Coming to Terms with Adoption Thanks to PAC-UK

In 2009, Hannah* was in a violent relationship that resulted in her losing custody of her two girls who at the time were both under the age of 5. After five years in foster care, her youngest child Annie* was adopted while Rebecca* remained in the system.

Hannah, Birth Mother

After being assessed by social services, Hannah is now being awarded custody of Rebecca. With her daughter due to return to her care in a few weeks, she recalls the events that followed the forced separation and how PAC-UK is helping her cope with the loss of one child and reuniting with another.

In 2009 I was in a violent relationship. As a result, my two young girls were taken from me after social services deemed me unable to adequately meet their needs, and they were placed in foster care with a view to finding adoptive parents.

While in foster care I was able to see them during supervised visits, and I was aware that the plan was to adopt them together; as siblings should be. For five years they waited, but it became apparent that it was unlikely they would ever be adopted together. The courts decided it would be best to try and place at least one child, so my eldest daughter Rebecca* was removed from the adoption order and in 2014, my youngest Annie* was placed with a family. To this day, Rebecca remains in the foster care system.

Seeking advice from PAC-UK

Following Annie’s adoption, I struggled to process that I had lost a child and yet still had contact and possibly a future with another. My case could be considered unique; I know of mothers who have lost their only child through enforced adoptions, and the grief they feel is unbearable. I struggled to cope with my conflicting feelings of loss and hope.

I was referred to PAC-UK by my social worker who suggested that I should receive specialist treatment to help come to terms with the decision and possibly reuniting with Rebecca. While I don’t think you can ever overcome the loss of a child through enforced adoption, thanks to one-to-one sessions with Mike and Gemma and group discussions with other birth mothers, I have been able to change my life for the better. I am no longer in a toxic relationship, and feel prepared to care for my child again.

I have been assessed by social services and they have agreed to let me have custody of Rebecca, which is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Thankfully I have the support of PAC-UK and ongoing sessions with the counsellor to help me talk through my concerns.

I am very aware of the impact this has had on Rebecca, losing her sister in such a way. While we do receive letters from Annie – written on her behalf by the adoptive parents –it doesn’t replace the closeness that they once had. I want to be strong for her, and there are plans to get her support through the PAC-UK to help her come to terms with the adoption.

*Please note some details have been changed to protect identities

Further information

We have set up this page to enable birth parents, adoptive parents or other permanent carers to share their stories, and hopefully help encourage others to seek support from PAC-UK. If you are interested in sharing your own experience please contact us here.

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