I first started looking into adoption when I was in my mid-40s.
Having not met the right person to start a family with, but knowing I wanted to be a mum and that there were children who needed one, adoption was the obvious choice.
What really drew me to seven year old Jordan’s profile was our mutual love of reading. We both love the author Lemn Sissay, who himself went through the foster system. We’ve even been to Cheltenham Festival together to see him in conversation with the Scottish poet Jackie Kay, who was adopted.
As we came out of the packed hall, Jordan said: ‘Mum, it’s really brilliant because I’m the person in that room who can identify with the people on stage’.
I have been astounded by the resilience that Jordan and many other adopted children have, and their determination to make the best out of life.
Their ability to understand what has happened to them and to carry the weight of that as a child is humbling. Jordan has been just as focused at making our relationship work as I have been, he is as invested in me as I am in him.
However, we’ve both had our challenges along the way.
The adoption process wasn’t difficult, but understandably took some time and involved a lot of thought about who I was, what I had to offer and what difficulties I might face. It was mentally challenging – it’s not like a Disney film.
My first meeting with Jordan was very frightening, for both us, but the two-week plan of introductions organised by the agency was superb. At all times, they were conscious of what was best for the child and for me.
Adoptive parents like myself have no comprehension of what our children have been through.
For the first few years, Jordan was very scared and took his time in deciding whether to trust me. It took him two years to start calling me ‘mum’, which was hard to deal with, but ultimately worth the wait because I knew it was genuine.
Sometimes the financial situation and the relentlessness of solo parenting can be hard, but it has brought us closer together – we are a team of two – but just because you are a single parent, it doesn’t mean you are alone.
Single adoptive parents shouldn’t feel afraid to ask for help, I do it all the time and I’m a better parent for it.
When Jordan turned 11, I attended the ‘Stop’ parenting programme run by Coram for parents of teenagers and the techniques I learned have been invaluable. They allowed me to understand my son better than some of my friends who have birth children.
We set up a group for those who attended the course and we still meet every four months, even though our children are now all approaching 18.
One of the most rewarding aspects of adopting Jordan has been seeing his life aspirations expand before my eyes.
For the first three or four years, whenever I asked him about his future goals, Jordan would say that he wanted a job as a cleaner. Now he’s at college training to become a paramedic.
He also passed seven out of his eight GCSEs and told me: ‘Mum, that’s better than anyone else in my family has done before’.
For my son to be the first-ever in his birth family to get GCSEs felt like him being the first man on the moon – it was an amazing achievement.
Jordan wasn’t the only one who was transformed by the adoption. I have gone through immense personal growth and change as an adoptive parent.
I have become a much more patient and empathetic person, something that has also paid dividends in my professional life.
If Jordan comes to me, I will stop whatever I am doing and listen to him – being fully present for your child is the most powerful gift you can give them.
You are showing them that they matter and that they are loved, and I really underestimated the power of what being loved actually means to a child.
The scale of my love for my son and the security it provides empowers him to live his life.
Jordan has faced some difficult challenges from his childhood, and he will carry them with him for life, but I have no doubt that he will have a happy and fulfilling future.
He is his own person and he believes in himself.
To others thinking of adopting I would say: do it!
It has far exceeded my expectations. I think it’s better than having a birth child, I could never have produced someone as wonderful as my son.
He’s just a really great person – everyone should have a Jordan!
Coram Ambitious for Adoption is keen to speak to anyone in London and surrounding areas interested in becoming adopters.
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