Early permanence - Pete and Chris' story.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Early permanence - read Chris and Pete's story below:

When our adoptive son was five, we received a phone call - he had a biological sister on the way. We were asked if we would consider caring for her on a ‘fostering for adoption’ basis, and we didn’t have to think twice about our response. The opportunity to keep brother and sister together - even if just in those formative first stages - with the potential for early permanence was a no-brainer for us.

We did of course have to be realistic and continually bear in mind the different potential outcomes; there was no guarantee that this would be any more than a foster placement, and the little girl could be returned to her birth family if that was judged to be in her best interests. But even so, giving her that best possible start to life and allowing brother and sister the proper opportunity to know each other was something we were resolute to provide.

During this time, it was amazing to watch their relationship flourish - the love and care they had for each other was clear for all to see. And it provided us with so much more opportunity to talk to our son about his identity, giving the photos and information in his life story book further and more tangible meaning.

Further to this, it allowed us a much greater insight into the children’s identity as parents/carers ourselves. We worked incredibly closely with birth parents: through family time (contact) three times a week, attending medical appointments together and attending official meetings alongside the wide range of professionals there to support everyone, we were afforded the invaluable opportunity to get to know birth parents as people - beyond the photos and pen portraits.

This was challenging at times, but all in the best interests of the little girl at the heart of the process - and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

And now, three years on and an adoption order later, we have those memories and that learning as a family. We can talk to our son and daughter with genuine sincerity that we met their birth parents, that we knew them, and that we saw first hand how much they loved them and wanted the very best for them; that they had had to make some very difficult decisions; that they trusted us. And that ability to provide such an in depth and honest view of their history and identity undoubtedly makes us an even stronger family unit.