‘Adoption made our family complete’ - Chris and Pete talk about their adoption journey.

Wednesday 20 October 2021

‘Adoption made our family complete’

When Chris and Pete Kirby-Bowstead met 12 years ago, having a family together was not part of their masterplan.

However, after moving in together, getting engaged, and then married, they each felt that adopting a child was the next natural step they both wished to take.

With Pete then a teacher and Chris a health care assistant, they felt they had a lot to offer a child and believed a child would also bring much happiness to them.

They called Stockton Borough Council’s adoption services, which is now operated by Adoption Tees Valley, to enquire about the adoption process and were soon meeting with social workers to assess their suitability.

Training and preparation sessions followed, and just over a year later, the couple, from Middlesbrough, were matched with Matthew, who was less than a year old.

Chris and Pete, said the adoption process was understandably tough, but, in many ways, it was cathartic.

“The process of adopting a child makes you reflect on your own life and values, and really exposes who you are and your relationship together,” said Chris.

“During that process, I think there was nothing that we didn’t know about each other. In the end, the social workers knew us better than our friends. They looked at our values, social lives, lifestyle and financial stability to make sure that we would make suitable parents and were ready for the responsibility.

“But throughout it all, our social workers were incredibly supportive. We weren’t treated differently because we were a same sex couple. Anyone can become adoptive parents – if they can provide a safe, loving and stable home.”

Chris admitted that when Matthew went to live with them, it was a steep learning curve, but they had the social workers and their wider family to support them.

“We couldn’t have been happier,” said Chris. “We knew this little boy needed us and we just showered him in the love and care that he needed. We quickly relaxed into it.”

When Matthew was four, Adoption Tees Valley called Chris and Pete to inform them that Matthew’s biological parents were expecting another baby. With the parents unable to look after her, they were asked if they would like to foster the new baby from birth, with a plan to later adopt.

“It was a no brainer. Of course, we said ‘yes’,” said Chris.

“We knew how important it would be for Matthew’s identity and emotional well-being to be with his biological sibling – that was a relationship that would prove crucial to him growing up – so we didn’t even need to think about it. And we had always said we would adopt again, anyway.”

The couple fostered Amber from being a baby and went on to adopt her later that year. Both of their children have additional special needs, but both are progressing well and getting a lot of support from Adoption Tees Valley and other services.

“It’s been an incredible journey and life changing for all four of us,” said Pete.

“Matthew and Amber have brought so much to our lives. Adoption made our family complete.

“There have been challenges, but they are no different to the challenges faced by our friends with biological children, and the enjoyment, excitement and delight is the same, too.

“I would say that if you are interested in adoption, go along to one of Adoption Tees Valley’s information events. You have nothing to lose, and it could change your life.”

If you're thinking about adopting, we'd love to hear from you. Contact 01642 526 400 or email info@adoptionteesvalley.org.uk.