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Accepting a child for who they are.

I always had a feeling I would end up adopting a child. I had friends at school who were adopted from within the UK and abroad and we had many conversations about their experience as an adopted child.

I worked and volunteered in children’s work. Even with this knowledge it took me years to take the next step towards adopting a child of my own. The prospect of opening up my life to a child was a big step for me as I was living a happy, carefree single life. I parked the idea until I felt secure in who I was and the opportunities I had available to me that I could offer a child.

I knew lots about the adoption process before I expressed an interest with an agency. I made sure that I was as ready as possible, getting my home and finances in order as well as making sure my family and friends were aware of my plan. As a single adopter I knew how crucial it would be to have a positive and tested support network who could help me to parent an adopted child.

The process was not hard but trusting a Social Worker to understand me and convey me in a report was not easy. I was put at ease by the openness of my assessing Social Worker who was transparent in her need to gather particular information and the purpose for which this would be needed.

Once approved, my search began. I actively looked at child finding websites that are available for approved adopters. I also went to DVD events where Social Workers bring Prospective Adopters together to see videos of children waiting for adoption. It was after one of these DVD events that I found out about my son. I had expressed an interest in his older brother (who was being presented at the DVD event) but I wasn’t linked as the Social Worker felt they had found a better match. Whilst I was disappointed a little niggle had been present that it might have not been the right child for me as he was so close in age to my own nephew and I wasn’t sure how the differing developmental needs would fit in my family.

I was ecstatic however a week later when the same Social Worker asked if I would be interested in his younger brother.  I hadn’t seen a photo but I already had the birth family history and the Social Worker gave me a brief profile of his personality and needs over the phone. I was drawn to him instantly in a way I had not felt when reading all the other profiles.

With a successful match and introductions under my belt we began our family journey together. It’s been 2 years since my son was placed. There’s been tears, laughter and many changes to my way of life. I have made lots of new friends and lost some on the way.

My son was only a young baby when he came into care, the then youngest of a large sibling group. In his young life he has already suffered many losses, his parents, his siblings and his foster carer. I am blessed that he has adjusted to my care and become part of my family so well.

However this journey has been challenging, as any parenting is. When you adopt you are accepting a child for who they are, regardless of any issues or problems that are a result of their past. All children have needs, but a child who has been removed from their home and has made the journey to be adopted has additional needs. Adoption requires sacrifice and a servant attitude.

His siblings are placed with their own adoptive parents and I am fortunate that my son gets to see them regularly. I also visit with his foster carer and write to his birth parents. He will hopefully maintain that part of his identity, his roots are as important as his future with me. I didn’t just adopt my son but gained a whole extended family in addition to my own. I hope that this will help him as he grows and questions who he is and where he came from. It has always felt important to me that my child is not my belonging. He had a life before me and that will continue to be an important part of his identity as he grows and develops into a man.