Mini Blogs!

Welcome to the Scottish Adoption Mini Blogs! This week we have two blog writers, lets welcome Dave and Stevan as they talk about the online adoption information evenings!


While we all have to change the way we work and continue to provide a service we are getting some of our team to write a short blog about their week. This week’s blog comes from Dave our Marketing and Communications Officer and Stevan, an adoptive parent and one of our Parent Practitioners and they are talking about our online Adoption Information Evenings.

Dave who organises our events wrote: One of my favourite events to organise and run at Scottish Adoption are the Adoption Information Events which we run throughout the year. These events are held in various towns and cities covering the 60 mile area we work within. These events let us meet people who are interested in finding out about the adoption process and answer any questions they have. As a worker at Scottish Adoption I can share my knowledge of the process that I have gained while working here but I am also an adopter of two children so I can also share some of my personal experiences too, something which I am more than happy to do because I believe in Adoption and will talk to anyone who wants to listen about it.

When we were put into lockdown we had to rethink how we would be able to get out and meet people to share our stories of Adoption, we couldn’t arrange any more events where people meet in the one venue anymore. Here at Scottish Adoption we always try and be creative in the way we deliver our services and have been using technology in the work we do for quite a while now so it was a simple step to move to hosting our Adoption Information Events online.

We arranged to host our first online Adoption Information Evening for the end of April. We were nervous about how people would react to signing up for an online information evening, would people want us in their homes at the early stage in the process? There was no need to worry. The same day that we announced our event we had a flurry of people signing up and this continued at pace over the next few days. The lockdown had not put people off from finding out about the adoption process and this was fantastic news. In fact so many people had signed up to the first event that we decided that to meet demand we should host another event the same week!

When it came to the first event we were nervous, will the technology work, will people still chat and ask questions, will people actually sign in to chat to us? The technology worked perfectly, people did sign in to hear from us and people still chatted. Phew what a relief. These evenings proved that we do not need to all be in the same room to share our stories, we were just as passionate about adoption talking from our own homes as we would have been in a hall somewhere around the country.  People still laughed, aww’d  and ahh’d and got goosebumps when Stevan shared his story.

In terms of running smoothly the events were a great success and we were happy with how the first one went and now looked forward to the second one that week. The second event that week had something that we did not expect. Two couples tuned in from Aberdeen! Unfortunately Aberdeen is out with the area we work in and after explaining this to the couples we still offered them the chance to stay and listen to us, which they did. I loved this even more, we were reaching people from further afield and sharing our experiences with more people. At the end of the session we signposted the two Aberdeen couples to another adoption agency who work in Aberdeen as well as their local authorities. They left praising the evening and hopefully they went on to contact agencies closer to home.

These online adoption information events reached more people than would have travelled to an event and we reached people from across Scotland. We may not have been able to work with them all but it was great being able to share information about the process, the support we offer and our personal experiences with each and every one of them. Usually when I travel home from these events I reflect on how meeting people at the start of their own adoption journey is the favourite part of my job, when I signed off and closed the laptop I still had the same feeling, the way we deliver these information events may have changed but the message is still the same and I still feel the same way after meeting people at the start of their own adoption journey!

Stevan who is one of our Parent Practitioners shared his Adoption Journey with everyone at these events and he wrote:

I have done numerous talks on our journey to becoming parents to our two beautiful boys whether it was at information evenings, preparation groups and even a dog walk. I genuinely thought that a pandemic of all things would put a halt to the adoption process for many but amazingly the teams at Scottish Adoption are still hard at work and asked me to be part of their very first online information evening. The events  were very well organised and very well attended with many prospective adopters logging in.

I was very surprised by the number of people logging on to learn more about the adoption process because of the way it was being hosted, however it felt natural and in no way different to meeting everyone in person.

I shared my story, as I have many times, and even one of my boys popped in to wave a quick hello. I was a bit nervous doing something so different but hopefully it came across that we are all here to support in any way we can even, if that means from our living rooms at the moment!

I am proud to be a part of the Scottish Adoption family, even more so at the moment due to the fact that even during this manic time, they are looking at new ways to continue to get out there and bring families together. I definitely see this as a new way to keep the service growing and make it easier for prospective adopters to get to know the agency, and I shall be here to support in any way I can.


