Adoption stories can help different characters in the adoption process including birth parents, adopted children and adoptive parents. They can help people decide if adoption is for them at all either putting them off something that would not have suited their circumstances or firming their resolve to go ahead. It is not only the adopted child who experiences loss and trauma in the process and the more we talk about adoption openly and honestly, the better off people in the process will be.

Adoption Stories

The first thing to say is that no two adoption stories are the same.

Even the reasons a birth mother will have for giving up a child will differ.

What is it like to be a friend or colleague of an adopted person?

How do adopted people cope with the education system?

Do adopted people struggle to form loving relationships?

Is it important to celebrate the day you were adopted even after you have lost your parents?

There is so much loss in the adoption process and some victims are forgotten such as a sister who loses her siblings to adoption.

There are birth fathers who perhaps never find out they are dads and there are those who were not given a voice in the adoption process. How do they feel?

What is clear that bare statistics can never tell the full adoption and fostering story.

Here’s to adoptive parents who give children a second chance.

Adoption UK is a charity that is a great diving board into the world of adoption.

Are you involved in adoption? Would you like to share your story?

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Jacky Ha-Ha Book

Mum Muddling Through

What does it feel like losing a sibling to adoption?

Last week, I promised to acknowledge National Adoption Week with posts from various perspectives on the issue. I have a few more to share and here is one. It was written last year. Too often, we forget the impact on the wider family members of adoption.

“I don’t cry very often.

For various reasons, I have learned not to show my feelings and to bottle things up. I like to appear hard. Don’t let them in and they can’t hurt you. I am not going to trust people with my feelings and be abused again.

They took my little brother and sister away. I know they had to go and they are better off in their adopted family. But I love them and I don’t get why I can’t see them when I would never harm them in any way. I need them and I bet they need me too.

I cried today when my social worker brought me some news about them. Could not stop, curled up in a foetal position, sobbing.

I miss them so much.”

This post is dedicated to 3 amazing women who know who they are.

What are fostering facts and statistics and might they encourage you to look at fostering as a life option?

I was fostered at the age of 11 months and adopted a few months later back in 1970. I am always interested to hear about developments in fostering and adoption.

Local Authorities, with the support of leading organisations and charities such as Ofsted, the Coram, The Fostering Network and IFAs (Independent Fostering Agencies), play a leading role in securing a brighter future for children in care.

To give you an idea of how important the foster care industry is to helping these children fulfil their potential, Foster Plus have pulled together some facts and stats that will shed light on this vital service.

I urge you to read http://www.fosterplus.co.uk/2015-foster-care-facts-and-statistics/ which I think may hold some surprises for you.

For example I found it really encouraging that 52 per cent of fostered children remain living with their foster carers after their 18th birthday. That suggests something is going very well indeed. My adoptive parents fostered me first and I am aware how vital fostering was in providing specialist support for an abused person I know. Fostering rocks in my view and I just wish more people would look into it.

As I was fostered 200 miles away from my birth family, I have many children are now placed closer to home. 88 per cent are placed within a 10 mile radius of the local authority. I hope this enables closer relationships with family members or members of their support network where possible.

As a person who has several siblings who I have never met, I think it will usually be best if siblings are placed together so they can support each other through a time of upheaval and change. 70 per cent of sibling groups are placed together which seems a little low for me but perhaps there are good reasons why.

Please do check out the infographic and share on your social media accounts. You might encourage someone to look into fostering and down the line that too can lead to a safe and secure environment for a vulnerable child in need.

What does modern family life look like? Is it very different from how it was just a few years ago?

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Matalan have recently launched a new TV ad, featuring real life families and conducted national research to explore how family life is changing in the modern era. 

Matalan say “the definition of ‘family’ in the 21st century is not straightforward; as the Facebook status might suggest, “it’s complicated”. This doesn’t mean that the idea of family has become any less important however, it simply means we are seeing that family today comes in many different shapes, sizes and forms. Matalan research revealed some interesting and surprising insights about modern family life.

• The New Nuclear: the idea of the nuclear family, that being mum, dad and two-point something kids living together, is being stretched and redrawn.

When I was at school, the vast majority of my peers lived with their married parents and full siblings. I remember two single fathers and imagine they felt very isolated back then. Nowadays, my children report all sorts of family dynamics amongst their friendship groups.

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• Beyond Kin: more and more, people’s definition of family extends beyond kin to include kith, i.e. non-blood relatives, friends and even pets.

I was brought up in a very close community so kith was always important bonded by strong church and school links. I think that both myself and my family miss out on that having moved away. However, I have formed my own kith largely through my blogging and social media. Those are the people I tend to reach out to in a crisis along with school, college and work friends. I feel that lack of a strong neighbourly community means we have to work even harder to ensure that our immediate family gives security to my children. Pets apparently add a lot to mental well being and are certainly important members of our family.

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• The Waiting Game: the number of older mums and older dads is on the rise, as are ‘klingons’; post-teens not flying the nest as they did in previous generations.

I guess I was an older mum 14 years ago but less so know with people choosing to wait until their forties or later to start a family. My husband is 11 years older than me and has children born from 1983 to 2005. Older parents are nothing new to me as my Mum and Dad adopted me when in their forties. They were very youthful in outlook and also had so many stories to share with me. There are certainly benefits to having older parents including the main breadwinners perhaps being able to be more available to the children time wise.

Right now, the thought of my children leaving home terrifies me but I imagine that might change in the future. I will want time and space for my own interests in the future. I also want them to experience life away from the family to develop as individuals and to make their own unique contributions to the world.

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• Blended Families: increasingly family means ‘blended’ arrangements that see multiple connections, multiple parental figures and multiple home locations. This is in addition to well-documented changes such as the rise of single and LGBT parents.

I am not a fan of the term blended family. I think it simplifies family dynamics that can be both joyful and challenging. Big changes in any arena need a lot of support and I think many families are picking their way through challenges without enough support. Our own family includes step-children, LGBT parents and carers, adoption and other issues. A business with multiple staff members, multiple outlets and multiple authority figures would be tricky to manage. I think families are the same and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.

• Staying Connected: families are finding new ways of using technologies to connect more frequently and on an emotional level, both when they live nearby or far way”.

I love that families can use new technologies to keep in touch. I have never loved telephone calls so email suits me better. I get real joy when I hear of families who live overseas being able to keep in touch and see each other regularly even if on a computer screen. I remember that people who emigrated in the past really felt they were leaving the family behind and ICT now means families can keep those connections going in a much easier way

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Matalan say, “Since we first opened our doors 30 years ago, we’ve always focused on providing outstanding value and quality for families. We take the time to listen, understand and evolve, to ensure our products are the right fit for modern, happy homes. Our latest campaign, Made for Modern Families, is a celebration of family life today, in all its shapes and sizes.”

I particularly enjoyed the behind the scenes footage.

Here is our family portrait

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I am sure your are proud of your own family so I would encourage you to celebrate it by sharing you family portrait http://www.matalan.co.uk/madeformodernfamilies and then tweet it to @Matalan on #MatalanModernFamilies

I am blogging about this issue for Mumsnet and encourage you to read the other blog posts on the linky about this campaign.