In our monthly Daddies & Dads feature, Tom and I introduce you to fellow LGBTQ+ daddies and dads and mummies and mums at various stages in the family planning process.
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Ryan & Jamie
Greater Manchester-based Jamie and Ryan adopted sibling boys in 2017. Here, they talk to Daddy & Dad about their adoption process, life as two dads and their experiences with their boys.
Tell us a little about yourselves
We're Jamie and Ryan and we met in August 2012. Jamie is 37 and I'm 24. Our eldest son is now seven but had just turned six when he came to live with us, our youngest is now four and he was two when he came to live with us.
How did you find the adoption process?
We actually enjoyed the adoption process and we learned a lot along the way. Whilst we did find the assessment intrusive we totally understood why it needed to be done and it confirmed to us we're definitely on the same page when it came to wanting children via adoption.
We had a fantastic social worker who was supportive and always there for us from a practical and emotional sense. The relationship with her was so strong that when she went off sick for a number of months we decided to delay the process and wait for her to return.
We started the process back in July 2015 and it took 18 months from the very first inquiry to placement of our boys.
Did you know you wanted siblings all along?
No. We started the process looking for a little boy, ideally under the age of four and we stuck to this right up until we met our boys at an adoption activity day.
In fact, we felt so strongly about the age limit that at one point we declined to progress with a single little boy who was five. In hindsight we were probably wrong to be so focused on a specific age but it all worked out in the end - you could say fate played a massive part.
How did your families take to the boys?
We probably sound biased when we say this but the boys couldn’t have joined a better family. Looking at the family you’d think they were birth family. Luckily we have lots of nieces and nephews who welcomed the boys with open arms.
Both sets of grandparents are hands-on and were involved throughout the whole process. I’d go as far as saying if they hadn’t been we probably wouldn’t have adopted our boys. Our family network was considered a strength of ours and an influential factor of the placement.
What are your experiences of Primary School or nursery? How are the boys getting on?
School have been fantastic and very understanding. When our eldest started school the head teacher supported our plan of transitioning into school over a four-six week period. Like us he was adamant the boys' emotional and attachment needs came before attendance and academic needs.
Class teachers have been very supportive and understanding. When our eldest started school he was working a year behind across all areas. With the support of the school he’s now working above the class expectations in most areas.
Our youngest settled into nursery fantastically and has made a lot of friends. He even has a little girlfriend!
The boys' relationship with each other is now very good but this took a lot of work. We had to battle with sibling rivalry as well as the impact of birth family neglect which made their relationship non-existent to start.
Have you taken any family holidays together?
We are a strong and close family unit so holidaying together was always something that we wanted to continue when we became a forever family. We've been on many city breaks and Haven holiday park holidays.
At first our boys found it difficult to adapt to as they weren’t used to a family network like ours but now it’s just part of their everyday lives.
What do you like to do in your spare time as a family?
We are a very active family but we find the simple things are the best. We like to be out and about in the woods, building dens out of wood. We enjoy bike rides around the ponds near where we live, picnics at the park. Also a family favourite is eating out at different restaurants.
When we aren’t out and about we all enjoy playing board games or spending time in the garden looking for bugs. Evenings are spent watching a movie together before bath, story and bed.
What one piece of advice would you give to somebody who's considering a family via adoption?
Go for it. If we hadn’t had done what we did we wouldn’t have the family we have today.
The process can be lengthy and at times we thought there’s no end in sight, but, stick with it and the right children for you will be out there waiting for a loving and caring forever family.
Follow Jamie and Ryan and their boys on Instagram by clicking here.