adoption with SSAFA

How SSAFA helped us adopt

20 October 2015

How SSAFA helped us adopt

Sarah and her husband, who left the Army earlier this year, adopted a brother and sister, now aged eight and six, through SSAFA in May last year. Here Sarah tells us about their journey.

“We started talking about adopting five years ago. We initially went to a local authority in July 2012 and that first phone call was very positive but then one of the social workers came to visit us and we got a letter a couple of weeks later saying that they weren’t going to progress us. We got the impression that this was because my husband was military. We waited until after Christmas and then approached SSAFA instead hoping for a more military friendly experience. Just having that military knowledge made a huge difference. There was no fear that anything would be taken out of context or that we would be stereotyped and we were finally approved in February 2014.

“We spotted the children about nine months before we met them and we felt very drawn to them but at that point we were nowhere near being approved. However, the children popped up again two weeks before our approval and we recognised them straight away. Our social worker was just brilliant. We have had so much support from her, especially through the matching process, and we have been incredibly fortunate. You are told that you will face challenges when you adopt and our children do have issues but they are not significant. We have had some support from the local authority but more because we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could for the children.

“SSAFA has been absolutely brilliant with post-adoption support. They put me in touch with Oxfordshire County Council who run a special course for adoptive parents which has been so helpful. We have a lot of friends who are adopters but we tend to talk about specific issues when we get together with them and the course has given me more strategic and targeted support. SSAFA also arranged a weekend away where we got to meet other SSAFA adopters and that was great.

“Overall, I’ve found it is important not to overthink everything. Sometimes you think you are having a problem because your children are adopted but very often you then realise that it is just because they are children. Inevitably children have individual needs and it’s about getting to know those needs as parents. Our children are brilliant and we are so lucky. We are definitely a good news story.”