Giles is one of our Practice Managers in the After Adoption Team and he writes the latest in our series of Mini Blogs.

Where are we up to, week 5, 6, 7? However far it is, things feel a little different now than at the beginning. To start with, we scrambled to change, working out how we were going to do this. How do we keep the after adoption team functioning remotely, with all staff scattered in their homes, restricted by lockdown. The response of the team was extraordinary; it was creative, thoughtful, energetic and very kind.  Everyone wanted to pull together, help each other and most importantly help our families, children, teenagers and adults.

Now, we need to refocus our efforts. Not knowing the future is challenging, second guessing how long we will work like this is a common conversation.  We speak with families about resilience and this is also what we are having to display as a team, making sure we offer as much contact and connection as we can. Where our work is usually face to face, we are trying to connect through what at first seemed like the cold, impersonal displays of our screens. But to a large degree, this is working, people are proving incredibly adaptable. Yet there is also the bit that is missing, there is no complete substitute for face to face connection.

And as a team we all have our personal lives to balance with work. Covid 19 is not just the news any more – for many of us, personal stories and tragedies are emerging.  For me, separation and not knowing can feel agonising. The unspoken acknowledgment with my parents that none of us know when we’ll see each other again is always there. I’ m guessing this is the same for most of us and all the people we work with.

But, I’ve never noticed a spring like this one, really noticed. Watching the weather changing, the birds nesting, trees blossoming, nature carrying on as normal, feels very reassuring.  I’m cooking like never before (and putting on weight to prove it!) I have caught up virtually with way more people than I would do otherwise (not another zoom quiz!) and so I’m trying to take what’s on offer as a counter balance to everything else.

Whether it’s with colleagues or adopted families, young adults or people in my personal life, the one thing I have appreciated most is each other. Given this challenge, my experience has been to witness the best aspects of human nature and that leaves me very optimistic for the futures we share together.

As for the after adoption team, we will continue to support our families and each other the best way we know how!


This week we have a guest blog from an adoptive teen from St Andrew’s Children’s Society who attends our Teen Group.

A Real Life Life-Story (Work)

Moving through the care system and onto adoption isn’t like the movies. In the movies, adoption life stories show everyone prancing around and, in the end, they finish with happy and perfect lives. I wish my life was like that, but real adoption life-stories are more complicated, confusing and filled with so many emotions.

Before I was adopted, I had been in and out of care since I was 7. I was later adopted age 9 and moved from England to Scotland. Growing up having known your birth parents and then being taken miles away with people you don’t know is such a strange feeling. On top of that, still having memories of your birth family, especially in my case my Dad, was very hard.

Over time, my memories of my life before my adoption kind of faded, though the feeling of having a connection with my birth dad has remained. I left my birth mum quite young, as she couldn’t manage, so I don’t really remember her.

When I was 14 years old, I started doing life story work with my Social Worker Mike. At first, this felt like yet another stranger that I was expected to trust. As I got to know him, I started to feel like I could trust him. I think what helped me build trust with Mike is what he did to earn it. We would go on walks and have a chat about how I was managing at school and at home. We also spoke about how I was managing physically as well as mentally.

Before the life story work, I would always ask my adopted parents questions that they didn’t necessarily know all the answers to. I would ask them things like, “Are my birth family alright?”, “Where’s my dad?”, “Can I have contact with my family?”, “Why weren’t my family given more chances to keep me?”.

During the life story work, I would sometimes get really angry at home and at school – mainly at the people I was close with. I did, and still do, find some things difficult to accept. However, this changed when I did eventually allowed myself to get angry with what I had been through, rather than those around me.

If you’re thinking about starting life story work, here are some things I think you should think about:

  1. Are you mentally ready? You really need to prepare yourself for the things that you could find out. The good and the bad.
  2. You should know that the Social Workers will work really hard to find out as much information as they can to answer your questions, but sometimes, your questions may not be answered and may never be answered.

