National Adoption Week 2016 – ‘In My Own Words’
Published: 18.10.16What is it actually like to be adopted? Adoption UK asks three adoptees, who tell us, in their own words.
We believe the voice of adoptees goes unheard far too often in relation to adoption-related media stories - so we felt it was important to provide them with a platform to share their experiences, as part of National Adoption Week.
Polly Penter, who was adopted when she was three months-old, always knew she was adopted.
“We used to celebrate the day my parents brought me home, so I used to tell my friends I had two birthdays!”, Polly recalled. “This meant being adopted was very normal for me – it wasn’t something we sat down and had a difficult conversation about.”
Polly (pictured above with her adoptive father at Bradford City FC) describes her childhood in the north of England and later in Guernsey, as “very happy” and says it never occurred to her that she should feel “anything other than fully a part of my family”.
My mum is my confidante, my dad my best friend
“I am similar to my parents in many ways – in looks, habits and interests,” Polly explained. “As an adult, I'm closer to my parents than almost anyone I know, especially my dad, as we’re so much alike. My mum is my confidante, my dad my best friend. I speak to my parents most days, and still go to the football with my dad whenever I can. I am very happily married, have a job I love, live in London and do a lot of travelling. I'd describe myself as a poster child for adoption,” Polly added.
Megan Alston, who was adopted when she was aged five-and-a-half, said: “I’m very proud to be adopted and I don’t mind talking about it, but the question that infuriates me is: ‘so where are your real parents?’ These people mean nothing to me at all, other than the fact that they bought me into this world without good intentions. They didn’t raise me, they had nothing to do with who I am today. My real parents are the ones who took me in, knowing I wasn’t theirs by blood, and treated me as if I was their own and raised me to be the woman I am today.”
Megan, from London, who is now aged 17, urges other adoptees to be proud of themselves and their adoptive parents. She said: “Be proud to be where you are today, to have been saved from that horrible beginning of your life, proud of how brave the people were who took you in, and ignore all the ridiculous comments of people who are too closed-minded to understand all of this.”
'Adoptive parents do fantastic job'
David was removed from his birth mother when he was two days old and then spent six months in foster care before he was adopted. When David’s adoptive mother was hospitalised it inspired him to write a book about his adoption experience, entitled: ‘We Adopted Each Other’.
The 18 year-old, from Yorkshire, explained: “It’s about my life as an adoptee, to thank my parents for the last 18 years and to let other adoptive parents know that they’re doing a fantastic job.”
Adoption UK’s chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE said: “Adoption gives children a second chance of experiencing enduring family relationships when birth parents cannot care for them and no other reasonable options are available in the wider family. Adoptive parents provide stability, permanence, a new sense of identity and the love and nurture that all children need so it’s heart-warming to hear such glowing references from their children.”
Adoption UK is the leading charity providing awareness and understanding for those parenting, or supporting, children who cannot live with their birth parents. We are consistently rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Adoption UK’s purpose is to give voice to adoptive families and to ensure that the right support is there for them. Anyone experiencing difficulties is urged to become a member of Adoption UK and contact our helpline on 0844 848 7900 or by emailing email@example.com