Witney’s Tara says being adopted has shaped the person she is

As a child, thirty-year-old Tara Sutton from Witney was adopted. She says that being from such a background has made her believe in herself, made her strong and also made her believe that everyone deserves a chance, regardless of their past.

Between running her growing cleaning business, and planning her own wedding, she has recently organised a ‘DIY SOS’ type intervention putting together a team of volunteer painters, cleaners, and even a dog groomer, to makeover an elderly lady’s house one weekend.

When people hear about the life-changing difference a person could make by adopting a child, they tend to only see images of babies or children. But adopted children grow up - and Tara is a shining example of how being adopted has moulded her into a dynamic and compassionate young woman.

Speaking during National Adoption Week (October 15-21) Tara said: “I was adopted age four after being in and out of foster care. My adopted parents, who I see as my parents, gave me all sorts of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had, such as horse riding, ballet and tap. Like most kids I never fully realised how much they’d done until I had contact with my half-sister and heard her stories – the childhood I could’ve had. I then saw they’d recognised what I’d needed.”

Some adopted children can suffer from insecurity and anger, blaming themselves for being adopted.

“I remember a kid at primary school saying I was adopted because no one loved me. At the tender age of five that cut deep, but the anxiety was already there so hearing someone say it just confirmed what I believed back then. I used to dream my real parents were movie stars or would one day arrive on a white horse and whisk me away.

“But I had massive help from my Oxfordshire County Council social worker. She helped Mum and Dad correspond with my birth mum and helped me open up. Even now we’re still in contact, and I still talk to my foster parents and their daughter, who is my godmother.”

Tara’s parents also adopted a boy with physical disabilities. “It was amazing to have a younger brother. We can fight like cat and dog but he's my brother through and through. Because of the problems he's faced, I’m super overprotective of him, which I think drives him mad as sisters are supposed to!”

Tara’s parents also helped her meet her birth mother when she was 11, which she found really helpful. “It filled in some gaps plus it was nice to see that I looked like someone.

“Parents are people who love unconditionally, hold you when you’re crying at night, walk the mile to school to drop you off and then pick you up, whatever. They’re there to share the jokes, subtly rearrange the Christmas tree lights to make them symmetrical, and watch you hurl around at 100 miles an hour over horse jumps in the pouring rain.

“Being adopted has made me strong, made me believe in myself, made me believe that everyone deserves a chance, no matter their past. It's made me appreciate my relationships with everyone so much more, so if you’re in my life I have your back.

“To anyone else, they may just be people or adoptive parents, but to me, they’re my world, my daughter’s grandparents and the only parents I'll ever have.”

Giving every child a good start in life

Lucy Butler, Oxfordshire County Council Director for Children’s Services, said: “Tara is a shining example of someone who is living a full life after spending her formative years in the care of adoptive parents. The warmth with which she speaks warmth with which she speaks of those parents is very typical of what people who were adopted will often say. Our aim at the county council is to give every child a good start in life and parents who adopt children certainly help us to do that. We’re always keen to hear from people who may wish to adopt themselves.”

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