I met a real-life superhero two and a half years ago. He doesn't align with the stereotypical Marvel character. He can't fly. He likes to think he's super speedy, especially on that glow in the dark scooter of his. At times throughout his grief he's hoped for invisibility.

One power he does possess: super human strength. He's the strongest miniature superhero around. Not in the literal sense. He's definitely not out there lifting cars above his head or anything. But can I tell you what he is doing? Rebuilding his life, rebuilding his tiny life.  

I have the privilege of being the woman he calls Mummy. I make him his breakfast and kiss his head every night. I tell him I love him, then I tell him again and again because I want him to believe. The only difference between my route to motherhood and that of the majority of women: my son is adopted.  

From what I've learnt, nine months paid adoption leave granted from my company was never going to cut it. He came home at twenty-one months old. I was employed at the time, and in my naivety about the severity of attachment trauma, I assumed I would be able to return to my position. I wasn’t prepared for the constant need of a 15kg child to be held, the way he would cry from a place of primal pain whenever I left the room for fear I wouldn’t return.

At the end of my paid adoption leave I made the decision not to return. I became self-employed by founding my own company in 2020 - Notafictionalmum. The name speaks volumes about the prejudice I’ve experienced as an adoptive parent trying to access the same rights as a birth parent.

Me and my husband were approved to adopt again in October 2021. I assumed I would be able to claim the same statutory support as those who are self-employed and having a biological child. But as it turns out, I can’t. Self-employed adopters get no state support at all. This time, I know only too well the realities of parenting a child with attachment trauma. But this time there will be no employment support to help me to focus on my child’s crucial transition from care to permanence.

I started a petition to parliament in December 2021. In just over two months the petition exceeded the 10,000 signatures required for a government response. The response lacked empathy, understanding for the financial strains of our local authorities, and was full of contradictions. Perhaps because of the resulting dismay from the adoption community, the Government has scheduled a debate about the petition, on Monday 14th March at 6pm. Go to this page to find out more: Make self-employed people eligible for statutory adoption pay - Petitions (parliament.uk)

 I'm not a fictional mum. My son can finally see this. At the moment it feels like my Government cannot. This is just the start of my campaign for a fair deal for self employed adopters – please join me by signing the petition, watching the debate and helping right this inequality.  

Not A Fictional Mum https://notafictionalmum.com/