What’s it like to adopt as a single parent and what support do you get?

We spoke to Sarah about her experience, advice and why she’d recommend Theraplay to everyone.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to adopt?

I always knew I wanted to be a mother but not necessarily a wife. I tried that, and it didn’t work out for me. I was coming up to my 35th birthday and I’d been on my own for almost 10 years, so I needed to decide if I wanted to keep waiting until I met somebody or do it on my own. Ultimately, I decided I did not want to wait any longer, so I started my adoption journey.  

Can you tell us a bit about your adoption journey?

The entire process took about two years until the right match was found for me, but that’s because I had a very set idea of who I wanted to adopt. I attended an adoption roadshow in Cardiff, where all the different councils had stands. The first person I spoke to was a Trainee Social Worker, that matched me with my daughter, So it was meant to be!

The introduction stage was about a week. Initially this felt like a lifetime for me because I was so ready to start my happily ever after with my daughter but in reality I realised it wasn’t very long at all!

Did you find it difficult to adopt as a single person?

No, I didn’t find it difficult but sometimes it was a bit lonely doing it on my own. I talked to friends and family about it but it’s not the same as sharing it with someone. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but next time I’d hope to share the journey with a partner.

Did you need or get any post-adoption support?

The first year was relatively easy. Looking back, I think that might have been because she hadn’t settled in yet. Once she did settle, some issues did begin to arise, so I got in touch with her social worker to ask for help. My social worker suggested Theraplay.

Our Theraplay worker was amazing. She came in to do an assessment and then we had weekly sessions with her for almost a year to help us.  She also went to my daughters’ school to make sure the teachers understood the best ways to work with my daughter. This support has been so important for us.

What did Theraplay mean to you?  

Theraplay helped my daughter regulate her behaviour. The social worker picked up on little things that I hadn’t ever thought about, such as her not keeping eye contact with me. She showed me the footage from our assessment video and it was clear on the tape, but it wasn’t something I’d ever thought about.

We started doing a simple game of blowing a cotton ball between us where we had to keep eye contact. We were only playing but it helped us connect.

I would recommend it to everybody as it really helped us.

What has lockdown been like for you?

Lockdown has been quite positive for us because it’s given us that quality time to spend together. This has been a game changer. My daughter has thrived having my full attention and it’s brought us closer and solidified our relationship.

What is your advice to anyone who has just started the adoption process?

My best advice would be don’t get put off by the stories you hear about adoption from other people. Everybody’s journey is different and you can’t compare your experience to anyone else, so just go for it.

And finally, what has adoption meant to your life?

It has completed me. I sometimes forget that I haven’t given birth to her because she’s very much like me, she’s got my mannerisms and my sassiness. She’s one hundred percent completed me. Don’t get me wrong, there has been difficult times and I don’t want to sugar coat that, but I would do it all over again to have her in my life. I always wanted to be a mum and she’s made that happen. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If adoption is something you have considered, but want to learn more, please contact us for an informal discussion. We’ll support you every step of the way and help to create your golden moments of becoming a family.

You can get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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