My journey as a single adopter started over 2 years ago.
It was a massive decision to apply to adopt, after looking into all of the other options. I did lots of background reading, and spoke to friends who had already adopted to get as much information as I could, before I applied.
I was concerned whether I would cope on my own and I wasn’t quite sure what I was letting myself in for – the fear of the unknown!
It’s been a lengthy, sometimes daunting process, and has seemed to be quite intrusive from time to time, with all the paperwork, questions, home visits and checks that need to be done.
You do need to have a good, reliable support network. I’ve had amazing support from my family and friends – and people who I barely knew before all this started, still constantly surprise me with their help and generosity. My social worker has been brilliant. She has given me help, support and advice, and has expertly guided me through the entire process.
You have to be prepared to ask for help when you need it – no-one will think any less of you, and everyone I have asked has been so willing and happy to help – whether it has been doing some shopping for me, the ironing (thanks Mum!) or just to give me a well-needed break to catch up on sleep!
The hardest thing for me has been the interrupted nights and lack of sleep (prepare yourself!), and having very little time for yourself. It can also be hard when you’re having a tough day with your child, and there’s no-one else to take over, so you can have some time out. It’s at times like that when you need your support network of family and friends to step in and help out.
It can seem a little daunting going on the preparation courses on your own, (I was the only single adopter on my courses) when everyone else is part of a couple. Having said that, I met some lovely people on the courses, and one couple have become really good friends. We meet up regularly and it’s great to be able to talk through any worries or problems with them as they know and appreciate exactly what I’m going through.
The post-adoption support network is also good. There are stay-and-play sessions for adopters and their children, run by experienced social workers. These are great, as you have the opportunity to chat to other adoptive parents, and the social workers are there to offer advice and support should you need it.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the adoption process. It’s been hard work, exhausting both mentally and physically, and I now have more grey hair – but I love being a mummy!
I am now a world expert on Thomas the Tank Engine, and have never spent so much time looking at buses and wheelie bins – but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
It’s been so worthwhile, worth the wait, and I would definitely do it all again!
Photo posed by models.