Sometimes our best-laid plans are not meant to be. John had been in a long-term relationship. He had even bought a house with his partner for 15 years.
When the relationship suddenly ended, he found himself starting over at 40.
John did his best to maintain life as he was accustomed, from his job at an insurance company to spending time with loved ones, but still, he couldn’t help feeling like something was missing.
The missing piece of the puzzle
Six years later, he realized what that something was when watching TV and seeing a program about adopting children.
It sparked his interest. John reflected on the fact he had always wanted to be a dad. But when it didn’t happen naturally, he just continued on with his single lifestyle.
But then he realized the time was now.
“I’m 46 now. If I want to be a dad it’s now or never.”
But, as a single father, it wouldn’t be an easy journey. It was one he was ready to get started on though.
A long and arduous process
He started an intensive training course in preparation for being an adoptive father, and decided to get some experience as a volunteer mentor for a teenager.
“Every fortnight or three weeks I had a meeting with my social worker who went through lots of scenarios with me: ‘What would you do if this happened? What would you do if that happened?’,” John recalled.
And that included his whole extended family getting involved. “He met my ex-partner and my other family members to find out more about me and see if it was a solid environment I could provide.”
Finally, after a three-year process, John was approved to be an adoptive father. He was then able to start looking for his future child.
He met with his social worker, who laid out photos of boys on the table and asked if any sparked interest.
“Immediately one stood out to me — he is now my son.”
Finding his son
John says the feeling was instant, almost like “when you’re looking for a house and you walk into a house, and you get the feeling that this is the house you want.”
“It’s not a great comparison but that’s the nearest I can get to it,” he said.
The photo was of a six-year-old boy named Chris (names have been changed), who had been in foster care for 18 months because of concerns he was not taken care of in his
“Ten days later he had moved in with me. And that was it,” John said.
While it was a bit of an adjustment to go from only caring for himself to being responsible for another person, it was a process well worth it.
But there were some growing pains, like on the second night, when Chris said he wasn’t happy and wanted to go back.
“My heart sank, I was like ‘what do I do, what do I do?’”
He called the social worker, but by the next morning, the social worker said it was a normal reaction, and that things would be fine.
A new lease on life
Nine years later, Chris is now a teenager and he and John have a wonderful relationship.
John is happy because he’s finally a dad, and Chris has a better life with more opportunity than he would have had staying in the foster care system.
“It’s given me a purpose really, I suppose,” said John, who said as a dad, he just wants his ’son to “be the best he can be,” and that means raising him to be a good person.
“He’d probably say I’m a good dad, apart from banning him from his Xbox and making him do his school work!” said John.
Sometimes all the hardships and hurdles we have in life are worth it — to get us to that right person and right moment in time.
For John and Chris, the timing was perfect for them to find each other and change each other’s life forever.
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