An adopter who has spoken openly and honestly about her adoption experience has been crowned Adoption Champion of the Year
Fiona Dunn was speechless when she was announced as the winner for her work with the Dear Adopter campaign for Caritas Care.
The winners of the National Adoption Week Awards were announced at the Foundling Museum, London, as part of National Adoption Week. They aim to celebrate good practice and exceptional achievement among those working or involved in adoption in England.
Fiona, who was up against three other finalists, has been one of the key figures in Caritas Care’s Dear Adopter campaign. The aim of the campaign was to tackle misconceptions about the process of adoption and, ultimately increase the number of adopters.
Fiona spoke about how she had post adoption depression but worked through it, and now recommends adoption as a way of building a family.
Fiona said: “I don’t know what to say. Winning this award is another opportunity to get more visibility and recognition for adoption.
“Having three children come into your life is quite mind blowing, but it just felt like a series of little steps. Now, nine years on, it feels like I have never been without them.
“To see them grow, develop and learn makes us feel so fortunate. It makes you think about those children who don’t find forever families and long-term stability.”
The Dear Adopter campaign, which included a series of letters from adopters including Fiona, saw the number of social media referrals to the adoption pages of Caritas Care’s website increased by 100% and by 150% over 12 months. The number of adoption enquiries also increased by 15% within the first six months and 25% throughout the year.
Facebook social media referrals went up by 165% year on year, page views increased by 172%. Sessions referred from Twitter increased by 435%, with page views up by 73%.
Fiona passionately believes in spreading the word about adoption. She has not only written a ‘Dear Adopter’ letter, she has also spoken at training events, been videoed, and has been interviewed on the radio by Jeremy Vine.
Patricia Hurst, Adoption Practice Manager at Caritas Care, said: “Fiona has been searingly honest about the challenges she has faced, but what comes across most is her belief in adoption as a means of securing children’s futures and the joy she feels in parenting.
“Fiona’s openness has given a very clear picture of the reality of adoption and the sense that nothing is held back – any potential adopter hearing her is well prepared and reassured that despite the many challenges it is worth it. Well done Fiona.”