To celebrate Father's Day and Pride Month we have teamed up with Tom Cox to bring you an exclusive Q&A on his journey on becoming a father and his venture into parenthood. We asked you to send in your questions via Instagram, read below Tom Cox's replies to all things adoption and parenting.
How did you form a connection with your son? Did you face any struggles?
So Kai came home at 14 months and he was so lucky to have been with the one foster carer since birth. All he’d known was love and positive nurture. He was so lucky. The transition from his foster carer to us was a huge thing. I was terrified he wouldn’t like us, I made it our mission to be fun, bubbly, loud and just to make him smile and laugh! I thought we were nailing it and we were, but looking back at some photos you can definitely tell he’s a little like “Who are these guys taking me to the park?” you know? He has to adjust and it takes time. I was a first time dad, this was all new to me too! He had to come to us for comfort, not his foster carer. He actually just took it all in his stride, he was amazing and I was so, so proud how easy he made it on us.
What was the hardest part about going through the adoption process?
I think the not knowing and the waiting on things. The social work system is stacked and cuts are always being made to services. We were just in a position to be dads. We were ready. Yet we had to go through so many meetings, assessments, panels and training. We did it, happily. It was to become dads. And it didn’t take long as some cases at only 9 months. But still, in the end, waiting on emails in response to queries on Kai really was hard because we just knew he was ours but it was in the hands of someone else.
How would you describe your journey into Fatherhood, did you find it particularly hard at times?
Honestly? I felt like I breezed into it, I was so, so ready. I know they say you aren’t, and it’s true. You’re not. Your life gets turned upside down over night BUT I wanted that. We were ready for change and to welcome our little boy. I welcomed the nappies, the early starts and the constant washing and tantrums. I was in my element and treasured every single minute with him being home. I'd say it’s when they get a little older, more independent and start school that things change and it gets a whole different kind of hard but equally, new wonderful things happen too.
Advice you could offer to any couple going through the adoption process?
Absolutely. My number one piece of adoption advice s is to just be kind to yourselves, be open and be patient. All easier said than done. It can take a while and you may feel frustrated at the delays. But it’s all taking you on the journey to become parents. And when that day comes, you really will forget everything that came before. I would also say have a social worker represent you that you like and get on with. It’s so important. Our social worker just got us. For adoption advice and adoption tips join forums and follow Instagram accounts going through the same thing. No one knows what it’s like to adopt unless you’ve done it.
Myself and my wife are looking into IVF but who will be mum and who will be mummy? How do you differentiate each of you with Kai?
We’re daddy and dadda and it's surprisingly something he got straight away. The child will know no different and it will call you whatever you refer to yourself as 😊
When/how did you decide it was the right time to become parents, had you always talked about the possibility of adoption/having children?
I think I was 29 and Danny was 35. It was just time for us, it really felt right. We’d had every brunch we could ever have with our friends, we’d done the holidays. We now knew we wanted to start a family and add to the brunches and the holidays. Becoming dads and having Kai join us on it all made it a hundred times more fulfilling.
What have you and your partner learnt from becoming parents?
That it is hard. Plain and simple. It’s not easy. But it’s not hard work, if that makes sense. You just get on and do it. You have zero choice. And you do it with love. But time for yourself disappears, time for each other lessens… it’s a huge shift. But five years in I am still learning. Honestly!
Three words that sum up your family life...
Fun, busy, loving.
Does Kai know he’s adopted? Or are you waiting until he’s older/‘the right time’ to tell him?
He does, yes! Whether he knows what it truly means is one thing, but he knows he has birth parents who made him and gave birth to him. We explain in an age appropriate way everything he needs to know and he takes it in. He has a life story book we often get out. I think doing it this way makes it less of ‘a thing’ later down the line. As he gets older and more understanding he’ll just always have known this was the case, you know? We feel so comfortable with it all and I want him too as well.
Photo credit: Tom Cox (@unlikelydad)
What has been the best and the worst part about your journey into parenthood?
Best is what he brought me. He taught me a love like no other it can’t even be explained. It has to be experienced. There is no love like the love for you child. The worst is the difficult times like poor sleep patterns, tantrums, and managing big emotions. It’s all really hard sometimes and your rational adult brain has to really dig deep to understand and support them. It’s often draining and you worry about them so much.
How long did the adoption process take from start to finish?
Nine months, from the first initial social worker visit to Kai coming home.
Were your family supportive throughout the adoption process? Is a support network for adoption important?
So supportive. They were so excited and on my side it was the first grandchild. Kai changed everyone’s world, including ours. A support system is imperative. We couldn’t have done it without the love and support from family and friends. It was beautiful.
A huge thank you to Tom Cox for taking over our blog today. We really hope this has given all you who are going through the adoption process and the journey into parenthood some reassurance, guidance and some all-important adoption tips.
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