Same sex couple who adopted twins hope podcast will encourage others to consider doing the same
A same-sex couple who adopted twins hope a new podcast will encourage others to consider doing the same.
The National Adoption Service for Wales has announced the release of season two of the Truth be Told: Adoption Stories podcast to coincide with national adoption week.
It includes the story of Gwawr and Catrin who live in the north of Wales who chose to contribute to the Welsh language version of the podcast ‘Dweud y Gwir yn Blaen’.
Gwawr told Nation.Cymru that she felt “lucky” to be able to be part of the campaign.
“It was quite a new experience for me being in front of cameras and microphones but the team and the others on the podcast with me were fantastic so I was soon put at ease and thoroughly enjoyed the day,” she said.
“It was lovely for me to spend time with others who had been through similar experiences and to be able to share in those discussions. We laughed a lot – and shared a lot of emotions and we have kept in contact following the podcast.
“Catrin and I met back in 2014 but have been married four years now and we live in north Wales.
“We adopted our twins three years ago. We both knew that we wanted a family at some point – we discussed this as early as the first date!
“Being a same sex couple, we needed to consider what route we wanted to take to create our family – whilst initially we looked at IVF, a conversation about adoption was triggered when a baby was found in a bus stop in north Wales.
“As we discussed and looked into this more, it became quite clear to us both that adoption was the right route for us. Although I had long dreamed of being a mother (and of being pregnant), that need/desire to carry a child or to have a child genetically related to me wasn’t enough when weighed up against everything else.
“We were really aware of the need for adopters, and for loving families with so many children in the care system who are waiting to be adopted, and we felt that we had something to offer these children.
“We contacted NWAS (North Wales Adoption Service) to inquire and attended their initial training, and from there we decided to go ahead with the application.
“My hope from the podcast is to share a little bit of our experience with the aim of encouraging others to consider adoption, or to take that next step to make inquiries.
“There are so many myths or unknowns about adoption and I hope that over the series we can start to shed some light on what it has been like for us going through the process but then also in living lives as a family who have been brought together through adoption.
“For us as a couple, it’s undoubtedly the hardest but best thing we have ever done. Adoption has brought so much joy and richness to our lives and so I am keen to encourage others to consider doing the same.”
In addition to speaking to the podcast, Gwawr has set up an Instagram account detailing their adventures with their adopted children.
“There were a few reasons why I started the Instagram account – but the main reason was because there aren’t many adoption resources through the medium of Welsh on social media,” Gwawr said.
“There are loads of English accounts from families who have adopted but I couldn’t find any in the Welsh language. With the account I hope to be able to share a little of our experiences as a family that has adopted, and also as a same-sex family here in Wales. The other intention was to make connections myself and meet families of all kinds.
“I’ve had a very positive response so far which has been great. One of the responses I’ve also received, and I didn’t expect it, was messages from young people who have recently come out and are having a difficult time, and they get in touch with me to say how much the account has helped them. This is such a privilege!”
The National Adoption Service (NAS) said that series one of the Truth be Told: Adoption Stories podcast had been a success in “placing children at the heart of the conversation”.
The six-episode series highlights the on-going need for a diverse range of adopters to come forward to provide forever homes for children, particularly sibling groups, children from a BAME background and older children.
One couple who share their experiences on the podcast are Clare and Gareth, who adopted in 2016. They adopted a sibling group of three.
Gareth said: “There’s a lot of children out there waiting a long time, which is a real shame. It’s because most people don’t want to adopt above the age of five or six.
“We had a great experience with the older two. Previously, they hadn’t had a lot of experiences like riding a bike etc, so there were still lots of first experiences that we had together.”
In Wales, one in seven adopters are from the LGBTQ+ community. This year, as we mark the 20th anniversary of the Adoption and Children Act, which granted equal rights to same-sex couples applying for adoption, NAS has a clear message that adoption is open to all.
Abbey is a single Lesbian adopter whose son is almost two. Abbey speaks candidly throughout the series about her journey, and the special relationship she has built with her little boy.
She said: “You’re doing a two-person job on your own. There are days when I go to bed and I think I’m exhausted, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. If we are in the car and I see his little face in the back, even if we’ve had the worst day ever, I think he’s so worth it.”
NAS is committed to changing perceptions around adoption, particularly within BAME communities. It hopes honest conversations from adopters and adoptees will generate more enquiries for those children who are waiting longer for a family.
Mo adopted a one-year-old girl with his wife in 2021. The couple were keen to adopt a child from a BAME background as they felt they could maintain and build connections with her faith and heritage.
Speaking on the podcast, Mo said: “We hoped to be matched with a child from a BAME background for the aspect of religion and family.
“We wanted somebody who was also of Asian heritage as we felt it would have been easier for the child while growing up.
“Our social worker was amazing, she was on top of things all the time and we found the training informative.”
NAS will also join with charity, Adoption UK, to produce a special ‘takeover’ edition of the podcast, featuring young adoptees who sit on Adoption UK’s ‘connected’ Youth Council. This episode will be released in early 2023 and will be produced and presented by the young people, to ensure listeners gain insight into the issues that matter to adoptees in 2022.
Suzanne Griffiths, Director of the National Adoption Service for Wales, said: “We are so grateful to the families and adoptees involved in season two of Truth Be Told. By sharing their stories, they contribute to important conversations around adoption, and they help challenge outdated perceptions.
“Season one had a great response and we hope season two will be just as impactful. We are also excited at the prospect of the special episode with the Youth Council.
“We hope the young people enjoy telling their stories and gain some skills in media production along the way by working with industry professionals.”
In a UK first, the National Adoption Service recently announced their Adoption Support Commitment. This document ensures adopters, adoptees and birth families receive appropriate support along every step of their adoption journey.
Suzanne added: “The service is committed to supporting families at every step of their journey, whether at the start, when a child is placed, or later should any challenges occur.
“The commitment is the first of its kind and we hope alongside our engaging content, such as the podcast, will provide vital advice and shared experiences for those considering adoption.”
In addition to the podcast, regional activity will also take place across National Adoption Week, aimed at raising awareness in local communities.
Western Bay Adoption Service (Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea) will be completing a circular walk of Pen y Fan to raise money and awareness for children’s charities.
In Mid and West Wales, The Perfectly Imperfect Pumpkin book launches. This book, about children embracing their differences and self-acceptance will be sent to schools in the region to encourage discussions around adoption and the themes of the book. Events being held in schools across the week.
The North Wales Adoption Service will take part in a 402-mile walk of the North Wales Coastal Path over the next year.
South-East Wales Adoption are publishing a blog written by adoptee Kris, who details his recent experience of adoption.
In the Vale, Valleys & Cardiff service, a joint blog is being produced between adopters and foster carers sharing experiences of maintaining contact.
And St David’s Children’s Society will be revealing its new brand.
For more information on National Adoption Week, and to listen to the podcast, visit the NAS website here.
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