Adopters for Adoption (AfA) is supporting a national day of action to raise awareness of adoption and the need for more adopters.
AfA, is joining with other adoption agencies right across the country to mark this year’s Big Adoption Day on Wednesday 21st March 2018.
Now in its third year, Big Adoption Day aims to promote the need for more people to come forward and provide a forever home to a child in care. The theme for 2018 is Adoption Stories and is an opportunity for adopters and adoptees to share and celebrate their positive experiences of adoption.
As part of its support for Big Adoption Day, AfA are keen to speak to anyone interested in finding out more about adoption. Our friendly adoption team are always on hand to have an informal chat and answer any questions you may have.
Family finder April Simpson said “We encourage all of those thinking of adoption to come forward. Adopters can be single or couples of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England. These include children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more, of BME heritage or with additional needs”.
Our single adopter, age 50 in Yorkshire who adopted two girls age 6 & 3 shares her story with us:
“I can’t tell you how glad I am that as a single, unmarried woman I didn’t write myself off as an adopter. I came pretty close! Today, thanks to the advice and support of Adopters for Adoption I’ve become Mum to two wonderful sisters aged 6 & 3. Whilst it’s fair to say that adopting these two little girls has turned my life upside down, it’s one of the best (and biggest) decisions I’ve ever made.”
I’d thought about adoption off and on for years but it was never the right time. When my son left home, it got me thinking about it again. However by this point, I was 49-years-old and unmarried.
Once I found out that my age wouldn’t be a limiting factor, I put a call in to Adopters for Adoption. Immediately I was reassured that just because my situation wasn’t straightforward, didn’t mean that I couldn’t adopt. They got the ball rolling right away and I just knew that they wouldn’t let me down.
Having talked over the phone, Adopters for Adoption visited me at home for a more in-depth chat. From then on, just as I’d hoped, things started moving at pace. I sent back my paperwork and was assigned a social worker.
Going to panel
Because of my unusual situation, the panel had a lot of questions. However you have to trust your social worker – they wouldn’t bring you to panel unless they believed that you were right and that you were ready. My social worker had been with me from the start and was incredible throughout – I really can’t thank her enough.
Incredibly, it only took six months from my first call to Adopters for Adoption before I was approved as an adopter.
Keeping an open mind, I began to look at a lot of profiles online, getting a feel for the kind of language used to describe different problems and the kind of children out there, needing loving homes. However when I saw the profiles of my two girls, something in me just knew. I can’t put my finger on what it was exactly, I just felt that there was something different about them. I spoke to their social worker who was completely upfront about the challenge they represented – understood to be ‘hard to place’ due to their age and the behavioural issues of the older child, the two young sisters had been waiting to be matched for 18 months.
We talked in great depth about the girls with their social worker, about their history, their needs, their challenging behaviours. I felt such a connection with these girls that the problems that were described to me as such really didn’t seem like problems. We all agreed that this had the potential to be a great match.
Meeting my daughters
Having been approved at matching panel, it was finally the right time to meet the girls. Nothing could prepare me for the warmth of the welcome I received. I was barely in the door of the foster carer’s house when I was greeted by two girls running towards me, arms outstretched. In the living room they jumped all over me and sat on my partner’s knee. It was amazing and overwhelming at the same time. When the time came for us to go, the girls were reluctant to let us go, insisting we told them exactly which day and at what time they would see us next.
After a number of visits, including to my own house, a date was set for the girls to move in. They couldn’t possibly have been more excited.
The move itself went smoothly but, as expected, once the newness of the situation had worn off, the significant behavioural problems of my older girl began to show.
A challenging time
At home we call her outbursts ‘to dos’. Initially these would happen most days and last several hours. My first few months with the girls were very challenging but thankfully, help was at hand and I received all the advice and support I could possibly need from Adopters for Adoption. Employing a range of tactics, I’ve been working through the elder’s issues and these days, there can be six weeks to two months in between her ‘to dos’. The first month without one was a big ‘wow!’ moment for us.
The younger sister has also adapted amazingly well to her new environment. She was three years old when she moved in with me and still wearing nappies. We transitioned her into pull-ups and using a light touch made it into a game. ‘Mummy it’s dry’ she’d tell me proudly at the end of the day. She’s now out of these too and has I’m proud to say has started nursery in regular pants.
Knowing where you belong
I’ve been surprised with the speed of progress for both girls – it really does show just how important the love of a parent and a stable home is. To the girls, it’s all about knowing where they belong. We’re still going through the final stage of the legal process and I know that none of us can wait for them to officially take my surname and us to finally be, in the eyes of the law, a forever family.