- Adoption Journey
Carla: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to 50 Shades of Motherhood uncensored, unhinged and unapologetic motherhood chats around the highs, the lows, the struggles, everything really.
[00:00:36] This week I am speaking to Ella Cookson all about her adoption journey from fertility. Through to IVF through to miscarriage, right the way through to adoption. So I look forward to sharing this episode with you and I hope you enjoy it.
[00:01:12] Hello everybody. And welcome to this week’s episode of 50 Shades of Motherhood. Today. I am talking to the lovely
[00:01:21] Ella Cookson all about her journey through fertility and adoption, and she will be telling us all about her story. So hello, Ella.
Ella: [00:01:32] Hello, Carla.
Carla: [00:01:33] How are you?
Ella: [00:01:35] I’m very well, thank you. How are you?
Carla: [00:01:38] Very well, thank you. The sun is shining. I’ve had a bit of a barbecue tonight, so I’ve got a beer in my hand, which is just great. So yeah, I’m all on cloud nine at the moment, to be honest, talking to a friend away from George for a change. So, so I’m looking forward to this. So Ella start, if you don’t mind, by telling us a little bit about you, if that’s okay.
Ella: [00:02:03] So, yeah, 39 years old, I have managed my own business for the past five years. I have a wonderful husband who I’ve been married to for 10 years and I have a beautiful little girl.
Carla: [00:02:18] Oh, lovely.
Ella: [00:02:21] I can’t forget my two beautiful doggies as well.
Carla: [00:02:23] Oh absolutely. They’re lovely little doggies as well. So Ella rewinding back to the very start, obviously, you and your husband got married. And did you, I mean, how, how was that for you? Did you decide you wanted children or is it something that you thought about later?
Ella: [00:02:42] So I’ve always wanted children. Um, from a young age, I’ve always had it planned, the names, how old I was going to be when I had kids and got married all very much planned out in my own head. And then it all went drastically wrong.
Carla: [00:02:56] No, nothing ever goes to plan though does it Ella?
Ella: [00:02:57] No it doesn’t it really doesn’t. So we got married and, um, yeah, pretty much started trying for children’s straight away but to be, to be totally honest with you Carla. I had a feeling in my early twenties, I was going to really struggle to get pregnant. Um, um, and I did.
Carla: [00:03:19] Does it just come from nowhere, that feeling, because I don’t know whether that’s a girl thing though, because I always used to think like that, you know, like maybe do you think it’s when you want something so much, it just, you get that feeling or do you just, was it a, did you have something that made you think like that?
Ella: [00:03:36] I don’t know. I think I’ve just always had that, you know, that sixth sense that bit of, is it a sixth sense?
Carla: [00:03:43] Yeah. Yeah. I think it is. Yeah, where you just get a feeling that something’s just not going to go right for you.
Ella: [00:03:52] Yeah I just had a feeling quite, um, yeah, quite an overwhelming feeling really that, I had had quite a lot of, um, precancerous cells and had quite, um. You know, when they, they have to remove all of the cells and it went quite deep from what I’ve, what I can remember, but I was quite scarred from it. Um, so yeah, so I don’t, I don’t, well, I think that may have had something to do with it as well, but .
Carla: [00:04:22] Is that from your smear tests?
Ella: [00:04:25] Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I had smear tests because I, when I started having smear tests, you could have them as a, as a young teen. Um, um, so I think I was, I must’ve been about. 19, I think when I had the first one came up abnormal.
Carla: [00:04:44] Really?
Ella: [00:04:44] Yeah. And then I had to go back for um, treatments where they, um, cauterise the cells.
Carla: [00:04:51] Oh gosh, it’s awful.
Ella: [00:04:53] Yeah. So, and that didn’t help. The way I, the way I was feeling that I was gonna struggle. Um, So, yeah, I have gone totally off track.
Carla: [00:05:03] No, it’s fine. To be honest, this is what it’s about. Just being free, to be honest, the longer I can drink for. So it’s a good thing for me. So Ella. Right. Okay. So I get that. So you guys got married and then you were like, right. We’ll start trying. So, so what happened then after that, then obviously it didn’t happen, but I mean, how long were you trying for then?
Ella: [00:05:28] So we were trying for a couple of years, and then we went to um, the hospital, um, and they put us on, Clomid is, I think that’s like the first stage really, if you, if you’re struggling to conceive, you generally put on something called Clomid. Um, and the chance of you conceive it is, goes up through this medication that you take and the chances of you actually having a twin pregnancy increases as well. Well, we had absolutely. We had no luck with that at all.
Carla: [00:06:04] What does that do that Clomid then? Does it like, kind of make you ovulate or what, what ?
Ella: [00:06:09] Yeah it releases um, don’t quote me on this, but if I remember rightly it’s meant to release more eggs.
Carla: [00:06:17] Right.
Ella: [00:06:18] So, um, it kind of. I suppose prompts that um, if you, if you not, um, ovulating every month or that type of thing, it will prompt you with your body to ovulate. Um, but with doing that, it tends to a lot of times it can stimulate and you can end up with, um, two embryos. So having twins.
Carla: [00:06:40] Oh, wow. Right. Okay. So, so I mean, I know, cause since, since my twins and stuff, I was like to Danny, I was like, right. I just want another one I want another one. I have spoke about this on a previous podcast, so I won’t bore you with it, but that fertility journey is like, it’s quite hard, isn’t it? Like, you know, that time of trying then it thinking, Oh, maybe, and then you get that period again and it’s like, fuck sake. Oh, sorry. Excuse my language. But it’s awful. And it just makes you like it it can really rule your whole world. Um, and it’s so, so hard. So, so I mean, I’ve, that’s only been a few months for me but, you know, I completely understand, um, how hard that must be. So, so was that after a couple of years that you went on that Clomid then, um?
Ella: [00:07:32] We went on the Clomid after a couple of years and that didn’t work. So then we started our the first round of IVF. The following year.
Carla: [00:07:41] Ella, do you get that free initially or did you have to pay?
