Francesca* brought her daughter Phoebe* home in October 2018. Adoption was her first choice as a path to parenthood: “I felt more drawn towards becoming a mum through adoption than having a birth child.”
Although she started the process with another adoption agency, she wasn’t able to continue with them due to being out of area so she looked for other agencies and found PACT. “I wanted an agency that was there to support me and my child not just through the adoption process but afterwards as well. When I read up about PACT I liked the information I was reading, the training they were offering and that they had a Christian affiliation.”
The assessment process and panel went smoothly. Francesca said: “The social worker I was assigned to was very good. I felt that she understood where I was coming from and I was able to talk through issues without feeling there was any judgment formed against me.”
She found she actually enjoyed the process as it gave her the opportunity to reflect on her own motivations and strengths. “It gave me the opportunity to look back on my life and consider what I had to offer, and what I want from becoming an adoptive mother.”
While the adoption panel was a little nerve-wracking, she said that all the panel members were very supportive.
Francesca found the linking and matching process to be more difficult. She didn’t want to rush the process and sometimes felt discouraged when matches didn’t feel right or the child wasn’t quite the right fit with her. She didn’t like the feeling of ’rejecting’ children where the match wasn’t right.
When she met Phoebe for the first time, it was scary and surreal but also an amazing experience. “She took my hand straight away which was lovely.”
Early on after Phoebe came to live with her, Francesca sought support from PACT’s team to work through a few issues. She found the team to be very supportive, and they gave her some advice to help her deal with the situation.
Although there are ongoing challenges, such as worrying about being a good mother or not knowing what to do in certain situations, Francesca would encourage anyone considering adoption to go for it:
“It’s the most frightening but rewarding thing I have ever done. Knowing that you are involved in the development of a child and can create a new family life together is fantastic. It is a challenging experience and it is most definitely one with a lot of soul searching and a continuing emotional roller-coaster which can be hard, but I wouldn’t change it. It got me to the point of having a beautiful child to grow with.
My advice would be to find out as much information about the process beforehand. Learn about the reasons children are put into care and the types of issues they could have, talk to people who have been through the process and are in a similar position to you, and go to information evenings. All the background information can help.”
Q: What have been the highlights of your adoption journey so far?
“Seeing how my child connects with me and my family, seeing her develop, being called mummy, seeing the enjoyment in her eyes when doing trips or new things, playing with her… too many to mention!”
*Names changed in line with confidentiality