On the 20th anniversary of their first date, Craig and Sarah became the proud parents of five-year-old twins – a boy and a girl – after being approved to adopt through Barnardo’s.
The decision to adopt
Craig and Sarah's road to parenthood was a long one. After struggling to conceive for many years, Sarah had a miscarriage which took the couple several years to come to terms with.
But they finally felt able to move on from their loss and decided to apply to adopt a child.
'We initially contacted our local authority,' explained Sarah. 'But despite confirming that, on paper at least, we were suitable applicants, they couldn’t have been more negative or cold. We were told by three different social workers that, even if we were successful, we’d be waiting years to have children placed with us.'
At this point, the couple turned to Barnardo's, and applied to adopt through Barnardo's Fostering and Adoption Yorkshire early in 2016.
Applying through Barnardo's
Craig and Sarah threw themselves into the application process.
They attended as many training courses as they could, completing each stage in the minimum time possible. They admit they found it emotionally and mentally exhausting at times – but after only six months they were invited to meet the adoption panel and were approved to adopt two siblings.
'The application became all-consuming because we wanted to adopt so much,' Sarah continued. 'But we had the most amazing Barnardo’s social workers supporting as well as training us, and that support continues to this day.'
The matching process
A few days after approval, Craig and Sarah uploaded their profile to LinkMaker, the national fostering and adoption site aiming to match children within the care system to suitable parents.
Within a matter of hours, they were inundated with requests from social workers from different parts of the country, asking them to consider children from their local authority.
Sarah explained: 'We read over 80 profiles and asked for further information on several sibling groups. In your heart, you want to give every child you read about a loving home because that’s what they all deserve, but you have to be logical about your own limitations and accept that there are things you couldn’t cope with.
'You’re not being fair to yourselves or the children if you don’t, as a placement could fail. You need to have faith that the right match will be made!'
Finding their twins
Craig and Sarah were prepared for a long wait. In fact, they expected it.
However, in just 11 days, they were matched with the twins that are now their beloved son and daughter.
'We couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened, and we must point out that it’s usually not the case. We’ve been incredibly lucky and we appreciate that every day.
'It took around four months for the match to be finalised, and that was the hardest time for us. We had a couple of ‘bump into’ meetings with the kids, introduced to them as friends of their amazing foster parents, and we were 100 per cent sure we wanted to be their mum and dad because we fell in love with them both. We didn’t have any reason to fear it wouldn’t happen as all involved were positive about the match, but when you want something so badly, you can’t help but worry.
'Thankfully, the match was approved and we were able to have our first Christmas as a family with the little forces of nature that have changed our world.'
'We’ll never be able to thank Barnardo’s enough,' said Craig. 'With their help and support, our dream has come true and we’ll always be grateful.'
Advice to potential adopters
Finally, Sarah’s advice to prospective adopters is this:
'If adoption is something you’re considering, don’t hesitate to contact Barnardo’s. They give honest advice and information about the process, your chances of approval, and the many problems – as well as joys – you’ll face.
'They don’t sugar coat the realities, but their approach is positive and inclusive, so you’ll never feel alone.'