Ella: [00:07:45] We got it free. Um, and we went, so we got it, uh, through, uh, through a hospital, um, in, in driving distance from us and, um. But I had a really good feeling about this, this IVF. I was really confident it was going to work. And, um, I remember pulling up when we were having, we basically were having the, um, we had two embryos, um, implanted, um, um, implemented, I think that’s right. It’s so long ago now Carla I forget all the terminology, but, um, I remember getting in the car after we had the, the, um, two embryos put back and then I looked out the window and the car next to me, and there was a little, you know, those little, sun visors and it says twins on board. And I remember thinking, Oh my God, this is, this is us we’re going to have twins. Yeah, it was, it was a sign and it was a sign cause I did get pregnant. So I was, I was pregnant and I was like, Oh my God, I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t believe it, well I could believe it. You know, again, I got the, got the senses and I was like, it’s going to happen. It’s going to work. And it did. And I was doing pregnancy tests from like, you know, like five days before you’re meant to start doing them. But I knew I was pregnant and I was getting all th signs. And even like the stick, even though it was too early, there was still like a really faint lines. I was like doing a stick every day, like, Oh my God, I might be pregnant, I shouldn’t even know yet.
Carla: [00:09:24] You just want to check it still there though. Don’t you a lot of the time like oh yeah. But then you can get yourself in a, like an absolute nightmare. Cause I had a chemical only a few months ago and I tested it and I was like, Oh my God, there is a line. But then I started testing every day and then the line disappeared. I was like, and then my period came. I was like, noooo it’s awful.
Ella: [00:09:44] It plays with your mind honestly, it really does. So yeah, so we, we got pregnant and then, um, I was carrying on with work and just being an idiot thinking I’m blooming invincible and just carried on as normal, like some mad, like work sessions down, down in London and was working like 18 hours a day on my feet all day. And, um, ended up. A week later. Um, I was down in London again, um, um, with work and I was, ended up staying with a friend and I had a miscarriage in the middle of the night. Didn’t know where I was in London. And I literally lay in this bed next to my friend, just like, Oh my God, I can’t believe this is actually happening to me. This is happening to me. Um, yeah. Yeah. I basically started to pass blood, you know? And, um, and anyway I waited for my friend to wake up and, Oh, you can imagine I was in absolute agony. Um, and um, I said, uh, I think I’m losing the babies and, um, she was like, Oh my God. Oh my God. And we got on the bus. I was on a bus in London, went to this hospital and they wouldn’t let me in I was at the wrong, wrong type of hospital. So I had to get back. Or did we get in a taxi then? I can’t remember. I think it got back on another bus and went to this, other hospital. Anyway, they got me straight into this room and, um, the woman, the lady doctor that was dealing with me was absolutely fantastic. All the while my husband’s trying to call me like every two minutes. And I wouldn’t answer the phone cause I couldn’t tell him, I just couldn’t tell him. And he was, I knew he was panicking. Cause I’d actually said to him the day before, um, when I was in London, I was like, I’m having a bit of spotting. I’m sure it’s nothing. Um, but obviously it started to worry him already. And obviously rightly so.
Carla: [00:11:48] How far were you Ella at this point?
Ella: [00:11:51] Oh, it was about six weeks.
Carla: [00:11:52] Oh, it’s so hard, it’s so so hard.
Ella: [00:11:55] But you’ve already, you know, you, when you’re already having, like, I was like off certain foods already. It was so intense. Like the, um, I mean, I don’t even know if that’s normal, but that’s what was happening. It was, um, it was, it was so like intense all the feelings and all my senses and everything.
Carla: [00:12:15] And you just love them so much already don’t you?
Ella: [00:12:18] Well you start envisioning your life with them and how it’s going to be, so, yeah, so that’s, um. So that happened. And then we went for another round. The following following year.
Carla: [00:12:32] Is that where you have to then pay for it after then? Is it, do get one go free or do you get two?
Ella: [00:12:38] Well, we had, we had two goes free but I was really gutted about this because we have the second round free. Um, I’ve gone through all injections and bearing in mind. I was literally working away at the time. So I was literally having to drive an hour to the hospital. Well its an hour and a half to the hospital, then another hour and a half to get to work. And then another hour and a half to two hours to get home. And some days when you go in through IVF, you know, you’re at the hospital every couple of days, and then you might have to go back for another scan and there is so much. So when you’ve got the stress of your job in a high pressure job. And then you’re obviously on the motorway and then you’ve got the IVF as well. It’s a lot for you, your body and your mind to kind of cope with, so
Carla: [00:13:32] And going through all that thing that you went through there the year before as well, you still have that on your mind and especially that when you driving and stuff and your minds, thinking about it all, it’s just everything isn’t it? Mentally and everything.
Ella: [00:13:45] Oh, yeah, definitely. So we went, we went through it a second time and it was free the second time. Um, but there was something basically my, I did all the injections went to have the, um, went for like this scan that checks your, um, it’s like the lining of your womb or something is, um, the thickness of it.
Carla: [00:14:09] Yes yes I’ve heard that.
Ella: [00:14:11] And mine was too thick. So I’d gone through all these bloomin’ injections, scans and everything. And I couldn’t even, I couldn’t even go ahead with the treatment.
Carla: [00:14:21] Oh my God. All that time driving back and forth.
Ella: [00:14:25] All that time. And we tried to, um, we tried to like appeal, like to say that we hadn’t actually had a second round of IVF. And they wouldn’t let us have another one for free. So that was our second round screwed. And then, um, Yeah. And then we literally were like, Oh my God. Because when, like you were saying earlier Carla, when you, when you going through this, you are literally, you feel like a caged animal. And I mean, I’m, a caged animal, like a like a cage. Yeah. Like a caged animal. And you, you know, it was at a time when all my friends were getting married, there were having hen do’s, weddings abroad, and I was either. Couldn’t, couldn’t go to a lot of the weddings and hen do’s and stuff. Cause I was like mid treatment and it just didn’t seem like right. Or I wasn’t feeling good with it or, you know, emotionally wasn’t in a good place. And, you know, it takes such a toll on your life and everything you do, like you can’t book holidays and it’s, it is. I mean, when I look back now, you know, I think, I mean, obviously I’m in a completely different place now, but what a awful, awful experience to go through, it was, it was so, so difficult. And it’s, it’s such a lot that, you know, women and couples put themselves through to actually. Try and hope that the end result is going to be a baby.
