Ahead of National Adoption Week, a single West Sussex mum has spoken frankly about her fears of adopting – something which ultimately ‘enriched’ her life.
Councillors and staff at West Sussex County Council are showing their support through pictures during the national awareness week from 17 to 23 October.
The annual event is a timely reminder of the numbers of children who need to be adopted every year. Last year, around 40 children were found permanent homes with local families through adoption in West Sussex.
The majority of children currently waiting to be adopted in West Sussex are aged 0 to 8 years and include siblings and children with a range of disabilities.
Jo, who lives in West Sussex, is now the happy mum of two after adopting two siblings through West Sussex County Council. But she wasn’t always so confident in how it would turn out.
Jo said: “I was nervous when I went along to the council’s fostering preparation course and discovered I was the only single adopter. However, I needn’t have worried – I made friends with several couples who were also going through the process, one of whom lives around the corner!”
Although the assessment was quite a lengthy process, she said that after she was given the green light everything happened really quickly.
“I was about to go on holiday when I saw my little boy’s profile and, although there weren’t many details and there was no photo, I still knew straight away this was the right child for me. Meeting your child for the first time is pretty amazing.”
Jo adopted a boy who was seven months old and has since also adopted his younger sister.
“They enrich my life completely. As a single parent with two young children there are lots of challenges but by adopting through West Sussex County Council there is local support there when I need it. The rewards far outweigh the challenges.”
Adoptive parents, through a legal process, take on full parental responsibility for a child and make a lifelong commitment to enhance a child’s life.
You do not have to be married or in a relationship to adopt a child and although you have to be over the age of 21 there is no firm upper age limit.
Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “A child’s life can be transformed by the love of an adoptive parent and we would like to encourage more people to give someone a life-changing experience with a new home.
“If you are thinking about adopting then the best advice is to come along to one of our information sessions and here about what it involves. You will also get the chance to talk to people like Jo who can tell you exactly what to expect.”
The County Council’s Adoption team has organised a series of drop-in sessions for National Adoption Week to give residents the opportunity to find out more:
• Horsham Library, Monday 17 October (10am – 2pm)
• Chichester Library, Wednesday 19 October (10am – 2pm)
• Crawley Library, Thursday 20 October (10am – 2pm)
• Midhurst Library (The Grange), Friday 21 October (10am – 2pm)
• Worthing’s Centenary House, Wednesday 26 October (9.30am – 12pm)
For more information, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/adoption or call the Adoption Team on 0330 222 7777.