OneDiocese blog: A mother’s adoption story

Published: Tuesday October 18, 2022

A baby's hand holding an adult's fingerIn National Adoption Week, a mother from Gloucester shares her journey of adopting and how her faith has guided and helped her family through the process.

Sarah*, 34, and David, 37, are parents to Tom, 11, and Joseph, 5. Joseph joined the family as a baby, having been successfully matched, and after 14 months of further paperwork, was officially adopted by them in 2018.

“When I was a teenager, I remember someone came to our church and spoke about adoption and, looking back, I think God had sowed the seed for me. I went to university, came out, met David and we got married. We had our first child, Tom, but then went through a season of infertility, classified as secondary infertility. We worked through that and decided to apply for adoption, but both of us were aware that we had to go into adoption with a very different mindset.

“It can’t be about adopting a child to replace a void that we’ve got, or thinking I’ve got capacity for another child and they’re just going to slot in. Adopted children have a very unique set of needs, and you need to parent them in a different way. You have to have such an open mind, just to appreciate where this group of children are coming from and they can’t be expected to be taken out of their family and just dropped into your own, because they have their own trauma to be worked through in a new family setting.

“We had to go through an infertility grieving process first and then arrive at a different place before we could then start talking about adoption. We said all the way through the nine-month assessment that we were doing it to figure out if it was the right thing. We gave ourselves permission to explore it and if it wasn’t right for us that was fine.

“The process of adoption is deliberately slow and methodical. It’s quite intense and there’s a lot of time for reflection – on how we parented our birth child and also how we were parented ourselves. Our family makeup and the support network that we had around us was also a factor – so all angles of family life are reviewed. The County Council offered support for our family and friends too, to help them understand their role in the process.

“It is my faith that has sustained me.”

When thinking about how her faith has helped her, Sarah says it is her faith that made it all possible and has sustained her.

“The support from our church was particularly helpful for us, although we had to create certain boundaries to protect us and Joseph. Some people find it hard not to know the ins and outs of our situation, but confidentiality is a crucial part of the adoption process and beyond. You have to be quite clear with people about what you can and cannot share. Most people understand this, but for some it’s been harder and they’ve taken it personally that they cannot know all the details. Ultimately, our role is to support Joseph, so this is not our story to tell.

“Making sure you have your network of people around you who understand what you’re going through is quite a challenge. We had one person at our church who was a ‘gatekeeper’ for us, to disseminate information to others, which took the pressure of us to answer questions and keep people appropriately updated. Our church family were amazing at praying for us in the early days when we were dealing with sleep deprivation and all those challenges having a newborn brings.

Faith has been a significant factor in supporting the family through the ups and downs of the process.

“Most of my conversations with God were about the name of the child. You don’t get to choose a name in adoption, you are encouraged to keep the name given by the child’s natural parents because that’s the one gift they’ve given. As a parent, there’s a lot of thought and emotion and story that goes into naming your child, so that was a big thing for me.

“Whilst talking to God with Tom about a new child joining our family, he got a picture in his head which he felt was from God. This picture was from his children’s Bible and was part of the story of Joseph. We didn’t know what it meant, but wrote it down and carried on with life. Then we heard that a newborn baby boy was a potential match for us, but we didn’t know his name. The night before the social worker was due to come to see us, David was woken up by God and woke me to say, ‘I think his name is going to be Joseph.’ When the social worker came the next day, she said, ‘We know his name, it’s Joseph.’ She was a little taken aback when we beamed and said, ‘We already knew that.’

“So, we feel that Joseph was meant to be with us and when we face challenges that being an adoptive family raises, we remember this and can look back and see where God has been working in each of our lives. Joseph is the right place and we are the right family.”

Adoption awareness is important to Sarah, who now shares her experience with other prospective adoptive families and has led informal seminars at church speaking about the topic of adoption.

You can find out more about National Adoption Week on the Together for Adoption website.

Do you have an adoption story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Please email ku.gr1680278196o.coi1680278196dsolg1680278196@newo1680278196k1680278196


*All names have been changed to protect identities.


Leave a Reply

Most popular articles today: