When they first met, John was in the Royal Welsh, Fiona was with the Royal Artillery and both were instructors at Bovington in Dorset.

“We were together just shy of two years when we started talking about making a family,” says John.

Fiona adds: “I’m from a big family and you think it’s a no brainer, that when a couple meet, you start a family and it’s really easy to do. And nothing’s happening! IVF was very expensive and it wasn’t working. So that’s when we said enough is enough.

“We didn’t want to financially break ourselves any more because we wanted to be able to afford to make memories with our children,” she says. “Adoption was the only route left open to us.

“SSAFA was the natural choice because we were both serving. By the time we made the initial call a lot of emotional heartbreak had already been fought through.”

John remembers the anticipation of sitting in the car outside the foster carer’s house, waiting to meet their boys for the first time.

“All the emotions were building up,” he says. “The first time it was only an hour, and we’re like, ‘what if they don’t like us?’, ‘what if they don’t come to us?’.

“But as we walked down the drive, they were sitting in the porch and… the smiles on these two kids,” recalls John. “They were absolutely beaming, jumping up and down and bouncing! It was fantastic!”

Fiona says: “It was absolutely magical. To this day, they still remember exactly what we were wearing, my blouse and shoes, John’s shirt: ‘Mum, do you remember when we first met, you wore those shoes and you were wearing a perfume!”

On 25 June 2014 – Armed Forces Day – the boys came to live with John and Fiona. “For anyone in the armed forces thinking of adopting, SSAFA understands the jobs that you do,” John says. “Wherever we were, they would always support us.”

“Armed Forces Day marks a homecoming for us as a family,” says Fiona. “SSAFA will always have a massive place in our hearts, because they’ve made our dreams come true!”

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