19th October 2022

Family Review: Family Profiles adoption

During Part 1 of the Family Review, we heard from families with adopted children about their experiences of adoption. This National Adoption Week we want to illustrate the ways that adoptive families contributed to our research by sharing their Family profiles – a snapshot of what family means to them, their strengths, the challenges they have experienced, how they like to spend their time and the support they value the most.

Today we want to highlight three family profiles that show the strength of adoptive families to overcome challenges and adversity. The families recognise that while their experiences have presented difficulties, their family bonds and wider support networks have given them strengthen and stability.

Many of the adoptive families we heard from in the Family Review said there is a need for greater recognition and understanding of the challenges adopted children face.  This week we want to raise awareness of the diversity of needs among families and celebrate all adopted children, their adoptive parents and wider family networks. You can read about different families experiences of adoption in their own words in these Family Profiles.

I am a solo mother to my adopted son aged 3. We have a strong bond and are a tight unit and I value the ability to put the needs of each other first. We have some challenges, including my son having developmental trauma from his early life experiences, managing the cost of living and being a solo parent with a son with disabilities and working. Family support has helped and the adoption support fund should help when it finally comes through though it takes too long and we need help straight away.

I am a mum to a daughter aged 16 and an adopted son aged 10, and wife to my husband of 18 years. But our chosen family goes beyond that to include close friends who we see every day, and my sister-in-law’s family as well. Our family bond is strong, and everyone has a voice. We always make sure we have quality time together, sitting down to eat as a family as often as we can, and taking the time to share our day. I love our family fun days and our holidays, especially as my children are now getting older. I really value the bond our teenage daughter has with us both, and with her brother even though it’s difficult at times. My son struggles with his emotions & behaviour, and his school has been resistant to looking beyond this. It’s been a steep, uphill battle and their attitude has had a big impact on our homelife. Everyone’s mental and emotional health has suffered because of it, not just my son’s. His sister has needed counselling as a result, and my physical health has been put on the backburner. It's not been easy, but it has brought us together as a family. We involve our daughter in conversations about her brother so we can all work together to not let our son’s behaviour define him. It has taken a long time to make any headway with my son’s school, but we have had some amazing help along the way from many different support services – the Virtual Schools, speech and language therapy, art therapy and post-adoption support to name but a few. Also, the support of my two closest friends. We have all supported each other these last few years as we all have neurodiverse children. Getting extended family to understand was a challenge, but a diagnosis of DLD has helped Positively, it has brought us together as a family. Due to the pandemic, training from OAWY was put online which meant my husband was able to attend. This really helped as he finally understood what I had been trying to explain; this in turn changed how he parented, which also made a difference as we were on the same page.