This weeks interview is with Rosemary Lucas. Rosemary’s written a lovely picture book The Family Fairies to explain adoption to young children. Her book was reviewed by Hayley in the launch issue of the magazine. Rosemary’s website is Rosemary Lucas and you can follow her on Twitter @rlstorytime or Instagram @rosemarylucasstorytime.
Introduce yourself and your family
My name is Rosemary Lucas and I am the very proud mum of two wonderful adopted children. My husband and I had a very challenging road to becoming parents and endured years of fertility treatments and losses. When the time was right for us, we accepted that we wanted a family and not a pregnancy and made the life changing decision that our family could be created though adoption.
Our daughter came home 7 years ago and our son has been with us just over 2 years. They are not birth siblings but are brother and sister in every way that you could imagine.
What area of the UK do you live in?
We live very happily in a beautiful part of Wales.
Was your agency a local authority or voluntary agency?
We thought long and hard about our choice of agency and researched those that were local to us. We came to the conclusion that a local authority was right for us as at the time we were hoping that we would be placed with a younger child and it was suggested that this was our best route for this.
Did you read any adoption stories before you started? If so where? (eg blog, Instagram, books)
The first time around, I didn’t use any social media platforms and blogs weren’t as prevalent as they are today. However, whilst going through our fertility treatments I became quite attached to the forums on Fertility Friends, which also had an adoption section that I started to look at. My main resources were books – I bought them all I think! Some of the most useful were:
What to Expect When You’re Adopting – Dr Ian Palmer
An Adoption Diary – Maria James
Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew – Sherrie Eldridge
Toddler Adoption – Mary Hopkins-Best
What was your biggest worry before you started?
I had it in my mind that we wouldn’t be accepted. I have no idea why I felt like this, but I thought that we would get to panel and they would all say no! I did also have some anxiety around whether or not we would feel a connection when we met our little ones for the first time. I think this is a pretty normal feeling, but I was very wrong about this as love really was instant. We both knew 100% that adoption was the right decision for us. We waited a year after our fertility treatments to apply as we needed to be certain, needed time to grieve, needed to accept the past, and ultimately needed to move on.
How long did the process take from the point of deciding you wanted to adopt to your child(ren) coming home?
It was pretty much 12 months from the time I picked up the phone to the time our daughter came home. It was the same the second time around. On reflection, this isn’t long at all even if whilst going through it, on occasion it felt endless. Although there were some delays which were a little frustrating, overall we had a very smooth journey through the whole adoption process. For others, it can take longer, and it does also depend on the current ratios of prospective adopters to children, which can vary widely.
What age and number of children were you approved for? Were you matched to a different age or number of children from this?
We actually applied and were approved for siblings. We had it in our mind all along that this was right for us. When we got a call to say there was a possible link, it was just for one and this really threw us.
The circumstances of the match however, were completely right for us and we knew immediately that we needed to change our initial plan. This absolutely proved the right thing, and 4 years later we applied again to grow our family to four. We count ourselves very lucky that we were approved for children 0-2 years old and that both of our children were under 12 months old when they came home.
How did the matching process work? Did you look at lots of profiles?
For us, this was one of the quickest parts of the whole process. We saw one profile each time and they were the ones – our daughter and son staring back at us with their big bright eyes. We feel very fortunate that we weren’t faced with lots of profiles that we had to say “no” to. I had been quite worried about the prospect of this and I know that for others that have had to do this, it was difficult and upsetting.
What has been the most difficult part about the process?
We actually got a lot out of the process itself, especially the first time. It made us realise that we were ready, that we had moved on and most importantly, how strong we had become as a couple. There were some hiccups on the admin side (some quite fundamental and stressful at the time), panel was delayed, and we had last minute changes of social workers. However, none of these really impacted the process as a whole and now, this far down the line, we never think about these things.
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?
No, we have been fortunate that we haven’t needed any additional support. Our children were very young and I think this allowed us to work through their uncertainties and attachments ourselves and together. There was also less support available then than there is today. Now, there are many resources available, for example Adoption UK, who now offer such a different range of support channels and of course invaluable online avenues, just like this one.
What has been your best memory since your child(ren) came home?
This is a very tricky one! There have been endless happy memories. I’d have to say our first cuddles were priceless, as well as the first time they started calling me “mamma”. That was an amazing feeling, considering at one point I never thought I would ever be called that.
If you could go back and have a conversation with yourself about the process before you started, what would you tell yourself?
Probably, believe. Believe in your own abilities – don’t doubt that it maybe wouldn’t happen or that I wouldn’t be a good mum. Believe in the professionals – although on occasions some parts of the process may feel frustrating, they really do know what they are doing. The proof of this would be seen if you just peered through the window of our home and saw the completeness our forever family has given us. We are very grateful and proud that we became a family through adoption, and we can’t imagine life being any different than it is today.