Carla: [00:15:54] I know. I know. And I think some people it’s, it’s hard because I’ve only found this more recent, but it’s like, when someone tells you they are pregnant, you, like, I dread someone like sometimes saying it to my face because I want to look like I’m a smiling enough. I’m a happy enough, which I am for them, but it’s almost, you are still a bit jealous and it’s like, well, you know, you can’t it’s, you want to look like you’re happy enough and stuff like that. And you just think, Oh my God. And if everyone knows you trying you just, you just feel a bit, I can’t explain it. And you shouldn’t feel like this, but just a bit embarrassed.
Ella: [00:16:28] It’s really hard to be honest with you Carla. I mean, me talking it to you so openly about this now, which I’m absolutely fine with now, but up until, us having a little girl. This, this last 10 years, I could count on my hands. How many people knew about what we were going through. Because to be honest with you, that amount of times when people asked me, oh are you trying? And have you’ve not got kids yet? When are you having a baby and all that? And quite intrusive questions and so personal because people ask these questions without having a clue what is actually going on and you crumble in inside thinking what am I meant to say? And the problem is when people ask you a question, like, are you wanting kids? Are you going to have kids? You know, how long have you been married? You know, all those kinds of questions that are kind of leading to it. And the thing is what I did and what, what I think a lot of people most naturally do when they’re asked they’re question they don’t want to ask is you, you naturally lie. Because you don’t want to say, you don’t want to kind of say that’s a really, you know, private question I don’t want to answer it. Cause obviously that makes the conversation more difficult. I mean, I always, and my response was always, I’m too busy focusing on my career. Which I was but in the back of my mind, I would want to say, well, yes, I’m desperate to have a child, but
Carla: [00:18:02] Thanks for the reminder
Ella: [00:18:03] Yeah thanks for the reminder. Would you like to know how many times a week I’m actually having sex to try and conceive a child?
Carla: [00:18:11] Would you like to know how many times I have argued with my husband because we didn’t have sex on that fertile window.
Ella: [00:18:18] Ha thats it it’s crazy.
Carla: [00:18:20] It is. And also, I think as a woman, it’s like, it’s hard because you don’t, even though you shouldn’t feel like this, but you feel like your body’s like let you down a bit and it’s not nice to feel like that. But at the time when you are going through all this, I’m only saying it from my own personal experience where I feel like. You feel just a bit, like you don’t want to tell people that you’re not getting what you want either, and you don’t want to tell people that it hurts when they asked you those questions. So, um, it’s really difficult. And I’m glad you’ve mentioned that about the questions, because that’s something that I’ve meant to talk about for some time. Cause I’ve had friends that have struggled to conceive and stuff and you know, the questions that get asked and stuff. I mean, it can. It can really make them upset and they go home upset. And I suppose people don’t realize that they’re doing it. I mean, I’ve been one of those people that have asked them questions, but only because I didn’t know, but I think people just don’t realize at the time how hurtful those questions can be really.
Ella: [00:19:16] You know what Carla. That’s exactly it. And that’s why I’ve never taken offence to when somebody has asked me a question like that, because a lot of the time when people are asking you. It’s coming from a good place and it’s coming from a, Oh, hello. I have not seen you for two years. Just bumped into you in the street. Um, wants to make conversation with you. Oh, you got married two years ago. Oh, you think about having kids is just a natural thing that people ask is, um, and it’s not in a, in a, in an awful way or anything like that, but unfortunately, those questions when somebody is going through something like what we’ve both been through. It’s it’s the it’s that. Trembling feeling that you have inside that it’s just, you know, that you just, you know, a bag of nerves basically, and you’re so upset.
Carla: [00:20:13] Um, it’s like a trigger.
Ella: [00:20:17] Yeah. And it’s, you know, I used to, I used to really sit down and just kind of have set in my head, what I was going to say or how I was going to respond if I was asked that. So. I put on a brave face, you know, so it didn’t break down and say well, actually just had another failed round of IVF, but, you know, so yeah, but it’s, it’s, you know, people don’t do it in a, in a, in a bad way. It’s just because, you know, from those people, they don’t realize. You know, what’s actually going on and the, and the amount of, of, of women and couples who have these problems with can conceive it.
Carla: [00:20:58] Yeah. Well, I read a statistic today and they said like one in eight couples, uh, you know, have infertility, you know, have infertility and I thought, God, that’s massive. You know, it is, it is. Um, and I think a lot of it is the stress you put on yourself as well, because it’s like, Oh, why is it not happening? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t it happen to me? So, so, Oh, to go through that for as long as you did as well, it’s like so hard and it just puts strain on your relationship. I imagine as well, like for that amount of time. Um, so, so where did you go from that second IVF then? What, what happened after then?
Ella: [00:21:38] Well, so after the second IFV, um, we had good break cause we wanted, to go on a nice holiday and not have that stress. So, whereas, you know, I mean, so many of our friends have been through IVF and been very successful, um, and have, you know, multiple children through, through IVF, which is just wonderful. In fact, every single one of my friends has been through IVF has a child or children now.
Carla: [00:22:04] Oh thats lovely.
Ella: [00:22:05] That’s great to know. Um, but, yeah, we had the two rounds and then we had a break and I actually contacted, um, I can’t remember whether it was in an agency or a council. I can’t remember. I contacted I contacted I put, I started putting some feelers out about adoption. Um, but they said to me on the phone, um, have you finished with your fertility treatment? Is this a definite you know, definitely it, and I thought I’m not sure. I don’t know, my husband was not sure about adoption. So we had another two years later, we went through again, but this time privately, we went to a different hospital.
Carla: [00:22:53] Why do they ask that Ella? Is it in case she got pregnant and then you no longer wanted that?
Ella: [00:22:58] Yeah, they, they, they basically don’t, once you start on the adoption journey, they don’t want you to obviously kind of, they want you to be committed to it. So, so, and we weren’t sure at that time, so we went private and we went through, um, a third round and, um, I think, do you know what? I don’t remember if I had another round somewhere. I can’t remember, but anyway, we have this round. Um, so yeah, 2012, we got the Clomid 2013. We had the first IVF, 2014, the next, and then 2016. Um, um, it was all going really, really well. And we ended up with, um, 12th of April seven, eight embryos.
