Adoptive parents needed to meet soaring numbers across Nottinghamshire

PATERNAL pride could be to blame for many couples not choosing adoption when all else fails and ultimately missing out on family life.

It was the worry of one man from Edwinstowe when discussions with his wife about adoption surfaced after suffering four failed IVF attempts.

“My first thought at the back of mind was what would people think when they find out they are not my kids,” said 44 year-old Michael Chambers. “I was also worried that I wouldn’t love them the same if they weren’t part of me.

“But all my fears disappeared when I first saw George and I realised that it’s not about blood but about how you bring them up.”

With numbers of children in care across Nottinghamshire doubling in the last four years, The county council is appealing for more foster carers and prospective adoptive parents to offer their homes to children in desperate need of a safe, secure and loving family.

It was following a similar appeal several years ago that Michael and his wife Marie made that first call which would change their lives dramatically.

“We desperately wanted a family but it just wasn’t happening,” explained teaching assistant Marie. “We used to be on holiday watching families having a good time and was excited about the prospect of it soon being us. But it just didn’t happen.

“Friends would be pregnant and, although I was happy for them, I would constantly ask ‘why can’t it be me?’ and then feel guilty.”

The process of adoption is thorough and has received criticism for taking too long which can put people off, but it is for the benefit of the prospective parents and the children involved.

“The process is very daunting at first with social workers visiting you at home, but they soon become familiar faces and you get a rapport going.”

The couple underwent counselling, attended workshops and had to fulfil medical and police checks before being approved by social services.

A match was made with an eight month-old baby called George. The couple were made aware of his situation and family background as well as his personal needs.

“The first time we met him was very emotional,” remembers Marie from their village home, which is filled with toys and decorated with family photographs proudly displayed on the walls.

“A week after our first meeting we brought him home to live with us.”

Five years later, George was joined by his half sister Chloe, who had been in care since she was just nine weeks old and was adopted by the Chambers when she was 18 months old.

“We regret that we couldn’t adopt Chloe earlier but we understand the priority, where possible, is to keep the child with their birth mother,” added Marie, who is very open and honest with her children about their past and birth parents.

“We finally have the family we always dreamed of and I couldn’t feel any more love for my children if I’d actually given birth to them.”

To find out more call the council’s recruitment team on 0845 301 8899 (fostering) or 0845 3012288 (adoption) or visit {http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/adoptionand fostering|Nottinghamshire County Council’s website|adoption}.