The decision for my adoption to be made, prompted my social workers at the time to create a scrapbook, explaining as much as they could about the first year and a half of my life during the period between birth and adoption. This is something I am thankful for as it explains a lot for me particularly because I’ve never really felt comfortable enough to talk about my feelings or ask about my adoption. This scrapbook gave me enough information to have some insight into what happened. This is what I know from it:
Born in East England, My birth mother H from a previous marriage had two children - who I have come to acknowledge as my half brothers - in 1993. Though still married, she left and met my biological father. The relationship failed partially due to abuse and soon after moving back with her mother - my biological grandmother - she discovered she was pregnant. From what I have been told, no one came to know who my biological father was and no information was or has been provided about him. I was born Caroline Roseanne Deeble 5th August at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge.
During the pregnancy, social services became involved because they were worried about H as she had a hard time looking after my two half brothers. It was believed she was suffering from severe Post-Natal Depression and so they thought she may face the same problems when trying to look after me, which she did. Her mental and physical health worsened when I was born and so ultimately, we moved to a family centre where help was provided to care for me. We later moved to a family care centre in September 1994, leaving in October.
It was decided that H was not fit enough to look after me - for example, she would forget to change my nappies or even forget to feed me. The stresses of her previous family breakdown and the effects of Post-Natal Depression meant she had completely stopped caring for herself which later resulted in her admission to a psychiatric ward. As a result of this, in March 1995, the court granted a 'local authority care order' over me which meant they had decided it was best for me to be put into Foster Care until I found a 'forever family'. I stayed with one foster family for a short term, then went on to stay with Mr and Mrs S who had their own 3 year old son. I stayed with this family for over a year and shared my first Christmas and Birthday with them.
In October 1995, the parents who were to become my 'forever' family, met with my social workers to talk about the possibility of adopting me. November 1995 was the last contact I physically ever had with my birth mother and later that month I was taken to meet my new family from London. In December 1995, I became a part of this family and joined their three children - my soon to be 'forever' siblings. My name was legally changed.
It is difficult to explain the feeling I’ve felt throughout my life and those which I still go through. I only had the official ‘adoption talk’ a few years ago whilst on holiday with my mum and my sister. It was a story that came unexpectedly but quite naturally and it was very emotional. However, as cliché as it sounds, it is something that in some ways I have always known. Growing up, my family quite respectfully chose to not bring the subject up unless I decided that I wanted to talk about it or ask questions, but for the majority of my life, I can say I have never enquired about it. On the one hand, this was partially due to the fact that I have had a good life - admittedly, nothing has ever been perfect of course and my relationship with my family is one which I believe has slightly been affected by my adoption in terms of attachment and the closeness of our relationship - but I never brought questions to them because I was content with the life that had been chosen for me. On the other hand, I never really spoke about it because every time I thought about it, without a doubt I would become extremely upset and this wasn’t something I was ready to deal with. It is only until very recently that I have said to myself it is time to face my reality. I have a purpose, and I want to share it and use it to help others who, like me have found it hard to come to terms with being adopted or still do. I found comfort in the thought that although my birth mother wasn’t able to look after me, it did not mean that she may not have wanted to. Nevertheless, I believe if I had someone who could relate to all of the confusing emotions that overwhelmed me growing up then it would’ve helped me. I would not have seen adoption as this big thing - this big secret or elephant in the room that wasn’t supposed to be spoken about or something that I had to earn someone’s trust to tell. It is for this reason, I have decided to create The Hazel Perspective.
*Some of the photos below have been pixelated out of respect for the anonymity of those within them.
From left - Right: Me the day I was born; With my birth mother H; With my biological Grandmother; The Manager at the Family Centre, H and I; H and I at the centre; My Foster mother and I; My Foster father and I; My foster parents son with me; My first birthday spent with my foster parents.