Fewer and fewer children in the UK are being adopted each year. In 2017 the number of looked after children in the UK who were adopted fell for a second year running. During the same period, the number of children taken into care rose again. As of March 2017, there were 72670 children in care nationwide. 4350 of them were adopted. The rest remain in the care system.
Fostering or adopting a child is a huge decision and a life-changing commitment. Perhaps this is why adoption rates are falling. Yet across the Black Country, there are hundreds of courageous and strong-hearted families who daily commit themselves to raising and nurturing the next generation by offering their homes to some of the most vulnerable children in the country.
On Saturday 24th November we will be celebrating these families in our first ever Appreciating Fostering and Adoption Event. As well as honouring the families who have already fostered or adopted children, we will be offering people who are considering embarking on the journey of fostering or adoption the chance to hear real life stories of the impact such incredible work can have. We’ll also be highlighting opportunities of how Christians can support foster and adoptive families in their communities.
In the build up to the event, we’ll be producing a series of articles and features that explore the journey of adoption or fostering from the perspective of people who have lived the journey themselves.
This week, we start with Lisa’s story.
I was born in London in February 1961 to a Canadian girl called Sally who was just 22. This was the second time Sally had found herself accidentally pregnant and the shame had caused her to leave Canada to travel to the UK to give birth secretly. She left Canada with her best friend without telling anyone (not even the father) that she was indeed pregnant again by the same man. After my birth she returned to Canada and carried on her life without anyone ever knowing of my existence.
I was adopted at 6 weeks old by a couple who were unable to have children of their own. They had already adopted a girl and 2 years later they wanted to add to their family. I had a very happy, stable and loving childhood. My parents somehow managed to ensure that I knew I was adopted without me ever remembering a difficult moment when they sat me down and told me the news.
Naturally I used to fantasize about my birth parents. Could I be related to royalty or someone famous? But the most recurring thought was that I wanted to find someone who looked like me and to understand the missing pieces in the story of how and why I was adopted.
Finally, at the age of 39, I found my birth mother and discovered I had a full sister. My adopted parents were gracious and kind in their support of my search, although now that I am a mother myself I understand the heartache that on reflection my adopted mother particularly was experiencing. The reunion with both my sister and my mother was both incredibly emotional and wonderful and gave me the sense of completeness I was searching for. Unfortunately my father had died of cancer before I had a chance to meet him.
Sally has visited me in the UK on a number of occasions and we get on very well. During each visit my adopted parents have welcomed her. The three of them have even been out for meals and enjoyed each other’s company without me. I will never call Sally ‘mother’. That is a title that in my opinion is reserved for the person/people who spent sleepless nights watching over you when you were unwell, who tolerated you when you rebelled in your teenage years and who loved and supported you unconditionally, even when you used the killer line ‘I don’t know why you adopted me, you obviously don’t love me’ to win an argument!
Sally is a lovely friend, but my adopted parents are my mother and father. They are the wonderful gift and blessing that adoption has given me and I will always be thankful!
To hear more stories like Lisa’s, join us as we appreciate those who foster and adopt and learn more about the process. Please click here to book your place for our Appreciating Fostering & Adoption Event on 24.11.18.
Watch this space for more inspiring stories in our Appreciating Fostering and Adoption series.
On behalf of Love Black Country