Sue and Jim's story
IAAM was inspired and founded by PACT Adopters, Sue and Jim Clifford who believe that “every child should have the best childhood they can”, and have themselves adopted nine children.
Sue and Jim tried for five years to conceive and when they were unsuccessful they deliberately chose not to try IVF but to adopt. Sue explained:
“I didn’t feel that IVF was right for us, it would have been an emotional rollercoaster and I was concerned about the health issues around the procedures. We had always planned to adopt after having birth children, as Jim has personal experience as an adoptee, so it made sense to us to move straight to adoption.”
They were in their early 30s when they adopted their elder daughters who were six and almost 10 at the time. Most adopters choose younger children but Sue and Jim wanted to help children who would probably be overlooked by other adopters. They selected these girls, as the local authority was considering splitting them to give the youngest a chance to be adopted. Sue said, “The girls had always lived together, and Jim and I were horrified to think they might be separated.” For Jim and Sue it was the start of a remarkable family life.
Sue explains, “It took time for our adopted children to trust us, and their behaviour at times felt like rejection, but when they started to accept us as parents and bond, it’s massive. I believe that my youngest daughter is far more caring and communicative than most teenagers at her age. She shares everything with me, she is constantly excited to make me part of her life and I admire the concern and care she shows for others.”
Sue explained, “A child who is starting to bond with their new family can typically move from being withdrawn and uncommunicative to anger and frustration, and as their parents you can be the target of those feelings. It’s very hard but that is means your child is starting to express their feelings.”
Sue sums up why adoption is such a worthwhile adventure. “It will be hard; you will need resilience, patience, a great support network as you develop expert parenting skills specially attuned to your child. Ultimately, the rewards of working with a vulnerable child to break down their barriers, understand their life story and build a bond of love and trust are unrivalled.”
The IAAM adoption scheme will help some of the most vulnerable children.