Adoption & Parenthood

Adoption & Parenthood

Hello Huddl community!

We are Andi and Darren, a same sex parent family via route of adoption.  We are so happy to be working with Huddl to share our story directly to parents from all walks of life.  

Parents who may be considering the adoption route to extend their family, those who are interested in hearing an alternative route to parenthood to their ‘birth route, or adopters/ fosters carers who are looking for support and to make links with other adoptive families.  We are also hoping to ‘myth bust’ some of the untruths about adopting.  Whatever your reason for choosing to read our blog, you are most welcome!

We are happy to support people going through the process by answering any questions that you may have, no topic is off limits.  Honesty is always the best policy in our book.

To begin, we are going to provide you with an overview of our journey thus far, written by Andi.  We hope you enjoy our story.

Darren and I had been married for three years when we felt it was the right time to start a family. We had different options available to us but as we both work in schools and I had previously worked within children’s social care, we were aware of the increasing number of children in the care system and we felt we were able to offer a child a stable loving family,  so we chose to adopt.

Our daughter Lucy, was only a few months old when we found out that we were a perfect match for her.  Although the profile we were sent was only a few lines long due to her young age, we felt there was something special about her. Lucy was in the care of foster carers who were amazing while we were introduced to her, letting us take a lead in caring for her in their home, under their supervision and guidance. This was really helpful in getting to know her routines/ likes and dislikes and preparing us for parenthood.   

Unfortunately there was a hold up which meant there was a six week delay in Lucy moving to us, therefore our Social Worker, Foster Carer and Local Authority Senior Management agreed that it was in the best interest of Lucy to get to spend as much time with us as possible during this time. This included opportunities to bring Lucy to our home and get her used to her new surroundings and introduce her to our cat Mollie, which actually worked well as they got used to each other very quickly…and are now best mates!

Although we both have experience of working with children in a professional capacity and baby sitting for friends with young children, the responsibility and realisation of having your own child to care for was a very steep learning curve. During our adoption training sessions much of the material is around dealing with trauma and potential issues that may affect the child, often slightly older children, such as past neglect, and not so much about caring for a baby.  Fortunately, we pulled on experiences of friends with young children and the foster carers were a fountain of knowledge and also continue to be a great source of support. We were extremely blessed with such wonderful carers to learn from.  

When an adopted child moves in with you, social care recommend that families go into a ‘mini lockdown’ so that attachments start to form between you and the child/ren and that they feel safe and secure in their new home.  As Lucy had spent such a long time with us prior to her moving in with us, attachments came very quick and we felt a bond very early on.  For the first few weeks of Lucy living with us, we only introduced her to very immediate family and close friends who would be on our ‘on call list’ should we need emergency childcare. Once the initial settling in period had been completed and she was no longer considered to be under fostering arrangements, we were then able to widen our support network and ask other friends and family to support.

Life for us is very different as parents but in such a positive way. It has been so rewarding watching her develop and grow into a lovely little girl. She was welcomed into both sides of the family instantly and is totally adored.  She has brought out the best in so many of our family members and friends and nobody has treated her any differently to other children in the family.

Since adopting we have had many opportunities to help other people either going through the adoption process or who are considering adoption as an option, by speaking at events, training sessions and even some media campaigns.  We have found it very rewarding being able to provide some peer support which we know first hand how invaluable advice, support, guidance and friendship can be.  We have also now started an Instagram page which is growing quite quickly come and find us and say hello ‘dadda_n_daddy’. 

The advice we would give to potential adopters is be realistic in terms of what needs you can and cannot meet of a child. It is so important to be 100% open and honest with your social worker and family finders.   We are now going through the process again to adopt a second child and we are even more aware of our limitations as we have Lucy to take into account this time. Therefore that match needs to be absolutely perfect for all of us.

Prospective adopters need to have a solid support network of people who can help out when needed.  Meeting up and/or making contact with other adopters is a must, we have made some great life long friends through adoption and it is heart warming watching our children play together.

Most of all, make sure you are in a position in your life where you are able to give 100% of your time to the adoption process. 

The process can be emotional, intrusive, and at times frustrating but once you have been matched with your child and they are home with you, you will realise it is the best thing you have ever done!

For further information on adoption email your anonymous questions to and Andi & Darren will offer the support and answers to your questions in our monthly BablMag.

Andi & Darren,

Relationship pressure from a dads viewpoint

Relationship pressure from a dads viewpoint

The factors that cause relationship pressure from a dads point of view and how couples need to ensure that they are communicating

Once you embark on the roller coaster of being a parent your relationship with your partner is suddenly redefined. As mums, we often discuss the stresses and strains on our relationship with friends. But we are not the only ones in this partnership. Relationship pressure from a dad’s view is something that we do not talk about so much. Unfortunately, dads can sometimes be very much the forgotten side of the partnership! Yet in a recent study by the National Childbirth Trust, they discovered that 39% of dads suffered from postnatal depression, that’s 1 in 3.

