National Adoption Week

It’s National Adoption Week. Did you know that?
National Adoption Week is quite a big deal to me, not because I’m an adopter or adopted, but because it takes up a significant part of my working life for a few weeks every year as I work on adoption publicity.

And I love it, because it really means something. It’s about people, it’s about children, it’s about parents and potential parents, it’s about giving people a better life.

When I was a kid, being adopted was no big deal. I knew quite a few people who were adopted. I still do. But that’s changed now. It’s not shameful to have a baby as a teenager or be an unmarried mother, so less people are forced to give babies up. On the flipside, more people who wouldn’t have been able to have children 30 or 40 years ago are able to have them now due to improvements in fertility treatments.

So adoption isn’t about babies any more and it’s not always about childless couples.

It’s about children who are unable to live with their birth families due to abuse or neglect. It’s about children with disabilities and children from all ethnic backgrounds. It’s about groups of brothers and sisters, it’s about children as old as 10.

So who can adopt? Pretty much anyone, really. You don’t have to be childless, you don’t have to be young or married or straight or white. Children who need adoption have a whole variety of needs, which can be met by a whole variety of potential parents.

These are profiles of some adopters I’ve talked to recently. Have a read. Do you recognise yourself in there? Or someone you know?

Could you adopt?

Emma, 42, and Richard,46, adopted two brothers. They decided to adopt after realising they couldn’t have children.

Emma said: “Adoption was the first thing we both thought of. Why create a new life when there are children out there who need a mummy and daddy?”
Once they were approved as adopters in 2009, Emma and Richard were quickly told about three children. Their son was the one who best met their criteria. Meeting him for the first time was a surreal experience.
Emma said: “I saw this chubby little boy. He looked nice, but it was weird thinking he was going to be my son. We felt protective towards him very quickly. It was a couple of months later, when he had to go into hospital, that we fell in love with him. We were so desperate for him to get better.”
Just over a year ago, Emma and Richard started talking about adopting another child. They talked to the adoption social worker who had placed their first child with them and she informed them that their son’s birth mother had had another child whose plan was adoption. The little boy moved in with the family when he was 10 months old and it took six months to go through the adoption.
Emma said: “It was meant to be. The eldest took to his little brother very well, he’s very protective of him. He says things like: ‘We’re from the same tummy, but not yours, mummy, because yours is broken’ and ‘I love our baby, he’s the right baby for us’.”
Emma said: “Adoption is a very personal decision and it’s not for everyone. But it’s the most rewarding thing you can do. Adoption is a wonderful way to give a child a new start.”
Rachel, 44, is a single adopter. She adopted her son two years ago.
Rachel said: “I always wanted a child and time was ticking on. I’d considered the options and adoption seemed the right choice for me. It wasn’t a rush decision. You don’t decide to adopt on a whim.”
Rachel was living in a rented one-bedroom property. Before she could go any further with the adoption process, she needed to find an affordable two-bed property to rent.
Rachel said: “All along, people thought I would have a long wait, being single and a little bit older. But I was matched with my little boy very quickly. I met my child’s social worker and then it was like a very quick pregnancy. I had six weeks to get myself and my home ready for my little boy.”
Her son moved in with her when he was two. Rachel had been prepared by social workers for what could be a difficult time, with some regression possible.
Rachel said: “I was made aware of the challenges adoption can bring. I was told I should expect it to take some time before my son settled completely. But my son settled brilliantly and quicker than lots of other children. I went back to work after nine months and he went to playgroup and nursery and now he’s just started school.”
Rachel’s son still has letterbox contact with his birth parents. They also stay in touch with his foster carers.
“Adoption is the best thing I’ve ever done by far.” 
Steven, 33, and his partner Ian, 37, have recently been approved as adopters.
Steven said: “We’d been discussing it for eight or nine year. As nieces and nephews have come along, we felt having a child was something missing from our own family. We thought adoption was better for us than going down the surrogacy route and bringing another child into the world.”
Steven and Ian first registered their interest in becoming adopters with the council in January 2011. Shortly afterwards they went along to an information evening, where they met other people in the same situation. They then had a home visit from a social worker, followed by a preparation course.
Steven said: “The course was extremely valuable. It explained the difficulties faced by children who are coming up for adoption, as well as the intricacies of the adoption process.”
Now they have been approved as adopters, Steven and Ian are getting ready to be parents. They are preparing themselves, their home and their family and friends. They have had details of siblings and are waiting to go to the adoption panel to see if they will become their parents.
Steven said: “We’ve met the foster carers and social workers involved with the children and it all seems to be going well. We have seen pictures of the children and are eager for it all to happen. Our family and friends are all being really supportive and are looking forward to it happening. It’s really exciting, but we are also nervous.”

If you think adoption could be for you, get in touch with your local council.

Find out more about National Adoption Week at BAAF


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. It’s lovely to see you supporting National adoption week. As a foster carer I can tell you that the most wonderful work I have ever done is moving a very special young man on to adoption.

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  2. Great post.I really love reading other peoples adoption stories and it is really important for people to know that anyone can adopt. I’ve been trying to write a post for this week but there is almost too much to say and just can’t find my groove. Good Work. x

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  3. Great post. I thought that their were rules in place over age of the adopter? Did this used to be the case? Seemed crazy to me – if someone is prepared to offer a child a good home, does it matter what age they are?

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  4. Thank you all very much for your comments, I appreciate them more than ever on this one!
    It’s especially nice to hear from a foster carer and an adopter. I’ve talked to a lot of amazing foster carers, too, Di.
    Must be hard to condense so much experience into a single post, Puffin, because it’s like your whole life.
    There are very few rules, Suzanne! Over 21 and with a spare bedroom. It’s all about your personality and if you can care for the child.

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  5. Lovely post to read. It’s great to read all the stories that are being shared for National Adoption Week. Thank you for sharing these.

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  6. Thanks very much. I really hope as many people as possible will read it. It might just trigger something in someone!

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  7. I know through working in schools what a difference adoption can make: a really great post. I just popped over to check out your lovely blog from Blog Your Own Blog Horn 😀

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  8. Thanks very much, Damson. It’s good to hear you have real experience of adoption making a difference. (Also good to know someone has popped over from Blow Your Own Blog Horn!). Really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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  9. Great post Sarah. We’ve always talked about adopting in the future as I believe it’s so vital and important to it’s really great to hear positive stories about it 🙂

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  10. I found this post through Britmum MBPW, so interesting to read those stories of adopters – thank you 🙂

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  11. Thanks very much for your comments, Jess and Susan. It’s great to hear it’s something you’d consider for the future, Jess.
    (Also good to know that Britmums MBPW is sending readers my way, Susan – I am so keen for as many people as possible to read about this and think about it.)

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  12. Important post. I fear too many think about adoption but then rule themselves out when if they have love to give, they are halfway there already.

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  13. A lovely post, there is so much negative press about adopting and how difficult it is that I think it puts people off.

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  14. Thanks very much. There is a lot of negative press and I think it’s all inaccurate. People remember things they read 10 or 15 years ago about people being refused for being overweight etc which just aren’t true.

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