of 2016 we made some initial enquiries with our Local Authority.
We were knocked down at the first hurdle. I casually explained to the gentleman on the other end of the line that we were moving in the February to a property that was better suited to our plans to have children. A secure tenancy. Our family home.
“I’ll stop you there”, I was abruptly told, “in no uncertain terms would we consider your application until a few months after your move as this is considered a significant life event”.
I was surprised, in fact disappointed and frustrated. I then continued to confess with caution that we were also due to marry in the September. ANOTHER ‘SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENT’
Life event: Any major change in person’s circumstances–eg, divorce, death of spouse, loss of job, etc, that affects interpersonal relationships, work-related, leisure or recreational activities; life events can be usual, i.e. not unexpected and therefore not evoking stress, or unusual–ie, unexpected and commonly associated with stress.
Computer says no!! We have failed this pro-forma based on what we and many others consider to be positive life events. The gentleman’s parting words where “call back sometime early next year”.
This rang in my ears for several days, weeks in fact! How had we been refused on such basic grounds? They didn’t know us? They had no understanding of our workings as a couple.
I felt angry. Angry that we had been so causally thrown to one side without being given the opportunity to present ourselves or our relationship to a real person. Instead we had failed a tick box exercise. Angry that we are told all the time about the amount of children in ‘desperate need’ for their loving forever home.
The assumption was we would not be able to move or marry whilst being assessed for our suitability to parent. Surely getting to know us during this time would have been advantageous to our social worker. To see that we do in-fact continue to function as a couple? And do not fall apart during such ‘significant life events’.
On the note of significant life events surely taking on and parenting children is much more ‘significant’ than celebrating your love or moving (having done it in excess of 20 times now, move that is, not parenting, I’m quite the pro), right???