During the actual work I came to the realisation that my behaviour at home and school was partly because of the things that I have been through. It helped me to see that I used to want to fix my Dad and I wondered that if I found him, maybe I could still fix him.Doing the work helped me see that some parents can’t be fixed, no matter how much they love you. However, the biggest home truth I learned, was finally accepting that what I went through was not my fault. Not at all. Not ever.

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, visit for more information.


This week is the turn of our second Quran-teen-Ambassador, Tegan.

What has isolation taught me?

Well, not to boast, but I think I have mastered some new skills. For one, I can now watch YouTube from a 180 degree angle, whilst…in downward dog! But, apart from filling my days with fun, mostly pointless activities, isolation has also taken me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, where I’ve come to some important realisations about myself.

In one day alone, I have felt overwhelming happiness, anxiety, anger, gratitude and loneliness. I have found it hard to get motivated, easy to eat chocolate and easier still to slump on the sofa and say ‘this is impossible‘.

Yet, I have also had days like today, writing this, in the sunshine, whilst wearing an outfit I love (no PJ`s in sight BTW!). So when I got stuck writing this blog, I turned to my friends. Pixelated as they may have been, they said, “come on, you can do this!” and, even better, through their cheesy smiles and fist pumps, they told me two very important things:

No. 1: I was not alone

No. 2: I could do this

As someone who is adopted, feeling isolated is not a new experience. Throughout my life, I have had times where I have felt very alone. I have felt left out of friendship groups, classrooms and even family gatherings. What someone else would think of as a simple question, like “how much did you weigh when you were born?” or “what colour are your dad’s eyes?” has had the ability to set me off into a spiral of disconnection, detachment and rejection of the people around me.

So many times, a voice in my head has perpetuated my isolation by telling me “you are not like everyone else here” and “you don’t belong”. This has often been paired with a deep seated feeling that if they actually cared or understood me, they would know not to ask such questions in the first place.

Before I knew it, the voices would multiply and overwhelm me, until I would be walking away from my friends as they laughed over baby photos, I would be refusing to help in school group-work or make rash decisions not to speak to a certain relative again because of what they just said. In a few seconds, I can convince myself that I am totally alone, even when I am surrounded by people who love and care about me. So you could say, I am a self-isolation expert!

However, like earlier today, my experiences have taught me that these feelings do pass and that by letting people in, even when I feel the loneliest and least understood, my friends and family will always be there for me. Even when it comes to things they don’t understand, they won’t hesitate to run after me when I leave, give me a hug or even just a smile.

Whether it`s zoom calling your grandparents, having film nights with family or baking your favourite cake with you siblings, making sure we stay in touch with the people we love is the best thing we can do right now. I hope you are all healthy and happy, and remember, ending a worldwide pandemic is tough, but together, we are tougher!

So yes, coronavirus might be making connecting to others harder, but for every one of us who has felt lonely before, we can look at isolation and think:  You know what, we have beaten this before, we got this!

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, visit for more information.


The third instalment of our mini blogs series comes from Jette who is the Specialist Occupational Therapist at Scottish Adoption.

Indeed it is a time of change and uncertainty which is unsettling and challenging not least on the IT front! However it is also a chance to reflect on our practice and learn new ways of providing therapeutic support. As a therapist I will never underestimate the power of direct human contact as we are naturally social creatures, but there are ways we can share and learn together during this pandemic and we’ll do our best at Scottish Adoption to support families through this time.

As an Occupational Therapist the value and meaning of our daily activities are central to our practice, but it becomes even more important now where we are deprived of some of them. The importance of maintaining structure and routine during self isolation is crucial not least for children. Sensory deprivation due to lack of exercise, social contact, play, learning etc may manifest itself in different ways such as over activity or feeling lethargic. Therefore, put on your sensory lenses and with your child(ren) look at what they like/enjoy:

  • Sound: music, nature sounds
  • Vision: pictures, colours
  • Smell: lotion, oils, nature
  • Taste: soft/crunchy, sweet/sour food and drinks
  • Touch: materials, light/deep pressure
  • Vestibular (movement): swinging, rocking, up side down
  • Proprioception (body awareness): pushing, pulling, heavy work activities

Try to incorporate their sensory preferences in to their day as it will improve their self regulation. It goes for parents too!

