We were recently sent this great story from one of our amazing customers and just had to share it here...
Let me introduce myself, my name is Laura and I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters.
And this is my story.
As a newlywed couple we started on planning on having a family. We ran into obstacles. We found out my husband at the time had a gene condition, Klinefelter syndrome, it is one extra chromosome too many that makes men sterile.
We had no other option but to have a sperm donor. With prayers, tears and time (over 7 years), we were blessed.
In 1997, I gave birth to Abi and in 2005 Sophia was welcomed into this world.
I did marry young and I did think it was for love (young and foolish), however, that was what I thought. My ex-husband had a different plan, sadly that I only found out 21 years later.
At the time of being married for 16 years, we did have happy times that is something I will cherish, even if for him it was all a plan. I tried to make it work at least for the girl’s sake for another 5 years. It was a train wreck, it wasn’t to be saved. After 21 years it finally came to a halt.
We separated and parted on amicable terms. He went his way and I went mine, with my precious girls with me.
My very good and close friend mentioned something to me, in the first week of our separation, and that was to start a journal of phone calls, visits, gifts and everything related to the children. I must say it was very trivial at the time, but I did it.
I met a wonderful man, Andre, who ironically enough, I have known for some 30 years. Andre has been married before me, yet he didn’t have any children from his previous marriages. We started to date, but not before I had the clearance from my oldest daughter, who at the time was only 14 years. Yep you read it correctly 14 – TEENAGER! When asking Abi ‘what she thought of my ‘friend’? She answered, “mum, I like him, he makes you smile”. I took her comment and knew it was her approval, this was right.
It wasn’t that long before Andre moved in with us into my apartment.
We lived together in one happy union. As the girls were getting older we had to move as we did need more space. It was thanks to our brother-in-law who was able to assist us with a large 4 bedroom home, big enough for all, including the menagerie of animals. We were as normal as can be of a functioning family. There was love, there was warmth, trust, support and stability. We all felt like this is what is meant to be, this is what we all have been waiting for, a ‘family union’. For the first time in a very long time, the girls felt they had a father.
My ex-husband remarried as did Andre and I. Over time, I mentioned it many times about Andre adopting the girls, however, my ex-husband wouldn’t hear of it. We couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t do this, after all, he hardly made contact with the girls nor did he see them often either.
Time kept on passing, we kept on functioning as a family. One day, my ex-husband called and said he is coming to Sydney (this is something that he would often say) and wants to see me, ‘very personal’. I thought, yes it is him agreeing to adoption.
Without wasting any time, I started on researching the procedures and forms on ‘Step parent adoption’ - where the partner (married or de facto) of the custodial parent (parent caring for the child) applies with their partner to adopt the child in their care and then BULLSEYE, I saw it on Adoption NSW Website…. Children of age 12 can consent their own adoption. This was the key, this is what we were waiting for. Sophia is over 12!
Our adoption was a fairy tale, it is not an everyday situation one. I do wish all those who are undergoing this, will have the same ease as we did as we are living proof that it doesn't have to be difficult, time consuming or too expensive.
We found out that even though Abi was now over 18, we had to do an adoption application for her just the same, otherwise we would be splitting up the siblings. So we adopt 2! Two rounds of everything. I spoke with a few Lawyers and the one that made me feel special, where they took the time to listen to me was chosen.
These Lawyers are not allowed to mark up the prices, as this procedure is not for monetary gain, they are assisting us with a legal service only. We also did negotiate on a discount price, were we told them we could do few steps ourselves.
You can save some money using the kits on Adoption NSW, and let’s face it, by doing things where possible yourself, in particular the Police Check and Working with Children Check (WWCC) clearance you are in control anyway.
We came across this wonderful lady, Jo, she was our Independent Assessor and for a short period of time (while assisting with the adoption process) became part of our family. There were times where I had to be very frank and open up to her. She looked after all of us with such care and much respect.
We started out in family session and then it was one on one. We all had a turn to express and say things in a confidential environment. I submitted to Jo as well as to the lawyers my ‘journal’. The very same one that I started when I separated from my ex-husband.
Due to Sophia still being a minor, even though she could self-consent, she still needed to have another independent assessor to make sure that she understood what was going on. To make sure Sophia was able to read and fully comprehend not only the documentation but also the process that was about to take place. Same for Abi, even though she was an adult, but remember, there are two of them, siblings need to be together.
The independent assessors work in conjunction with the lawyers. Jo, who was our main social worker, she kept us updated with everything she was doing with our case, all her steps. The lawyers, they too kept us in the know, informing us of all the processes that was happening and the next steps.
We started the process when I started to do my research in Sept 2017, on 8 March 2018 Andre and I were granted our daughters, our adoption came through.
……we continue to live our lives as a happy family. We are very proud parents of our wonderful daughters, one has gone to become a lawyer and the younger one is still in high school who keeps us on our toes and still makes us smile daily. At the end of the year we will also be walking Abi down the aisle on her wedding day, and Andre has been a proud father not from the day the adoption came through, but from the day he joined our family. The adoption just made it all legal.
This was possible thanks to a number of people, professional and caring independent assessor and our lawyer all of which we found through Adoption NSW.
*Names and Photos have been changed for privacy.