Carla: [00:23:48] Oh my God. That’s incredible.
Ella: [00:23:51] Yeah. And of those embryos, there were five that were grade one quality, which is just incredible. So we then decided that we were going to pay, um, I mean, it was expensive, but we were going to pay for this brand new testing where they test the embryos to see basically if that, um, if you’re going to have a miscarriage or not with that embryo. So even though there were like a grade one, embryo, they could do these tests on each one basically, so that I wouldn’t have to go through five miscarriages potentially.
Carla: [00:24:32] Wow. I didn’t know. They did that. That sounds really interesting.
Ella: [00:24:35] So it, it honestly incredible technology. Um, so anyway, I was so grateful, you know, that we did this because they actually came back to us and said, listen, of the five, four of them, you would have had a miscarriage even though they were grade one embryos. So basically they had took four lots of heartache out of it for us straight away.
Carla: [00:25:00] Oh, my God. Could you imagine that. It would break you wouldn’t it? After all that you’ve gone through.
Ella: [00:25:07] So they said this one, that you’ve got this one, embryo, you cannot get more perfect than this embryo. So we were like, Oh my God. Well, this is it. Hello. Here is our baby. Oh, we were literally like, Oh my goodness, this is going to happen. So. It was, um, it was frozen, which was a positive sign as well.
Carla: [00:25:30] What does that mean then Ella if its frozen?
Ella: [00:25:33] So when you, when you go through IVF, if you’re lucky enough to get loads of eggs, which some, I’ve never had loads of eggs, I had like, like say seven, which was a lot for me. Um, but I was pumped with a much higher amount of drugs to try and get those seven eggs. Whereas a lot of women can like produce, they might just have 25 eggs, you know, and then, you know, 20 of them might be created into embryos. So that, that, that can happen then obviously what they’ll do, they might use one fresh egg, or two, one fresh embryo, two fresh embryos and put, implant those into the, into the, um, mother. Um, and then all those, other embryos, they freeze them.
Carla: [00:26:23] Is that in case the other ones don’t worK?.
Ella: [00:26:26] Yeah or they want a sibling. So, so let’s say you get pregnant with that first or the, the two embryos. Um, and then you decide in another couple years time, Oh, we’ve still got that bank of frozen embryos. Let’s go back for another round. Now, the great thing about that is you don’t have to go through all the injections. You just literally need to do one injection. Um, a couple of days before, obviously have a scan check to check everything is okay. And you can literally, um, go in and have the they’ll obviously defrost the embryo. And the great thing about those embryos is if they survived the thaw process, then again, there’s a really good chance that that’s going to be a really good embryo because the fact that it’s it’s survived the thawing process. Yeah. So that’s that’s so a lot of like siblings that have come from IVF will be from the same batch of, of embryos.
Carla: [00:27:32] Got it. That’s really interesting. So it’s does that count as the same? So even if it’s siblings, does that count as the same round, so you pay the same and you can go back and get these extra.
Ella: [00:27:42] Yeah.
Carla: [00:27:42] Oh God. Wow.
Ella: [00:27:44] Yeah because you’re not having all the drug, that’s the expensive thing. And they’ve obviously done the big extraction, which is the, um, kind of not operation, but kind of, well, I suppose it’s like a surgery really. Cause you get, um, put to asleep, well you’re knocked out. Um, and they obviously then extract the eggs, but the fact that you don’t need to go through all that again, you’ve just literally got your eggs in the freezer. So you literally need the, um, stimulant to, um, is it a stimulant? Anyway, you have an injection basically and then normally one to two days later, you go in and would have those, um, embryos put back in.
Carla: [00:28:26] So how many would they put back in altogether? Normally? Is it two maximum or?
Ella: [00:28:31] Well, sometimes they put three in, um, the, I think the maximum they put in is three.
Carla: [00:28:39] So, what, what did you, what happened with your good one?
Ella: [00:28:42] It was frozen and then it’s survived the, the thaw. Um, and then we put it back in a few months later when we felt we were ready. And then, yeah. So then you’ve obviously got that. I think it’s like two weeks wait that you’d normally have. So I just knew, I don’t know, you just get a feeling. I just knew it hadn’t worked and it hadn’t. So we, we actually want, went back to the, to the, the, um, clinic where we’d have this private treatment done and they were like, you know, you’ve got a really strong chance of getting pregnant next time. I thought, do you know what? No, my gut was telling me, no, don’t do it.
Carla: [00:29:20] Is this to pay for more?
[00:29:22] Yeah. For another round. And I thought, no, I can’t, I can’t do this to myself again. It’s been going on by this point. It’d been going on for eight years and I just thought, do you know what? It’s no, hang on no it hadn’t had been going on for six years at that point. And I thought, I can’t, I can’t do it again. So we waited a another year, year and a half, and then we decided we were going to look at, um, using an egg donor. So we were going down that route. And then we went through it all and, um,
[00:29:57] Is that like a sperm donor but like an egg I’m guessing it sounds the same? So
Ella: [00:30:02] It’s exactly the same, but it’s just an egg donor instead of the sperm donor. So, cause we’ve, we’ve basically my, um, egg reserve was shot at. I just basically didn’t have any eggs left. Um, I’ve got a very low level of eggs left.
Carla: [00:30:20] Is that what the, is that what caused you not to get pregnant? Did they ever find out what, what it was?
Ella: [00:30:26] No they never knew what it was. Anyway, we decided we’d go with this donor egg. So we paid some, I can’t remember how much was what we paid some money for this to be on this waiting list. And then I thought, do you know what, what the heck am I doing it? I’m clearly not bothered about the genetics of the child. If I’m going to go through with a donor. You know, I’ve got to go on a waiting list for, could be six months to a year and for the right donor to come up. And then, then I’ve got to go through all the, you know, the treatment of up to having this. The embryo put back in, then even if I do get pregnant, it’s another nine months of waiting. So it was, I thought, you know, all in all, it’s going to be about two years. I thought, why don’t I look at adoption? Because at the end of the day, all I want to do is to love, nurture, and protect, protect the child and raise them to just be a good, honest kind person, just a little person to just, you know, just raise in the right way. I do not need to carry a baby to do that. And to be honest, the idea of actually carrying a child for nine months just has never been something that has appealed to me at all.
