Karen, a single mum of two, describes her journey to becoming an adoptive parent and explains how her daughters give her such a sense of fulfilment and love. Read on to find out more about Almaz, Heaven and Karen’s family.
I am a single, black lady who first adopted 10 years ago at the age of 37. I had always had a dream of adopting but thought it would be when my family were all grown up, wanting to give a child who needed a forever family a home and lots of love with me. Heartbreakingly, this was not the path my life would take. After losing three babies, I still had a deep longing to be a mum more than ever, so choosing to adopt at this stage of my life, rather than later, was the obvious decision for me.
My marriage had ended and going through the adoption process as a single adopter was quite daunting. At first, I thought they would only want couples or people with money. However, I was welcomed and the process was helped by having very nice social workers and my family being very supportive. My biggest concern was them having to contact my ex-husband.
I began to look into adoption in 2005 and by 2006 I had contacted my local council. I was approved to be an adopter in 2008, matched with my daughter in 2009 and she came home in 2010. My first adoption took longer than it should have done, due to the changing of social workers and me also not wanting them to contact my ex-husband. However, after my daughter Almaz came home aged 11 months, it felt like it took no time at all – also my adoption journey taught me so much more about myself.
After five years of being a mum to Almaz and three years of being a foster mum. I adopted my youngest daughter, Heaven when she was two and a half years old. She was placed with me to foster when she was three months old. Almaz and I had fallen in love with Heaven, so when she was put up for adoption, when she was 18 months old, I applied to adopt her.
“And it blew my mind, that they said yes!”
As a single mum of one, I did not think I stood a chance. I needed to go through the process to become an adopter again with the local authority – they still needed to do everything they did last time, but this time it was fast-tracked as they had all my information. And it blew my mind, that they said yes!
Being a single mum to my beautiful daughters has been full of fun, laughter, lots of love and so rewarding. It is also hard at times – being a parent can be challenging for all mums and dads, whether you are an adoptive parent or not.
My biggest challenge has been my little one’s health. Heaven has a very rare illness which has meant a lot of back and forth to appointments and hospitals. However, now our life/her life is and always will be my new normal. I would not change it for myself as that would mean not having my little fighter, but seeing her go through everything has been tough and if I could take away her illness for her I would. But she is my fighter and I love her more for all she has been through and always coming out of it happy. The love my daughters give me is like no other love I have had. They treat me just as ‘mummy’ – with all the good, ugly and love children have in them.
Anyone that is thinking about adoption, please stop and look into it more, especially if you are black, as parents from our community are really needed. So many children of all ages, just want a forever mummy and/or daddy and you could feel as blessed and as loved as I am, if you adopt a child, however big or small they may be. And, if you are single don’t let it stop you. It did not stop me and now I am such a happy and proud mum of my two beautiful girls.
Family Action’s adoption support agency PAC-UK provides specialist therapy, advice, support, counselling and training for all affected by adoption and permanency. For more information please visit www.pac-uk.org.