Ann-marie Wiltshire

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An Adoption Story

An Adoption Story

What encouraged or influenced your decision to choose adoption for you and your family?

The decision was not planned, my husband and I had just got married in April 1995 and I had only met Shaquire once before when she was around 2 weeks old , I just remembered how small she was. Shaquire was also my husbands' niece's daughter of his half sister who had 5 other Children. At the time I also employed her mother to work on my Hot Dog cart during the evening and in order to help her we started looking after Shaquire at the weekends. This continued for around 6 months. During this time, we started having Shaquire every day and we fell in Love with her and became so attached to her that we just couldn't bear the thought of her not being part of our life. Also my Biological Children had met her and they called her their little sister and too this day they are all Brother and Sisters an Shaquire is aunty to their Children. A funny thing that happened with Shaquire was that we didn't buy a Crib for her as we had not planned on keeping her at first so we turned a drawer from my Bedroom Chest into a cot, with a pillow as the mattress. 

When Shaquire was around 10 months old we approached her parents and asked them if they would allow us to adopt her, they agreed and we started the process of visiting the Child Care Board. This was not easy as it was deemed a private adoption and could not be enforced until after we had kept and maintained her for 3 years. I would recommend [this] to anyone who is thinking about adoption but who may have reserved thoughts about whether the child will be someone they can love, would their genes from their Biological Parents be strong, would we be able to love another person's child, I would say treat the child as your own from day one, have God in your life, pray together has a family, love and discipline your child as if they were your own child. Are their challenges? Yes, but you can come through, that first smile, the first words that Shaquire had myself and her father were there and they were wonderful times. 

What has the experience of being an adoptive parent been like for you. What were the challenges and joys of the journey? 

The experience of being an adoptive Parent has been amazing. I can only say [that] I have been blessed Shaquire who is a strong willed young lady but has always been very respectful to everyone. She has excelled at school even though she is dyslexic and had challenges along the way, she always knew she had to work harder than some of her peers in order to achieve her goals. In St Angela's she excelled in Swimming and was awarded the Victrix Le Dorum 2007 for Swimming at her graduation. She moved to Ursuline Convent in Sept 2007 with her goal of becoming a Nurse strong in her mind. She also chose to be Baptized into the Catholic Church in the same year and I am happy and proud to say that my beautiful daughter has just been told she will Graduate as a Nurse in November this year. I truly believe that God had a plan for me when I came to Barbados and married my husband and introduced me to a tiny little baby girl in 1995 that fitted in my hand as she was so tiny. Shaquire from day one has always felt part of me. As close as my biological children of which I have 4 ranging in age from 46 to 36 Shaquire is now 21. Also, Shaquire shares my deceased Fathers Birthday and he was my Hero. 

The main challenge along the way was with the final adoption due to this being a Private adoption and her parents did change their mind at a one point in fact by this time we had been Mum and Dad to Shaquire for over 3 years. However, we decided to continue our path and stayed strong and was awarded Care Custody and Control of Shaquire after a 2 year battle in court. This was the worst time of my life but every day I would see this beautiful funny little girl and my heart would burst so with prayer and love we won through and eventually the papers were signed and Shaquire was legally my little girl. Were there other challenges along the way, yes, but like any parent I dealt with them as they arose obviously there was always the question from people when Shaquire called me Mummy, is that your child and I was very proud to say, Yes. We told Shaquire from a very young age that she was adopted and that she was special as we chose her to be our little girl and that we loved her very much. 

What advice would you give to any family considering adopting a child or a family who is thinking of giving their child a better life through adoption. 

Take the first step of going to the Local Child agency of the country you wish to adopt from. There are a lot of forms to fill in and the process can take up to two years to complete, so in the interim maybe you could apply to be a foster parent, do not just think about having a baby as they are few and far between. Look at older children they also need a loving home, treat them as one of your family from day one, don't be scared of loving them and disciplining them if necessary. I have always believed that if you are scared, how do you think the child feels with being in a strange home with new people in their life especially if they are older. It is the best thing I have ever done in my life beside being mum to my other Children and Grandchildren which right now I have 11, in fact Shaquire has always said that when she gets Married she wants to have two biological children and two adopted children

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