A Hug for a Prize: Help for single parents to win the hearts of their children

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Laurence A. Tisch , CBS Inc. Cooks , Entertaining. George Frideric Handel; Reviews. A Midsummer Night's Dream. Benjamin Britten English composer ; Reviews. Charm School. How can you ever be ready to have an empty house one day and a child in it the next? Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics and Family Court data show there were solo adoptions in , a rise from in Solo male adopters have also increased, but women outnumber them by about 12 to one. Even celebrities choose to go it alone, with Angelina Jolie, Madonna,. Sandra Bullock and Charlize Theron adopting solo.

But Alice Noon, head of Adoption and Permanent Families Service at Coram Adoption, says the rise in wider society is a simple reflection of changes in families and attitudes — single-parent families now make up 15 per cent of UK households. Adoption agencies have realised the need to widen the net to recruit more adopters — not just single parents but older ones, people with disabilities and same-sex couples.

But the number of people registering for adoption is falling, probably because of improvements in reproductive technology, and a growing understanding that adoption is extremely tough. In the UK, adopted children come from the care system and 70 per cent of them will have experienced trauma and abuse. Overseas adoptions have plummeted as developing countries have set up their own domestic adoption programmes.

Darren Webster, 45, a primary school vice principal from Norfolk, adopted his son Cody more than two decades ago. When I adopted Cody I was in my early 20s, just beginning my teaching career. My heart went out to him so a friend mentioned I could adopt a child like that to give them a chance. I had a good job and my own home — I was in a position to do it. She caught me off guard, but she was there when I made the call to social services.

I was single, happy living on my own and had never been particularly bothered about being in a relationship, but I did know I wanted children.

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He had gappy teeth, short hair, very dark brown eyes and, though he looked shy, he had a cheeky grin. He was five and had been in several foster-care placements. Neither was true. He needed a lot of speech therapy so he could slowly begin to get his points across and be understood. Cody took up all my time from the very beginning.

With single-parent adoptions at a record high in the UK what drives someone to do it on their own?

I love arts and theatre so wherever I was going, Cody came too. I remember him leaping through the trees on a high ropes course, me following behind, trying to keep up. There were difficulties — Cody ran away from school a number of times — but we formed a strong bond. Cody needed boundaries so I set them and there was no other parent to change them. All the same it left me feeling like a huge failure as a parent.


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I love my children and made them my life. They are all adults now and I do look back and think about how things could have been happier. I guess my point of writing this is to those of you who are younger and have a chance to accept your children. I suggest that you do everything you can to seek help to do just that. I pray for true deep down acceptance that is not just on the surface. This has been difficult.

I understand those of you who have felt disbelief, anger, worry, and fear. I am going to try for a new approach and that is one of being happy and positive. This wonderful human is still my child. I love him with my whole being and that will never change. My son just told me 2 days ago that he feels he was meant to be born a girl. To say I was shocked, was an understatement.

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He told me first and now his girlfriend knows and wants to be there for him too. Where do I start being there for him? What can I do to make this journey easy for him? I love him so dearly and just want to protect him. Please, I need advice. Thank you in advance x. Offer to be there when he comes out to his father and others. Drive him to medical appointments.

Read some of the books available on transitioning. Ask meaningful questions about how he is feeling. Find a support group so he can talk to people who are in a similar circumstance, and find one for you and your husband too. Thank you. My husband, his step dad now knows too. As he says, he was his child from 3 years old and loves him unconditionally.

He still has his biological dad to tell and step mum, which he is dreading. But I will always be there and as you say, I will go to appointments, meetings etc with him and will be there all the way. I actually got my first rush of excitement for him yesterday when I picked him up. We talked and talked and hugged and talked some more, it was great.

I feel like I want to spend every minute with him. He wants to tell him his self, the same way he did with his step dad. Can anyone offer any advice on the easiest way for an 11 year old to fully understand and be accepting of this news.

I am so scared of them drifting apart. Again, I am new to this, but my sister wanted to get advice from a professional on how to tell her 12 year old daughter that her cousin was going to become a woman.

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The professional said not to make such a big deal out of it with a child because they are typically less analytical and judgmental than adults. My niece took the news well. Her attitude was basically that it would be kinda weird seeing her male cousin as a girl, but..

Hi Tracy, Stacy is right! Keep hanging in there and seeking support! You are a loving, generous mom!! Your reaction is so common to what so many of us mothers experience that I decided to write a bit on the topic- Thanks for the inspiration!! Keep loving your son and reaching out!! Hugs to you!! His step dad now knows too he told him and is amazing. He has told him that his love is unconditional, regardless of gender.

I might have even gone 3 hours without crying! That is all I want. My son does not look like a girl in front of his dad , and has moved to NY. Hi kmphillips! Your child is an adult and they get to make adult decisions — as well as mistakes!