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We love our daughter very much and becoming her Mummy and Daddy has been the biggest and best thing in our lives.
A few years ago we were newly-approved adopters with the IAC, and had our hearts set on adopting from Bolivia. My husband has Bolivian heritage on his dad’s side of the family, and we know the country well and have family there, some of whom are directly involved with an orphanage in La Paz. Despite our hopes, we could not ignore the lack of a full agreement between the UK and Bolivia on inter-country adoption, over and above the Hague Convention. We thought we might be pioneers and forge a new agreement between the two countries, but as the months passed we learned that this just wasn’t going to be possible.
When we got an email saying that the IAC had been approved to re-assess their waiting adopters for domestic adoption, a little light went on for both of us. We went to meet IAC staff who knew a lot about domestic adoption on a week’s adoption preparation course, arranged for us by the IAC, and benefitted a lot from it (as well as making friends with other domestic adopters whom we still see).
After a few months of preparation and work, we were approved to adopt from the UK at a second panel at IAC. IAC helped us put together an A4 sheet with our photo and a brief description of us as potential adopters, and shared this profile with other agencies, including local authorities but in the end we saw our daughter’s profile in the online version of Children Who Wait (a subscription only publication you’ll probably be familiar with). We were very lucky to be considered by our daughter’s family finder straight away, and as they - to our great excitement - thought we would be a good match for her, we were very quickly embarked on the timetable that would lead us, all being well, to becoming her parents. We were, by the way, very pleased that the family finder had been open to a transracial adoption and she felt that we, though both with predominantly white British heritage, could nonetheless be a good match for this child of dual heritage.
We travelled to her home town a few times, for initial meetings with social workers and medical advisers, and a few weeks later, for our panel date with her social work team - in effect our third panel! On all these visits we were accompanied and supported by our social worker or a domestic adoption social worker from the IAC or both. Less than a year after our conversation in High Barnet at the IAC about switching to domestic adoption, we drove home down the M1 with our daughter asleep in the back. We had just finished our ‘introduction week’ of daily visits to see our daughter where she lived with her foster family, and everyone had agreed the day before that all was going well, and we should take her home as planned. Seven months later, after regular home visits from social workers and our social worker and two reviews (all a normal part of the process) we legally became our daughter’s parents.
She is now bright and gorgeous and funny and much much loved by us and all who know her.
Our circuitous route to becoming a family has turned out to be the right one, though it is sometimes hard to explain to people curious about adoption when they ask “So how long did it take?” or “So how did you do it?” You won’t have gone to the IAC for your preparation and assessment and panel with the idea of adopting from this country, but IF you do end up doing so, we can only say that in our experience the IAC will support you all the way and celebrate alongside you when the lovely days finally arrive.