Relationship Pressure

So at a time when mental health is very much in the news why do so many men choose to keep quiet? Included in this would be my partner. He never talks about the pressure on our relationship that having a family has caused. The dads that I spoke to had very similar concerns and worries.

Worries and concerns

One of the biggest pressures that the dads all felt was the concern that they had for their partners. When we as women should be leaning on our men for support, we are actually pushing them away. This, in turn, is causing them to worry about the pressure that we are putting on ourselves to be perfect. What the dads wanted was to be able to take some of the burden off of our shoulders. Unfortunately, our own idealised perception that we have to do it all perfectly and alone is one of the key factors causing relationship pressure for our men!

Lack of control and relationship pressure

The sudden lack of control that dads feel they have over their own lives is another primary cause of relationship pressure. Children make life unpredictable, we all know this. Plans often shelved at a moment’s notice. Men seem to find this particularly hard to deal with. Often it’s their partners that feel the brunt of this loss of control over their lives. Men crave the control to come and go as they please at a moment’s notice. But now there is childcare to arrange or the packing of stuff to take with you on an outing.

Couple time

Before you were a family you probably took for granted the time you spent together as a couple. I know I did! Now even grabbing a simple coffee together takes more forward planning than invading a small country! This puts tremendous pressure on not only dads but mothers too. For the first few months, your relationship really does take a backseat while you try to survive. But once you have settled into some sort of routine, there needs to be time to be a couple. Not only will this strengthen your relationship with your partner but it will also ensure that you are both the best possible parents that you can be

Financial Stress

Even in the 21st century many of the dads I spoke to still felt the pressure to provide for their family. Households are run on the basis of having two incomes and both partners working. The sudden drop in income when one partner stays at home with the children seems to cause men huge relationship pressure. Even at a time when women have broken into almost every male-dominated area and earn good pay, our dads still felt that they had to take on the burden of providing for the whole family alone. They are suddenly thrown back to the 1950s when that is what life was like.

The same

After talking to some wonderful and devoted fathers, it appears to me that both mums and dads have the same worries. We have the same concerns about our changing relationship after having a family. We are scared of losing the partner that we fell in love with long before there was the tiny pitter-patter of feet.

I believe relationship pressure is caused by our need to be perfect and to have a perfect life! The constant bombardment of images on social media of the perfect home, relationship, and family are all we see. Yet what we forget is that these are tiny snippets of these lives. What we need to remind ourselves of each time we look at these images is that the truth is nobody’s life is that perfect!!!

How do I know when it’s the right time to have a baby?

How do I know when it’s the right time to have a baby?

Who can say when it’s the right time to have a baby? It’s a very personal question to answer, but by weighing up some of these factors, only you can say when it is the right time. Considering work, your relationship, finances and balancing life and children can be the key to identifying when the time is right for you.

So, when is the right time to have a baby? In the movies, if a woman takes a pregnancy test, one of two things happens. She either cries with joy or falls to the floor in tears of fear and panic. In real life, it’s more complicated than that.

For me, I was about 97% joyful. I was 24, married and living in a beautiful home. It was what we planned for, but I still couldn’t help but think about how a baby was going to affect my career. Was this the right time to have a baby?

I was scared. I hadn’t quite mastered putting my laundry away after washing it, how was I going to be a mom and maintain some semblance of a life? Had I done everything that I should have? Should I have gone on one more big vacation? Should I have secured at least one more promotion? Was I ready to start ‘baby’ chapter of my life?


Women are having babies later in life than ever before. It’s difficult to avoid the fact that biology plays a part in how easy or difficult it can be to have a child.

One question that would run through my head was ‘Do I want to be an older mom?’ Being a young mom meant I would have the energy to enjoy my children. This meant taking a career break. I watched my friends move up in their careers, buy bigger houses, and go on luxurious holidays while I stayed at home and tried to manoeuvre  a 2-year-old with a 3-month-old attached to me!

My friends that waited to have children had secured their positions at work, had beautiful homes and great experiences under their belts. The obstacles they faced were biological. Some fell pregnant easily, some had to wait years and some turned to IVF for help.


While your career may be progressing well, it’s important to consider your employer’s maternity package. Many employers require you to be a permanent member of staff for at least 18 months before employees can claim their maternity packages. Having seniority, experience and credibility can make it easier when you return to work. You won’t be starting from scratch to build their trust in you to work flexibly and manage your responsibilities.

Your relationship

This sounds obvious, but your relationship needs to be in a healthy state. There seems to be an old school of thought around a baby fixing your relationship issues. I can assure you, it won’t. A baby can add an immense amount of stress to even the strongest of relationships. 