Good luck with creating ‘sensory diets’ and don’t hesitate to contact us at Scottish Adoption if you need any help with this.


Our next blog comes from one of our Quaran-Teen Ambassadors. During the coronavirus outbreak, many of us adopted teens might be feeling worried about our birth families and stressing about if they are okay. Just the other day, I received a message from my birth mother. At first I was happy, as it conveyed sentiments towards my well-being. This made me feel happy, but then I remembered what happened last time we had contact and my feelings started to change.

Around 2 years ago, I found my birth mother on social media and at first, I believed it was a glorious victory to have found her by myself. However this was very short lived, as it wasn’t long before things started to go sour. After a couple of days, I found she didn’t have the ability to manage our relationship. Things got even worse when she began blackmailing me into moving close to her and taking care of her. I was 15 years old and about to sit my exams. None of this was remotely possible.

When this happened two years ago, I used the supports I had around me. I spoke to the staff at Scottish Adoption and I spoke to the other teens at the Scottish Adoption Teen Group. With this support, I decided to end the contact with my birth-mother to protect my self.

If any of you readers have either been in this situation or a similar one; my advice to you would be to do as I did, which is tell someone. Telling someone is better than keeping inside of you, because when you don’t tell someone how you’re feeling, it grows and grows.

If you or any other adopted teenager you know might be struggling right now, tell them about Teen Talk. Teen Talk is free online support service where adopted teens help other adopted teens make sense of their thoughts, feelings and worries, share this link with them


First up we have Mel our Children’s Worker from the After Adoption Team.

The office is closed, life feels very different, but its Wednesday, so the After Adoption Team at Scottish Adoption are together at their usual time for the weekly staff meeting. However, this week, we’re beaming-in for our first virtual video meet up. As I waited for the meeting to begin, I reflected on my own week. It’s been tough. I’ve felt a bit wobbly and am worried about what all of this situation and its current restrictions would mean for my ability to practice. That said, as each of the team’s familiar yet pixelated faces appeared and we shared, laughed and supported one another, I felt re-assured, more relaxed and ready to get back to working in supporting our families. Plans have been made to ensure that our Social Workers will continue to offer regular individual video/voice calls and that our therapists are creating innovative ways to offer Music, Art and Occupational Therapy. So basically: same, same; but different.

This week I experienced first hand that staying connected, no matter what form it takes, is incredibly important. Scottish Adoption is a community that supports one another and we want to continue to support you the same we always have. If you need any support for you or your family over this difficult time, for any reason, please get in touch. We’re in this together.

Mini Blog number 2 will from our Teen Ambassadors The ISOL8EENS

Virtual Preparation Group

Senior Practitioner Sarah talks us through how Sottish Adoption had to quickly adapt a Preparation Group that was already running but had to change due to the lock down restrictions.

We started our latest prep group at the beginning of March. It was a big group with seven couples attending. Ciara and I were the social work facilitators from the Family Placement Team and we were joined by the very experienced and capable Lynsey, who is one of our Parent Practitioners. The group started as normal, everyone’s a little bit cautious and nervous in the first week and I don’t just mean the prospective adopters! It went well, there were a few laughs, chatting and good questions asked, every came back for week two so we did something right.

In the run up to week two we were starting to get concerned about Covid-19 and what that might mean for the group. We were beginning to think about how we could do things differently and make it safer for everyone. So week two went ahead with individual sandwiches and non touch theraplay games, which is much harder than it sounds! However we got there and there were more laughs, especially at the “beans” game I made everyone play, while we let Ciara cover the serious stuff!

By now we knew that week three couldn’t go ahead together, in real life, so we needed to get imaginative. And we did! Ciara and I managed to record our presentation for week three without an audience. This was an interesting experience, it was odd presenting to a camera, but we had started to get to know the group so it made it easier knowing who we were chatting to. It was a lot quicker than if we had presented to the group because we didn’t have the insightful and thoughtful questions that prospective adopters bring. We as workers are very familiar with what we are discussing so sometimes we can think we have explained something well but actually we need to add more, give better examples or just chat it through further together, so this element was missing. One benefit for the prospective adopters was that they could stop and start the presentation as much as they wanted and go back to it if it didn’t make sense.

