It was when Peter Scott’s adopted son admired his shoes and asked if he could borrow them when he was big enough, he knew the then-five year old was settling in to his new family.

Peter and his partner Derek, from Glasgow, had adopted their son only weeks earlier and are now raising awareness of adoption in Scotland through their agency, St Andrew’s Children’s Society.

The couple, who have been together for 11 years, have always known they wanted a family and six years ago they began to search for their own child.

Their initial encounter with an agency wasn’t positive, and while Mr Scott, 46, can’t put it down to their relationship entirely, he was sure that it was a factor in the hostile treatment the couple received.

He said: “We really didn’t feel positive about the experience and at that point that was a real low for us. I don’t have anything to prove it was our same-sex relationship but we were left feeling it was that.”

Soon after they found St Andrew’s Children’s Society, an adoption and fostering agency based in Edinburgh, and knew they had found the right match.

During their year-long adoption process with St Andrew’s the couple worked closely with a social worker to assess their needs and what they could offer a child. They shared their own childhood experiences, their strengths and weaknesses and what they perceived any challenges might be.

Mr Scott said: “[If you’re thinking about adopting] it’s worth keeping in mind it’s quite long and in-depth. But for me and my partner, it was something we really enjoyed. Everything that is gleaned from the process is going to decide whether you’re suitable to adopt a child and help find the right child.”

The couple - who now share a surname after Peter changed it so their son wouldn’t be the only one to change his name legally - were open to suggestion when it came to the age and sex of the child they could give a home to, despite Peter’s concerns that he wouldn’t be able to do a little girl’s hair.

Almost a year after they started the process and just two months away from their approval panel, Peter and Derek attended an exchange day where potential adopters met social workers from different local authorities who had children looking for new homes.

Mr Scott said: “We saw a social worker who had a leaflet and video on this little boy. What really sticks in my head is with this one woman, we sat down and we chatted and we left our details and we walked away and we realised we had been there for nearly an hour. And we thought, wow, that was different from all the others.”

After being approved at their panel, the couple were approached by their son’s social worker to see if they were still interested.

Mr Scott said: “That was quite a moment as we thought he’d have had a new family by then. To hear they’d been in touch was amazing.”

A few months later, the couple were given a date for their son’s arrival. Over a phased process of ten days their son, now 10, met the couple, then spent a day with them before having a sleepover and eventually leaving his foster home for good.

Mr and Mr Scott were prepared for the transition and had been warned that many children find the first days and weeks difficult, but they felt completely supported by their social worker and St Andrew’s.

Their son settling in was “quite a long process", Peter explained. “It’s not something that suddenly changes but there’s lots of subtle things that let you know he was seeing us as home.”

And now the family of three are firmly bonded and many of the couples’ worries turned out to be unfounded.

Mr Scott said: “Within months we were at the point that we couldn’t imagine life without him. It feels as if he was destined to be in our family. One of the worries we had was that we wouldn’t hit it off but he’s just a complete fit for us.

“We have no regrets at all and we’d encourage anyone thinking about adopting to contact St Andrew’s Children’s Society with any questions. It’s been a really good experience.”

Stephen Small, director of St Andrew’s, wants to encourage more people to adopt as numbers fall in Scotland. In 2018, there were 471 adoption orders granted in Scotland with 301 made by people who had no relation to the child - a 16.6 per cent drop from the previous year.

He said: “There are many myths about adoption that we would like to set the record straight on. People who are in same-sex relationships, who are single or who have a health issue or are disabled can adopt. St Andrew’s Children’s Society are a highly trained and experienced team that help find homes for vulnerable children living in Scotland and offer their families an extensive range of support.”