Carla: [00:31:53] You would be scared as well, after miscarriage as well. I do think that’s quite a scary thing to go through like pregnancy a whole nine months of like panic.
Ella: [00:32:03] Definitely. So I said to Pete, I said, I don’t want to do this donor. I said, um, I think, I think we should look at adoption. Now Pete wasn’t up for it at all. He was just like, but I don’t, you know, when I look back now, I think there is so much kind of unknown and you know, like there’s so much stuff from the past about adoption and it all being a secret. And then when like the child becomes an adult, they find out that they’ve adopted and it’s all been this horrendous massive secret. And I just think there’s been, you know, there’s so many changes now, um, that have happened and.
Carla: [00:32:49] I think as well with that, Ella, when you say that, it reminds me, I think but the thing is why would people report the good stories? You know, like if people are all very, when you hear about restaurants, I’m not comparing I know it two different totally things. But you know, people say, if you have a bad experience of a restaurant, you tell 10 people, if you have a good experience, you don’t really tell that many people. And it’s the same thing with that really. I imagine like there’s a lot of amazing good stories, but people just don’t talk about them as much which is a shame, but that’s why it’s great to have you on anyway. So sorry. Carry on.
Ella: [00:33:25] No, no, it’s fine. So I’ll tell you what happened and, and I really do think that, well, I know that this is the reason why we are, where we are now is, um, I was coming back from a work event and I was sat with one of the girls in my team on the, um, on the train coming home. And, uh, she said, I’ve got something to tell you.
Carla: [00:33:50] Oh God.
Ella: [00:33:51] And I said, what, and she went, we’re adopting a baby.
Carla: [00:33:55] Oh God
Ella: [00:33:56] I just melted inside. I was so overwhelmed with happiness. I was like, Oh my God, this is incredible. And I just straight away wanted to be on this journey with, uh, knowing all about it, you know, being by her side. And it was. Honestly, it was just, it was just the most incredible thing for someone to say to me, we’re adopting a baby and I came home and I told Pete, I was like, Oh my God, my friend’s adopted, they’re adopting a baby. They’ve just started the process. Um, and I knew at that point that it was going to, that was going to have a massive turning effect on, on Pete. So I actually went through the whole process with our friends, um, and that whole journey. And they are the reason that we have now adopted.
Carla: [00:34:59] Oh, that’s amazing. So it’s like someone, you know, because like they’ve. Yeah, you saw it all first hand and everything. The whole experience.
Ella: [00:35:07] Definitely. And when we, you know, I don’t know whether you get this Carla but there is certain people I meet him in my life and I just know as soon as I meet them that they are going to have a special imprint on me in some way. And as soon as I met this friend, I knew it was like, there was just some. Instant bond and chemistry between us and our relationship just blossomed in such a way through the whole, through her going through the, through the adoption process. Um, and I remember we went to meet their little girl when she first moved in with them and Pete held her and it was at that moment that something just clicked in Pete. And I think he realised that, do you know what this, what am, what am I scared about? Look at this beautiful child, this perfect, perfect little girl that is, you know, in their life. And their little girl. Um, you know, I can do this and that it was what gave him the confidence. And so that is why I think, it is so important that. You know, when people are thinking about, you know, adoption, it makes a massive difference when you know, somebody that has adopted and you have a relationship or you’ve met that child and it makes it all a little bit more real and less alien. Um, you know, that you can have a happy ending. Um, yeah, there were lots of happy endings through adoption. Um, so yeah, that was, that was what turned Pete. That was what got us to where we are. And we’re actually the godparents of that little girl.
Carla: [00:37:02] So cute. I love that. So from there, then I’m guessing obviously you did the whole journey with her then. So I mean, what, what’s the process or I guess it’s different for everyone, but how, how did it work then for you guys?
Ella: [00:37:19] So, well, the great thing was that because we’d been kind of, they’d been through it and we kind of kept in touch, obviously all the way through it. They were able to help and advise and support us with our journey. So, and give us an idea of like expectations and kind of, you know, what, you know, what to expect and how to deal with things and that type of thing. We, um, we, we basically, um, we, we contacted, you, you can basically go through an agency or you can go through, um, a council, so you, you decide. Um, but the first thing I would say is have a few appointments with a few different, um, you know, agencies, councils, whatever it may be just to get a feel and an understanding.
[00:38:14] And, you know, if you do know somebody that has adopted, and obviously I’m more than happy to help and support any of your listeners with this Carla as well. Um, well, it’s really important that you get a good, a good vibe and a good feeling about whoever you decide to go with. So we, we sent off, um, this, we had this form, sent to us. We posted it back and within two weeks, uh, we had a, the meeting at our home, and then it just so happened that the starter training was starting two weeks later. So we went on this two and a half day training and the trainings basically to give you, open your eyes, to adoption the type of children that, um, and the reasons why children are adopted. Um, so it just, just, so you go in with both eyes wide open.
Carla: [00:39:12] I think that’s really good. So it’s transparent, isn’t it really?
Ella: [00:39:16] It’s very transparent. So there’s no kind of, nothing’s hidden, which is important because you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for now. The thing we found with the, with the training was it was very much. It was almost a little bit geared towards older children and we knew we wanted a baby. So, um, a lot of the, obviously if you, if you’re adopting an older child, an older child is obviously going to come with a lot more complex. Um, You know?
Carla: [00:39:55] Yeah. They’ve, they’ve seen a lot more, they’ve experienced a lot more.
Ella: [00:39:59] Yeah, exactly. So is it, that’s a big challenge in itself, but obviously if you imagine a, a baby that is, um, pretty much been taken from birth or quite early on in the, in the, in the, in the process and then put into foster care. And stayed with the same foster carers. That child obviously is so young, then not going to have the same kind of have had the same effect. Um, same, what’s the word I’m looking for? Same.
Carla: [00:40:35] I know what you mean, like they’re not, they’re not really gonna know any different from, but yeah.
