Adopting in my fifties

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adopting in my fifties

I was a single woman in my mid fifties when my eight year old daughter came to live with me. I was desperate to be a mum. I knew time was running out for me.

I had started the adoption process ten years earlier but had stopped due to anxiety about being a single mum. During the intervening years the idea kept coming back to me.

Then I read an article about a fifty-something woman adopting an older child and thought 'I could do that'.

The adoption process took two years which I feel is a long time. It was emotional and due to my not telling all my family and friends it felt a lonely process at times.

My child had already been assessed as needing therapeutic input and some Theraplay sessions had been booked from the start of the placement. We went to the sessions together and they proved to be an invaluable help once the 'honeymoon' period was over.

My daughter had attachment issues and we definitely struggled to bond in the first year. The advice, support, explanation, guidance and tips on engaging in a playful way with my daughter were very helpful.

I was very lucky that these sessions were already scheduled. If they had not been I might have been doubtful of the ability of outside help improving our situation or may have been reluctant to access them.

The magazine from Adoption UK was also an enormous help. I wondered if the editor had some special powers that allowed him or her to include an article on difficulties with placements that spoke directly to me.

Reading about others having the same problems was reassuring and made you realise that again your issues might not be as personal as you had thought.

I would recommend adoption to anyone contemplating it but would also emphasise the possible difficulties and encourage them to 'believe' the attachment theory and try the strategies this theory recommends.