So that Saturday, Ciara, Lynsey and I got together in the office, this was just pre lock-down, and facilitated a Zoom discussion of the presentation and all the clips we had guided them to. This again was a new experience, one in terms of ensuring the technology worked without a hitch, which by and large it did. We tried to do an interactive activity, which again did work, but being new to this medium we perhaps didn’t give enough time for the sound lag. Overall it worked and the feedback was positive.

While we three were altogether we recorded the final session. Again, this was a slightly surreal experience, made even more so by just having finished chatting with everyone. Again we went through our presentation and again, missed the interactive nature of it. However we were confident that the prospective adopters would ask us questions, either directly, via the whatsapp group or by email, to be discussed at the final session.

The final session was on Saturday again via Zoom, this time though all us facilitators were at home. It is a strange part of video conferencing that you get invited into people’s homes and them yours which is unusual and a privilege. The final session was also a success and we thought that we all felt a bit more comfortable with the medium, in addition we had had another week of chatting via the whatsapp which helped everyone feel more comfortable and familiar with each other. The group bonded well and this could be due to a number of factors, being in a group of people who are all exploring adoption, all going through a pandemic together which has brought many communities together in new ways, and having these additional contacts through whatsapp and Zoom, not just the face to face group.

As facilitators we are really pleased and proud that we were able to ensure that this group finished their preparation through these uncertain times. We have all adapted to video meetings and they will be able to start their homestudies this way too. We hope that we can take the learning from this experience to enhance and develop the groups going forward, perhaps to increase accessibility to our groups, to facilitate groups in different ways across our service and to continue supporting people in their adoption journey during these unprecedented times.

Race Across The World!

One couple who are going through their homestudy reflect on the adoptive family currently in the BBC2 show Race Across The World.

Race Across The World

This is a TV show on BBC2 now in its second series which my partner and I watch together. The premise is that five or six teams of two have to cover a large distance over land from a starting point to a finish point on a budget of £26 a day. They cannot use planes so have to rely on buses, trains etc. and teams get eliminated later on in the competition if they are the last ones to reach a checkpoint on a particular leg of the journey. This second series covers Mexico City to Ushuaia at the south of Argentina 25,000 km away.

The second series features Jo (Mum) and Sam (Son, 19). At first you don’t know anything about their relationship or history other than that they are Mother and Son however as the series progresses, we discover that Sam was adopted at the age of 6 months. Jo and her partner already had one birth child before adopting Sam. Once Jo reveals this you can understand their relationship better. Sam has been through numerous schools and been told that he is stupid by fellow pupils and teachers but he also has ADHD and Jo later found out about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Sam wasn’t academic at school but relishes being outside doing physical work such as gardening and labouring, which also helps him work off his excess energy. He also can’t concentrate or take information in for long periods of time, so Jo often takes this lead in planning their journey. Jo is so supportive of Sam in every way but sometimes too focused on wanting them to win that she forgets why they have come on the journey together.

Sam finds his ADHD frustrating and it sometimes leads to tensions – during the course of the series they have to stop to do work locally to earn money to help keep their budget afloat. Sam really struggles working tables in a bar as he doesn’t like being around too many people and doesn’t understand the language. Because of this he gets very frustrated with himself and nearly quits the show. Jo is keen to drive them forward and do well in each leg of the race to stay in the competition. The situation in the bar causes Jo to reassess how she is mapping their journey and she then takes a different tack – instead of constantly travelling and working she builds in more frequent experiences to help Sam enjoy himself and release his energy by snowboarding in the desert or going to the salt lakes. Ultimately she wants the experience to be a positive one for him, whether they win or lose. She also looks for work that Sam will enjoy more, so instead of bar work the next job they do is working on the fields with a farmer, looking after goats and gathering firewood and Sam really flourishes here. Jo adapts their experience to better meet Sam’s needs, also giving him some independent time to explore cities so that she is not always with him and he can make his own decisions, and as a result they both work together better as a team. At the time of writing they are both still in the race. To watch the clip where Jo talks about adopting Sam click here.

