I was 33, single and happy with my life. I had a great job, a close circle of friends who I spent a lot of my time with. I am part of a very small but close and loving family, but they all still live in Hampshire where we lived when I was a child. I moved to Stockport with an ex-partner and stayed here after we split, having made a great career for myself in the city centre. My day-to-day life revolves around my work and my friends – my chosen extended family.
My friends have been with me before, through and after the two significant long-term relationships I’ve had and accepted me was a ‘one’ in their sea of ‘twos’.
I am godmother to three of the children of those friends, and anecdotally have taken the role of godmother to the nth degree – I’m known as the UberGodmother. Everyone tells me what an amazing mother I would make. I know it too.
It’s one of my deepest most fundamental desires. It’s so ingrained and so deep-rooted, I actually don’t very often acknowledge it to anyone out loud any more. I desperately want to be a mother. But… I haven’t yet found anyone who I like enough to be the father. And I have tried! I stayed in my last relationship far longer than I had wanted to, in the vain hope that things might change, all too aware that my time to have a biological family of my own was not infinite.
I have ridden the merry-go-round of my internal monologue so many times – the two-sided argument going on in my brain: “if you can’t have the utopian option of ideal partner and children as a celebration of that union, which is more important? – being a mum and accepting that the father might not be “the one”, or not being a mum but also not having to share a life with someone who wasn’t “the one”? I also contemplated various “DIY” options which do not need any more detail here, suffice to say, I decided against those too.
The saving grace of my ‘oneness’ in the sea of ‘twos’ were my friends Jason and Paul who, unless the laws of biology were to change significantly, were never going to have a child of their own. Until they did!
They had invited everyone round for dinner one Friday evening. That was nothing unusual – it was their turn. But at dinner, they said they had announcement to make, and told everyone that they were shortly to be joined by their son, a little boy aged nearly two who they were in the process of adopting.
This news rocked my world. Far more than when any of the others had announced their pregnancies. And possibly tipped me over the edge of a precise I wasn’t aware how close I was to the edge of.
I cried and cried and cried. I had to take two days off work the following week. I had spent so long putting motherhood to the back of my mind, my reaction to their news was physical, mental and emotional – it was all encompassing. It wasn’t even as if I didn’t want them to have it, it was just that I believed I wanted it more. And I was embarrassed at my own sense of injustice and unfairness.
I feigned illness and retreated from the world for a day or two, needing time and space to wallow and lick my wounds. Then Paul turned up on my doorstep. He had seen straight through my “virus” and was here to rescue me.
He told me about their own journey, their own innermost need to have a child, to be a family, and about the process they’d been through to get to their current “expectant” situation.
He also told me about the other people who were on that adoption journey with them: the couple in their 50s who each had biological children from their first marriages, but who wanted a child that was theirs as a couple; the couple who had endured years of IVF and who had initially categorically ruled out adoption but who were now matched with 3 sisters who they were now as fiercely adamant of keeping together as a family as they could possibly be; and, most significantly, he told me about Angela and Dave – two single people in their same group who had both chosen to adopt as single parents.
He told me about the adoption agency they were working with, about the support they had received, about the opportunities they had had to talk to other adoptive parents about their own experiences, and about their all-consuming joy at being approved for adoption and that then being topped by their matching with Ryan, who was soon to become their son.
Paul stayed with me for a couple of hours. We drank about 5 litres of tea. He wiped my tears, he reminded me how loved I was, and he made me promise to think about it.
As I write this story, it seems like I’m telling you about something that happened last week. It didn’t. It happened in February (2018).
What happened last week was even more life-changing than all of the above.
Last week, supported by my angel of a support worker Julie, I attended my own adoption panel. I have now been officially approved to adopt two children of my own. The process has been hard work. It has raised some difficult questions. And I’ve had to verbalise some of my inner most hopes and fears. And I’ve had to consider exactly what kind of a parent I can be and to whom. But, for someone who twelve months ago, didn’t even know that a single person could be considered as an adoptive parent, I can’t believe the journey I’ve been on and that here I am, about to meet my chilren.
After Adoption have been about as supportive as I can imagine anyone being. Their Families That Last service is an adoption agency. But, unlike Local Authorities, Families That Last have access to children from all over the country. They are often in sibling groups or have challenges, but the support I’ve received and I’ve seen others receive is phenomenal and I have no doubts about my choice of agency, nor about the type of family I will end up being part of.
From my initial phone call, through to the exploring adoption event I went to, to their answering of my MANY questions, and their subsequent support through my application process, there has been someone there to guide me and give me a reality check every step of the way.
My next chapter is as yet, unwritten. I don’t know who I will end up sharing my life with. But I can’t wait to find out.
I wanted to tell you this story because I know I can’t be the only one who was in this situation. And I also know I can’t be the only one who had those misconceptions about who can and can’t adopt, about the process and about how long it actually doesn’t take!
If any of what I’ve said above resonates with you, I really do encourage you to get in touch with the Families That Last team. It may be the most significant phone call you ever make. It also may not be for you. But if you don’t make that phone call, you’ll never know.
Lorna – December 2018
Now the adoptive mum of two children
To find out more about the adoption process and our exploring adoption events, click on the image below