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The moving story of a local family's journey into adoption

January 21, 2014


Thinking of adopting and interested in reading firsthand accounts? Or have you already adopted and could you use the support of others in the same boat? We Are Family is a group of adopters who offer post adoptive support to families. They’re based in North East London and meet for a weekly playgroup and a fortnightly parent support group. Check out their website for more and in the meantime read the moving story of one of its members:


“Barley’s picture came via an unexpected email from our social worker one Friday afternoon. We were at work and could hardly keep the adulation out of voices as we tried to maintain a calm disposition until 5:30. We printed it out and anxiously arranged a meeting with the social worker to find out more. We spent the weekend “what iffing this and that” and gazed lovingly at our little boy – I feel we fell in love before we met him in the flesh. Something curious happened to us as a couple after that photograph became our beacon of hope. We were going to be actual living parents and be responsible for another human being. We kept pinching ourselves and stole knowing looks at each other, as it was to be kept under wraps until things were finalised.

We had the initial meeting, met the foster carers, saw lots more photographs and asked a zillion questions. We had a month to get our flat ready for 9-month-old Barley’s arrival. I felt as sure as I could that we were going to love him with every inch of our being. Going to the matching panel for a baby we had never met still seems bizarre now. I got asked a crazy question from the panel: “why do you want to adopt Barley?” I could only reply through my tears with a garbled: “have you seen his photo.”

Getting ready to meet him required trips to the hairdressers and new shirts, to pass the time. We were so nervous driving to the foster carer. We were parked outside way before the social workers arrived. We didn’t want to be late, didn’t want to miss a second of that special day.

We were ushered into the house and Barley was playing with his toys behind the sofa. He smiled and allowed me to hold his hand – I was smitten. We took turns feeding him and then our first visit was over. We called our family and friends and went through the induction process without a hitch. It was the jubilee week after induction, I felt as if we had a royal welcome for him into our lives. The foster carer and her family were truly amazing and gave Barley a great start to his journey to us. We couldn’t wait to have him home and start our life where we went from 2 to 3.

A year and a half later, Barley is half my height, hitting all his milestones and has a wide circle of friends. He knows what he truly likes and what he doesn’t. He is passionate about transport as a lot of little boys are. I drive past many building sites on rainy afternoons, just so he can point out the cranes and diggers.

Our life as a couple has done a 360 turn. We have forged a special bond which makes us a team. We know a lie in to be grateful for is now 7am and our love for our little boy grows deeper each day. We wished for Barley and our wish did indeed come true.

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