It’s something she had been thinking about since her mid-twenties but it was a life changing accident which prompted Claire from North Lincolnshire to fulfil her dream of adoption. Seven years ago Claire suffered a serious spinal injury. It signalled the end of a job she loved in childcare as she focused on trying to learn to walk again.
“I’d always thought that if I didn’t meet the right person and have children then I would adopt. So when I suffered a spinal trauma I thought if I get through this then now is the time to start living my life.”
It was this goal, and as Claire describes, her stubbornness and determination, that got her through. A year later she was back in a new role within childcare and as life began to settle she plucked up the courage to finally make that call to North Lincolnshire Council’s Adoption Service:
“I got the number and spent about two weeks dithering. Eventually I was in the car and I just pulled over and thought now’s the time. And when I did and they answered it felt like the first step. I was committed.”
Claire was invited to an open evening where she met others also considering adoption. She didn’t feel different from them and explained from the start that she was on her own. North Lincolnshire Council welcomes single applicants and from then on Claire was invited to bring along a member of her family for support. She was allocated an adoption social worker who began to visit her in her home as she continued with the process:
“The first time they pulled up in my cul de sac they could probably smell the bleach! They ask all sorts of questions and you have to be open and honest. But it helps to build a profile of you so that they can share that information and try and find you the best match.”
Claire imagined that as a single woman she would be encouraged to adopt a girl, but early on it was made clear that this didn’t need to be the case. As it turned out, she went on to adopt a two year old boy. She had been shown Jake’s profile at a National Adoption Event by a social worker from another local authority who considered her to be a good match. Claire was immediately struck by Jake and decided to go ahead with the adoption process. Soon after began the whirlwind of sorting out her home, buying clothes and toys, a pushchair and a car seat as the reality began to sink in. Finally she met her son in his foster home – a moment which she described as amazing:
“He was sat on the floor with some profile pictures to help him recognize new faces. When I walked in he looked at me and looked at the picture and just smiled and that was it.”
That was three years ago. Today Jake is five years old and adored by Claire as well as her family and friends who have all accepted him into their lives. She feels that her dream has come true and she now mentors other single adopters offering them a second opinion over the phone and guiding them through the process. Claire finds the post adoption support she receives from North Lincolnshire Council invaluable:
“You’re not just abandoned afterwards and I think that’s the biggest thing with North Lincolnshire. They organise lots of get together’s so the kids get to see there are others like them and I think it gives them an open mind and a positive outlook on life”.
However difficult or uncertain it feels, Claire believes that single women, or anyone else considering adoption should be brave and pick up the phone:
“Being equipped with the information is the best way to make informed decisions”.
As she looks to the future, Claire is determined to do right by her son, a young boy who had such a difficult start in life:
“I’m going to do the best that I can to let him grow into his own personality and give him opportunities that perhaps he wouldn’t have before. I hope my little boy can look back and think my mum did a good job – she made sure I was safe and happy and we helped each other”