An adoptive dad from Manchester has shared his story about how he became a dad - hoping it will strike a chord with people who might have thought about adopting in the past but not yet have done anything about it.
He’s speaking out in advance of an information evening on Monday 3rd November for people interested in adopting.
After years of wanting a baby, one phone call to Manchester City Council was all it took to change the lives of Martin aged 46, and his wife Evelyn, 53.
Here’s his story:
"To be honest, I didn’t really think that ordinary working people like us would be allowed to adopt.
"Once we had decided to go with it there was lots of form filling, home visits from social workers and interviews.
"Going to meet our oldest, Alex, for the first time was the most terrifying thing I have done.
"He was 15 months old and had been with his foster carer most of his life. I remember I squatted down to say hello and he came running over. He totally bowled me over. He was beautiful.
"He came to live with us seven days later.
"It was really strange when we brought him home to stay. At bedtime I carried him upstairs, rocked him in my arms and put him in his cot. We had a baby monitor on all night and kept looking in on him.
"Five months later Alex’s brother Danny aged six months came to live with us. It was amazing…even though the boys hadn’t been together before, it was like there was an instant bond between them.
"We hadn’t planned to have any more children but when Rose, their sister, was born and placed for adoption, it tugged at our heart strings – we felt if she couldn’t be with her mother she belonged with us and her brothers.
"So in the space of 18 months we found ourselves with three children. It wasn’t easy but now I can’t remember not having them.
"The bond I have with them is stronger than anything else I have known.
"Our lives now are our children. Everything has a purpose. Everything we do and everything we think about, is for them."
Most of the children in Manchester needing adoptive parents are aged under nine, are from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and include sibling groups of two or three.
Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member Children’s Services, Manchester City Council, said:
"People who adopt come from all walks of life and have very different personal circumstances. What is important is being able to offer a stable, permanent, loving home to a child or young person."
Interested in adopting and want to find out more? Visit www.manchester.gov.uk/adopt or call the city council’s adoption and fostering line on 0800 9888 931, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.