This week’s interview is with Laura. You can follow her on Instagram @lc.kc and her blog which details her journey to meeting her daughter is here
Introduce yourself and your family
We are a family of three. Never thought I would say that! Our little family unit is made up of our daughter, who is three, my husband and myself. My husband Daniel and I , Laura, are both Europeans – I am Austrian and he is Spanish, and now we have a British daughter. Our girl, whom I will call R here, came home in February 2018. Just over year and a half of being a family.
What area of the UK do you live in?
We live in the South East.
Was your agency a local authority or voluntary agency?
We adopted through a local authority, which was part of a consortium. It worked very well for us, in most aspects.
Did you read any adoption stories before you started? If so where? (eg blog, Instagram, books)
The way I most prepared for adoption was to read. I read everything I could get my hands on. It felt like I’d bought every book there is to read about adoption – I did drive myself crazy at times. I read news articles, online forums, blogs and started following UK adoption community Instagram accounts.
What was your biggest worry before you started?
The biggest worry (amongst hundreds of little worries that seemed very big at the time) for me was the uncertainty around the child we would be adopting. I was so scared of everything that could come up or go wrong.
Those fears are still there, but because of the process you learn to live with that uncertainty – it’s such a big part of adoption itself. Without accepting that there will be a million unanswered questions and that all you can do is your best, I would have gone crazy. It’s still very difficult, but not unmanageable!
How long did the process take from the point of deciding you wanted to adopt to your child(ren) coming home?
We went to an information evening in November 2016. We submitted our formal registration of interest late May 2017. Our little girl was home with us in March 2018. So from the registration of interest until we had her home, it was nine months in total. We were very lucky because we found out about her very early in the process. Our social worker was family finding for her.
What age and number of children were you approved for? Were you matched to a different age or number of children from this?
We were approved for one child from 0-5. We were matched with one little girl a bit under two, so we adopted within what we were approved for.
How did the matching process work? Did you look at lots of profiles?
As mentioned above, our social worker was our girl’s family finder as well. She asked us if we wanted to look at her profile and we of course said yes immediately.
After we saw it and said we wanted to move forward, we got to read more about her. It was so surreal finally seeing a real profile, learning about a little girl’s life who might become ours one day.
We were asked over and over if we wanted to move forward. And because we shared our social worker, we had to have another social worker come out to basically make sure we weren’t being unduly influenced by our social worker.
She grilled us for hours about potential things that could come up with our little one and scared us half to death. But I was so glad she did, she was looking out for her and for us. And still, we said yes!
During this time, we also saw another profile. But by then we were invested in our girl and it didn’t even feel right to look at another profile.
We went to approval panel and the linking meeting happened about a week after that. Then matching panel three weeks after that and it was a unanimous yes with about 17 people in the room! It was magical, we all cried.
What has been the most difficult part about the process?
For me, it was the waiting. The endless waiting for further meetings, for answers, for information, for panels, for the adoption order…..waiting to meet our girl. It is so, so difficult! But so, so worth it.
Have you needed to access additional help and support from your agency since your child came home? If so, what and did it meet your needs?
Yes, my husband had some serious health issues recently and I asked for help from post adoption support to navigate this with our daughter. They came out within a week and gave me loads of advice and support, I felt seen and heard and looked after. There was one follow-up meeting, and thankfully no more were needed. For now, they have been great and it was just what we needed.
What has been your best memory since your child(ren) came home?
Oh gosh! That’s hard, there are so many.
But I would have to say the first time she called me “Mommy”. She started calling me mum early on, but I don’t think there was any meaning attached to it, it was simply a name the foster carer used for me. It transitioned to Mama and then finally, I was Mommy.
And the first time she was sick. Although I have never felt so scared in my life, but all she needed was to lay on my chest – I couldn’t believe that I was actually this amazing girl’s safe place. A feeling like no other.
If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself about the process before you started, what would you tell yourself?
Two things. The first one is, cut yourself some slack. No parent is perfect and it’s ok to be good enough. Sure, read the books and ask for advice, but trust your instinct and don’t put so much pressure on yourself, believe that you are a mother and a good one at that. This took a while to sink in.
The second one is: self-care is not optional! You need to take care of yourself so you can pour from a full cup. Not having breakfast is not an option!