Ella: [00:40:41] Obviously it’s. It’s traumatic. Cause it’s obviously a change when they go from the parents or the foster parent and then the foster parents, the adoptive parents. But the, in terms of that short lived life, it’s not the same as a child. That’s, that’s older and might have been to two or three foster families and, you know, back and forth to the parents and all that type of thing. So. Um, there’s a, there’s a lot that goes on, but every situation and every child has got a different story.
Carla: [00:41:13] Yeah.
Ella: [00:41:14] So, um, they really have, so, so you go on this, you go on this training to have your eyes open, basically. Um, and you do a lot of life lessons and kind of, um, kind of, workshop type things to kind of get you in the head space of that, of that child and their experiences. And then you, you, you, you obviously, once you pass that stage, um, you fill in some paperwork. Um, um, you, you get things like there’s a, there’s a form. Um, you basically fill in what you will and won’t accept. So it’ll say things like, um, Epilepsy, Down’s syndrome and hearing impaired, sight, um, disabilities. It basically has everything listed on the sheet. You have to fill out separately from your partner, if you are with a partner. Um, obviously there’s a lot of people that adopt that are single parents. One of my best friends, um, actually adopted a few months after, after we did. Yeah. So that’s what I mean about the cycle. It kind of inspires others to go on that same journey. Yeah. So, yeah. So you fill out this form individually and then obviously you share it with your partner, if you are in a, in a, in a relationship adopting. Um, so you can see the differences and then obviously you have to have a conversation about that to discuss why they wouldn’t accept it and you would and that type of thing. Um, and then theres things like your family network and getting, like, um, Client references from family and friends. Um, and then you go on to stage two, which is, so the first, I think the first stage was about four, four months, three to four months.
[00:43:22] Um, and then the second stage was about four to six months, I think. And then in the second stage you have a weekly, um, meeting. And you cover things like your relationship, your family health, your work, your finances, your upbringing. Um, so you literally, they go through everything, so that is quite intrusive. Um, And intense you go through. Yeah. You go through a lot with it. Cause obviously.
Carla: [00:43:59] I bet you learn more about yourself then than you do your whole life.
Ella: [00:44:01] You do, you do. And this is why it’s, you know I was saying at the beginning, it’s really important that you have a good connection with the, you know, the, the, um, council or the agency that you go with because, you know, This person is going to be your social worker and they are going to know the ins and outs of you. They’re going to be right in, you know, so many reports on you. Um, it’s really important that you’ve got a good relationship with them and then you like them. So, so yeah, so that, that went on for quite a while. And then, um, you, you have to go in front of a panel of, um, people. God our panel was huge. Um, my God, it was like a board meeting. I mean, Pete and I both said when we, came out, we were like, it’s a good job where used to board meetings because literally for someone that’s not, or someone that’s on their own and I mean, you could take someone I’m sure if you were on your own, um, Well, there’s basically,
Carla: [00:45:09] That’s quite off putting for some people though. And it’s a shame because if that ends up like stopping their journey when they could have been good parents, it’s quite sad that.
Ella: [00:45:17] Yeah. I mean, you would hope that by that stage, you know, when somebody wants a child and wants to be a parent that. And, you know, your social workers their with you.
Carla: [00:45:28] So you’re not just turning up on your own and there is like, I’ve just got pictures of Dragons Den, I don’t know why.
Ella: [00:45:43] No its not like mahogany room or anything, it’s clean and airy.And, and they make it, they do make you welcome. So they go around. So there might be a doctor. There might be a teacher, there’ll be like, uh, someone that’s already adopted.
Carla: [00:45:55] Oh, wow. So that’s quite good.
Ella: [00:45:57] So there’s different, different people from different walks of life. Most of them will have adopted, um, you know, that are part of the panel. Um, and you get briefed before you go in, I mean, you get briefed a few weeks before on the four question they normally ask you about four questions. So, and they’re not, I mean, they’re not bad questions or things like, um, you know, how, why do you want to become a parent? Why do you want to be a parent? Um, you know, what are you most looking forward to about becoming a parent? It’s that kind of thing more too. So seal it seal the deal and it’s, you know, so this board of people basically given the final, go ahead, say, yes, this is a, a good person who will be a good parent. Um, we’re happy for them to adopt a child. So it’s um, and then you come out and then they literally, they literally came in the room after about three minutes and said, you know, it’s a over, you know, it’s a unanimous yes. Um, and, um, you know, they were obviously really happy for us. And we’ll have the paperwork, uh, to you. So anyway, they said, obviously it was a yes. And we could, um, hang on I;m just trying to think. That was the end. I think that was the final panel. Is there a panel before that? I think, I think that might have been an earlier panel. There might have been two.
Carla: [00:47:39] I suppose their job is to make sure that child goes to a, a home, um, and you know, a, a longterm home there where parents really want that child don’t they?
Ella: [00:47:50] Yeah, definitely. There’s a lot of vigorous checks that they go through to make sure. But the thing is that once you’ve been approved for adopting, it can then happen really quick because we, we actually, um, I got a text off our social worker saying, hi, can I come and see you on Friday? It was Monday. We would, or Tuesday we’d been in and we’d literally just have the approval that we could adopt. Um, and then we, we, she was coming to see us on the Friday and Pete and I looked at each other and we’re like, she’s, she’s. She’s gonna show us a profile. I know she’s gonna show us a profile. And anyway, she walked in and lo and behold, she had a profile with her of a child. Um, now we, we know in our hearts of hearts from the profile that we saw, that she’d been kind of you know, lining it up for us so to speak. She’d found, we knew she’d found the right, without, she didn’t say she was very professional, she didn’t say it, but, you know, and you just get a feeling, that the child, she kind of had lined up for us for awhile. Um, so anyway, we read this profile.
Carla: [00:49:04] Did they tell you all about the parents and stuff?
Ella: [00:49:06] You get to know everything, the profile had everything in it. So you, you read the profile, um, and, you don’t need to decide there and then, but we literally read it and we were like, Oh my God. Yeah, this is the right child for us. Um, have you got a picture? And then she showed us a picture and we just started crying. And were like oh my god. We just knew. So we only saw one profile. But, that we worked really well with our social worker. Um, you know, the right child for us came up, um, at the right time. It was all right. You know, it’s all just kind of was meant to be, but you know, for a lot of new adoptive parents, they might see three, four, five, six profiles, or they might be handed six profiles to say, have a look through these, see if these are the right. Any of these are the right child for you. Um, they normally come with pictures. Um, So you can see the child, there might even be pictures of, um, the birth parents in there. Um, um, you can, you get, basically get a whole story about what’s happened, the journey the child’s been on the journey of the parents. Um, you get to know everything basically.
