Sara thought she'd never be able to adopt. Then a chance meeting with a foster carer made her realise she still had a chance at motherhood.
I had a busy and successful career in advertising, but it was at the cost of starting a family. By the time I realised I wanted children, I had left it too late.
My mother had been a foster carer, and when I was growing up there were always children coming to stay with us. So I was no stranger to adoption, or the life chances it could bring. But as someone over 40, and single, I never thought they would consider me.
It was a chance meeting with a foster carer that made me reconsider. She explained that the rules had been relaxed, and that there was no longer an upper age limit. She also said being single shouldn't necessarily be a bar.
From then on I realised what I had to do, but that didn't make the first steps any easier. When you're single you only have yourself to rely on. You don't have someone else there encouraging you. It was really hard.
I talked to absolutely everyone about my decision to adopt. At first it was just my family, and of course my mother, with all her experience, was invaluable. But I also started talking to people outside my family. I really had no qualms about telling everyone what I was doing. They were all incredibly supportive, and I gained a lot of strength through them.
So I eventually got up the courage and made an application. I have to say I was quite concerned about the types of children I might be encouraged to adopt. I wasn't sure if I could cope with a child with special needs, behavioural problems or global developmental delay. However, the social worker was excellent, and we talked at length about what I felt I could and couldn't cope with. She also took me to visit someone whose child had some developmental problems. The more I talked about it, and the more people I met, I realised it wasn't so scary after all. I learnt that I was capable of coping with a lot more than I initially thought.
I got approved to adopt fairly quickly, but it took ages to match me with a child. I found this quite frustrating. But then, finally, I was introduced to my daughter for the first time. My life was absolutely transformed!
I feel complete joy at finally becoming a mother, and it makes no difference to me that we're not genetically related. Through the process I've learnt so much about myself. And although, so far, my daughter hasn't shown any signs of physical or behavioural problems, if there are any in the future I feel I'm ready to cope. She is just perfect to me.