For me, personally, it’s so great to see an adult relationship with their adopted parent. So many things you’ll see are about kids so it’s really refreshing to see the development of how that relationship looks over time. Jo and Sam are a brilliant example of a supportive mother/son relationship where they both understand each other and can talk to each other about their relationship. This way Jo can understand Sam’s needs better and respond to them. It’s great to see that despite Sam experiencing adversity in the form of bullying, his ADHD and FAS, these things have not held him back in finding out what works for him and what he enjoys doing. Jo has been his advocate every step of the way. Jo expressed anxiety about whether she could ever love Sam because he was adopted, but her obvious love and concern for him now show what a great model Jo is for us all. There’s a warmth to their relationship and they can have a laugh together too.

I really like seeing positive adult adoptee examples as it is helping me and my partner see things long term, rather than just thinking about the immediate placement/funnelling/initial issues we will have to go through. Something that at this stage in the journey, we sometimes forget about.

Series 2 of Race Across the World is on Sunday evenings on BBC 2 at 8pm and available on  BBC iPlayer. At the time of writing Jo and Sam are both still in the race!

Finding My Birth Family

Tracing birth family members can be hard, but Scottish Adoption are with you every step of the way. Read how Leasa helped one man reconnect with birth family he didn’t know he had.

Despite having had wonderful adoptive parents who had always been open and talked to me about my adoption, I came to a point in my life when I thought that no woman would put her baby up for adoption unless she, in some way or another, was going through difficult circumstances. Through research I learned my birth mother had no relatives she knew about as she too was an adopted child. This is why I belive that my birth mother made a painful but wise decision for both herself and myself by putting me up for adoption – undoubtedly with horrific pain in her heart. Thus, as a mother she must have had to carry a painful dark secret all her life; being a single mother in those days was classified as sinful – a very sad state of affairs.

Who knows, perhaps my birth mother and my birth father may both have wanted to know how their son was getting on in life and may even have wanted to see him. With this is mind I started my twenty year search to find out who my birth parents were and if they were still alive.

Scottish Association for the Adoption of Children, now called Scottish Adoption, is the charity that assisted my birth mother to find adoptive parents for me. Thanks to a tip I was given in 2018, I contacted Leasa Bleteau at Scottish Adoption. Now my birth father is not named on my birth certificate, so it can be classified as being an abbreviated certificate, but Leasa was able to provide me with information as to who my birth father was. Unfortunately both of my birth parents has passed away but further research enabled me to come in contact with sisters and a brother on my birth father’s side who now live in Australia. I  was also able to track down the final resting place of my birth parents enabling me to finally “give this a place” and at the same time close what proved to have been a somewhat daunting twenty year chapter in my life.

Tracing blood relatives can be like a rollercoaster of excitement and at times painful disappointments that hurt. My advice to those who are interested in tracing their birth family is to be patient, expect disappointments and rejection from a few as you progress, but whatever you do don’t let anyone deter you in achieving your objective. Most of all, maintain your faith with Scottish Adoption as they are such a great team that are there to support and guide you.

Thank you again Leasa; I now have blood sisters who have welcomed me into their family as being one of them. Alas we lost 60+ years of not being together, so there’s plenty to blether about…

Tracing Families

I was born in Edinburgh in 1980, and it is probably fair to say that my initial start to life was not the greatest.

My Story

I was born in Edinburgh in 1980, and it is probably fair to say that my initial start to life was not the greatest. As a baby, I was ill quite a lot, and my biological mother; who was very young at the time, was not well enough equipped to deal with herself, her family, and the task of raising an infant.

After about 8 or 9 months I was taken into foster care by a very kind and loving family who doted on me. Apparently, I was exceptionally bright yet mischievous at the same time. Some things do not change.

I was formally adopted just before my 2nd birthday and since that day I’ve always been thankful that my parents chose me, I couldn’t have picked better parents myself.

The fact I was adopted was never hidden from me. I was given two photo albums that had pictures and little paragraphs outlining every detail from my birth right up until I was 7 years old when my parents gave me the albums. I found it interesting and humbled that people had gone to the time and effort in order to do that. I felt it was a good way for me to get my head around it personally. There were no tantrums or questions that I really felt I had to ask, as far as I was concerned my parents were my parents and I was happy.

