Emma and Ann's Adoption Blog

Image description: A family portrait with two parents and their child sitting on a log in a wooded area. Parent on the left (Emma) is wearing a floral jumpsuit over a black t-shirt with black lace up shoes. they are wearing dark sunglasses and have a necklace around their neck. They also have tattoos on their visible arm. The parent on the right (Ann) is wearing a "Brave" movie t-shirt and Khaki cropped trousers with purple lace up shoes. They have metallic coloured sunglasses on. The child (D) is sitting on the legs of both parents and is wearing a yellow jumpsuit over a white t-shirt and blue shoes featuring Dory from Finding Nemo. They are wearing green spectacles. Everyone is smiling at the camera.

National Adoption Week 2021 - Emma and Ann M-M

I had gone through three cycles of IVF in a previous relationship but, unfortunately, I had two negative rounds and one that led to a medical miscarriage.

When that relationship broke down and I then met Ann, conversations about my desire to become a parent were had pretty early on as this was one of the biggest reasons my previous relationship ended and I saw parenthood as a necessity, something that would happen with or without a partner to do it with.

We got married in 2016 and started our IVF journey with London Women’s Clinic at the Bridge Centre in 2017, after a move south with Ann’s work in the Royal Naval Reserves. I’d privately funded IVF with my ex-partner due to the postcode lottery of support, and this went against us for receiving any further funding. As far as the NHS were concerned, if we were going to go through the IVF route then we were going to have to pay for it.

We did three rounds of IVF between 2017 and 2018, but none of the results were positive, with the middle round included a miscarriage discovered at our 8 week scan for which I required surgery – it was more than a bit of a rollercoaster. After that, we needed to take some downtime to decide what we wanted to do as I was physically and emotionally exhausted. We went away on holiday, and while we were there, we had a more in-depth conversation about adoption. I realised that my biggest dream was to be a parent, and how I became a parent didn't matter as much anymore.

In June 2018, we contacted SSAFA – a military charity that this year celebrates 21 years of its adoption service. Ann is in the Royal Navy, and a lot of local authorities were uncertain around how they would support a military family, since we can move around quite a bit. We attended a four-day preparation course in March 2019, after which we were linked with our social worker. After months of intense ‘interviews’ and the creation of our PAR (Prospective Adopters Report) we went to approval panel in September 2019 and received a unanimous YES to adopt. In January 2020, due to a house move back north, we began the family finding process. We used an online service called LinkMaker and at the end of February 2020 we made contact with a local authority about a childs profile and were linked with a little lady who was to become our daughter!

Image description: Two pairs of lace up shoes, one green and one purple on a patch of grass. In between both pairs of shoes is a card that reads "Today we went to matching panel" and features a cartoon frog.

Then covid hit so everything started to go a lot slower than we had expected and the normal information gathering processes became online chats or phone calls. As the first lockdown was lifted we entered into a 14 day total lockdown at home ready for our vitural matching panel, that took place at the end of June via email, and a week later we began introductions. June the 26th 2020 will always be a date we will never forget as it was the first time we met our little girl.

On 1st July she spent her first night with us in her new home and 5 days later she was officially placed, at which point the foster carer returned home and we were then the sole carers for her with shared parental responsibility with her local authority.

Image Description: Two parents with their child. Everyone looks very excited. Parent on the left (Ann) is freckled with their hair tied back. Only their head is visible. Parent on the right (Emma) is wearing a grey jumper and black framed spectacles. Their hair is parted to one side. The child (D) is sitting on the second parent's lap. They are wearing a pink Mickey Mouse playsuit and pink spectacles. Their hair is in bunches.

After 10 weeks we submitted our application to adopt to court and, in December 2020, we received the phone call from her social worker to say that the adoption order had been granted and she was now legally part of our family. In May 2021 we had, a very delayed again due to covid restrictions, virtual Celebration Hearing with friends and family members joining a zoom call to share in the moment our local judge welcomed our daughter into our family.

The adoption process meant we felt way more prepared to tackle trauma based responses and behaviours from the day she came home, possibly than we would have been if we'd naturally gotten pregnant, but we also felt completely unprepared for all of the natural stages of development and the worries all parents have about whether they are doing the right things!

Our daughter already knows that she has two mummies. She loves books, so most of her books are as inclusive as we can get them – not just on LGBTQ+ issues, but a cross-section of diversity. Because books are so important for her, I’ve already created a picture book with pictures of her with her birth family, her foster carer, and then with us. It tells the story of how she came home and she's free to pull that off the shelf whenever she wants to. Her journey to us is something we will never shy away from talking about.

Image description: Two parents sitting on a black leather sofa with their child. They are reading a book together. In front of the sofa is a polkadot rug with a water bottle on it. The parent on the left (Emma) is wearing an orange sleeveless top with black birds on it, black trousers and black lace up shoes. They have black framed spectacles on and their hair is parted to one side. They have tattoos visible on both arms. The parent on the right (Ann) is wearing a Donald and Daisy Duck tshirt, chequered grey and white shorts and purple lace up shoes. They have an arm around Emma. The child (D) is sitting on the parent on the left's lap. They are wearing a yellow daisy dress and pink and blue shoes featuring Peppa Pig. They have on pink spectacles.

What I would say to anyone who was considering adoption as a possibility is: don't let the scare stories affect you. Of course, there are some hard realities, but it’s the most amazing and rewarding experience to bring a child home and give them everything they need, that they didn't necessarily have before. And to experience that unconditional love that you didn't think was going to happen.

Parenthood has given me an inner strength I never realised I had. I always thought I was an advocate for things before, but I’m a super passionate adoption advocate for my daughter now and we continue to share our daily journey through parenthood on our Instagram page @familym_m where we are always happy to answer questions and support others as best we can.

Image description: Two parents out for a walk with their child. The parent on the left (Ann) is wearing a black puffa jacket and a green knitted hat with a furry bobble. The parent on the right (Emma) is wearing a green puffa jacket and a yellow knitted hat. They have black framed spectacles on. The child (D) is sitting on the shoulders of Emma. They are are wearing a blue puffa jacket featuring Micket Mouse and black trousers with panda faces on. They have on a brown knitted hat and green framed spectacles.

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