Watch this short film to find out how adoption has changed over the decades.

Ikemba and Funmi’s story

We started trying for a baby in 2009 but by New Year’s Eve I was feeling despondent but my husband Ikemba said that 2010 would be our year. Little did we know that we were at the start of a nine-and-a-half-year journey to become parents. Between 2010 and 2016 we had 10 rounds of IVF.

At the end of 2016, I decided enough was enough; we had to find a new way to build our family. I was keen to consider adoption. Ikemba was less so at first, because although he did want to adopt at some point in the future he felt more wedded to the idea of having a biological child first. He was also concerned about being able to bond with a child who was not biologically his and of being rejected by that child.

We attended information meetings to find out more and, slowly, Ikemba became convinced it was right for us.  The main change for him came at an open evening when he had the opportunity to speak with a male Asian adopter who was there to adopt for the second time!  This calmed the concerns Ikemba had. Ikemba began to reflect on his own upbringing and realised he as a child was taken in and cared for by his Uncle. Therefore, he felt it was only right he gave a child in need a loving home and a great start to life.  We looked at our relationship with nieces, nephews, and friends’ children and we decided that we could love an adopted child so we continued to do reading and research.

We registered our interest in April 2017 and the journey began. Stage One took eight weeks and, during this time, we filled out forms, attended training, and carried on reading to better understand the journey our future child may have been on.  We then had to take a six-month break before starting Stage Two, which we found challenging because it put our journey on pause.

Stage Two involved a series of interviews with our social worker. Yes, some of the questions were intimate, but all were necessary in order to form a complete view of us. We were approved at panel in May 2018 then the search began for our child.

We went into the adoption process definitely wanting to adopt a black African child and yet our son is Caribbean. The reality is that it has not been a problem for us. The moment we saw Ivor we knew he was our baby. The bond for both me and Ikemba was immediate and Ivor came home with us in January 2019. Fundamentally, he is a little baby that needs feeding and looking after and to us it does not matter where he or his birth parents are from. Some members of the family were concerned about breaking the bloodline, but he is here now and they are very happy for us.

Parenting Ivor has felt no different from parenting a birth child; we do not really look at him as anything different. The challenges are the same: sleepless nights, worrying about his development, dealing with teething and colds.  We were fortunate that we were able to meet Ivor’s birth mother. That, together with the preparation training and post-adoption support available we feel confident in managing the questions Ivor will have about his adoption, as he gets older.

We already know we want to adopt again. Ideally, we would like three children, but it is still early days. We still hope for miracles, and if that does not work, we would definitely adopt again. Our adoption journey has been amazing, yes, there were tough bits on the way, but now that we have a child, we are looking at the whole experience through a different lens.

Next: Evan’s story 2