I have thought about adoption as long as I have thought about having children
I originally wanted to have birth children as well as adopt but as time passed I found that I was drawn more and more to adoption. I didn't start out with any firm ideas of the 'type' of child that I wanted to adopt, except that I wanted a child who was pre-school age. All my friends and family have children aged under four and I wanted my child to be around the same age. As a single mum, I also knew I would have to go back to work after my adoption leave, so I couldn't consider children who had significant physical or behavioural difficulties because I would not have the necessary flexibility to attend appointments.
The adoption process was significantly faster and more pleasant than I had expected it to be
I made the first phonecall, expecting it would take about three years before I welcomed my child home and in the end it took just over a year. I was blessed with very good social workers throughout the adoption process, which meant I always knew what to expect, what was coming next and how long everything was likely to take.
I knew as soon as I saw my daughter's profile that we would be a perfect match
I decided not to look at any children's profiles until I had been approved as an adopter. My social worker had got to know me very well and knew that if she gave me lots of profiles to look at, I would probably want to adopt them all. So, she took the time to filter carefully what I saw and my daughter's profile was the second (and last) one that I was shown. I knew as soon as I saw her profile that our personalities would be perfect together. The fact that her photo was of a beautiful little girl with a cheeky smile really sealed the deal for me.
The first time I met my daughter, it went really well
We met for the first time three months to the day after I first saw her profile. My daughter was three and a half when I first met her and she had wonderful foster carers who had prepared her beautifully so our first meeting was lovely. We were very lucky and we settled together as a little family very quickly. My daughter was already coming to me for reassurance and cuddles even before the end of our introductions. The day that my daughter moved in was a little overwhelming for both of us but we just had a nice quiet day and we soon settled into a routine that worked for the two of us. Keeping all of my family and friends away for the first couple of weeks was by far the hardest part for us!
As soon as I met my daughter I knew that I wanted to look after and protect her above all else
It probably took a few weeks longer for me to know for sure that I absolutely loved her. It look even longer for her and it was probably about 6 weeks after she moved in that she told me that she loved me for the first time. Now, it's impossible to stop her saying it every five minutes, which I wouldn't change for the world! We have been very lucky and we haven't had any problems since my daughter moved in. She settled into her new pre-school brilliantly and has made a host of little friends. We have maintained direct contact with both her half sister, who is 10 years older, and is in long-term foster care, and her foster carers, which my daughter loves. We haven't found that this causes any problems for her. My daughter now has a busier social calendar than me and goes to swimming classes and dance classes as well as attending pre-school. We are yet to face the challenge of me going back to work but I have very supportive family on my doorstep, who are going to help with my daughter's child care on the days when I work. I have been taking the time to prepare my daughter to understand that I will have to go back to work at some point so hopefully this too with go smoothly for us.
I cannot recommend adoption highly enough
I appreciate that I have been very lucky and that not everybody's stories are quite so straightforward but my daughter and I are so happy together. I would not change a thing.