Anne is a single woman of black Caribbean descent who adopted her two daughters through Coram in 2021 and 2022.
Anne says she had always wanted to adopt, and her network of family and friends are proud and supportive of her decision. As a former primary school teacher, Anne’s background and experience had reinforced her desire to adopt, as she recalls: “I remember just always having a heart for those children who kind of didn't fit into the mainstream in different ways. Being around children who were maybe looked-after, or they were known to social care, it really made me think this was something I wanted to do.”
She continues: “I knew it was going to be really tough to adopt as a single parent. But I had faith that this was the right thing for me to do.”
Anne remembers first approaching Coram in 2019: “I have friends who adopted through Coram and had heard positive things. After attending Coram’s information event, I spent six months putting practical things in place – such as working locally – I was then in a stronger position to care for my family through adoption.”
Anne remembers having some initial worries as the adoption process with Coram got underway: “I wondered what questions the social worker would ask... Thinking ‘are they trying to catch me out?’ I worried about not being able to articulate myself, then my mum reminded me they need to know my story so they can decide which child I can be matched with.”
Anne continues: “Once the assessment started there was nothing to worry about. Although thorough, I had space to reflect on what I could bring to an adopted child.”
In December 2020, Anne was approved as a prospective adoptive parent and in June 2021, her daughter Rachel, then aged one, joined the family. Then in 2022, Anne adopted Emily, Rachel’s younger sister who had been taken into care after birth and needed a permanent loving home.
“Adopting children who are birth siblings I think is really important for their life story and having that connection. So I'm so glad that I was able to say yes to adopting Emily.”
Anne says that the support she has received from Coram throughout the process and afterwards has been vital: “It’s been great that my social worker has been with me throughout my assessment for both children. We built a relationship that supported me once I started parenting. When I first took Rachel home, my social worker said ‘call me when you get home’ and she would check in with me every evening which was nice. She is a great source of support.”
Anne also says that support from her friends, family and wider community has been invaluable: “We go for walks and play sessions with other parents and carers where we chat together. My support network is incredible, I can turn to my life-long friends as well as other adopters. I value the importance of self-care and look after myself when the children are asleep or mum is here.”
Since adopting, Anne says her life has been “a whirlwind but amazing”. She says: “I have to plan everything, down to having a shower! Rachel can have an unsettled night but wakes in the morning with a lovely smile. I am getting used to taking care of someone else’s needs, we are having new experiences and getting to know each other.”
Black African and Caribbean heritage children often wait longer for an adoptive family and more African and Caribbean families are needed to come forward to adopt. Reflecting on her experience, Anne says: “I have come across people who would like to adopt but are fearful of what social workers will ask, especially if their childhood or teenage years were difficult. From my experience of the assessment and meeting other adopters, people’s backgrounds do not necessarily prevent them from becoming adoptive parents, it is just they will need to talk about it. Social workers are professional and deal with difficulties with respect.”
Anne says life is very busy with the girls enjoying lots of activities including swimming lessons, trips to the zoo and aquarium, and ballet. She concludes:
“It’s really full on but lots of fun. Honesty I wouldn’t change anything. I’m blessed.”