Shape 1 Shape 2

For as long as Claire can remember, she has always wanted to be a mum.  She resolved that if she had not met someone by the age of 40, she would look seriously at adopting. As a primary school teacher, she had contact with a number of adoptive families and had always been fascinated and struck by how special and positive these relationships seemed. When friends adopted two children through Adoption Matters, Claire was moved to approach us herself having not previously been aware that there was an alternative to adopting through the Local Authority. Claire was not even sure whether as a single person she would be able to adopt.

“From the initial phone call it was a totally different experience, I can’t fault anything at all. I was treated with respect and acceptance.”

“I decided to be totally honest and open from the outset. I had previously been treated for depression and was concerned that this might be a barrier to my adopting. I needn’t have worried. Every time I said something I was expecting the door to be closed but it never was. They just accepted the whole picture and the fact that going through these issues in your own life can help you grow and be better equipped to take on a child, particularly one with specific needs.”

Some people fear that the assessment process will be difficult and intrusive, however Claire found that she enjoyed it and having built a strong rapport with her social worker who let her know in advance what they would be discussing at their next meeting giving her time to prepare, it never seemed difficult or threatening. “It all felt one step closer to getting my child”. In fact Claire’s key advice for anyone going through the process is to try and enjoy it as a time of preparation as you would a pregnancy.

“I used to tell people I was ‘adoptant’ because it felt like being pregnant in one sense, going through that process. Going to the meetings was like my ante-natal classes!”

Claire was very clear from the outset that she would be more than prepared to consider a child with a disability or specific support needs and when she found out about Hayley, a 7 month old baby girl with a hearing impairment she was keen to find out more.  Just 2 months after being approved as an adopter, Claire met Hayley’s social worker and then soon found herself at a matching panel.

“I felt very fortunate in that I had a fantastic social worker, and so did Hayley. By matching panel, I remember saying ‘I love this little girl already’ even though I hadn’t actually met her!”

Seeing Claire and Hayley together today, just 2 ½ years following placement, they are just a typical mum and lively 3 year old daughter. Claire still keeps in touch with Adoption Matters and finds the support groups and social events valuable. She still feels that she can contact her social worker if anything arises and that there is ongoing support for any tricky situations.

“After the adoption order was made, there was always a sense that Adoption Matters is there for as long as you need them. When I dropped her off at nursery for the first time, she cried. And I had to walk away. I called the social worker to tell her and check that was a good sign as it means she is attached!”

Claire’s final thoughts – “sometimes I’m so tired I cry, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Life is just so shiny now, this is life – it wasn’t really before. She’s such a joy to me and so many people.”