When Lucas (not his real name) walked through my front door five weeks ago, and his little eyes looked up and met mine, it felt a bit like fate.
I had chosen for this four year old boy to be part of my life. As a single man adopting, I had chosen him to become my family.
It was two years ago, when I was 43, that I started my search for my future child.
I’d been considering adoption for a while, but initially I was going to hold off until I was 45, thinking that if I hadn’t met a partner by then, it would be the right time.
I had just finished visiting friends in New Zealand and Australia, having saved up for an amazing holiday. While there is no doubt it was an extraordinary time, I got me thinking whether a nice trip every year was all I wanted from life. Did I really want to just save up and splurge for the next 15 to 20 years?
On top of that, online dating had left me disillusioned. I wanted to turn my attention to something more positive.
What really sealed the deal for me though, was going to a friend’s child’s birthday party. They had adopted years ago and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more information from them and the other adopted parents I knew would be there.
One of my worries about bringing a child into my life was that we would stand out, especially as a single dad and son. I worried that we wouldn’t seem like every other family and people would be able to notice straight away that my child was adopted.
So when I was at this party with all these families, I tried to figure out who had adopted and who hadn’t. I found it hard to tell; to me, all of these parents and kids seemed to fit together so naturally, whether that was their mannerisms or how they dressed. I assumed that all of them were bio children, but all had been adopted.
I knew this was something I wanted for myself, so I thought why wait. In September 2018, I put in my formal application.
It took until November 2019 for me to be approved: because I am self-employed, I wouldn’t qualify for adoption leave pay and I had to save up enough money so that I would be able to take a year off work when my child arrived. Usually the process is a lot faster.
My friend had told me that boys were less likely to be adopted, which struck a chord. I also knew that as a single guy, adopting a young baby would not be feasible. I settled on a boy, between the ages of two and four.
In the first batch of profiles I came across, there was one I was interested in and I started the process of getting to know him a little better. He was amazing, but down the line, I realised that his needs were probably too much for me to be able to provide for by myself.
He has an adorable personality; he’s a proper little charmer, always happy and smiley
It was hard to give up on the idea of our life together, but it was for the best because I knew I wouldn’t be the parent he needed.
Soon after, I found Lucas’ profile. It said he was a gentle boy, and although he had needs – most adoptive children have experienced trauma – they weren’t as complex as the first child. There was a video of him painting, and I could tell that he was such a lovely, warm little boy.
I never expected to get that gut instinct, but I had it. With the first boy, I had been trying to justify reasons for saying yes to him, but with Lucas, I struggled to find reasons to say no. It was a yes all the way from the first meeting and reading more reports about him. He was 100% perfect for me.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been plain sailing for us. While everything was in place for me to adopt him, a legal complication has meant that for now I will be fostering him with the view to adopting him in the future, should that opportunity arise.
I don’t like to think about us being separated, and I love him to bits, but I don’t regret choosing Lucas.
That’s the thing with adoption, you have to commit very early on and when you do, you have to walk with that child every step of the way.
I felt that way when he arrived at my door in September. I went from being a single bloke, going out and doing all the things that single people do, to having a four-year-old that needs me 24/7.
It was a shock, but I was prepared for what lay ahead. Him arriving just confirmed what I knew all along: that I wanted this.
I’m fortunate that I also have a great support network. My social worker buddied me up with another single adopter and our little boys have quickly become friends. My family and friends have been there cheering me on along the way, and they know that I will need their help in the future, especially when it comes to having positive female influences.
I now fully understand what they mean when they say it takes a village to raise a child. I’ve been blown away by how amazing everyone I know has been.
It’s made so much easier by Lucas being incredible. He has an adorable personality; he’s a proper little charmer, always happy and smiley.
He loves talking to people, and since he moved in his confidence has come on leaps and bounds. Any time I introduce him to anyone he’ll tell them his stories about losing his first tooth and starting big school.
When he sings, he has such a lovely little voice.
I get the warmest feeling when people call him a mini me, which has happened a few times. Early on, he told me he wanted to dress like me in shorts and a t-shirt, and he really likes that we both wear glasses.
When people say we look natural together, I’m transported back to that birthday party and I realise I now have the family I dreamed I would.
I hope we have a long and happy life together.
Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.
For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.
We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.
If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at [email protected]
- Why we’re talking about adoption this month
- How to adopt a child – from how long it takes to how you can prepare
- The most Googled questions on adoption, answered
- How long does it take to adopt a child in the UK
- Adoption myths that could be stopping you from starting a family
- How to tell your child they are adopted
Visit our Adoption Month page for more.
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