Joanne has adopted three children with additional needs

Joanne is an experienced social worker, working in a number of different roles in children’s services including as an adoption family finder.

Joanne approached PACT in March 2014 as a single adopter looking to adopt for a third time. Joanne had already adopted Billy (now aged 12) in 2008 and Josie (now aged seven) in 2011 through a different agency. Both Billy and Josie have additional needs and Joanne was open to another child with additional needs.

Joanne said: “I decided to adopt for a third time as I still had a lot of love to give and thought that for the right child it would benefit both the child and our family. I proceeded with PACT as they were professional, able to do the work in a reasonable timescale and were placing the sorts of children I was interested in.”

After completing the adoption assessment Joanne was approved by PACT’s adoption panel in November 2014.

Although originally looking for a slightly older child Joanne was quickly matched with 15 month old Lara who was placed in February 2015.

Joanne said: “Lara was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and no one knew how that diagnosis would manifest. The placing agency and PACT worked so well together, and introductions were planned in such a way that I felt confident both Lara’s and my needs were met.”

Joanne formally adopted Lara in August 2015. She said: “Life now is in many ways easy and also different in terms of the sort of care she needs. It’s brought out qualities in her brother and sister that I didn’t know were there.”

“I was looking for a child with additional needs, both Josie and Billy have medical conditions. It is a misconception that these kids are challenging. It’s different, they need you so much more than ordinary children and the opportunity to bond is readily available. The potential to see increased development is enhanced. Lara was like a baby at 15 months but now her speech has developed and she is bright, she has surpassed all expectations.”

Joanne has been offered the support of PACT’s award-winning therapeutic support service FACTS but hasn’t needed it so far. The service is available to support PACT families for life.

Joanne’s advice to prospective adopters is: “I would recommend PACT definitely and say be open to everything, the unexpected can turn out to be a great positive. Also trust your instinct. Professionally and as an adopter I would say open your eyes and go for it.”