Johnny has started nursery and he really enjoys it. Joe just loves being at home with Mummy.

We decide to take the boys away for a week’s holiday. We are so excited for our first family holiday. We book a cottage in Whitby, overlooking the sea. It was one of our favourite holiday destinations before the boys came to us, and now we are sharing it with our lovely boys. It certainly takes a lot more preparation and planning prior to leaving. I quickly realise that I am going to need a roof box!!!

We arrive in Whitby in late June, and the boys are so excited. We knew that we missed a lot of firsts!!! Their first steps, their first words etc… I think that’s why we enjoy the other firsts so much.

Our first holiday! Our first sand castle on the beach! Our first venture in to the sea!!!!

We realise now the enjoyment of having children. Seeing their little faces and the pleasure and happiness that they get from each different and new experience. It is just the best thing!!!! Our holidays will never be the same again and that’s a good thing.

The boys came to us in March and therefore we missed the deadline for the school admissions. We knew this at the time, but could not register as the boys were not even living with us.

We wanted them to go to our local Catholic school - the same school that I and my two brothers went to. After all that we have been through to date, I thought that with their ‘looked after status’, we would not have a problem. How wrong I was!!

The boys are not baptised and we cannot do this until they are legally adopted by us, which we cannot do until later on in the year. We are in a catch 22 situation!!!

It just shows you parenthood changes you

I speak to the school, who say that the class is full with 30 children. I explain our situation, but to no avail. I can appeal to the school governors. This too fails, and I only have one course of action left and that is to go to independent appeal. Everyone tells me that no one is successful with these.

I am so determined that Johnny and Joe will go to the school of our choice. I take legal advice and put my case to the independent panel. After 20 minutes of me putting our case, they ask me sit down. I think that maybe I have over done it!!! They will write to me in due course.

We wait nervously for a week or so, and then we receive the letter. We are successful. We are so pleased. It just shows you parenthood changes you and how much you are willing to fight for your children.

Johnny starts school. He looks so cute in his school uniform. We take lots of picture – obviously!!! He seems quite happy to go to school. We are both nervous wrecks!!! Am I the oldest Dad on the playground? Probably, but who cares?

Johnny settles in to school and Joe starts nursery. Janet goes back to work and after six months we start to feel like a normal functioning family, whatever that is!

Patrick & Janet's Story Part IX - Adoption Order