When I was 20, I looked into the possibility of trying to find my birth mother. I have never held a grudge or anything in regards to being put up for adoption regardless of what went on in the past, one day the idea simply came to me. I did some research and met with an adoption counsellor who advised me how to proceed further if I wanted to. After pondering about it for a couple of weeks, I decided to leave it. I honestly cannot remember why I did not pursue the matter then, though maybe deep down I felt maybe, someone might come looking for me instead. Funnily enough, they did…

Getting in Touch with Scottish Adoption

Nearly two years ago, I phoned my parents about visiting with my Fiancée on my birthday. While on the phone my mum told me that I had had a letter from Scottish Adoption enquiring as to my identity and if I was the correct person they were looking for. I just had a funny feeling I knew what was coming, but I left it until I came home to visit and gave Scottish Adoption a call. I spoke to Julie the counsellor, who told me that I had a half sister called Fiona who wanted to get in contact with me.

After a short period we arranged to write letters to each other, a good way of breaking the ice. It became obvious quite quickly that we shared quite a bit in common, despite me finding out she was nearly 13 years younger than me. Our sense of humour was one thing in common, facially to it was obvious after swapping pictures, and I am normally rubbish at spotting that type of stuff.

It freaked her out a bit before we swapped photos when Fiona asked what I looked like as I jokingly told her I was a 5 foot 6 inch Ginger haired sibling, when in fact we are both dark haired with freckles, and I’m actually 6 feet tall. I found that quite funny at the time when I was writing to her and I knew she would get the joke… eventually! We had other things in common, things like music, jobs I had done, Fiona liked the same music and was doing the similar types of jobs.

Even College courses were similar as we are both interested in sports. I think the decisive factor for me was when I found out that both Fiona and her family supported the same football team as me. Her mum was already having kittens at the other coincidences as it was!

From Letters to Email

Our letters continued back and forward for about a year, and then moved onto emailing. Trying to find a date to meet was quite tricky due to different things going on in both our lives, but we got there. We met recently in Edinburgh, firstly at the Scottish Adoption offices with Julie and Fiona’s mum both present. We chatted for a couple of hours and swapped photos etc. Then we both went into town for lunch, to get to know each other a bit better away from it all, just the two of us.

It was a weird day in that I was not nervous at all. I was more concerned that she would be ok with everything rather than my own personal feelings. It all went great, Fiona said so too and I do not think she was lying…

I think the fact that it had taken nearly two years from first contact, to actually meeting, helped us too. The age difference was one thing that could have been an issue. Rushing into a meeting might have left us both a bit, not disappointed, but maybe a little unsure. Getting to know each other’s sense of humour and things, eased all that. She will probably go all shy at me for putting this down on paper! She is funny, just not quite as much as me and she definitely got the looks out of us both.

I am her big brother and have grown quite protective of her already… in a good way. She is my little sister and I would not change that for anything.

Our Social Worker’s perspective

Fiona had been in touch a few times through her teenage years.  Initially looking for more information about her adoptive story and as she got older looking for her older birth sibling.  Her adoptive parents were supportive and involved each step of the way.

We did not locate David the first few times that we looked for him but two years ago when I did another search, I found an address that was potentially his parents.  Fiona and I met and we agreed that I would send them a letter for David and ask them to forward it onto him.

Fiona knew that it might be the wrong address and that even if we did find him he might not want to have contact.  We were also sure that he was unaware of her existence.

David rang and I explained that he had a younger sister who would like to have contact with him.  He had not known he had a sister and whilst excited, he took time to discuss it with his Fiancée and parents before committing to having contact.  It was important that David had the same information about his birth family that Fiona had before they started getting in touch with each other.  Therefore, time was taken to share information about his birth mother who had died many years previously and to share his adoption records with him.

We then started the business of letters going back and forth between David and Fiona – to keep everyone’s confidentiality all correspondence comes through Scottish Adoption.

Fiona was heading off overseas for a while so we moved to e-mail correspondence still through myself.

