Adopting a child is often perceived to be a daunting and challenging process. Fortunately, the reality couldn’t be further from the perception, and in Shropshire children of all ages and from all backgrounds are being adopted by loving families.
As part of National Adoption Week, the Joint Adoption Service of Shrophsire, Telford and Wrekin have shared with us stories from three families about why they adopted and how they found a place in their heart for a child.
Luckily, with the support of the adoption team in Shropshire, many young brothers and sisters are being given a new life together with loving and caring families.
The move from having possibly no children to a sibling group could be a daunting or even an off-putting thought for anyone but that is exactly what happened to Shropshire couple Laura and Simon. “We tried to have kids but we were in our thirties and had tried the normal routes with IVF and donor eggs and we thought ‘why don’t we look at adoption?’ But my husband was worried that they wouldn’t look at us,” said Laura. “We went to the first information meeting and discussed our worries with a social worker who put them to rest straight away,” she added.
Initially, they thought adopting two children would be a possibility. “It was our social worker who suggested how about we consider a larger sibling group? We discussed it and my husband, like me, was initially concerned.
“We had a three bedroomed house at the time, but when we looked at the figures, we thought ‘why not’. With the adoption leave planned and family and friends close by we felt we were ready for the challenge.”
With the initial caution behind them, they soon realised the benefits of becoming a family with a large sibling group.
“We were told we would definitely be adopting the children in December and spent the entire Christmas wondering how the children were and how they were spending Christmas. We couldn’t wait for the New Year until we could actually meet them, which took a month from meeting until them finally moved in with us.
“We were lucky, the children aged three, four and seven came to stay with us in such a good routine from the foster carers. Initially, my husband concentrated our efforts on the eldest children as we were concerned they would find it the hardest, leaving me to concentrate on the two youngest.”
But what was it like going from the consideration of adopting one child to a sibling group “I would have found it as much work as with one – admittedly you never finish the ironing, but they are great kids and they have bought so much into our lives.
“I would say it is the best thing we ever did and we have got the family we were looking for. Every child is special and our children are no different. There is nothing more rewarding than giving a child the life they deserve.”
Adopting Children with Disabilities and Special Educational Needs
Clive and Emma have adopted six disabled children over the past 20 years, in addition to their two birth children. At the time they had little experience of adoption, other than with Emma’s parents who had adopted a child with Down syndrome.
“We started to think about adoption, even though we had two children of our own. We knew that this is what we wanted and we knew we could do it,” said Clive.
“The initial process can seem to be a bit invasive, but it’s very rewarding once you’ve adopted. Our initial adoption procedure took 12 months and we have been assessed for each subsequent adoption,” added Clive.
“They need to know that the adopted children and the child you’re looking to adopt will be suited, so it’s understandable.
“The times between when we were allocated a child and when they actually come to live with us varies and in the last instance was only about ten days.
The three children they adopted more recently have suffered from autism. But they say the challenges are outweighed by the rewards.
A child is a child, needing care, love and attention. “This is something you should only do if you are determined and committed. Do your research and talk to the local authority and talk to other adopters,” added Clive.
“To anyone looking at adoption, I would say given all the positives, look into your hearts and see if this is something you really want to do as this is a lifelong commitment. You also need to ensure that it is as important to your partner as it is for you. But the rewards are amazing.”
Adopting Children with Duel Heritage
When Shirley Morrison says adoption provides a loving and caring opportunity for all involved, she knows what she’s talking about. Adopted herself in the 1970s because her Kenyan born mother couldn’t juggle her single parent life with nursing training and work, Shirley was adopted by a white family.
Shirley, who was brought up in the North West, didn’t find the fact that she was a trans-racial adoption unusual at all. Throughout her schooling she was in classes with several children who were adopted or fostered – several of them to white families – and this continued throughout both her primary and secondary education.
When Shirley married her husband, having struggled through two pregnancies and knowing how rewarding the adoption process could be, Shirley turned to the joint adoption team at Shropshire Council.
“We knew we had so much to offer a child and having been there myself and known what it’s like to be fostered and then adopted into a loving family, I knew we could offer that to a child ourselves,” said Shirley, who has followed her paternal and adoptive mother into nursing.
Fortunately for Shirley and her husband, the process of adoption was very quick. But that’s because there a so few dual heritage couples in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin coming forward to adopt, leaving many children without the opportunity for adoption.
They went to the adoption information meeting in the October and started preparation training in January. Within a year they were matched with a dual heritage child. Within 10 days of meeting their prospective adoptive daughter, she came to live with them.
“This is testament to the work that the foster carers who had looked after her had put in allowing them to spend as much time as possible at our home,” said Shirley.
“I would say to anyone considering adoption go into it with your eyes open. If you want to have a family and your choice is to adopt you must make sure you go into it for the right reasons and if you do you will find it the most rewarding thing you do.
Someone told me once ’remember when you adopt that someone else has written the script.’ If you remember that, you will find this a really life-affirming decision.”
There are children throughout Shropshire seeking what any other child might take for granted – love and to be cared for. Adoption also brings immense pleasure to all. If you would like to know more about adoption and the work of the Joint Adoption Team in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin call 0800 783 8798.