‘Adopting Sam is the best thing we’ve ever done’

Wednesday 29 June 2022

‘Adopting Sam is the best thing we’ve ever done’

Parents Adam and Daniyal haven’t looked back since they adopted their son Sam – and now they’re supporting a national campaign to show how adoption can bring so much love and happiness into a home.

The couple are part of the national You Can Adopt campaign A Life Less Ordinary, which is encouraging people to think differently about adoption and the children waiting the longest to find a suitable home.

Adam, from Middlesbrough, and Daniyal, originally from India and who grew up in the United Arab Emirates, decided to adopt after marrying five years ago.

With the help of Adoption Tees Valley, the couple, who now live in Newcastle, were successfully matched with Sam at nine months old. Sam ideally needed to have his own ethnicity reflected in his new adopted family, and Adam and Daniyal were a good match.

“Adopting Sam has completely changed our lives for the better,” said Adam, who is a pharmacist and lecturer at Newcastle University, and a magistrate on Teesside.

“When we first started to think about adoption, Daniyal was about to change jobs and move from James Cook University Hospital to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, and I was finishing university. We felt there was too much going on and we should wait until we were more settled.

“It was another two years before we started to think about it seriously again and began the process. However, having gone through it, we wish we hadn’t waited. During those two years, we could have been providing a home to a child.”

Adam said it did not matter what else was going on in your life, if you really wanted a child, it would become the priority.

“Adopting Sam is the best thing we’ve ever done,” said Adam. “He has changed our lives. The house is alive, and life is full of so much fun now. We feel blessed every day.”

The A Life Less Ordinary campaign is highlighting that while there has been a significant increase in the number of people coming forward to adopt, most are seeking a single, young child and many stipulate they would prefer a child of white origin.

However, adopters are in greatest need for sibling groups, older children, those with additional needs, and children from ethnic minority backgrounds. Children from these groups represent 65% of all those waiting to be adopted, with many facing year-long delays.

Daniyal, a doctor in neurology, said during the adoption process they were shocked to learn that many adopters did not want to take children of mixed origin or with special needs.

“I think for some people, it may be a knee-jerk reaction to say they only want to adopt single children, or those without special needs, or those that aren’t of mixed race. But, if they think about it, of course they could offer a wonderful home to any child in need,” said Daniyal.

“We went into it with an open mind and really didn’t have any prerequisites. It was only a few months after we adopted Sam that we learned his father is probably of South Asian heritage.

“We have seen it as a definite positive – we can learn and understand his heritage and share in his culture with him. It means we don’t just get to celebrate Christmas and Easter with him, we get Eid and Diwali too, and that really enriches our family life.”

Adam added: “If you really want a child and can offer them a loving, safe home, is it really that important that the child looks like you? There are so many youngsters out there in need of a good home – it doesn’t matter what they look like, they still bring joy to your life. 

“I won’t lie, adopting Sam, like any child, in the beginning was a big challenge for us – suddenly we had a nine-month-old who was crawling, teething, and finding his feet – but we had incredible support from Adoption Tees Valley and our family and friends, and after a few months it was like he’d always been in our lives.

“If you’re thinking about it, pick up the phone. Adoption Tees Valley took us seamlessly through the process. You won’t regret it. You have nothing to lose and so, so much to gain.”

The latest statistics show:

  • Children over five wait 13 months longer than average to be adopted from care
  • Children with a disability wait 11 months longer
  • Children in a sibling group wait 11 months longer
  • Children from an ethnic minority (excluding white minorities) wait three months longer

The A Life Less Ordinary campaign aims to highlight that while some children may be seen as harder to find families for, they are not harder to love. And while it may not always be easy, there is a range of support available for all adoptive parents, in particular for those who adopt children who typically wait longest.

Vicky Davidson Boyd, Adoption Tees Valley’s Service Manager, said adoption had changed significantly over the years and it was now simpler and quicker to adopt, with more support than ever.

She said support does not end when the child is adopted – children and families can access support, from qualified staff and therapists when and where they need it. There may also be financial support available to meet some of the higher costs of caring for siblings, or costs associated with children who need extra time and support, through allowances.

“We know there are lots of people out there who have thought about adopting but perhaps feel, for whatever reason, that the process is daunting or that they are not right for adoption,” said Vicky.

“All that matters to us is whether you can offer a safe, loving home to a child and that you can provide them with the care and security they need to thrive.

“It isn’t important how big your house is, if you own or rent, if you’re single or married, what your sexual orientation is, what religion you follow, or what job you have. If you’re over 21, you may make an ideal parent for a child, including a child that is traditionally seen as harder to adopt – our priority children. We promise it will change your life.”


To find out more about adopting, call 01642 526400 or request a callback here