An adoptive parent from Manchester has taken to the airwaves to encourage more people to think about adopting.
Nigel, aged 36, and his partner Phil, aged 41, had been together for ten years when their on-off discussions about having children turned into a more serious debate about whether they - two potential dads - could bring up children together.
Now the dad of two boys aged 7 years and 21 months, Nigel has been given the starring role in a radio advert to help promote adoption.
Here's Nigel's story of how he became a dad:
"After filling in our application and an initial home visit from social services we were invited to attend a course of parenting classes with other prospective adoptive parents.
"Although we were the only male same sex couple there, it was a really mixed group of people. It was really good to share experiences and opinions and to hear their stories about why they wanted to adopt. It was also a really good way of finding out more about where children who are adopted come from and the really sad and sometimes horrific reasons why children come into care. Hearing these things really helps you to know what questions to ask when you get matched for a child.
"I'm a realistic person, so I wasn't exactly shocked by what we were told, but it is very emotional reading real life stories about children. If anything it reinforced our decision to go ahead and adopt. We knew we were doing the right thing.
"After this, there were more home visits from social workers and also lots of decisions for us to make. We expected to be asked if we wanted to adopt a boy or a girl and also the age range we wanted, but we weren't expecting to be asked if we'd consider adopting a disabled child who was perhaps blind or deaf, or who had learning difficulties.
"We both had a form to fill in and we decided to fill them in separately and then discuss our answers with each other.
"I remember feeling really guilty that with the stroke of a pen you were disregarding a child, but it's so important to be truthful to yourself and with your partner. You need to know that you are one hundred per cent sure about your decisions.
"It was only a few weeks after being approved that we got a call from our social worker to say we had been matched with a child, Liam. It was really exciting, but at the same time it was hard to believe it was actually happening. It was a real emotional roller-coaster - we were really happy, but there were lots of tears and also anxiety.
"We sent him a teddy bear as a present and also a family book we'd made with photos of us, our dog and our fish in, to show him the family that the teddy bear lived with.
"I remember our first meeting. We were sat around the kitchen table at his foster carer's house. She brought Liam in and his first words to Phil were quite literally 'Dad'.
"It was wonderful.
"Over the next week, we would go and see him every day, staying all day from early morning until late at night so that he could get used to us and we could get used to his routines. We'd get him up in the mornings and put him to bed at night.
"We were absolutely exhausted, it was a really intense time emotionally, but it just felt completely right from the very first moment that we held him. I knew he was mine and hoped he would be forever.
"He took to us very well and was very loving. Over the next week, we would bring him back to our house to show him his room and where we lived, then we gradually started to move his things into our house.
The first night he came to live with us for good, we tried to keep things as normal as possible. You have to really rein in the desire to spoil them. So we put him into bed, read him a story, left the room, and he started to cry.
I wanted to go straight in and pick him up and cuddle him for as long as it took, and had to go downstairs a complete wreck whilst Phil took over. He went into Liam's room, comforted him, told him to snuggle down and go to sleep, and he did.
Keeping our families away was the hardest thing after he moved in. They all wanted to see him. I managed to keep my parents away for a day and a half! But you have to be aware of the child and their needs at this time too. Four years on, he is just like every other grandchild they've got.
I took eight weeks adoption leave when Liam arrived and Phil gave up his business and didn't work for twelve months.
Two years after Liam came to live with us, we decided to try again for another younger child.
Initially we didn't tell Liam our plans, but then we sat him down and started to talk to him about it. He was quite open to the idea and after we'd been matched to our second child, Freddie, we made sure we really involved Liam in decorating Freddie's room, making our family book and choosing a toy to give him.
We met Freddie alone for the first two days and took Liam with us each day after that. There was no jealousy at all, until it was time for Liam to go back to school and then he was a bit fed up that his brother got to spend all day at home. But now it's as if they have always been together. Having Freddie from a baby has made us wish that we'd had Liam from that age too.
It's the best thing we ever did. Our one regret is that we didn't do it sooner.
We debated it a lot over the years before adopting, wondering if it was something we could do. If I could turn back time, I would have just gone ahead, made enquiries and done it much sooner. Obviously, you have to look at the pros and cons to see if adoption is right for you, but don't delay - talk to Social Services and get the ball rolling. And be totally honest with yourself because it would be very easy to do what you think is the right thing to do, when what you should be doing is what is the right thing for you.
Adopting is so worth it. The process seems like it takes forever, but it is worth the wait. And if it does take a long time, then this is because you are being given a child for the rest of their life, and this is a really big decision for someone to have responsibility for.
It's really difficult now to think of a life without our boys. Your whole outlook changes instantly when you become parents. We look at couples without children and see the kind of things they do and the lives they lead and we wouldn't change things for the world."
Most of the children in Manchester who are looking for adoptive parents are aged under nine, are from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and some of them are in sibling groups of two or three.
The Council's priority is to find adoptive parents for those children who have been waiting longest. Potential adoptive parents can be single or married, straight or gay, homeowners or renters, and may already have their own children.
Councillor Afzal Khan, Executive Member for Children's Services, Manchester City Council, said: "People who adopt come from all walks of life and have very different personal circumstances. What is important is being able to offer a stable, permanent, loving home to a child or young person."
To make a difference to a child's life and turn your own dreams into reality visit www.manchester.gov.uk/adopt to find out more.
Information is also available from the Council's adoption and fostering line on tel: 0800 9888 931, or by emailing email@example.com