The Story Behind the Blog

A little history

My husband TCM and I had a complex route towards becoming parents but adoption wasn't ever seen as some sort of consolation for us.  Adoption was a conscious decision. We knew that we could offer a home to a child who needed a home and that we had hearts full of love and lives full of experience to offer.  Neither TCM or I had easy childhoods so we were aware that becoming adoptive parents might be complex for us all.  I have always been clear that I am not my children's first mother and both children have been brought up knowing they were adopted.  

After an intense year between 2008 and 2009 being assessed as adopters, we were approved to become adopters in December 2009 and matched almost immediately with our daughter, Katie, aged 2 years and 3 months when she joined our family.  Our lives were transformed beyond recognition in the space of two weeks!  It was then that I started this blog.  In 2012 we decided to do it all again and Katie's brother Pip joined us aged 7 months in 2013. Our family was complete. The children are now (in 2024) 16 and 11 years old.

In 2019 TCM and I separated and very sadly TCM passed away in 2022.  I am currently a full-time parent to Katie and Pip because their neurodevelopmental challenges mean that they have struggled to cope within education.  I moved with the children to our new home in March 2021 in the middle of the lockdown, which is not an experience I’d ever want to repeat. The children and I now live with our four cats, one Guinea pig and two tanks of fish. Guess who cares for all the animals? The children are both desperate for a dog but I'm holding off on that for the time being.

Katie was diagnosed with FASD and ADHD when she was 8 years old. This diagnosis was reconfirmed when she was 11 at the FASD clinic in Surrey and an additional diagnosis of Autism added. She also has developmental trauma, sensory processing difficulties, emetophobia and more recently has developed POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Pip is still undergoing a diagnostic process. He has been diagnosed with significant dyslexia, developmental trauma, sensory processing difficulties, ADHD and probable FASD.  Lack of evidence on his CPR means that the diagnostic route for FASD has been problematic. Both children experience intense anxiety. 

As I edit this intro in 2024 to give it a much needed update I reflect that I’ve been writing this blog on and off for 15 years. That’s a long time and much has changed since I first started journaling our road to becoming parents through adoption. How I see my identity currently has changed from when I first started writing. Back then my professional days working as a counsellor, personal adviser and SRE/PSHE teacher weren’t far behind me. I stopped working when we adopted Katie. Over the time since I started writing I opened my own business working as a Reiki therapist which I loved.  The impact of the pandemic on Katie and Pip meant I had to close my business to care for them whilst they have been out of full time education. It’s been four years however since my business closed. I still feel the loss of my work and the identity for myself that comes with my work. Writing and my work helps me keep grounded and in touch with who I am and these days I'm a mama-warrior for the children, fighting for the right education and medical support alongside a life long dream of learning to play the piano. I developed chronic fatigue syndrome not long after we adopted Pip and have also developed fibromyalgia as well. Stress has probably played a big part in those developments.  I’m lucky in that I can manage from day to day with the quite intense needs of the children but my dancing days of tap and mo-jive have had to be retired and I have to manage my energy levels carefully. Anecdotally I hear of quite a few adopters developing such medical issues. 

 The "Life With Katie" Blog

I initially started my blog as a way of keeping friends and family up-to-date with our introductions with Katie but decided to keep the blog going as a record of our lives together. I stopped writing the blog for a few years to focus on life after my separation from TCM, his subsequent passing and the emotional needs of the children because it became too difficult to write but over the years I have found the process of writing to be very helpful and cathartic over the years as I navigate my way through our lives. Writing has helped me understand and process my own emotions and to try and understand the children on a deeper level. I am grateful to everyone who reads and comments and sends me emails. To know that what I write has touched and helped people too is a blessing.  I hope that people can see their own experiences reflected in ours and know that they are not alone.

I share my blog to help adopters and prospective adopters get a sense of what our life is like and to keep myself sane as I try to understand the challenges that being an adoptive parent brings. The blog has evolved as we have and is written with as much honesty as possible. I also hope that, one day, this blog will serve as the story of Katie and Pip's life so I can offer them memories and a sense of their childhoods, something which is very important to adopted people. There is much that comes with adoption. It can be a very emotive subject which is often at the forefront of my mind. We are finding our way through all the highs and lows much as any family does.

I love connecting with other adopters and bloggers through this blog and Twitter and Facebook and receive emails from many different people who often share their adoption stories with me. "Life with Katie" almost has a life of its own now.


  1. I very much enjoyed reading your blog post and I admire your openness and honesty. I wish you well with the process. Tell me is the paperwork really 32,000 words? For a Phd you only need 90,000 words!! Much joy to you and your family. And to you a very happy Mother's Day for Sunday.

  2. Hi Vivien! Oooh maybe I could get a PhD in Adoption then eh? That was the figure that wa quoted on the course. So glad to hear that you enjoy reading the blog. I love writing it. Looking forward to my third Mothers Day tomorrow! Much joy to you as well.

  3. Hi Gem,
    I discovered your blog last night and have now (2.23am) finished reading it! We have our linking panel on 5 Sept and meet our little girl for the first time on the 16th Sept. A huge mix of feelings at the moment and reading your blog has really helped,

    1. Hi and welcome Anon. It's lovely to hear that your adoption adventure is so close now. Would love to hear more if you want to email. Wishing you good luck for both dates. Your endurance medal for reading the entire blog is in the post! Lol x

  4. Hi Gem, I found this blog last week in my search for blogs regarding adoption. I am at the very early stages of adoption. I tried for a baby for 7 years and then put everything off for 4 years having been told I could not have a biological child. Now 11 years later I am now starting the adoption process as a single adopter. I have read many blogs but your is by far the most insightful and honest and I have sat here and read all your blog entries over the past few days. Thanks for some great reading material.

  5. Hi there. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from people. I wanted to wish you good luck and hope that you have an easier journey now than you've had so far. It sounds like you've been through a lot and I can empathise with that. It can be an emotional and exciting time when you're going through the adoption process. I wish I'd been able to relax more but so much was riding in it for me. I hope it's a swift outcome for you. Gem x

  6. Hi Gem. I wanted to write to say how relevant and comforting I find your blog. Our adopted daughter (aged 6) has been with us for 10 months and we recently had our adoption day in court. So many of the behaviours our daughter presents with are mirrored in Katie's behaviours - it is as though you are describing our child. Thank you and please keep it up!

    1. Thank you for your reply. I'm so glad that my scribblings are able to bring comfort and a shared bond of experiences.


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