Dr Carol Dennis (58) adopted Kwame aged 4 two years ago with her partner.
Infertility, hysterectomy in her mid-thirties and unsuccessful IVF meant having natural birth children was impossible. Carol says: “We had been thinking of adopting a child for a long time and when a close school friend of mine adopted a daughter that encouraged us to look further into it and we are so very glad we did.”
Talking about the adoption process, Carol says: “The adoption process is rightly very detailed, however, having gone through it, I can say with confidence that this is only to ensure that all adoptive parents are prepared for taking responsibility for a new young person for the rest of their lives.”
“I feel very fortunate because we were supported throughout the process by social workers, family and friends.”
Reflecting on the experience, Carol says: “Adopting Kwame has been really wonderful and we definitely have no regrets, I’m truly glad we adopted him and he was definitely worth the wait. Obviously it was a massive change to our lives but a welcome one.”
Carol continues: “The best thing about adopting for us is that we now have this beautiful, happy, giggling, singing child running around the house. He is a very affectionate young boy who had a difficult start in life but we hope that he grows up completely comfortable accepting himself as an adopted child which we celebrate and talk about often. Ultimately, our goal is to support him and keep him safe.”
“Kwame knows he is adopted, he remembers meeting us and we now celebrate his adoption birthday each year. For us, the level of love and affection we have for Kwame is the same that any biological parent would have for their natural birth child – to us, he is our son.”
“Some people go into adoption with a distinct view of the type of child they want to adopt. I feel it’s good to know what you can accommodate. But having said that the moment you fall in love with the child you want to adopt, you fall in love. Nothing compares to this experience. So my advice to other potential adoptive parents is to think about the type of child you can accommodate but also, be open to various different possibilities. After all, there are so many children out there who need loving and safe homes.”
Reflecting on how friends and family reacted to their decision to adopt, Carol says: “In the Ghanaian community which my husband is from, adoption happens more often than in the Caribbean community, so it was easier to tell my partner’s family than it was to tell my Jamaican mum. Sadly, my mum passed away recently but I’m happy to say that there was no negative reactions to our adopting Kwame at all; my mum loved having him around and my brothers and wider family have been very welcoming. Ultimately, I think if your friends and family can see you are happy and that you are making a real difference to someone’s life, they will be supportive.”
Finally, on advising other potential adopters, Carol says: “To anyone in the black community considering adopting I’d say there are a lot of black children needing homes and that we are their best chance. Please come forward if you are interested.”
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