Yesterday we chatted with Ruth Jackson of Bluebell about postnatal depression, and in today's interview we'll be covering a different aspect of motherhood: adoption. For so many mums and dads, the adoption system allows a way to bring a much-wanted child into a family… but we were interested to know how the system works, and how our mum-to-be is feeling just before such a huge and desired change.
What is your current family situation?
I am single/never married. I am due to adopt a little boy in about three weeks time – if the official panel agrees that we are a good match (later this week)!
Can you explain a bit about why you decided you wanted to be a mother?
I have always wanted a child. Even when I was very young, I never understood other girls’ interest in teddy bears. For me, only little dolls, as realistic and ‘human’ as possible, would do. There is something magical about children. They can make you forget everything instantly with a chuckle, a cute look or something funny that they say. I guess I am also naturally maternal and have always felt that urge to nurture something, to see it grow, to teach it about the world.
When and why did you decide to adopt?
I tried to have a child naturally for about five years. I then spent a fortune (and also lost jobs, relationships and my figure) thanks to (unsuccessful) fertility treatment over several years. I was eventually told that I would only ‘get pregnant’ with a donor egg. By then I had run out of time and money for further treatment; plus my health, work and social life were suffering and the whole process seemed impossible, particularly when you keep being told that stress prevents conception! Adoption was the only other option available to me, other than a miracle.
How long has the adoption procedure taken?
Two years, which is quick by recent standards. However, the adoption process changed dramatically just after I had registered with my adoption agency and I understand that it can now be merely a matter of months.
Has it been emotionally difficult?
Yes! It is very time-consuming due to all the training, background reading and study you need to do, plus the sessions you have with your social worker every other week in order to prepare everything for the adoption panel (who decide whether to approve you as an adopter or not). It is an invasive process too, delving into some very personal issues and questioning things about my past or my personality that I had never considered before. I was even asked if my ex-boyfriend would provide a reference for me!…. However, my agency and social worker have been fantastic and made the process as painless and easy to understand as possible. I also think that, compared to fertility treatment, the adoption process is far, far easier, cheaper and more straightforward.
Could you tell us a bit about the adoption?
I am adopting through a national adoption agency rather than my local authority. I know other people who have adopted via their local authorities and they seemed to have a much more difficult time than I have had (so far!). My agency have explained every step of the (long) process calmly and patiently and prepared me for every eventuality, often answering my questions by email at midnight. The little boy I am adopting is from the UK and is two. He is a healthy, happy little chap with beautiful, big eyes. In the UK you don’t meet them until the adoption has been approved, so I can’t wait to see him face to face for the first time in a few weeks. I have seen photos and a video though and he is absolutely gorgeous – gentle and shy-looking but slightly mischievous too.
How are you feeling about the adoption?
After so many false starts, I can’t wait for him to arrive and still can’t believe it is only a matter of weeks now. That first night, when I finally put him to bed in his cot and turn the light off, will be so special. I am also looking forward to having a year off work to look after him though it will feel odd at first, as I have never had more than a month or so off since I left university.
What are you expecting from the arrival and your child's (and your) new life?
I am expecting to start a brand new chapter in my life and totally looking forward to it. I love babysitting my niece and nephew and can’t wait to have a child full-time. Everything will be new and exciting and I expect my days to be full of Postman Pat, baby swimming lessons, tummy tickles and long walks in the park.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I now see a woman who is finally about to become a mother for the first time, after a long and agonising journey. It’s not the way I had envisaged it happening as a little girl but it’s amazing… and I’m ready.
If our interview has resonated with you, let us know in the comments below. And if you'd like to find out more about the adoption process, we asked Adoption UK to tell us what they do and how they can help.
For prospective adopters and the children waiting for new families, adoption transforms lives.
Each year in England alone there are around 4,000 children waiting in foster care. Many are older children, sibling groups who need to be placed together or children with disabilities. These children have had unsettled starts in life – many will have experience abuse and neglect, and all will have experienced some form of loss by being taken into care.
Adoption UK is a national charity that supports adoptive families before, during and after the adoption process and helps parents and carers to provide a bright future to those unable to live with their family.
To get in touch and find out more about what Adoption UK does, call 0844 848 7900 or visit www.adoptionuk.org.