Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Why it took so long for a family to adopt me

Frances, 34, went into care when she was six years old. She could never have imagined back then that she would be unable to return to her birth parents. A childhood in care loomed before her until one day she met an extraordinary family who changed her life completely.

“When I was six, me and my six brothers and sisters were put in a foster care unit. We were told at the time that it was just for a while, until our parents had time to sort out their problems. But my parents weren't able to sort themselves out, and it soon became clear that we weren't going home.

“My oldest sister was old enough to make her own decisions and decided to stay at home. The younger ones, who were only babies, were quickly adopted. That left me and my two brothers. We were put in a care home.

"It wasn't a bad care home. We were well looked after and given treats every now and then. However I do believe we were forgotten about. Years went by and nothing seemed to be done to find us a family. I think because we were a bit older, and a sibling group, we might have just been considered un-adoptable.

"Then our social worker left, and a new person came in who was quite different. Suddenly the cogs were turning. At last something was being done to find us a family.

"Three families were interviewed with a view to adopting us. Finally they settled on one. I remember the day I met them for the first time. They came into the care home and I was lying on the sofa. I suddenly felt sick and started crying. I guess I was just confused and scared.

"When I was 13 I was finally adopted. I couldn't want for a better family. I still can't quite believe that this nice middle class family from Kent took in these rough diamonds from inner city London. I know it can't have been easy for them, but they gave us the love and support we needed to make something of ourselves.

"I continued to write to my other siblings, and we swapped cards and presents at birthdays and Christmas. When I turned 18 I went in search of them and we were properly reunited. We've stayed in contact every since. And despite all the years we all get on really well.

"I would say to anyone considering adoption to look beyond the exterior to the child inside who just wants to be loved. Children in care get a bad reputation, and maybe they are sometimes trouble makers, but that's only because of the situation they've been put in. I believe every child should be given a second chance."

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