If you’re facing issues in your relationship and are looking for some help, this is not the right time to have a baby.  Women especially can fall victim to the pressures of society when it comes to having children. Listen to your voice and be confident that you are making the best decision for yourself and your family.


Having a baby is expensive. While initial costs associated with having a baby seem manageable, childcare can be a strain. Our nursery costs were comparable to having a second mortgage! Do some research into nurseries and nannies in your area to see what this means for you and your partner.


You may not think that a baby will affect your friendships, but being the first in your group to have a child can leave you somewhat lonely. Having a few friends with children can be a great support, especially as a new mother. There are also groups like NCT that can help in making new friends with children in your area. I have been guilty of telling friends considering if it’s the right time to have a baby to ‘go for it’. I love being a mom, and they will too, right? Maybe not!

The right time

Who can say when it’s the right time to have a baby? It’s a very personal question to answer, but by weighing up some of these factors, only you say when it is the right time. Throw away your pre-baby bucket list and don’t expect to be 100% ready. If you do find out that you are pregnant, rest assured that you can make it work if you want to, like you always do!

Finding It Difficult To Conceive? This May Help You

Finding It Difficult To Conceive? This May Help You

A survivor’s guide to how to get pregnant faster, cope with disappointment and five of the best fertility aids

It occurred to me, as I lay with my legs against the wall and pelvis lifted to better encourage fertilization; ovulation testers scattered liberally over my dressing table; that there had to be an easier way. There is nothing more unappealing than waiting for the ovulation window to be open before having soulless and unsatisfying sex as many times as possible before the window shuts again. Sex became a means to an end, a chore that had to be done to produce an end result.  Finding it difficult to conceive can lead to many frustrations for all those involved to say the least.

Reasons You Might Be Finding It Difficult to Conceive And What Could Help

Problems conceiving can take us to a very dark place indeed and according to the NHS Website affect up to 1 in 7 couples. The main problems include:-

  • A blockage in the fallopian tubes
  • Low sperm count/ sperm not moving
  • Not producing eggs
  • endometriosis (womb lining growing outside of the womb)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease and PCOS

I was suffering with “Secondary infertility”. Having conceived easily once my ovaries had become a barren wasteland. Almost half of infertility cases fall into this category, a huge 4 million people. Every month I would convince myself that my breasts had swollen, that I tasted metal and that my period was late, so I would rush out to get a pregnancy test only to find that, yet again, I wasn’t pregnant.

So, how do you overcome problems with conceiving and move on? Practically, you can eat a healthy diet, drink less alcohol, stop smoking and exercise more. The NHS offers some great advice and a wide range of fertility treatments to help increase your sperm count, clean the lining of the womb and encourage ovulation as well as the better known IUI and IVF. 

7 Easy tips to help overcome mental blocks

The tendency to ask “Why is this happening to me?” is all consuming when we try to conceive and fail. The temptation is to fall down the rabbit hole of self pity, loss and despair. And yet, baby and toddler groups are full of women who once were told that they could not have children until their little miracle came along. I tried every fertility aid in my ever more desperate attempts to get pregnant. Here are some tips to stop you cracking up in the meantime:-

  • Be grateful for the good that you have in your life, and use the loving energy you would give to your newborn to other parts or people in your life. Helping others helps put our own problems into perspective.
  • Visualise your child with you, talk to them, reassure them and send loving thoughts to them.
  • Step away from social media if seeing endless posts of new mother’s happiness or other people’s babies is too much for you to bear.
  • Do all of the things you will not be able to do once the baby arrives – travel, play sports, volunteer, go to the theatre.
  • Do seek help, it’s better to know what you are facing than to just blindly hope for the best.
  • Consider other options such as IVF, surrogacy, fostering or even adoption.
  • Invest in and protect your relationship, you are both in it together.

Fertility Aids If You Are Finding It Difficult To Conceive

The market is saturated with products that promise to improve your chances of conception and improve fertility. Here are some of the most popular:-

  • Fertility supplements – vitamins to improve sperm flow, improve the health of your reproductive organs and more
  • Ovulation Kits – Tell you when you are at your most fertile and most likely to conceive.
  • Fertility Calendars – Help to track your most fertile times and explain when you would get a positive pregnancy test.
  • Lubricants – Can help sperm move faster and better and match your internal PH balance.
  • Old wives tales – Rosemary under the bed, honey and cinnamon, raising your legs and pelvis after ejaculation and holding a newborn.

I was lucky, I was blessed with several more children. However, I will never forget the feeling of despair and loss while I was trying to conceive. Unfortunately, some people never manage to give birth to a healthy child. Although there are alternatives, such as surrogacy, adoption and fostering; coming to terms with not being a natural mother can take years. There is help and counselling available for anyone struggling with infertility.

