Lawyer Lena Ramesh, 41, returned to the UK after working abroad for many years, to be near her family in Surrey and to begin the process of adopting a child. She became a mother in September 2020, after Diagrama helped her to become a parent and paired her with the child she had so longed for.
Lena said, “Becoming an approved adopter is an intense and challenging process. Doing this while living through a pandemic added a whole different dimension to the process, but I knew I was in safe hands with my chosen adoption agency Diagrama, as they guided me at every stage of the adoption process. Bizarrely I think some aspects of lockdown really helped me prepare for adopting a little one. In "normal" life, I was constantly busy and always out, whereas, thanks to lockdown, I had learned how to entertain myself at home, working out in my garden, baking more and generally learning how to appreciate being still. I also had to establish routines and become more organised with groceries and meal planning, something that I was not used to but would be so important with a child in my life.
“I was also fortunate to work with someone who was already an adoptive parent. They helped me tremendously as they knew the range of emotions, I might face during the adoption process, and I am delighted that they have now become a great friend who I share everyday worries and successes with.
“I can never thank Diagrama enough for helping me to become a mother to such a wonderful special little girl and helping my mum to become a grandparent. Before lockdown 3.0 my daughter and Mum got very close, and we now Facetime each other at least once a day and my heart melts when I see the special relationship they have. Becoming a mother has been a long-held dream but I could never have imagined how incredible being a mother to this gorgeous little girl would feel.”
Every prospective adopter is supported by the Diagrama team and has their own dedicated Social Worker, who guides them through the different stages of becoming a parent and continues to support them as they welcome a child into their family.
Mary Cody, Social Worker, Diagrama, said, “Diagrama was delighted to work with and support Lena through every stage of the process to become an adoptive parent. Of the 3,440 looked after children that were adopted in England during the year ending 31 March 2020, only 11% of the adopters were single. Diagrama welcomes all adoption enquires regardless of age, faith and sexuality, and I would encourage anyone who may have previously felt that they might not have been considered for adoption but would love to welcome a child into their family, to get in touch with us.
“Diagrama welcomes all enquiries, and we celebrate the difference that each person brings to the adoption process. We need people like Lena with hearts and minds open to understanding the early experiences of the children and able to work with us to build secure and loving families within which they can begin to heal and reach their best potential. Almost 70% of the children who joined adoptive families in recent years were aged 1-4 years and for a significant number of these children their new families were single people. We pride ourselves on having a service that is tailored to the individual family's needs and we will be here with them every step on the way.”
To find out more about adopting with Diagrama visit www.diagramaadoption.org.uk
Lena explains how it felt to become a Mama
“When I attended matching panel, I said that CM (Cheeky Monkey) had imprinted on my heart. I choked up as I said this, very aware that this panel was the culmination of the formal adoption process and the place where a group of well-qualified strangers would decide if CM would be my daughter. They unanimously and enthusiastically said “yes” and that’s when I cried with relief that this little girl that had first captured my attention five months earlier would call me Mama.
“I officially started my adoption journey just over a year before CM moved in. During that year, I felt like I experienced every emotion that I can put a name to – often within the space of a few hours! The early part of the process – leading up to approval – is intense and requires lots of soul-searching. Rightly, your Social Worker (SW) needs to know everything about you – your motivation to adopt, how you were brought up and if you have any unresolved emotional issues through to the child you see yourself adopting. It is intrusive, and some people find this really hard – to me it felt like free therapy! I was grateful to have a patient and compassionate Social Worker with whom I felt very comfortable sharing my story.
“I celebrated being approved to adopt, only to realise that the roller-coaster that I had boarded was just getting started. On seeing profiles of children, it was impossible not to be affected. I went on a lot of very long cycle rides and walks during this time to clear my head. There was something though, about CM’s profile that called out to me from the very beginning – an itch that just had to be scratched. My Social Worker expressed interest in her on my behalf and then came the waiting. This was me sitting at the back of the roller-coaster unable to see and dangling at the very peak of the first rapid decline. And then hearing an announcement that there’s a problem so I must sit and wait there for a month – which is how long it took to hear that things would progress to the next step. All I could do during this time was to quietly hope – I couldn’t get excited and there was little point in getting stressed. For someone, whose motto in life is “if you don’t like something, fix it” – this was torture.
“Becoming “linked” took me straight into the corkscrew section – we were building up to matching panel, after which, all being well, things would move quickly and she would soon move in. But until matching panel, nothing is official – so should I allow myself to believe this was going to happen? Would I be tempting fate if I decorated her bedroom and started imaging my life with her? By this stage, I had seen a lot of photos and videos of her – I had started forming a very real picture of CM and could picture her in my house.
“A month before matching panel, I was granted the opportunity to have a “bump into” in a playground with CM and her foster carer. It was colder than predicted, and CM and I were both inappropriately dressed for the weather. CM, oblivious to everything that was going on, was clumsily curious as she toddled around the playground – probably excited to be let out given covid restrictions!! I was nervously awkward and unusually lost for words. And then I held her and everything up to that point didn’t matter. She fit in my arms like the jigsaw piece I knew was missing.
Now, I can’t imagine a world in which she doesn’t wake me up every morning with a gentle kiss, poke in the eye or a sleepy “Mama”.