Hannah and Darren adopted Katie aged four

Hannah and Darren had been trying to have children for a number of years but tests showed there was no medical reason they couldn’t have children. Hannah said: “IVF wasn’t an option for us due to the stress involved. Independently from each other we both decided on adoption.”

On the same day during National Adoption Week in 2010 Hannah saw an article about adoption in a newspaper and Darren heard a feature on the radio. Hannah said: “That evening we both wanted to chat about what we’d seen and heard and decided we wanted to adopt.”

Hannah and Darren approached PACT in November 2010. Hannah said: “Unlike Darren I’m the sort of person who had to act on our decision straight away! We searched on Google and PACT was the first agency that came up, we had a really good response from them so didn’t consider going anywhere else.”

Hannah and Darren were approved to adopt in 2011. They had some potential matches with children come through but none were right. Hannah said: “Darren and I had read By My Parent separately and both put Katie who was four and a half years old on our lists, she had a cheeky smile.”

Hannah and Darren were matched with Katie in May 2012. Hannah describes meeting Katie for the first time as “Overwhelming! We knew everyone wanted to know how we were getting on so we sent emails to friends and family and made phone calls to our parents. Darren’s brother made the emails we sent during introductions into a book as a gift for our adoption day which was really touching.”

Although Hannah and Darren first thought they wanted two boys, they knew they wanted children aged around four. Hannah said: “I didn’t want to do nappies and bottles and Darren connects well with little ones he can talk to. Katie’s age was a win-win for us both.”

Hannah took a year off work when Katie was placed. She said: “At first she bonded with Darren more. It was suggested that I went swimming with her to build our bond as she was scared of the water. We went three times a week between July and September and by the time she started school she was jumping into the pool and into my arms.”

Three years on, Hannah and Darren have found their feet, Katie has bonded well with them both and loves to be around them.

The family have received some support from PACT’s Family and Children Therapeutic Support (FACTS), having some Theraplay early on. Recently they’ve had some help from a PACT post adoption worker helping to arrange contact with one of Katie’s siblings.

Hannah said: “2012 was such a special year for us. When we went to matching panel we saw the Olympic torch go through the town we were in. The day Katie was placed with us it went past our house. Katie was our perfect match, my mum says there are so many things she does which are things I was doing when I was her age, and that she’d think she was our biological daughter if she didn’t know she was adopted.”

“To anyone considering adoption I’d say do it, jump all over it, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”