Carla: [00:50:29] So Ella with a baby, for example, then is it, it’s does the parent have so long to kind of almost change the life and then they could take the baby back at any time. Or like, as soon as you’ve adopted, is that it? Like, where, where does the line kind of stop?
Ella: [00:50:47] There’s different types of, um, adoption. So there’s. Concurrent care, which is where you basically get a baby straight from hospital and they haven’t got a plan yet. So you basically a foster parent, but then you might become a parent depending on the plan of the child. So that’s a really risky way of doing it, especially. You know, if you like what we were like, where we just wanted it to run as smoothly as possible. We didn’t want that.
Carla: [00:51:20] That would break your heart, wouldn’t it sending them back.
Ella: [00:51:23] Yeah, definitely. So that’s concurrent care. And then there’s another, there’s fostering to adopt, which is where that there are things in place that the child. Is going to go, is going to be adopted, but there is still the court hearing and a bit of a process to go through, um, or there is a straight adoption, which is what we went through.
Carla: [00:51:49] Yeah. Yeah.
Ella: [00:51:51] Now we had. Quite a bumpy ride. If I’m honest, a very bumpy ride.
Carla: [00:51:59] With the rest of your story, you just think you couldn’t, you couldn’t have a smooth ride could you, Ella? I mean, from start to, it’s so cruel.
[00:52:06] Ella: [00:52:06] I know it’s been 10 years. It was 10 years, basically 10 years of wanting and hoping, and finally getting a child, it took 10 years. It was a very, very long journey.
Carla: [00:52:22] So, so, so was it difficult then what kind of finalising this? I imagine once you’ve seen that child, you had your heart set on that child. It’s just like, Oh God. Its still not like, fully like agreed then I’m guessing?
Ella: [00:52:36] It was all, it all should have been really smooth running, but without going into details, there was issues with the court hearing. The date got put back and the next court date available was three months later. We should have got our little girl basically five months before we got her.
Carla: [00:53:05] Oh my God. That’s just like sleepless nights. Isn’t it? Cause you still not, like you still can’t say a hundred percent that that’s happening. I’m guessing until you’ve actually got it. Agreed. Is that right?
Ella: [00:53:16] Yeah it was, it was just, it was hard. It’s so different from like IVF in terms of what you’re going through. It’s a different kind of pain and torture that you’re going through. Well, this was like when we were so close to having our baby and then obviously for them to be prolonged so long and it was, it was basically, it was so touch and go at one point that they said, do you want to start looking at other profiles?
Carla: [00:53:49] Oh, no. Oh my God. I bet you were heart broke.
Ella: [00:53:53] Yeah, it was awful. I remember we were on holiday in, um, we’re on holiday in Bali and I’ll never forget. I was looking up, sat on a sun lounger looking at profiles of babies, and I thought, is this actually happening? Cause we booked the holiday basically to kind of. Because we knew we weren’t going to be getting her to later on so we thought right sod it let’s just go away and just have some us time and just try and make the most of this time before we do become parents, but we decided to obviously stick and, uh, we were gonna, we were gonna fight all the way until the end. So, yeah. So just with what you were asking me about, um, do the parents have time to. Once the adoption has been agreed that the child is going up for adoption. That’s kind of, that’s kind of it. However, at the final hearing the birth parents do get the chance to go to that hearing and have their say.
Carla: [00:55:02] Gosh, right? Yeah.
Ella: [00:55:03] So you don’t actually, you know, it’s still, even though you’ve been told, you know, so we were, we went, this went on for an adoption process. If it runs smoothly, it should take about a year ours took two years.
Carla: [00:55:20] Gosh, but well, worth it though. I imagine?
Ella: [00:55:24] Oh, honestly, Carla, it, she is the best thing that could’ve ever happened to us. And if I knew now, if I knew, then what I knew now, I would have just adopted from the start.
Carla: [00:55:38] Yeah, but then you think at the same time, if you didn’t have your full journey, you wouldn’t have had her. So then it’s a good thing in a way,
Ella: [00:55:45] Or she might be my third child.
Carla: [00:55:48] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, no, that’s amazing. So how has been a new mum affected, like your life? Has it changed? Obviously, I imagine it’s changed it for the better, but has it affected your career or?
Ella: [00:56:02] Well, no, it’s not affected my career at all. If anything it’s affected it in a positive way. Um, I would say, well, obviously with me being self employed, I, um, I’m able to work around her. So, um, basically I’m, I’m with her obviously all day, every day. And then when she’s having her nap I’ll work. And then when my husband gets home from work, I’ll continue to work in the evenings. So. I’ve got that kind of, I’ve got that flexibility really with what I do. So I’m able to, um, I’m able to work around her and look after her full time. So it’s um, it’s but yeah, she’s, she’s a very, very good little girl, so lucky in that sense as well. Um, but, no, it’s just working absolutely great with just having her here and me still being able to work and building my business in the way I am.
Carla: [00:57:04] So, Ella, what is it you do as a job then?
Ella: [00:57:09] So it’s, um, I’m in direct selling for a company called Tropic skincare. I’ve been doing it for just four and a half years now. So, um, Yeah. It’s, it’s been life changing for me. It really has. So, yeah, so it’s, it keeps me busy, but obviously during this journey that I’ve been on for the last 10 years, it’s, um, it’s given me a real sense of escapism and just something else to focus on.
Carla: [00:57:39] Wow. Wow. Oh, no, that’s really interesting. So with her, then I’m guessing, you know, will you just keep it as like, as transparent as possible? Is there anything that she would need to do when she’s older? That’s, would she expected to kind of, not a nice question, but get in touch with them or like, or could, could she? Or, do you just kind of leave, how’d you work that?
