Could you welcome a child into your family?
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
IT has been three years since they welcomed their daughter, Poppy, into their lives and now a Teesdale couple hope by sharing their story it will encourage others to consider adopting one of the 34 children in County Durham who are looking for a family to call their own.
Louise and David Finlay, who live in Barnard Castle, adopted their second daughter when she was just ten-months-old, after their eldest Daisy, now ten, made repeated requests for a brother or sister.
Mrs Finlay, who now works part time at GlaxoSmith Kline, said: “My friends work with children and they told me about those who were in care and how much it would help them if they could live with a normal family.
“Their words stuck with me and I did always think about that and kept it in my mind. When Daisy kept asking if she could have a brother or a sister I suppose we did start to think about it more.”
She said adopting was not a decision she and her husband took overnight, but the idea started to grow and formulate over a period of months.
Mrs Finlay added it was when she accompanied her husband, who operates the minibus company Figgy Bus, to a pick up in Durham they spotted an advertisement about adoption.
She said: “We knew how bad the situation was in County Durham with the number of children waiting to be adopted and in the foster care system.
“But it was when we found ourselves doing a job about eight years ago and there was a bus with a huge advertisement on the back for an adoption open day with Durham County Council.”
She added: “We went along and there were lots of other people there – people who had been adopted themselves, people who had already adopted children and lots of social and health care workers and we decided to go for it.
“It didn’t happen overnight and the screening process, which is really important, took about a year.”
The process involved their entire family being interviewed as well as attending a course with others who were looking to be “matched” with children.
Mrs Finlay said: “Part of the process to help with matching children to the right families was filling out a really in-depth questionnaire which helps to ensure the children will ‘fit’ with their new families.
“There was a lot of information on how to approach adoption and what we could expected.
“You are fully informed at every stage.
“They don’t want to make it difficult for you and a lot of thought goes into matching potential parents with children.”
Mr Finlay said the adoption services team at Durham County Council had provided them with a lot of support during and after their daughter came to live with them. He added: “They don’t care if you don’t have lots of money, as long as you are stable and have a passion for it.”
Mrs Finlay added adoption meant her maternity leave was spent bonding with Poppy without having to recover from the rigours of labour.
She said: “I was able to take maternity leave when Poppy came to live with us, and it was great because we skipped straight to the fun bits and it surprised us both how quickly we all bonded together.”
The adoption was only legalised the following year and the entire family had a party to celebrate the news.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are immensely grateful to David and Louise and everyone else who has adopted with us.
“They have given Poppy a loving family home and a really good start in life and in turn it is clear the joy she has brought to them.”
She added: “Anyone over the age of 21, regardless of gender, marital status, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, can adopt, whether or not they live in their own home, have children or work and regardless of whether they have adopted before.
“We would encourage anyone who has ever thought about adopting to contact us for an informal chat or attend one of our information sessions.
“There is no pressure but we can talk you through the adoption process and the support that is available should you decide to go ahead.”
To find out more about adopting with the council, visit www.durham.gov.uk/ adoption; @DurhamFoster Adopt on Facebook, or email email@example.com.