Sutopa was approved as an adopter by a voluntary adoption agency in 2012 and had a 14 month old boy placed with her in early 2013.
Why did you choose to become an adopter?
Adopting is something I always wanted to do. My partner and I have a birth child and, having become confident as a parent, I wanted to consider giving a home to child who needed one. I knew that black children often waited longer for homes and this touched a nerve for me. I suppose I wanted to help.
How did you find the process?
It was a bit long-winded although I have heard this has improved a lot. We talked to our local authority first but they had long delays before you could be assessed. Once we knew that, we shopped around. My partner rang about 15 agencies and we chose one that had a reputation for being fast. At points during the assessment, I found it hard to trawl through my past. I had a really tough time as a teenager and took an overdose and I didn’t think they would approve me as an adopter with this on my medical record but they did approve us.
How is life now, with your children?
We found a lovely little boy who fits in perfectly with our family. He slotted in so easily and I can’t imagine being without him. He’s just lovely. He’s funny and mischievous. His speech is a little delayed which is probably due to having been in care but we’re working on this and he knows all the animal noises now.
What advice would you give to someone considering adopting?
Do it! But… Be quite proactive at pushing the process forwards. We took an active role in finding our child and pushed for meetings to happen quickly. Push to get the child you want. Once the social workers have withdrawn, you are the one who will raise this child to adulthood so be as sure as you can. Ask as many questions as possible about the child because you want to be sure you can parent them.
Make friends with other people going through the assessment. There are parts of adoption that are only understood by people who have been there. You need people you can pour your heart out to without worrying it will affect your assessment. We spent a lot of evenings with a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine (or two) with a couple we met on the adoption preparation course. We also made friends with a couple from New Family Social and leant on them during a tricky period. I think these friendships kept us sane and kept us going.