For many years Helen* spent her time looking after children; either at work or as a foster carer for children with disabilities. She loved the rewards of both and especially enjoyed being around children, and it was these experiences that motivated Helen and husband Marc to adopt a child of their own. With the help of Adoption North London, Helen and Marc’s desire for a child came true. Helen tells her story.
"Working in a nursery school I saw different ways families were coming together, and to us adoption is just another way - it didn’t feel any different.
Even though we were already approved as foster carers, we still had thorough preparation training to adopt. It is intense – and people mustn’t be put off by this – there are reasons why the social workers ask the questions they do. There is so much to consider and this training allows you time to think about the reasons why you are adopting and how your past experiences and your life now can help you raise your child in the future.
Soon after we were approved to adopt, our social worker came over with details of two little girls and we needed to decide which child. This was very much a privileged position to be in, but in reality it was about choosing one child and rejecting the other. It was a huge decision for us, and even now I can still feel the emotion of making that decision. But with careful consideration and support of our social worker we decided on adopting Maisy. It was a strange time, you feel like you can take on the world and save every child, but you have to make quite rational and confident decisions, and I just felt God had a plan – before adoption we realised we couldn’t do it on our own and we needed help, our faith and with the love and support of our family and church community we came through to the next stage of our journey.
We first met Maisy at her foster carer’s home; Marc said it was like ‘walking in slow motion’. I held back, I knew if I cradled her first, I wouldn’t let go and it felt lovely seeing Marc holding her first and giving her a bottle. They don’t tell you about the overwhelming emotion you will feel seeing your child for the first time – I know everyone is different, but for us, Marc and me, that’s how we felt.
Our time with Maisy increased and eventually after a few days Maisy came home with us. On her first night with us, it felt like I slept with one eye and one ear open – just in case! And over the next few weeks we bonded as a threesome. As time goes on, life changes, you become a parent, exploring new things and settling into a routine. If a friend asked me about adoption, I would say, have a plan; start thinking now about your experience with children; nieces, nephews, friend’s children, etc. consider your finances (and the financial support you may need) and talk to people who have already adopted - their experience is invaluable.
Two years on, we are now the contented family we have always wanted to be. Yes Maisy is our daughter, and we’ll teach her and guide her, but she has benefitted from being part of our network of friends and family and also our church community, able to experience all aspects of life. It was really beneficial for us to be part of the Adoption North London team, where all six boroughs work together closely and share information about the adopters and the children. The workers know each other and their focus is to ensure information is shared quickly and efficiently, reducing any delays for children and the families waiting."
*not real names