'This is why I decided to adopt a baby at 50'

·4-min read
Fiona Myles with Georgie
Fiona Myles with Georgie

I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. I started trying for a baby with my first husband when I was in my 20s, but we weren’t successful and tests said it was down to “unexplained infertility”. I went through one round of IVF but, when I lost twins at age 29, it felt too barbaric to try again. After our relationship had ended, I also failed to conceive with my second partner, Robert. At that point, I began to realise that becoming a mother biologically might not be an option.

People kept suggesting adoption, but as an adopted child myself I was keen to avoid going down that route. I was adopted, at eight months, into a family where I was in the middle of two natural children. I was always painfully aware that I was different from my siblings and I often felt very angry. They were both well behaved but I was rebellious; it was obvious that I wasn’t their biological child.

Shortly after the failed round of IVF, my second husband left me. I hit rock bottom for several years, before I decided to turn my life around and become a Christian. It was during this time that I met my current partner, Brian. I was 37 and he was 13 years younger than me. Given our age gap, I decided to let him know early on that I probably couldn’t have children. When I was 45, we went for some fertility tests and I was told that my eggs had died. I wasn’t going to be able to naturally conceive. Brian burst into tears on the bus home.

After that, I started to seriously consider adoption. By chance, one of my biological sisters told me about another relative's daughter, Georgie, who was being put up for adoption as her parents could not look after her. I came home and discussed it with my husband.

We decided to put in an application to see if she could be placed with us. We had always wanted a child, and this was a way of keeping Georgie within her family and fulfilling our dream of being parents. After years of trying and failing to get pregnant naturally, becoming a mother in my 50s felt right.

The adoption process was intense, with many interviews. My partner and I both have drug addiction in our pasts, which we had to be very honest about. Georgie had a brain haemorrhage a few hours after she was born, which means she has some developmental issues. Social workers inspected our house and wanted to know every detail about our lives and how we would manage. There was added stress when Brian was diagnosed with testicular cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and surgery.

But, after the lengthy application process, we were deemed fit. Six weeks before I turned 51, Georgie, age 14 months, was dropped off at our house with her box of things. She had a lot of allergies, so we had to be careful about what we fed her. As she grew up, Georgie also developed some behavioural problems and got sent home from school regularly. She is now in a special education unit.

When you’ve been childless for as long as I have, it was a real shock to the system having a toddler in the house. It took a while to physically get used to having that extra responsibility for a child’s every need. To begin with, we were permanently exhausted. I knew nothing about parenting and, unlike other new mothers, I didn’t have a group of young friends with babies to learn from and support me. I had to read a lot and got in touch with younger parents for advice.

Because of my age, I felt disconnected from the other new mothers I met. Once, I went to a mum and toddler group and everyone assumed I was Georgie’s grandmother. A lot of the conversation centred around breastfeeding and labour, which I couldn’t join in with. I didn’t want to have to say that Georgie wasn’t mine, because it feels like she is.

One of the beautiful things is that she looks like me. By chance, she also has my husband's red hair. I’ve always been open with Georgie about the fact she was adopted and will continue to tell her more as she grows up. She is in touch with both of her biological grandmothers, but sadly her mother passed away. She hasn’t met her dad yet.

As midlife parents, there is a lot to learn, and we are discovering new things every day. But it’s an absolute joy to look at her and know my desire to be a parent has finally been fulfilled.

Fiona's book, This is Me – No Darkness Too Deep, is available to buy on Amazon

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