With an adventurous spirit, Nick and Kirsty lived a great lifestyle, marrying young and travelling the world together. It was whilst living in London they both decided they wanted to have children. “In Sydney, we tried to have children naturally, we went to a fertility clinic and we were having some challenges and that was when we decided, let’s not muck around, we just knew we wanted to look after children and be parents so this is our opportunity” Nick said.
As any couple would do before considering adoption, Nick and Kirsty did their research thoroughly. Kirsty says, “We wanted to make sure we were super ready, so at that stage we did a lot of research and went to information nights and took about a year to collect that information. It was more difficult to transfer files from state to state, so we moved back to Adelaide.” She continues, “When we thought we were ready, we filled out the forms. Back at that stage, the police checks took after four months to do then they waited for a batch of forms and then sent them. There was one central office which they sent it to so I think it took a year to fill every form out, even though every time we got a form, we filled it out that same day and sent it.” And that is when the waiting game started.
Ten years later, 2015, approved prospective adoptive parents and now parents to two biological children aged eight and six, Nick and Kirsty, are still waiting for their adoptive child. “We were told it would be eighteen months and it’s been ten years… over ten years, lots of things have changed, our biological children have grown, and there’s a time and energy when you are ready to have children” says Kirsty.
“The frustrating thing is that you do hold up hope. You get to these milestones in your life and you occasionally think: Is this going to happen? Should we proceed? How will the family dynamics change?” Nick adds.
Committed and determined, Nick and Kirsty “we were the youngest in our group and we have an understanding that many couples have dropped out in the 10 years that we have been approved… we are open to all cultures, we travel extensively and we are really happy to keep an affinity to the adoptive child’s background” says Kirsty.
For Aussie families wanting to adopt a child, it’s a long road. According to figures from Adoptions Australia 2013-14, 5 years was the typical wait time for families who adopted a child from overseas in 2013-14. This has increased by 2 years since 2007-08. There were 203 (64.0%) Australian adoptions of which 157 (49.5%) of them were ‘known’ child adoptions and only 114 (36.0%) were Intercountry adoptions.
While both try to remain positive, they both agree that changes need to be made to the adoption process immediately. Nick says “I think adoption is a great option for many families in Australia, it’s just an old system.” “Our hope is that more open discussions can be had within Australia, and also to be able to have those open conversations with a social worker or somebody assigned to the parents”… “To connect and support prospective adoptive parents, it’s almost like we don’t have choices, we don’t have the ability to engage more in the process and no opportunity to take that any further, you sometimes feel helpless and there’s nothing much you can do because often the only message you hear is “we will tell you when we tell you” adds Nick.
Nick and Kirsty continue to wait.