More inter-racial couples sought to adopt children in area
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 many children in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin from a range of racial backgrounds seeking adoption. If you are are able to provide a loving and caring life for a child, call the Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin adoption team for more information on 0800 783 8798.
Adopting older siblings – our story
When Scarlett & Peter met, Scarlett had never had her own children, whilst Peter had several older children from his first marriage. After trying to start their own family, and unsuccessfully going though the IVF process, the couple found themselves watching a TV programme on adoption.
“We talked it through,” says Scarlett, “and I realised that it was actually far more important to me to be a mum than to be pregnant. So I plucked up my courage and called – although I rang about six or seven times and put down the phone before finally leaving a message!
“My main concern was feeling obliged to continue if we started on the road to adoption and changed our minds. I needn’t have worried. We went through the first interviews, which reassured me, and having to wait until six months after our last IVF turned out to be a blessing. It gave us time to come to terms with not having the life we’d planned, but knowing that we could achieve the family we wanted.”
It’s a big step from taking on a single child to adopting siblings. But that too seemed a natural choice, says Scarlett.
“We had not initially thought about taking on siblings, but we were open to the idea – especially when we took on board how much it would mean to these siblings to be kept together. By that time we’d formed a great relationship with our social worker, Lucy, and trusted her implicitly when she suggested adopting the two boys.
“I thought our professions might be a barrier as we work odd hours, but we agreed that I’d take a year off work – in just the same way as if I’d had my own child.”
The adoption process
Like most people, Scarlett and Peter found the adoption process thorough and, at times, slightly intrusive… but ultimately worthwhile. “Trust your social worker,” says Scarlett, “they are only doing their job. Be open and be honest and you’ll find the process less invasive.
“Inside a year the three children had arrived – now with Peter’s children we had the family we wanted! We found the support fantastic – both before and after – which was vital as I’d not been a parent before. One of the boys pushed the boundaries a little – I think he wanted to see if we would stick around! That’s where the Play Therapy was invaluable.”
And their advice to anyone considering adoption?
“It’s not all roses round the door and you must be prepared for your lifestyle to change totally. There may be times when it can be very difficult: my eldest had memories and it took him longer to bond. But to see them now it is so worth it – they are ‘my boys’. They may not have come from my body, but they are my children.
“My husband’s older children love being around them too and have been an integral part of this process. We now have the large and happy family that we all wanted!”
How we were encouraged to take siblings… and haven’t looked back!
Like many couples who hit their forties with no own children of their own, Sue and Mike Williams found themselves looking at their friends’ lives and wondering…
“We were both very happy,” says Sue, “but there was this little bit missing. We had friends who were unable to have children of their own and had adopted, and that made us think that perhaps we ought to look at this. Now we just wish we had done it years ago!”
But as they point out, their original thoughts were to adopt just the one. What happened? “We were ‘upsold’ by our social worker!” says Mike! “Barry really knew us and gave us the confidence to consider two sisters – and we are so pleased we did.”
Adds Sue: “I know it can sound daunting, going though all the questions and intrusion, but we found the whole process a positive and reassuring experience. By the end we thought “If they feel confident we can do this, then so should we’. Our social worker has been just fantastic, with us every step of the way to ensure that we got the right placement for us – and we really trusted his judgement.
“Of course there were times when you wonder: ‘This is taking so long from deciding to go ahead… is it really worth it?’ But honestly, you need that time to get your head around what you’re taking on.”
So what has their experience of adoption been like?
“We’ve been extremely lucky,” says Sue. “We were told at the time that the age of the older sister might make it harder for her to settle, but in fact they have both fitted in really well with us and our lives – although we have certainly had to make a few changes!
“Looking back, we were probably a bit naïve about what to expect. I did give up work but still found it extremely hard. Your whole world is thrown upside down and your life totally changes. What I would say to anyone considering adoption is: ‘Take time to adjust – don’t pressurise yourself and make full use of the post-adoption service, particularly the play therapy which we found so useful’.
“One of the unexpected and major plusses for us has been entering the ‘world of adoption’ – which is a very warm place, where other adopters open up and share their experiences. We’re both very happy to be part of that world.”
And the last words go to Mike: “To anyone considering adoption, I would say this: there are no guarantees and you must have time and patience. Just make that call and find out more. Only by calling will you ever know if it could work for you… and if you don’t call, well then, you’ll never know!”