My natural mother, has proved to me on many occasions that if her presence in my life is unwanted, if it causes too much trouble, if I decide that I need to choose a mother, then she will step back. She believes that I should be able to decide the extent of my involvement with her, whereas my adoptive mother at least for a time, wanted all or nothing.
During the last decade, authorities and agencies across the country have found it increasingly hard to find permanent, loving families for children in care in a timely way. The government's plan to speed up adoptions, announced by Michael Gove in 2012, briefly reversed that trend. But it looks as though there has now been a dramatic loss of nerve by many in the social care sector...
Adoptees. We're allegedly 16% of America's estimated 500 serial killers whilst we represent only 2-3% of the population1. We're also the heroes of pop culture from Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins, to Superman and Luke Skywalker. In real life we're Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Marilyn Monroe...and Ted Bundy.
This week is National Adoption Week (3-9 November) and this year the focus is on finding new parents for groups of brothers and sisters. According to research carried out by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering around half of the 6,000 children in the UK currently waiting to be adopted are in sibling groups.
In my eyes adopting a child is one of the most amazing things someone can ever do. To give a child a loving and stable family life is a gift beyond compare. For England's 6,000 children hoping to be adopted, every day is a desperate wait. Another day spent longing for the love and support that, through no fault of their own, they are currently being denied. Everyone involved with these brave children wants to see them all get the family they deserve. To make sure each of their dreams come true we need a system that gives them the chance at a new life as quickly and effectively as possible.
Rather than projecting assumptions of what should happen, I've found that rejecting such preconceptions is what helps open my mind to a divinely grounded expectancy of good. Doing this has proved practical to myself and many others in overcoming all kinds of limitation, including emotional and physical health meltdowns and even chronic identity crises.
I am awed by the inspirational carers who give a home to children who have often suffered so much and find the courage and empathy to give joy to young lives. The capacity to love, sheer generosity and genuine interest in caring for children that I have seen has given me hope that there are more people out there who care about those children who have no one.
Meeting the unluckiest woman in Madagascar changed my views on motherhood forever. Despite standing almost 6ft tall, Carolin ducks her eyes when she smiles, shyness getting the better of her. She hides her inner steel. She lost everything because she refused to abandon her children. She is the mother of twins: three sets of twins.
Whether you deem it as a social family building trend or simply the scientific ability to navigate around Mother Nature, "traditional" surrogacy is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, it is the only form of assisted reproduction that dates back to biblical times. The story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis chapter 16, is the most notable example.
In an ideal world, nobody would need to be adopted, but this is not an ideal world. Adoption parties cannot prevent a child being taken into care, but they can help take them out of care. They give 'hard-to-place' children a greater chance of placement. They tackle some endemic problems in the adoption process.
Young people leaving care are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, more likely to become homeless, be unemployed and spend time in prison. Some will have been subject to abuse or neglect, and as vulnerable young adults they are likely to need someone to turn to, even after they have turned 18. It is time to end the misery of living alone too young for vulnerable youngsters, by giving every child in care the chance to 'stay put' until they're 21 - not just those in foster care.
What if Valentine's Day, or relationships in general, were a stark reminder of the most painful and distressing events that you ever experienced? What if they triggered a trauma so terrifically challenging that it forever altered your approach to life? Welcome to Valentine's Day, and relationships, for adoptees.
Those who devote their energies to stopping same-sex marriage may very well be motivated by a genuine, albeit misplaced, fear over child welfare. If child welfare really is such a concern, perhaps they should review the evidence and direct just a fraction of their energy towards creating a more equal society...