The one piece of advice I can give to anyone who has been adopted, is to be proud. Proud to be where you are today, to have been saved from that horrible beginning of your life, proud of how brave the people who took you in were, and ignore all the ridiculous comments of people who are too closed-minded to understand all of this.
Adoption legislation and practise has come far since Richard was a child being adopted and thanks to Ministers in Government such as Tim Loughton MP and Edward Timpson MP, who have sought to improve the lives of so many children in our society who seek to find a loving family to call their own we continue to grow the circumstances that make an enriching and nurturing experience in the first 1001 days of a child's life.
With hindsight we made mistakes in the early days of our son's adoption by allowing too much access from friends and family. My mother in law stayed for a long weekend. After the first day there was a small, but perceptible shift in our son's attitude towards me. He became less tactile, less cooperative.
My wife, natural born daughter nearly 12-years-old and I adopted a short time ago after a three-year journey of waiting and hoping. It felt strange and almost surreal when you open your doors, hearts and life to a stranger. The range of emotions that you and the child go through is well documented, however nothing can prepare you for the rollercoaster ride that both us and our new son will experience.
When someone announces a pregnancy, congratulations frequently come easily and naturally. On the other hand, an adoption announcement doesn't always get the same reaction. I speak from experience; my two children are adopted. My son came to us when he was 3.5 years, and our daughter came to us when she was 10 months.
Today's Queen's Speech promises some significant steps forward for the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK today. While we share the Prime Minister's high ambitions for children, the proposed legislative changes are not, by themselves, a fix-all. Every child deserves to have a happy childhood and to get the support they need to succeed in life. They are our future.