Black Adopters with Lemn Sissay

In this You Can Adopt podcast, host Lemn Sissay speaks to Jennifer, who has adopted her two sons with her husband. We’ll be talking about her adoption journey, as well as her experience of being a Black adopter.

It’s an unfortunate fact that Black children and children of mixed-heritage wait the longest of any children to be adopted, and there are also a number of barriers and misconceptions that deter members of the Black community from taking the next steps to adopt.

Some concerns people cite about adoption include housing, their finances, and worries about their age, marital status, as well as perceptions about how adopting might be perceived by the community. However, the key attributes for adopting a child are providing a loving, safe, stable home and factors such as occupation, working full time, salary and the size of someone’s home, are not important.

Following fertility issues, Jennifer and her husband decided adoption would be the best option for them to start a family. Their oldest son is 6, and was adopted at 11 months, and her youngest son is 11 months, and was adopted 17 weeks ago. Both sons are of mixed-heritage (white and Black).

We explore her initial decision to adopt, the process and unique challenges and rewards of adopting as a Black parent (Jennifer is Black British of Caribbean descent), and her family life now. Ultimately we hope to encourage more potential adopters from minority ethnic communities to come forward to explore and start an adoption journey to build a family for life for both themselves and their child/ren.

Lemn Sissay has said he hopes people will always consider adoption, despite how hard it is: “Adoption is the greatest thing that a human being can do for another human being, in my opinion, because a child is going to test you emotionally, financially, politically, socially, on every level. An adoptive mother can love a child just as much as a woman who’s had the child themselves.”

The ultimate aim of the series is to understand adoption from the perspective of a wide range of people, including adoptees, adopters and birth parents. It is hoped that potential adopters will come to understand more about adoption and the potential richness of the adoption experience.