Adoption UK - 50th Anniversary

Adoption UK 50 Years logoAdoption UK is 50! 

50 is a big milestone, and an opportunity to pause, reflect and plan for the futureFor 50 years we have supported, advocated, championed and been there for adoptive families around the UK.

Today our cause is as clear and compelling as ever; to secure the right support at the right time for the children at the heart of every adoptive and kinship care family.  

For Adoption UK, this all began in 1971, when Elvis Presley and The Jackson 5 were in the charts, a gallon of petrol was 33p and two adopters starting running a voluntary organisation from their homes, for adopted children with special needsAdoption has changed a lot since then, and so have we. 

Contact us at [email protected]

HeatherI often feel that when it comes to adoption I am meeting myself coming back – I am an adopted person, an adoption social worker and an adopter (though not in the conventional sense – my female partner and I adopted our oldest son so that she could be an equal parent with me). Adoption has been an integral part of my identity so far and it always will be. It is, for sure, a lifelong journey, challenging at times, but I feel my life is richer for it.

I was adopted in 1966, accessed my court records when I was 18 and found my birth family at age 25 when I felt ready. I was surprised to find my birth parents had married after I was adopted and had four children giving me two full brothers and two sisters. I met my birth mother first, a daunting experience, followed by the others. Sadly, my birth mother developed early-onset Alzheimer’s and we didn’t have the opportunity to get to know each other very well before her memory diminished and her behaviours altered. My contact with other members of my family has ebbed and flowed since. I speak most often to one of my sisters, Linda, an inspirational person who cared for my birth mother for years whilst also fostering and getting a social work degree!

One of the biggest obstacles I faced in meeting my birth family was being open about my sexuality as a lesbian woman; bringing together these two identities, coming out to a group of people whose acceptance mattered to me was a significant part of my journey. Also, managing the sense of belonging versus not belonging within my birth family.  

In being one of Adoption UK’s 50 faces I’d like to acknowledge my birth mother Mima and my adoptive mother Rena, both deceased, and all of the birth parents and adopters I meet as a social worker; the people who make up the adoption triangle. I want to emphasise the value of sibling contact for adopted children as siblings can be both a link to the past as well as a connection in the future. I attended my birth mother’s funeral last year, a sad event in the most beautiful place. I learned how much she was loved, that she was a good mum, and that she could be a bit of a mischief – maker!

Return to the 50 Faces page