Pregnant In My Forties. I Couldnt Believe It.

Pregnant In My Forties. I Couldnt Believe It.

Pregnancy after forty can sometimes be difficult, complicated and frowned upon but more often than not it is a joyful and beautiful experience.

Pregnant In My Forties, And I Was Smiling Again?

Positive. Unbelievable. It couldn’t be right. I did another test and, yes, still positive. I was pregnant. It’s stupid to think “how could this happen?” because we all know how it happens, but that was my prevailing thought. I could not believe it, without trying, I was pregnant in my forties. I already had a 14 and 12-year-old at home, and I had no plans whatsoever to have any more children. It never occurred to me to consider abortion. Not once. Weirdly, at that moment and all alone, I found myself smiling. Who knows why? It was going to be chaos and throw all our lives into total disarray, but I was surprisingly happy. I focused on how I would tell my hubby (who also had two adult kids of his own). He was 47 at the time, and I knew this news would be a huge shock. I was right! He took it well and never raised the question of abortion either, although upon hearing the news, he blanched more than a little.

The Three Musketeers Always Had A Fourth Musketeer 

Telling my kids was considerably harder. They both cried. Understandable when you think that life had just been the three of us until fairly recently and suddenly everything was changing. We had always called ourselves ‘The Three Musketeers’ and adding a new baby into the mix (on top of a new hubby) threw forth feelings of jealousy, hurt and a genuine disgust that their mother was pregnant in her forties.

From Life-Changing Job to Simply Life Changing

I had always loved being pregnant, and this pregnancy was just as beautiful.  Feeling healthy, glowing and contented was something I looked forward to during this period.  However, I did have to undergo more tests than I did in my twenties and I admit to feeling a little weird hanging out in the maternity department, as I was conscious of my older age, but apart from that my experience of pregnancy was just the same as it had been all those years before. I was excited at the prospect of being a mum to a newborn again, even if it had meant turning down the fabulous new, life-changing job I had just landed.

I Thought Being Pregnant In My Forties Was The Issue

At 32 weeks pregnant, however, my waters broke and so began the tough part. I gave birth to a beautiful (and very tiny) baby boy at 33 weeks, and we proceeded to spend the next month in the Special Care Baby Unit. He was fine, just too small. It transpired that the premature birth had nothing to do with me being pregnant in my forties, but everything to do with having contracted Group Strep B, a bacterial infection (that luckily had not carried over to the baby).

Pregnant In My Forties Has Helped Bring The Family Closer

Having a baby born too soon is tough, and it was incredibly hard to manage that first month in the hospital with two other children at home. However, the big kids adjusted superbly and fell in love with this beautiful new addition to our family, going on to become extremely capable, helpful and caring older siblings. The love they all share is immense. Hubby and I adored being new parents again, and our lives were full of happiness.

Perhaps There Should Have Been Five Musketeers Anyways

Positive. It couldn’t be right. I did another test and, yes, still positive. I was pregnant in my forties…again! Within six months of giving birth, I was expecting another. I was now 42. My mother was horrified, the kids were aghast, and our friends were shocked. Hubby and I were delighted. We wanted a sibling for our baby boy, and given my age, we decided to crack on quickly. This pregnancy was much tougher as I was totally exhausted and still healing from an emergency c-section. The sheer happiness at creating this new, little family carried me through the tough moments, and this time, the pregnancy went to full-term. We met our son (not so tiny!) after a planned C-section, and he was perfect. I was 43, and his daddy was 49. It felt crazy and beautiful all at the same time.

I’m Not Going to Sugar Coat It, Being Pregnant In My Forties Was Tough

Fast forward to 2019, and our boys are almost 4 and 5-years-old. My daughter is 19 and has flown the nest and that 12-year-old boy has grown into a 6-foot 5-inch 17-year-old. Being pregnant in my forties was not the hardest part; the difference came afterwards. I did not bounce back from the births as quickly, and I did not manage the tiredness of having babies and toddlers as easily. Juggling teenagers at the same time added to the overwhelming fatigue and much of the last five years has been a roller-coaster of joy and physical exhaustion!

Wouldnt Change It For The World

At the age of 46, I consider myself supremely lucky to have had this opportunity. I never planned for it, but I am immensely grateful that life gave us these beautiful boys despite the challenges of being pregnant in my forties. Our lives are very much richer for it. However, if life surprised us one more time, I know my body could not cope and I would never want to be mistaken for the child’s grandmother! There comes a time when we have to graciously hang up our hat. I have accepted that some experiences are no longer ours to have, and instead look forward to new ones. Hubby’s kids will soon be bringing us babies of their own, and so the circle of life continues…but without the sleepless nights!