It is our pleasure to share the stories of families who have adopted with the support of ARC. As part of LGBTQ+ Adoption and Fostering Week 2024, we spoke to Anna* and Beth* who last year became parents to their son Harry.* 

Hello Anna and Beth! Could you please introduce your family?

We met through a mutual friend about 13 years ago. I am from Sweden and was living in London at the time. When my house contract was up, I moved up to the North East and became Beth’s housemate. Over time our relationship naturally kind of developed and eventually we got engaged and married and decided we wanted to have a family together - or a human one, as we already had 3 cats, a dog and a tortoise!

Sounds like you already had your hands full. Could you tell us a little more about deciding to adopt?

We both started to feel our internal biological clock around the same time - not long after I had turned 30. Like most things, one of us mentions it and then the other will go ‘me too!’ and it’s all systems go! My grandad is adopted, so it is something I’ve always known I wanted to do if I was to have children. 

How did you choose an adoption agency to help you?

We rang a few different agencies and councils and we just got the best impression from ARC. They were super friendly and approachable and got back to us super quick whenever we had a question. We also really liked that they never really leave you. You can always email or text and know they’ll be there to help you, even if it’s 10 years down the line. We both felt like ARC was the right place for us to do this through, with everything they do for families.

How did you find going through the adoption process? 

We had a bit of a bumpy start as I had recently had cancer when we first registered and started the process, and the agency medical advisor wanted us to wait. Once we came back it was super smooth. Our social worker is amazing and never once made us feel uncomfortable in opening up about things and really made it feel like a safe space to share. We both quite enjoyed the Stage 2 assessment part of the process and talking about things you wouldn’t necessarily share with a lot of people. We loved all the training too. The talks from adopters, adoptees and birth mother were all brilliant and gave us such a good understanding of everyone’s point of view.

We are pleased that you were able to enjoy the process and preparation after such a challenging start. How did you find family finding after being approved at panel?

We did struggle a little bit with this as we’re not the most patient people. We don’t like being ignored and of course the children’s social workers who are looking for families for them are super busy, so not everyone will get back to you, and that is really hard.

We found we had quite a good idea of when we’d know ‘our child’ was ‘our child.’ We both said throughout that if it isn’t a ‘hell yes!’ for us both, then it’s a 'no.' Reading children profiles can be really hard but it does make you realise quite quickly what you can and cannot deal with, which is helpful.

We'd love you to tell us a little about meeting your son?

We both say the day we met Harry was the best day of our entire life. We did the 'UEA Moving to Adoption' model of introductions so we had 8 'bump into' meetings before we started the actual introductions. The first day we travelled to where Harry was, we were both super nervous and arrived 45 minutes early.

Once it was time to head in, we both remember his blonde hair and little face popping out from behind the door and shouting ‘come in!’ He was just an absolute joy and has been from that moment. He was used to adults so he made us get straight onto the floor and play with trains with him. It was 2 hours of pure bliss and we both cried with happiness on the drive back home. 

Doing the UEA model was so beneficial and if it’s something that is on the table, I would highly recommend it. Once we started our proper introductions, we felt so comfortable with Harry, as well as his foster carer, so it didn’t feel awkward going to her house every day. Apart from it being 32°C the first 2 weeks, everything went super smoothly. Harry was comfortable with us taking over more and more and we never had a difficult day with him settling in with us. It was like he had always been here with us.

That is so wonderful to hear! What have been the best things about becoming parents to Harry?

Everything about becoming Harry’s mothers has been amazing for us. He is a ray of sunshine and we laugh every day. Seeing his smile makes everything worthwhile. We have enjoyed family outings and our first family holiday, but most of all we just love the boring mundane day to day things with him. It’s been incredible to see our parents become grandparents too. It’s amazing to see him develop and learn and get more confident every day as well.

Despite it being quite a long and challenging journey for yourselves at times, has it been worth it? We think we already know the answer to this one.

It was 100% worth the wait, as difficult as it felt at times. Once you see their little face all that time just fades away and you know it couldn’t have been another child, this one was always meant to be yours.

Any other challenges you like to share?

Nobody tells you how toxic toddler poo’s can be! The smell! Oh my!

How have you found the support available since adopting?

We’ve been to a number of events organised by ARC – the Halloween day out last year, the Christmas party and we’re booked on another day out next month.

It is more helpful than we could have imagined meeting up with other adopters and seeing Harry playing with their children. The other adopters just “get it” and they see every element of parenting as a privilege, just like we do. It’s also great to know that we can speak to an ARC worker in a more informal way if we need to, just for advice or a friendly ear!

What would you say to anyone considering adoption to grow their family?

Expect delays, build up your back and arm muscles, it will push you to the limits of your mental and emotional endurance. It will change your relationship with your parents and with each other but it is worth every second of it. Nobody tells you how good it actually is. Every single day is better now than it was before Harry.

Would you recommend adopting to other same-sex couples or other members of the LGBTQ+ community?

We’d recommend adopting to anyone that wants to become a parent! There are so many adopters who are LGBTQ+ which is great - although I do sometimes feel sorry for Harry having two mothers nagging at him. We are a family just like any other family and it works.

And ARC has been amazing from start to finish. Their staff are all very experienced and have seen and heard it all before so can remain calm and offer help with anything that arises. They are all friendly and approachable and you never feel judged. They really know their stuff and are highly organised so that everything runs as smoothly as it can.

We found that a Voluntary Adoption Agency was right for us  because of all the extra support you receive and the extra time the agency is able to give you. ARC is the best in their field and will do anything they can to help their families.

Thank you so much to Anna and Beth for sharing their story (and kind words) with us! If it has inspired you to find out more, we'd be very happy to help you. You can sign up to join us at one of our information events - see upcoming dates here, or you can request an informal but private call with our enquiries team at any time - just fill in our enquiry form

*Please note names have been changed for confidentiality