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...
What happens when the wick of that romance candle burns out and 3 months of you trying to conceive had long passed 2 years ago? By this point you are probably seeking out treatments. Instead of having a date night you are planning your life around your monthly cycle and your date night funds are all but gone from the costs of medical bills from clinics and pharmacies rolling in.
For someone adopted who has already been abandoned, the fear of abandonment is a real and present danger. With a narcissistic mother, the abandonment actually occurs, again and again and again, reinforcing the truth that you are unloveable unless you meet the standards set out for you. And even then...
No matter what holiday you are celebrating this time of year albeit Christmas, Festivus, Kwanza, Hanukkah, and any others I may have missed, this is the time of year where family gathers. Traditions are made and repeated. Tis' all about the kids this season. Kids, yes the one thing missing out of 1 in 8 couples lives.
The right place at the right time for the right child. If we are to do this we need to do many things differently than we do now. Currently no children's home can feel safe secure and cared for because of the many pressures, especially those concerning finance and regulation, that are being applied to them.
There's no doubt that adopting a child in England is becoming easier and quicker. Almost everyone I speak to tells me about someone they know who has had a horrendous experience of adopting years ago - whether it was the agonisingly slow process to be approved as an adopter, or the lack of support after they actually managed to adopt.
We attempted everything under the sun to get pregnant and, although we are currently working with a surrogate, we got elbow, neck and knee deep in to the adoption process before that opportunity presented itself. When we made our announcement that we were adopting, we were shocked by the misconceptions people have about adoption.
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.