Thursday, 10 March 2011

The journey begins

Well, where do we begin. Firstly, a little bit about us I suppose. We are D & G. (I’m the D!) I’m 34 years old and G is 42. We met on millennium eve, and we’ve been together ever since. We had our civil partnership four years ago which was an amazing day with family and friends, held in our home town.

We have a very blessed life. We both come from strong and loving families that we continue to be very close too. We are both in good health and we both work full time. We’ve got a strong network of friends, many of whom we have known since childhood.

Our relationship is very strong, we’re probably quite different people, but we both feel that we bring the best out in one another. We don’t argue or fight, we don’t have jealousy, we love and respect one another, and we have fairly opposing strengths, which unite to form a fairly strong whole!

Oh, I should have mentioned, we’re both boys too! We’re very comfortable with our sexuality, I think we would both say that it’s never been something that defines us, it’s just the way we are and we’re both very happy with that. We’ve been lucky too, that our families and friends have always been equally as accepting, so I guess our journey starts from a much more stable point than some other same-sex adopters that we’ve read about so far.

We’ve recently made a firm commitment to pursue an application to adopt, and I think I should explain a little bit about the background to our decision processes so far.

I personally realised I was gay when I was about 21. I didn’t think about fatherhood at that time, wasn’t really on my mind, but over the next few years I suppose I just accepted that I couldn’t ever father children, and I decided I could cope with that. My twenties were good years, I had a great job which meant we were able to afford nice holidays and meals out etc, I had a big group of friends who gradually all got married, but children weren’t on the scene for a while. My sister had a little girl 10 years ago, who I instantly adored. I loved every minute of being an uncle (and still do - we’ve got 10 nieces and nephews between us) and I think I convinced myself that I could meet my parenting desires through my role as an uncle. As the years have gone by, my urge to be a daddy has increased. We got married when I was 30, and by that time there were more and more children coming into our lives. Friends started having children, and at work I was becoming more and more sensitive to the ‘Do you have kids’ question that comes up a surprising amount when meeting new clients/suppliers.

By the age of 31, it’s fair to say, I was broody! G and I talked about it a fair bit. We briefly looked at adoption and became aware that same sex parents were legally entitled to adopt, but I’ve never been much of a maverick, I didn’t really think it was for me. Whilst I’ve never been ashamed of my sexuality, I’ve also never been a flag waving gay man. I never liked the thought of being some kind of ‘special case’ on display. In fact I always thought that I wouldn’t get married, because I hated the idea of people thinking of it as some kind of funny event, I hated the thought of friends joking with work colleagues about going to a ‘gay wedding’ but then one day, my urge to have a public declaration of love for G, in the same way that all our friends were doing with their husbands and wives, became so great, that I realised I didn’t care about what other people thought. Those that love us, took us as we were, and so our civil partnership was far from a quiet low key affair! But I think at the time we started to think about adoption, I still felt that I didn’t us to be the first couple we knew, to go through it. It would have been easier had we had other gay friends declare their intentions to adopt, but that’s not been the case.

So, we talked about it, but never really took it anywhere. Then 18 months ago, G’s dad became very ill. He wasn’t an old man, but the hideous disease that is cancer took hold of him, and he spent 18 months fighting, before passing away in August 2010. We knew that from the moment he was diagnosed, nothing mattered more than being with our family, so it was the wrong time to focus on anything as emotionally challenging as adoption, so the idea was parked.

G’s dad died last August as I say, and the event, whilst very, very sad, bought us all even closer together. The family pulled together and we all took good care of one another. His death, together with a number of other deaths in our family, and my own father’s diagnose (and subsequent cure) of the big C meant that the turn in to the new year of 2011 was a big milestone for us. It was important that we drew a line under our horrid year, and turned our energies to a more positive 2011.

So, G and I went away for a weekend in January. I wanted to have a proper, undistracted conversation with G about our plans. With the years passing by, I felt that this was really our last year to make the application, so we needed to make some big decisions. I said to G that if either one of us was unsure, we shouldn’t take things any further. It had to be right for us both, and neither one of us should do it for the sake of the other, this had to be a mutual goal. We talked about the pro’s and con’s. We decided that our life would change beyond all recognition, but we both agreed that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Sure, we’ve had a very decadent few years. We’ve spent money on our home, on great holidays, a nice car etc, we can go out for meals or to see friends at the drop of a hat, and we enjoy peace and quiet when in our home. But all of those things, don’t really give us a purpose, and fortunately, we both felt the same, the prospect of raising children, would be such a huge purpose, and would add so much richness to our lives, which makes it so much bigger than any of the things we may need to sacrifice.

We talked for hours, then came home and spent several more hours reading the web for advice. We bought a book all about same-sex adopters, and then we booked one more ‘meeting’ to sit down and make our final decision. To our relief, we had both come to the same conclusion, we were 100% in agreement that this is what we want to do!

And as for my earlier concerns, about not being trailblazers, or a freak show, I guess just like my thoughts on civil partnerships, when the time came that something was so clear in my mind, I realised that once again, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks!

Sure, some people will not approve. Some may think that a child can’t thrive with two dad’s, that a child needs a mum. And yes, I wouldn’t disagree, in an ideal world a child would have the equal influence of a loving dad and a loving mum. But the fact is, we don’t live in that world. Families all look very different to one another. Some have a mum and dad, who love each other. Others have a mum and dad that don’t love each other very much. Some children are brought up by a single parent, others in step families. Some children have never met one of their parents, or have lost one of them to cancer, or in an accident. The fact is, 10’s of thousands of children are brought up with birth families that don’t represent the social ‘norm’

And, more than 4,000 children a year are removed from their birth families for their own protection, and the courts and social workers decide that they need to be given new families to love them, and raise them. G and I don’t have ovaries, but we do have a very stable, very loving relationship, we have a warm home, lots of life experience, an amazing support network and most importantly, we have a lot of love to give. One or two of those 4,000 children may well benefit from the love that we can give them, especially if they’ve not ever seen what love and care really looks like before.

And so our journey begins. We’ve filled in our first application assessment, all 75 pages of it, and now we’re waiting for our first home visit with a social worker, which takes place on the 23rd March. The process is likely to take somewhere between 18 months and three years. We’ve got a lot to go through, and we have both eyes wide open in terms of the likely challenges and emotional difficulties that we’re going to face. But, we’ve got each other, we’ve got great family and friends, and we’re very committed and very excited about the future.

Finally, I should explain the lack of names on this blog. It is my intention to keep this going throughout the whole journey, a journey which we ultimately hope will end up with Children being placed with us. For fairly obvious reasons at that stage, it may be important to protect the identity of our future family, from the biological family - so for ease, we're keeping this blog free of names!

1 comment:

  1. Bless you both and I really can't wait to hear about your new family. I am sure it will happen. A child will thrive with two parents (of either sex, one of each, what ever). I have just read through your blog from the most recent back to this stage. I had no idea you were a gay couple reading through it until now. and I'll keep reading to follow your journey. xxx