LONDON: Feyaza and her husband Robert say they “couldn’t be happier” after adopting two young children.
They originally planned to start with just one child and then gradually expand their family, but were shocked to discover there were so many brothers and sisters in desperate need of a safe and loving home together.
A year after the adoption, they have been amazed by the children’s progress and look forward to them enjoying a much more positive future.
In advance of Barnardo’s latest adoption campaign, the couple are now sharing their story to encourage others to open their homes and their hearts.
Feyaza said: “We came across Barnardo’s when we were doing an online search for adoption agencies. We didn’t realise they dealt with adoption but it was a name we recognised which made us feel more confident.
“Their training over three days was fantastic and we were impressed by everyone we met. They were amazing. They made the time for us, they really did care.”
The couple hadn’t planned to adopt siblings but they were shocked to discover the number of brothers and sisters in desperate need of loving homes.
Feyaza said: “We originally thought we would start with adopting one child and then maybe adopt another to grow our family over time, but the training was eye-opening – we had no idea how awful the situations were for some children. We really didn’t have a clue.
“We wondered if we could offer more help and realised we had an opportunity to intervene and make a difference.”
Following approval by an independent adoption panel, the couple were able to search an online register of children in need of a new home and found two young siblings.
After discussion with their Barnardo’s social worker about the application, they were contacted by the local authority responsible for the children’s care. The authority shared detailed profiles of the children and sent social workers to the couple’s home to learn more about them and approve the adoption process.
Feyaza and Robert then created their own video of introduction which took the children on a tour of their house, and a book of photographs introducing their family. Both the video and the book featured two toy rabbits – which Feyaza and Robert presented to the children when they first met.
Feyaza said: “The first time we went to the foster carer’s house we were really nervous. It was a nerve-wracking experience. We got there early and just sat in the car, hardly speaking.
“When we knocked on the door we saw two curious little faces pressed up against the window. We went inside and the foster carer asked the children if they knew who we were – they said ‘yes, it’s mummy and daddy’. It felt very surreal.”
Further visits followed, gradually becoming longer in duration and including trips to the park and other attractions, before everyone agreed the children were ready to move into their new home.
A year later, Barnardo’s staff still maintain contact and Feyaza and Robert have been amazed by the children’s transformation.
Feyaza said: “When I look at them now, compared to how they were before, I’m so proud – not only proud of the children, but also proud of us as new parents.
“Of course it’s not all daisy-chains and rainbows. There was lots of frustrated behaviour in the early days, but we’ve been blown away by how much they’ve changed.
“They had zero aspirations but now their confidence has grown and they’re absolutely amazing. They just needed someone to give them the opportunities to believe in themselves, with lots of cuddles, lots of love and lots of reassurance.
“Some people say adoption isn’t the same as having your own children, but we can already see ourselves in them – through their language, expressions and mannerisms. It always gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
“They’re going to be with us for the rest of our lives and we couldn’t be happier.”