Renfrewshire Council

Claire and Joe Keenan on their wedding day

Claire and Joe's adoption story

Claire Keenan and her husband Joe adopted young sisters from two separate foster care placements.

Despite initially fearing they may be too old, NHS worker Claire and defence lawyer Joe  - who were aged  47 and 51 respectively at the time- passed the Renfrewshire Council vetting process with flying colours.

Three months later they were told about the girls. They adopted their eldest daughter when she was two and six months later, also adopted her younger sister.

Claire said: "Although we are in our fifties we are very young at heart and I think the adoption panel could see that. When we got matched the girls it blew me away that we had such young children to nurture.

"My husband was more anxious, not about being a dad, but about change."

Although the children were full siblings they had never met before as they had been in different foster placements since birth.

Claire said: "I had the joy of introducing them. It was hard work for our eldest girl, as she had been with us for about six months and was two years old when her sister came to us.

"But things are wonderful now and I think they're both quite settled and my eldest is in Primary One."

Claire and Joe met and married in their forties and were unable to have children of their own.

Claire said: "I had always an unfulfilled part of me not being a mum it was like a hunger within so the decision to go down the adoption road would make that possible".

She says the advice she would offer to anyone considering adoption is to ask as many questions as you want and take the biggest risk you can.

She said: "We did and have never looked back. My husband was much more nervous than me initially, he is far more private, though he found the process much easier than he had anticipated.

"My advice would be don't be scared, don't hesitate, start and then keep going on the journey. You will soon know if it's for you or not as you do it. Social work will help and guide you. Renfrewshire Council have been amazing."

Claire says that the focus of their world has undergone a seismic shift and added: "When the girls came to us they also bring their story and your own world widens out amazingly within weeks.

 "People see these two wee people can't help but stop and talk to them. Then you have nursery and school where you meet other parents with children and it all becomes part of your new life.

"Before adoption I knew there was something missing, I felt like I was outside looking in and now it is as if I have joined the world I always wanted to be part of. It's completed our family.

"I knew that I won't ever be able to completely heal everything in the girl's life due to the loss of their birth family, but I hope that together we can ease the loss that we have all experienced."

The girls already know they are adopted and in line with guidance from social work, it's something that will always be openly discussed.

Claire added: "We have a full, busy exciting life and I think the future holds more of that. I love them so deeply, my family."

Joe added:  "No matter how tired I am at the end of a long hard stressful day I'm always excited to come home to see all of my girls.

"Our aim is for them to grow up safe, happy and with good self esteem.

"We want them to know that they are loved and treasured unconditionally and forever."

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To become an adopter you don't have to be a parent or have any parenting experience, and applicants from any religious or cultural background are welcome.

You can be unemployed and can be single, married, cohabiting, or in a civil partnership and can own or rent your property. Prospective adopters do need to be 21 or over, have a spare room and be in good health.

Adoption Week Scotland runs from Monday 18 November until Friday 22 November 2019 and aims to raise awareness.

If you think you can provide a loving home for a child, please contact our adoption team on 0300 300 1199 or send an email to: childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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