After about eighteen months, we started to talk about when David and Fiona would meet.  A lot of thought and chat went into this first meeting, which happened here at Scottish Adoption.  Fiona brought her Mum along for support while David came alone.  Everyone was very nervous (even David) but they quickly relaxed and chatted for a couple of hours, sharing photos and stories from their childhoods.  The meeting went so well that Fiona and David felt comfortable to head off to lunch together.  My role in their relationship is over now as they continue their contact independently although I am always here if they want to make contact with me in future.

The time taken for Fiona and David to get to know each other through letters and e-mails was invaluable as it allowed them to build the beginnings of a relationship in a safe and supported way.  When they finally met, it was at a time that both felt ready for this step.   By taking things slowly and with support they have begun what will be a positive relationship through the rest of their lives.  Their families and David’s partner were also on this journey with them, and the time taken to get to know each other prior to the meeting also allowed them to adjust to the idea of their child/partner having a sibling, and making space for this person in all their lives.

Adopted Young Adult

Sometimes I wonder if many other people have gone through what I have gone through, have felt the same emotions and feelings I have felt…


Sometimes I wonder if many other people have gone through what I have gone through, have felt the same emotions and feelings I have felt, shed the tears that I have shed and experienced the joys and happiness that I have experienced, asked the many questions I have asked, had the arguments that I have had, thought about the future like I have thought, and had to endure the daunting thought that your life could have turned out to be something completely different, with different people, different faces, different holidays, different home. That is the adventure of being adopted.

From the moment that I was born, “a little bundle of joy”, I was destined to lead a life different from others. My birth mother was young, un-married, had no career prospects or a supportive family; circumstance’s really, she could never have been able to offer me a life as I have now

Adoption, it’s not like you see in the movies, nothing like it at all, in fact, being adopted is something really special and in my case was not confusing or hectic, I don’t have this whole past life story full of traumatic events, and so far I have led a completely “normal” life. However being adopted has most definitely had an impact on my life in more ways than one. Despairing times and amazing times. I feel blessed that I was adopted. There is no knowing where I could have ended up, Paris living on the Champs Elysees, daughter of an artist, or even living a superstar lifestyle in California who knows I could have ended up with celebrity parents such as Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, older sister to their adopted bi-racial son, Connor. I feel fortunate I wasn’t as they are now divorced and I would have been a child of a broken marriage!

Holiday Confusion

However there was a time in my life, when on what should have been an amazing holiday in Australia, sailing around the Great Barrier Reef on a beautiful yacht with friends, at the age of ten, the questions started to rush around my brain, all the, Why’s, the When’s and the How’s. I was bombarded with them. I felt heart heavy, heartbroken, heartsick to think that, this wasn’t my “real” family. These emotions of rage, sadness and confusion led to me taking it out on my mum. The black beast of hate in my breast filled me with a resentment and loathing for my adopted mother. I felt like Jekyll and Hyde, two different people, two split emotions fighting within me. I know I loved my mum but still there was a nagging feeling of guilt that my love should only lie with my birth mum. Grief, pain and melancholy over came me, was my life a living lie?

Assaulted by the Why’s, the When’s and the How’s, I had to have answers. I could not bring myself to ask my mum, she had told me why I was adopted, but I needed a thorough and deeper understanding and although she had provided me with all the essentials I needed, she could not provide me with this and I didn’t want her to.

Mum Knows Best

Fortunately for me, my Mum saw how troubled and lost I was feeling at this time, she looked for help and found it by getting in touch with the Scottish Adoption Services, that’s when I met Kathryn. I felt that I could say things to Kathryn that I couldn’t express to my Mum without the fear of hurting her feelings, through talking and asking questions with Kathryn slowly over time I began to feel happier and gained a greater understanding about my adoption that allowed me to feel at peace. On the up side of this process I met four other girls that had been adopted. I had never met another adopted person before apart from my brother! This experience showed me that there were others out there who had been in my shoes; I found that these girls I befriended each had a completely different adoption story.

I am now glowing inside to know that I have such a caring and loving family. I have resolved my questions and fears and look to the future with an optimistic heart and being adopted is not going to stop me or change anything. From a young girl who felt displaced and confused, I look now at all the amazing people I have met and the wonderful friendships I hold so deeply in my heart. My cousin  always tells me “how weird it would be without [me]”.

I am adopted. I belong. I am a part of my family.