Why is an organisation like WAF needed and what sets us apart from other adoption support organisations?
Our podcast host, Eddie Elliott, sat down with our Co-founders, Marie-Louise and Miranda to find out more about their stories and motivations for starting We Are Family ten years ago.
Miranda and Marie-Louise were colleagues but it was only days before Miranda left to go on adoption leave that they found out that they were both adopting. “It’s that kind of process that you don’t massively talk about because you never know when it’s going to happen, or how, and so you keep it to yourself. It’s not like when you have your birth child and everyone can see you getting bigger and bigger. I remember telling my colleagues two weeks before I left”.
Marie Louise shared that knowing each other’s story “felt like a big relief, but also it felt kind of sad in a way that we only found out at that kind of that crucial moment when actually we could have probably supported each other quite a lot during that journey, because we both had completely different journeys”.
WAF started locally because Marie Louise (North London) and Miranda (South London) found themselves asking where the other adopters were. Marie Louise remembers “We could live down the road from an adopter and for very good reasons, social workers can’t tell us, you know, down in number 58, there’s somebody else who has an adopted child. I think both of us felt quite lonely. We were so out of sync with the NCT groups. However, I did fall into a group very early on that was called Mother’s Talking. These mothers had a lot on their heart and I would say most of it, I totally related to. But I had an ‘add on’. Whenever the turn came to me in those sessions, it was the adoption things that I wanted to know about. It was reassuring to know that motherhood was very recognisable, yet there was a whole part of the story that I couldn’t share”.
Miranda recalls that at play groups she felt like the odd one out. She wasn’t prepared for the questions, such as ‘Oh, how did you think of your son’s name?’ or ‘how much did he weigh at birth?’. “I felt odd, and I didn’t like that feeling. So I just remember, I just got back in touch with my local adoption team and just said, ‘What are you running? What have you got?’ And they’re said ‘well, not much’. I went off and found a coffee shop with a play area where parents could chat. At the first meeting five other mums turned up. We just grew and grew and whatever happened, I would be there every other Wednesday”.
For both Marie Louise and Miranda, they were aware that local peer to peer support was crucial to their ability to support their children. It was also important that the support should be free and accessible. The parent-focused nature of We Are Family is what they believe sets the charity apart from others in the sector.
Join Eddie, Marie Louise and Miranda as they talk in depth about the need for peer support, what it has meant to them and why WAF will keep its core value of responding to what adoptive families need at its very centre as it moves into its second decade.
“WAF is there to help you navigate your way as you become a parent, a family”
A message from our Co-Founders:
“Marie Louise and Miranda would like to extend a massive “thank you” to all those who have been instrumental in forming We Are Family and have kept it going over the last decade. To all our past and present members, volunteers and trustees who work hard to keep a safe space for adopters to meet. To the social workers, professionals and Heads of Service, who heard us, listened and who continue to support us.
To Jay and Eddie who work continuously to bring together a wide range of webinars and podcasts, which enable WAF to further support members, adopters and others beyond WAF. And lastly to the dedicated members of staff who continue WAF’s mission. Thank you all!”