Emma* adopted Josh* through PACT in 2018 when he was nine-and-a-half months old following a Foster for Adoption placement.
Emma first started to consider adoption following the break-up of a relationship in her early 30s because her boyfriend didn’t want children.
“Having children was one of the things I wanted to do most. It was on my mind for a long time, before it became clear that this was the path I needed to take and the path that I believed was the right one for me. I then started to tell friends, family and my church and everyone was so supportive of my plans. That really strengthened my resolve.”
Emma, who is a primary school teacher, did lots of research into adoption and went for an interview with four different agencies, including PACT. She decided to proceed with PACT after getting a call from one of the adoption team saying how keen the agency was to work with her.
“I loved the fact they really wanted to work with me. There was this amazing personal touch right from the start.”
Her plans unfortunately had to be put on hold for a year after a medical exam showed she had a heart murmur that needed surgery.
Emma said: “At the time this was very frustrating but I also realised how incredibly lucky I had been that it was picked up.”
Once better she resumed her adoption journey and in January 2018 was approved to adopt.
Emma was immediately inundated with profiles and said she found this part of the process quite challenging, seeing all the children who needed parents and having to make decisions about them.
“Lots of people say they saw a profile and just knew it was their child, and I didn’t feel that, and I remember Hannah, who was family finding for me, saying not to worry about this and that it doesn’t always happen, I should just keep going with the process.”
Emma said she really valued the support of Hannah and her social worker, Cornelia, and the way they championed her throughout.
“They were such good advocates for me. I just felt that they were on my side and wanting it to work, which I appreciated so much, particularly I think because I was doing it on my own.”
Emma was very keen on Foster for Adoption and the idea of being able to provide early permanence for a young child.
“I was long-term fostered from the age of 18 months when my birth mum died and my birth father couldn’t look after me. It was a private arrangement, the kind which wouldn’t happen today, but there was a lot of uncertainty throughout for me and my parents, which was very difficult for us all.
“I think possibly because of this I do feel very strongly that permanence for a child is just so crucial to their development. That’s why I was so keen on Foster for Adoption, that because although there was a risk, it was a risk that was picked up and borne by the adults, which really resonated with me.”
Hannah spotted the profile for Josh and suggested he would be a great match. Josh was a relinquished baby, and had been put up for adoption as his birth mum felt that she couldn’t give him the emotional and financial stability he deserved.
Emma vividly remembers meeting Josh, and has a photo of the moment they first met.
“I just have the biggest smile on my face – I remember they put him in my arms and I was thinking ‘I could be this child’s mum’. It was so incredible and exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.”
Emma said: “I was always aware of the risk, that his mum could change her mind, and it was difficult managing that feeling because once he was placed I was just in love with him. I remember thinking that even if it did go wrong, and he wasn’t able to stay with me, then I had done the very best for him and I would know I had done all I could to help him along the way.
“I also remember trying to be mindful to live in the moment rather than thinking too far ahead.”
In September 2018 the adoption order was officially made, and Emma said Josh is doing incredibly well.
“He is a very happy, charming baby. He sleeps well and at the moment is in a lovely phase of being interested in everything around him.
“He is just delightful and I love being a mum even more than I thought I would.
*Names changed in line with confidentiality