21 Oct 2014

Single parent

Julia Wise gave up a high-flying career in television and hectic London life to move to the country and pave the way for what would be a life-changing experience – adopting a child on her own. Here she shares some practical advice and top tips...

I’ve been a single parent for quite some time and, as an “old” hand, I’ve been asked to talk to other women — and men — who are thinking about adoption and want to know what it’s “really like” to adopt without a partner. It’s a difficult question to answer because, as I know from my own experience, it’s hard to hear and understand what life will be like as a single parent of an adopted child until you’re there. But just in case it’s helpful and hoping I won’t frighten anyone away, here are my top tips:

Think carefully about why you want to become a parent. Adoption is about what’s best for the child, not...

13 Oct 2014

It started as a fairly routine request from British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) to volunteer some adopters and their agency representative who might be willing to travel to London to help with some positive adoption publicity.  BAAF said they were particularly interested in identifying adopters who had met their children through an Adoption Activity Day.

Jane and Shaun were an obvious nomination.  They had first met their wonderful daughter Poppy at an Activity Day in September 2013 and a couple of months later they were matched and planning their first Christmas as a family.  Jane and Shaun were self-confessed Activity Day sceptics, but they had cordially accepted our invitation and somehow Jane had persuaded Shaun that ‘if they were going to do it they were going to do it properly’ and that meant party attitudes and full on Pirates and Princess outfits!

On paper, Poppy was not the match they had been waiting for.  On paper her...

06 Oct 2014

Family walking down railway track

Looking after five children – two adopted and three fostered on a short-term basis – has radically changed Dave’s way of life.

Fostering never crossed my mind. I was a chef with no direct experience of parenting or links to the caring professions. Now I’m studying for a certificate in social care, have given up full-time work and am about to become the main carer for five children!

It was my wife Sarah who first suggested fostering. She had worked in a children’s residential home. We both liked children and liked the idea of lots of kids passing through the house. We thought we could help them out and pass them on, either to return to their birth family or on to a new, permanent family.

In due course we were approved as temporary foster carers for one or two children aged five to 12. In the end, twins – one girl, one boy – joined the family...

01 Oct 2014

Stella Tomkinson

This week we hear from an amazing woman! Stella Tomkinson celebrates 50 years as a foster carer and adopter, caring for the children and young people of Coventry and Warwickshire.  

She is still a foster carer with Warwickshire County Council. She and her husband have adopted 6 children and have fostered around a hundred children. 

I came into fostering in a different way to most people.  Bill and I had adopted a little girl in 1962; a dream come true for us both.

We had our names down for a little sister for her when we had a visit from a social worker saying she had been given our name by Miss P at the mother and baby home, saying we might take the baby girl she had but we couldn’t adopt her as she had lots of health problems, her mum hadn’t been able to care for her and she was in a children’s home.  

She said we...

29 Sep 2014

Mother and daughter on hill

Last week we heard from Natasha about meeting a little girl who she made a special bond with when she was volunteering at an orphanage in Uganda.  When she found out the little girl had been put on a list to be adopted in America, she tried to adopt her herself, but it wasn’t as easy as she had thought. Here’s what happened next…

 I researched anything I could, contacted people in the know, made links in the UK and Uganda that would help us in our long process.  I started the home study process with my local social services and made our first steps to becoming a family.  

Piece by piece things started to fit together.  In October 2010, with just one week notice, I was issued with a Ugandan court date.  This was really happening!  My Mum joined me on her first ever trip to Uganda to be...

22 Sep 2014

Mother with daughter

In the first of two parts, adoptive mother Natasha shares her inspiring story of adopting from overseas... 

In 2005 I stepped off a plane onto the red soil of Uganda East Africa for the first time.  I would be joining a team to work in remote villages and within a children’s home.  Little did I know, as I bent to my knees to be welcomed by some of the children at the care home, that in 2010, one special little girl would become my daughter.

I was not at all prepared for the deep feelings of love I experienced during that first visit.  I didn’t know how one little girl could steal my heart.  After just over 3 weeks in Uganda, I knew I had to make plans to return.  I loved this place.  The red soil had gotten into my skin and was drawing me back even before I left.  So my visits became annual.

In 2008 something...

08 Sep 2014

John's wedding

Today we hear from Rachel who shares her memories of when her adopted brother arrived and how much he means to her…

I remember meeting my brother John for the first time.  I was 10 years old and he was 5 and had blond hair that stood up on its end.   He used to walk on his toes and was so fast at everything - we went for a walk that first day and he moved in soon after.   In my family, before John arrived,  it was me, my parents and my birth brother  Matthew  - when John came it was similar to a tornado moving into the house. 

We had a fairly idyllic childhood with a huge garden; lovely camping holidays and adventures and we had adoring grandparents and cousins that were a large part of my life. Then john arrived.   I never questioned whether he was my brother or not - he just was and still is my little brother.  


01 Sep 2014

Isobel Child with adopted son

I took a deep breath. I was on the phone to one of three local primary schools, explaining that I was in the process of being approved to adopt and asking if I could come in and visit so that I was well prepared when the time came to find a school place. Girl or boy, I wasn't sure which at that stage, but I knew already that my future child was likely to be what the adoption world calls "an older child", one of only 850* 5 to 9 year olds adopted from care each year.

That School Secretary's question was thankfully very untypical of people's reactions generally to my news, and she didn't get anything like a full answer from me, needless to say. In fact, my reasons for wanting a school aged child were less emotional and more practical (in particular around needing to carry on working as a single parent) and statistical (I was likely to be matched with an older, harder...

27 Aug 2014

Jeannie adopted Gordon as a single parent, when he was 10 years old. Here, she describes how she helped him with his education – both in and out of school.

Before I adopted Gordon, I worked in a residential school for children who had emotional and behavioural problems. One day, a social worker attached to the school invited me to join her in running a group for the parents. That evening, for the first time, I listened to the parents’ perspective and was humbled by their knowledge and understanding of the issues that affected their children, and of the role they were playing in their children’s education. However, it was becoming a parent myself that made the biggest impact on my understanding.

When Gordon came to me at ten years old, he struggled to read and write. He could not tie his laces or tell the time and he had some difficulty dressing himself. Yet within a year, he was not only able to do all of this, he was also reading at the same level as...

18 Aug 2014

Nick adopted young adult

In the final installment of this three-part series, adopted young adult Nick, shares his story of how he approached contact with his biological family. Catch up with his previous posts here.

So, off I went searching the ether and the net (techies will understand the joke) but couldn’t seem to find him anywhere.  I knew he was local, and had some information to go on, but I was struggling with this one.  Where is he?  Who is he?  Why does one person keep showing up when I’m looking for him?  

Well the first I could find on him was through my cousin’s sister in law -turns out, she knew his partner.  I sent a message to be passed from pillar to post until it reached him in the hope that he would contact me.  In the meantime, I thought that one person that kept appearing on social...