ADVERTISING FEATURE FROM
ADOPT COAST TO COAST
By Leena Sidat 09:00, 24 JAN 2024
Regional adoption agency, Adopt Coast to Coast, helped Sophie and Alex find their ‘blessing’ of a daughter
Sophie and Alex were one of the first parents to adopt with Adopt Coast to Coast since its launch in 2021 (Image: Getty Images)
Adoption is a big step. However, there's no doubt that it can prove to be extremely rewarding, not just for the child in need of a loving home but also for the adopters building a family.
For one couple from south Scotland, that could not have been more true. In 2020, Sophie and Alex* thought their dreams of growing their family would have to go on hold, following Covid-related delays to their IVF treatment.
“We had been wanting to start a family for a couple of years, and we were set to undertake IVF treatment when Covid hit. It was a really difficult time for us,” Sophie said.
Having always thought about adoption, the couple began to explore options with their local authority, but unfortunately encountered a very lengthy wait list.
Not long after however, they heard about a then-new regional adoption agency, Adopt Coast to Coast.
Alex said: “We were feeling very disheartened, but heard about Adopt Coast to Coast at exactly the right time. It sounded great - it combined the good things about working with a local authority because they were coming together, mixed with a sensible geographical distance, so we got in touch with the team straight away.”
The wheels were swiftly set in motion; Sophie and Alex were invited to an online information event the next day, and also put in touch with a social worker.
Sophie added: “We were so impressed. It was so quick, and we were pleased to find people who wanted us to come and be adopters.”
During the application process, Sophie and Alex were supported by a dedicated social worker, courtesy of Adopt Coast to Coast, and undertook relevant training to help them prepare for the challenges - and joys - of adoption and parenthood.
Adopt Coast to Coast brings together the extensive knowledge and expertise of local authority adoption agencies across the north east (Image: Getty Images)
Speaking on the training, Sophie said: “We already knew that life story work was important and this - as well as broaching the topic with a child - was a big emphasis. It brought home that you’re responsible for a human being and what you put in now will impact them later.
“For me, the training also helped me better understand that asking for help doesn’t make you a weak parent, it means you’re doing the best for your child.
“Plus, during introduction week, we had someone train us on how to feed the baby, how to bath the baby, and how to change a nappy - which other parents get that? It was amazing because we had a whole team who were there to support us and were helping us to prepare for parenthood - it’s brilliant.”
Finding their family
It wasn’t long until Sophie and Alex started their parenting journey, finding and taking their little bundle of joy home with them in early 2022.
Sophie said: “Finding our little one felt like fate. The first profile I saw after we were approved was hers - and I knew instantly that she was our daughter. I had all the feelings and butterflies, and we knew we needed to find out more.”
On their first meeting with their infant daughter, Sophie described how the entire experience was “magic”.
“I had tears running down my face, and in that moment, all of the pain of the last four years and infertility just washed away. All that mattered was that she was mine and I was hers. As I was holding her, she stretched out her hand to grab hold of Alex’s finger - she chose us, and it felt like magic. It was just meant to be.”
Since that day, Sophie and Alex have experienced a world of joy with their daughter. The couple has been fortunate to watch her grow and witness some important early milestones in her life, such as her first laugh, words, and steps.
Sophie shared: “One of the things we were initially worried we would lose with adoption, is our daughter looking like us or having our traits, but adoption has made us realise that so much of that is nurture. She is a complete reflection of us both; she has our character traits, our mannerisms, and picks up on all of the things we say.
“One of the most rewarding parts of adoption is seeing her personality come through and all of the work we have put into building her into a happy, confident little girl. She sparkles and we are proud of her every day.”
Sophie and Alex have seen their daughter grow into a happy and healthy young girl (Image: Getty Images)
Better still, Sophie and Alex haven’t been on this journey alone. Throughout their adoption, there has been continued support and practical parenting advice from their dedicated social workers.
Adopt Coast to Coast also assigned the couple an adoption ‘buddy’ during the process, who was able to help answer any questions the two had, as well as share their own experiences.
Alex said: “The buddy system was really useful to us as it bridged the gap between social work and family life. Our buddy helped support and guide us through the processes and terms which can sometimes be overwhelming.
“We also really enjoy the family events that Adopt Coast to Coast put on as it gives us a chance to meet and connect with other adopters and expand our support network.”
Paula Gibbons, head of service at Adopt Coast to Coast, commented: “I am so proud of the achievements of the staff in Adopt Coast to Coast. Since our launch in April 2021, we have matched over 300 children to their forever families.
“As we work alongside the children’s social workers, our prospective adopters are often considered for our children during the approval process and can become a family in 6-12 months from first contacting us.
“We have children of all ages and backgrounds who need loving families; we welcome interest from those who would like to adopt a child from birth, and also from those who could offer a home to children who wait longer to find their forever home: older children, brothers and sisters, and those with additional needs such as learning difficulties or disabilities. If you think you could provide a loving home to one of our children, we would love to hear from you.”
The next chapter
With such light in their life, and having had such a positive adoption experience, Sophie and Alex have applied to adopt a second time and offer a home to another child to further build their little family.
Sophie added: “We thank our stars every day for our infertility journey, as had it not been for that, we wouldn’t have had our daughter. It was just meant to be and we couldn’t imagine having a better daughter than the one we were blessed with through adoption.
“Adoption has been the most rewarding journey and we are now exploring the process again to add to our family.”