Having missed the five year anniversary of running my own business, I shared my story as part of National Adoption Week (18-23 October 21).
Adoption can have a really positive impact on both your work life and home life.
I ‘became’ a marketing consultant in 2016 after 20 years of working in senior marketing roles for some really big companies, the likes of Co-op. Actually leaving the corporate world and setting out on my own came after we adopted two daughters, and it was a bit scary at times.
“When we decided to start a family, Ady considered adoption from the start as he knew a colleague who had done it and was really inspired by their experience, but we were both keen to try for our own baby first. We underwent IVF and, following the second round, we received the wonderful news that we were expecting.
“Sadly, after just ten weeks, the doctors identified a significant problem. Our little girl had a very rare condition which meant that her organs and limbs weren’t developing properly and she was unlikely to survive.
“However, although she was very tiny, our baby girl, Eirene, was born on her due date in February 2012. She was taken straight to ICU and put on a ventilator but, unfortunately, she was just not strong enough to survive on her own and she passed away after 9 hours. We are both so glad that we gave her the best chance, and that I was able to carry her to full term. She was – and still is – a very special and important part of our lives.”
Six months later, we began the adoption process. It was long, thorough and involved interviews and panel meetings, and lots of waiting.
“We have had our two girls for eight years now and life is completely unrecognisable from before they arrived. Going from a couple to having two, walking/talking children overnight was a massive undertaking, particularly considering the challenges and instability that the girls had experienced already.
“I took a year off work from my busy marketing job in Manchester to spend time getting to know them, learning how to be a parent and establishing some stability and routine, as well as securing places at school and nursery.
“Our lives had turned upside down and I made the decision that I didn’t want to go back to my city job with long hours and commutes, but it was a real struggle to find a role that suited my level of experience as well as my need for flexibility. I have always loved working and enjoy the fast-paced corporate environment, but it no longer suited my lifestyle.
“I spent some time contracting at first but for the girls this meant long days in nursery and after school clubs. There were part time marketing roles available, but not at my level and, in all honesty, I would’ve been bored doing them!”
In 2016, after working with a small business, I decided to use my experience to help small to mid-sized businesses who wanted to be measured with their marketing but didn’t have the budget or know-how to do this themselves. That’s when Addi’d Value was born.
“I’m so fortunate now to work closely with clients on a very personal level. I get to understand their business and their market, develop their proposition and create a marketing strategy that works. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it’s a joy to make a real difference to people and their success.
“Adopting my two daughters was the perfect kickstart for me to start my business and, work wise, it was the perfect solution. Having my own business alongside the girls has also enabled me to build flexibility into my life, which was particularly important early on. I’ve become a more rounded person by having them and have lots of great memories because I had the time to spend with them, my parents and wider family too. Adopting kids also led to new friends and connections that we would never have made if it wasn’t for adopting them.
“It hasn’t been easy, in fact it has been pretty tough at times, but the moments of pure joy, like seeing them grow and become more independent, snuggling up together or when they make something for me, make it so worthwhile. Having my own business has just made it all so much easier because I can put my skills to good use and learn and develop myself while having the flexibility and time for the girls that they need.”