Thanks to our partner agency, Adoption Tees Valley, for sharing this guest blog with us.

'Adoption was the best decision'

Joanne had a grown-up family and had been a foster carer for several years when she first took the decision to adopt.

Joanne, 47, had fostered numerous children from all backgrounds over a 15-year period, so there was nothing unusual when her local authority placed Harvey with her at three weeks old.

She initially thought her role would be the same as previously; she would provide love, care and safety for Harvey for a few months until he could be placed back with his birth family or adopted.  

However, Harvey had additional medical needs and had to undergo major surgery when just a few months old, and the pair developed an unbreakable bond.

For the first time, Joanne began to consider adoption. 

“I just fell in love with him,” said Joanne, from Hartlepool.

“I was worried about where Harvey would be placed once his placement with me finished; I knew he would be loved but I was worried someone else would not fully understand his medical needs.

“I knew what Harvey needed and we had become so attached, so the decision was quite easy. Adopting Harvey was the best outcome for both him and me.”

And now, five years on, life is good. Harvey is well and happy, and Joanne has gone on to adopt a second child - a little girl, Harriet, aged two.  

This time around Joanne knew she wanted to adopt through early permanence,  a more modern approach whereby carers are approved as foster carers and adopters. The carer fosters the child whilst the court decides a child’s plan, if the court decides a plan of adoption, the child is then adopted by the early permanence carer, meaning less moves within the care system. There is also the possibility that the court decides unification with birth family is the right plan and carers are trained and supported to deal with this uncertainty.

Joanne recalls; “When I adopted for the second time, I was adamant it would be through early permanence. For me, it was the only route I wanted to explore. I’d seen first hand how placing children earlier is best for the child and for attachment.

It is hard, I’m not saying it’s easy but the end result is much better. You’re giving that child the best start, so if they go home you’ve got to understand you’ve given them that, and if they stay again, you know you’ve given them everything they could possibly ask for”

Joanne, who is single, is continuing to foster children and is loving parenthood the second time around.

“Life has been crazy – I didn’t think I would be a mam again at 42, but it’s truly amazing. ” said Joanne.

The team at ARC Adoption are experienced in supporting adopters through early permanence and we'd be very happy to answer your questions. Please just complete our enquiry form and we will give you a call back at a time that is convenient. You can also read more about early permanence, including the benefits and challenges here.