As Father’s Day approaches, one dad is reflecting on how he and his husband’s lives have changed since adopting their sons five years ago.
George and Martin Lusty met in 2005, which was also the year that it became possible for LGBT couples to adopt in England and Wales. They both knew very early on into the relationship that they would like to adopt and, after getting married in 2010 they decided to make their dream of becoming dads a reality.
They reached out to Barnardo’s and, after going through the adoption approval process and undertaking the necessary training, George and Martin adopted brothers Oliver and Tom, then four and two.
The couple, from South East London, are now looking forward to marking Father’s Day and, more importantly, to celebrating five years since the boys moved in and they became a family on June 20.
Reflecting back on the last five years, George said:
“I always dearly wanted to be a parent. I didn’t think being a dad was something which would be able to happen – this is such a difficult thing to think about when you know you would be a really good dad.
“So it was momentous, life-changing news when LGBT couples became able to adopt. I met Martin the same year this became possible and it soon became clear that the journey to be a parent was one we wanted to go on together.
“When we were ready, adoption was the way forward for us – Martin had been raised by his step-mum, with whom he has a wonderful relationship, so he knew the kind of love you can experience from someone you are not related to by birth.
“We wanted to adopt siblings and we are so lucky that Oliver and Tom, now 9 and 7, came into our lives –to be a dad is just such a huge joy.
“So many things have changed – from the big, life altering changes that having children brings, to the smaller but still significant things like marking Father’s Day.
“When I was growing up, we never really celebrated Father’s Day. In fact, the first time I sent my dad a Father’s Day card was after becoming a dad myself – it’s taken on a greater significance for us since we’ve welcomed them into our lives.
“Being a dad is a challenge and Father’s Day is a really nice way of showing some appreciation for everything your dad has done for you.
“When we met them for the first time it was really nerve-wracking! The door opened and Oliver ran up to us saying ‘hello daddy’. Tom was much more reserved, slightly suspicious. We gradually spent more time with the boys at their foster parents’ house, playing with them and chatting so they could get to know us.
“Then came the amazing day that we picked them up from their foster carers and brought them to their new home where we would all start our new life together. I had butterflies in my stomach, it’s an odd sensation when you have two little people in the back of the car for that first time, but it was a lovely experience.
“It’s just utterly brilliant; your life goes from focusing on your own concerns and your life and then it suddenly becomes all about these little people and helping them to enjoy their lives, supporting them at school and with their friendships, it’s about doing what you can to help them become the best grownups they can be in the future.
“I have also been able to see the wonderful relationship develop with our sons and my dad – not having a blood connection to each other has made no difference at all. They love spending time together and now share his love of sailing. Their relationship will be one more thing I’ll be thinking about and be grateful for this Father’s Day.
“To any LGBT couple who are considering adoption, I really would urge them to contact Barnardo’s. This is the most life changing decision you can make – adopting our two boys has turned our lives upside down in a good way. It’s the biggest challenge you could take on but it’s so worth it.
“We now have two cheeky, kind boys who have been the centre of our lives for the last five years and we are so excited about what the future will bring.”