The Black Adoption Project – creating better futures for Black adopted children in London

Looking back on my journey to being a dad

7th December 2021 Blog

Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a Dad and when I came out as a gay man that did not change. My husband and I initially looked at surrogacy, but it just didn’t feel right for us. Fast forward a few years and we began our adoption journey with our local authority at the time.

When we were going through the adoption process, we wanted to hear about people’s personal experiences especially LGBTQ+ people who have gone through adoption, but there was nothing we could find other than social media accounts. Ideally, we wanted to read about their journeys, so, I sat down and decided to write a book about our experience of adopting to help others. I sent this to Adopt London who has asked me to contribute with this blog.

I have spent some time reflecting on my journey to dad life. I still feel emotional about some aspects of it. It was a tough journey with lots of learning, personal reflection on our lives right back to childhood. There is no point in painting the journey as completely rosy when it wasn’t. I would not be helping if I were not fully telling the truth.

One thing that got to me was being told on one of the assessment days that you will not have your dream child. We were told to rip up that mental image of our dream child.  However, as far as I am concerned Luca is my dream child. He is cheeky, kind, intelligent, caring, and has the filthiest laugh imaginable.

The first year of having Luca living with us was a roller-coaster of emotions, adjusting to being a dad, adjusting to parenting a 5-year-old with a very strong determined personality and mindset, adjusting to a new lifestyle. As much as some people may say parenthood does not change you, this could not be further from the truth, I honestly feel that becoming a parent changes you for the better.

Our first year was predominately dealing with medical issues, within the first 6 or so months, we had dealt with scarlet fever, bacterial tonsillitis, and struggles with getting an asthma diagnosis. On a personal note, I also struggled with my mental health to the concern of our social worker who felt I might have post-adoption depression. Guilt was a major factor especially when I returned to work when Luca started Year 1 at school. Naturally, changes occurred with his behaviour since he started to feel insecure, he began to need a lot more reassurance.

My dream family has been together for almost three years. Do I have any regrets? Of course, I should say no, I have what is my dream family. Luca was the missing jigsaw piece to our family. But, if I’m honest, my regrets are ones that I’m working on and they are tips that I will always give to people. Reach out when you struggle, be honest with yourself and be kind to yourself.

Our journey to adoption was not easy, but sometimes the hardest things are the ones worth persisting with and fighting for. I’m sitting here typing and next to me is hands-down the best little boy I could ever wish for. Being his dad is by far the best job in the world and it is a privilege to be called his dad, and, after three years my heart still melts when I hear him call me Dad. Would I recommend adopting? Most definitely, just be ready for a lot of hard work, even though our journey was tough the outcome is most definitely worth it.

To hear more about Christopher’s adoption journey read his book ‘My Adoption Journey 2015-2019. How my dream became a reality, yours could too’ by Christopher A Gaidhu-Withell

Next: Tackling Fatherhood

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