It’s always hard to find a way to start a premiere blog post, isn’t it? Do we say hello? Do we introduce ourselves through the medium of lyrical rap? Do we introduce ourselves at all and go all Banksy-esque instead? It’s difficult to know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just start with… welcome! Or, as we’d say in Wales – croeso! We are the Adventure Squad, and this is our brand new blog!
The Adventure Squad, you say? Who the heck are they? Well, we’re a family unit consisting of Dadi (me, aka Lee – the wordsmith, obsessive tea drinker, nesty-haired one), Dada (Tom – the brains, brawn and general creative extraordinaire), and our little one (Pumpkin – explosive pooper, cheeky grinner and all-around dad manipulator). We were brought together through adoption, and we decided to create this blog to document our journey as fathers as we go about adventuring, exploring, and trying to teach Pumpkin to be curious about and look after the world he lives in. We don’t claim to have any merit in the area of parenthood… on the contrary, we’re finding our feet as we go along!
So let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Before there was an Adventure Squad, before there was a Pumpkin, before Dadi and Dada had even met. How was it that this family came to be? Well, let’s rewind all the way back to September 2012, not long before everybody started getting a bit shifty about the approaching apocalypse (I would say HA! to the Mayans for getting it so wrong, but then 2020 happened… so maybe they just got their calculations a bit mixed up?). We were both fresh-faced youths breezing through our first week of Freshers at University, drunk on life and love… and possibly a few Sambucas, but I don’t see how that’s relevant. Moving on. We met at a club – and not a gay one, either! I caught a wisp of flaming hair through the kaleidoscopic techno lights, a booty that was all too good at gyrating to the music – and then our eyes met.
Okay, so perhaps it didn’t happen quite as elegantly as that. There may have been a bit of stumbling over to one another, a bit of flirty giggling, but I like dramatic overwriting, okay?!
Anyway, Tom would delight in informing you that I already knew who he was because I’d seen him online beforehand, yadda yadda yadda… which is true, yes… and the word ‘stalker’ may have been used by some people when relaying this story, however I just don’t think these accusations would hold in a court of law, so I think it’s best to just drop it. Moving on. Again.
So that night saw the beginning of our relationship. I know it sounds cheesy, but we did know fairly early on that we loved each other – and we both wanted to be parents, which was a quality that we both valued in one another. We got engaged, finished Uni together, moved back to my hometown, got ‘real’ jobs and started saving up for a house. In the meantime, we got our first furbaby, who you will see pictured below. This is Buzz. He’s all teeth and no substance, I tell you, but we love him.
Fast-forward a year and we had our second furbaby, Beans – lovely boy, dumb as hell – and had moved into our first bought home together. A tiny box-like thing, but it was ours. And still is, to this day.
We’d often spoken about starting a family of the years, but it was after we got married in March 2018 that we decided to begin our journey. Adoption was always the first option for us. Tom’s career in a Pupil Referral Unit, offering therapeutic interventions to children from challenging upbringings, had made us really want to offer a safe, loving and secure home to a child who may not necessarily have had a good start to life. We did a lot of research, contacted our local authority’s adoption agency, and began our journey officially in the summer of 2018.
Pumpkin, our future son, didn’t even exist at this point – and yet he was all we could think about. With every training course, through every social worker visit, with every blog post and book that we studied, the thought of him consumed us. We didn’t know who or where he was, and yet we already loved him, in a very strange way.
In December 2018, we passed adoption panel. In April 2019, we were brought the profile of a little baby who’d had a bit of a bumpy start. Something just clicked, almost instantly. We’re a spiritual pair who believe wholeheartedly in fate, and it was like the universe was whispering encouraging words to us. This was our son. We had to be his dads. There was a lot of going back and forth, a lot of nail-biting, a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights as we fought to become this tiny human being’s parents, but eventually, in October 2019, we were officially matched with him.
We were good to go. We’d already decorated his bedroom, briefed the dogs that there was a new addition coming (they took it very well) and baby-proofed the house. Then, in November 2019 we began the introduction process, and our world changed completely – in the most magical way.
That brings us to now. Ten months after Pumpkin came to us. We’ve been on so many adventures together as a family, jumped in so many puddles, paddled on so many different beaches, climbed up so many rolling hills and mountains, that we just wanted to create a space where we could talk about our adventures. Not just the wild, outdoorsy type… but also the sometimes more chaotic, bewildering parenting adventures, too.
So that’s us. The Adventure Squad. Come and join us on our journey.
Until next time!