Ella: [00:58:02] So she’ll she’ll know, from as soon as she’s old enough to understand, she’ll know that she is adopted. Um, and if she decides, when she’s older, she wants to go and find her birth parents be in touch with them. I’ll I’ll, we’ll drive her to the house wherever they live. And we’ll take them there. Take her there. It’s absolutely fine. We. We we’ve always said that we’ll be totally transparent. She’ll know everything. You know, she’s being brought up in a really loving, nurturing home, you know, and she will always feel loved. She will always be adored. Um, so yeah, well we’ll just, we just, you just have to cross that bridge when you come to it. She will be fully supported, whatever she decides, whatever decision she makes, she’ll be supported and we’ll, we’ll do whatever she wants us to do.
Carla: [00:58:59] That’s amazing. And honestly, it’s just, God, I just love that whole story. So is there any advice you can give to anyone that’s thinking about adopting? It might be someone that’s single or it might be a couple that, you know, have infertility problems. Is there anything that you, any advice you would give or?
Ella: [00:59:20] Just to, um, if you know, somebody that has adopted to have a conversation with them and have a chat, because I think it is the unknown scary, isn’t it? Um, I think for a lot, for most people, adoption is. Kind of the scary last resort, I would say.
Carla: [00:59:45] Sadly. Yeah, it is.
Ella: [00:59:46] Yeah it is Carla, its the last resort and, and that makes me feel quite sad. Now I’m on the other side of it because, you know, It’s it’s such an incredible rewarding thing to do. Um, and you know, now when I speak people like, Oh, well, we’re actually thinking we might adopt our second child or our third child. I’m like, Oh my God, just do it, do it. It’s it’s the most rewarding thing you could possibly ever do. And, you know, It isn’t, it isn’t scary. It isn’t, you know, there are a lot of unknowns along the way, but there’s unknowns with, you know, conceiving or going through IVF there is unknowns with everything.
Carla: [01:00:29] Oh gosh. There is unknowns during pregnancy, you know, you just don’t know.
Ella: [01:00:34] And the, and the thing is with the adoption. You know, if you want a little girl, you can have a little girl, if you want a, you know, a little boy, that’s nine months old. You can have a little boy that’s nine months old. You can, you can have and they really do, you know, do everything to like match you. So you know, the right child for, for you. Um, and you know, if you’re not like, say, if you’re not happy with the profile, you, you don’t go ahead with that, with that profile. Um, you, you. Have keep looking and you keep looking and your social worker to show you more protocols until you are happy.
Carla: [01:01:14] And have you got any plans for any more?
Ella: [01:01:16] Yeah. Oh yes. Most definitely. Yeah.
Carla: [01:01:19] I love that.
Ella: [01:01:20] Yeah. I can’t wait to adopt another one. Yeah.
Carla: [01:01:23] Do you have a limit on how many you would adopt Ella or not? Or do you just, think you will keep going?
Ella: [01:01:29] I don’t have a limit at all. So, um, I would love, I’d love to. I see myself with three children. So, so, um, uh, I certainly want three. I mean, obviously we’ll see how number two number two goes. I would, I would like three. I just feel like, you know, this is our opportunity to give a child a better chance at life and I just think, you know, I want to help as many children as I can.
Carla: [01:02:01] Yeah, no, I absolutely love that. I really do. And honestly, I’m sure this whole, this whole story that you’ve shared with us and thanks so much for doing that because I know it takes quite difficult sometimes, but, but I think the whole thing is just. Beautiful. Like, you know, the whole, how you’ve ended up where you are and you know, just the whole adoption story. I mean, how you’ve ended up with the little girl of your dreams is just lovely and I’m sure that some people who are listening it might actually make them think twice about adoption too.
Ella: [01:02:36] Oh, I hope so. I just wish, I wish I could just implant in everybody’s heads what I now know and just, you know, give people the confidence to just make that call because the thing is, even if you do make the call and, and have a, have a visit and, or a phone conversation and just start the ball rolling, you know, you can, you can always go back to it at a later date. Um, but, Yeah, just, I just think, and there’s there’s adoption. Like, um, I don’t, I mean, obviously I don’t want to do in them at the moment through zoom or whatever, but you, you can have those days adoption days, so you can go and find out about adoption and see if there is the right option for you.
Carla: [01:03:23] There’s so many children out there and you just think, gosh, you know, like if we can all help. Oh, God, I’ll end up with eight. You’ll see me walking down the street with eight of them.
Ella: [01:03:37] Oh Carla do it.
Carla: [01:03:38] I can’t even brush my own hair, but at the moment, you know, let alone bloomin’ eight kids. Don’t leave me loose with this because you know what I’m like once I get an idea in my head, but I, I honestly, I think, you know, if our journey, you know, if we end up not having any more, it would definitely be something that I would think of any way. Um, I’ve always thought about it and it is something that I personally would really love to do. So can you tell people where they can find you as well? So if they’ve got any questions or anything we’ve not covered, are you happy for people to pop your message over?
Ella: [01:04:14] Yeah, of course they can. Um, if anyone wants to connect with me on Facebook, it’s Ella Cookson. And if anyone wants to connect with me on Instagram, it’s Ella CooksON and then the number one.
Carla: [01:04:26] Ella, Ella, thank you so much for today. Really. Honestly, it’s been both like lovely and rather sad in some points as well, because obviously I’ve known you quite awhile. I didn’t know all that. So, um, thanks so much for, for sharing all that with us.
Ella: [01:04:43] Oh, you’re very welcome I’m happy to help. And I just hope it’s, um, even if it just helps one person to just say right, come on, let’s go for it. Then it’s worthwhile.
Carla: [01:04:57] Thank you so much, Ella.
Ella: [01:04:59] You’re very welcome. Lovely to chat to you, Carla.
Carla: [01:05:02] And you.
[01:05:04] Thank you so much watch for listening to this week’s episode of 50 Shades of Motherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I hope you guys did too. If you are enjoying the podcast so far, which I really hope you are. And if you’ve got this far, why are you still listening? If you don’t, but I would absolutely love you to subscribe and leave me a little rating. It means the world to me, and also helps me out massively, especially when I go to Danny and tell him that I’m going to be doing series two fingers crossed. So I look forward to speaking to you next week and keep an eye on the Facebook page and Instagram. So you know who the next you will absolutely love it. I know it.
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