Friday 22 November 2013

I want my day in court

The letter has arrived and a date has been given, the 30th January. Our Adoption Celebration Hearing has been scheduled and we will go up to the big house and see the Beak and Peanut will finally be legally embraced into our family.

This is not the first time we've had an "Adoption Celebration Hearing". After years of legal fights and wrangling, failed introductions more tears than I care to remember and a collection of scars we took Flossy and Lotty to the big house and saw the Beak. It was a good day, a milestone and an opportunity to mark the end of one chapter and the start of a new. It was an important day and we remember it fondly.

However, I confess to being a bit unimpressed. "Adoption celebration hearing" sounds a bit made up, a little bit airy fairy social worky. The real business of law has been done and dusted and this felt like an invitation to the after party, skipping the main event.

I do understand the reasons for not taking children into courts and the potential for birth family to disrupt. But......

If I turn the clock back to 2000 I recall a very different day. Mrs C and I got up early, gathered the Big one, Gracie and Ginger, and made our way to court. All of us nervous, all of us excited all of us ready for a new life. We'd all travelled a rocky path to get to this moment. We arrived early to miss the crowds, unsavoury sorts the clerk explained, and we sat before the three Beaks.
This was a big deal, our family members were not allowed in the courtroom, this was a very serious business. The chief Beak asked some appropriate questions of us all, little ones too. Our hearts were in our mouths at what response they would give. Fortunately, all questions were answered appropriately.

Then the moment came, memory has blurred the works but not the feelings and as I write my heart is pounding and I'm holding back tears.

Then the order was given.

The Big One, Gracie and Ginger were no longer the children I looked after, they where my children and I was their father, Mrs C their mother. They weren't even my adopted children, they became my children

Two families had walked into the court and one new one walked out.

I can't describe the wave of relief and joy. After the years of trials and tribulations it was done.

As I say, I enjoyed Flossy and Lotty's Celebration Hearing, it was fantastic but it was like watching the replays on tv, just a reflection of an amazing moment in court.

Friday 8 November 2013


Adoption has defined the majority of my adult life.

At 26 years old I made a decision with Paula as we sat on a park bench on a sunny January day in 1998. We had no idea of the consequences of that decision.

I've been through one preparation group, five adoption social workers, 5 panels (one deferred and we sat outside one waiting for a court ruling) and two visits to court. While I write we wait another court date to see Peanut's adoption finalised. I am the father of six children.


I've sobbed and been brought to my knees.

I've prayed until I was hoarse, day after day, and been brought to the end of myself.

I've seen hope destroyed and been lifted up by friends.

I've despaired at my failings as a father.

I've regrets and I wish I knew then what I know now.

I've been punched, kicked and head butted.

I've been bitten (blood drawn several times, Gracie and Flossie God bless you).

I've had my nose broken (The Big One still maintains it was an accident).

I've been called a 'fook' by a five year old repeatedly (she'd forgotten the exact prenunciation).

I've been insulted, provoked, baited, accused, hated and loved.

Would I do it again?

Like most every other parent (adopted or not) I would say 'yes'.

Would I do it differently?

Like every other parent (adopted or not) I would say 'probably'. But hindsight is wonderful.

Would I recommend it?


My children continue to challenge, and some days it seems more than I can bear.

But yes, always yes.

The privilege of loving and being loved.

So, yes.

National adoption week, throw yourself in.