Are we singling out adopted clients and everything else that happened last week
Following on from Aviva’s critical illness update announcement this morning (Read more here), our Monday wrap up of the last week takes a slightly different approach to usual today. Where we would normally discuss topics of the previous week, today, I am going to share something a little more personal. Recently Nicola Huxley shared a LinkedIn article on National Adoption Day. As an adoptive parent Nicola is keen to raise awareness and share her personal experience to help those that have little awareness.
Being an adopted child myself, I reached out to Nicola, who very kindly agreed to chat with me about her experiences and the journey of adoption. I have to say it was, at times, very raw and emotional and really hit some triggers for me.
Nicola and her husband’s journey started in the May with their application being submitted. By the October they had been approved and at this stage it was a waiting game for what the social services call a ‘match’. As an adoptive parent Nicola explained you don’t know how old your child will be or what gender when they become your family, so they decided to paint the bedroom rainbow style to accommodate their match age of up 2 years old and either gender.
Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long, four weeks later Nicola and her husband were matched to beautiful six-month-old baby boy and after the official paperwork was completed week time was spent together both at the foster home and their family home before they officially became a family.
Nicola went on to explain that when they told people their happy news one remark really resonated with her ‘He’s a baby, that’s brilliant, he will never know’. Knowing your roots is important and its very clear to see that Nicola ensures that he knows as much possible at an appropriate level, which personally I feel is so important. I was adopted at the age of 9 years old and, although I know my some of my story, being able to talk about it to my parents was extremely beneficial for me in my younger years. Being able to have that connection will be no different for any adopted child regardless of what age they are adopted.
Nicola explained there is a lot of training and support given to adoptee’s specifically the mental health impacts of trauma that, unfortunately, all adopted children have experienced. Every adopted child’s journey is different with the only consistency being that the need for primary attachment and acceptance effects every adopted child, which I will honestly say I have experienced. This really opened up the conversation between us about what support is given and what are providers doing to support adoptees.
For example, on a normal maternity journey you are told about life insurance, given leaflets but you are not during an adoption journey. What is great to see is that legally adopted children are covered with all providers under their critical illness contracts but could we do more?
When it comes to a protection application process the family history question is a trigger for me and many adopted clients. Nicola explained her concerns for her son, knowing one day, he will have to go through the same question sets. The issue is those completing these questions that are adopted can feel singled out and ultimately different.
Understandably, all applications will ask about natural parents and siblings health as this is a key part of an underwriting decision. But what if you have never met your natural parents and don’t know? The response options to the family history question are invariably:
Yes / No / Don’t Know
Instead of singling anyone out that has never met their natural or have a relationship with their parents, could we simply have a Yes or No answer?
An insurer would naturally need to update the question to include something like “if you have never met your parents and do not have access to their medical history please state no”. From this small change it does not isolate adoptees. This would then not be another trigger for those that are adopted and may not know their family history.
It’s great to see that all insurers cover legally adopted children but I would love to see insurers being more considerate, and think about how the current questions they ask make the client feel.
On another note, is there more we could do to support parents who are unable to concieve naturally and as such go down the adoption route? Could we look to offer some form of cover to support someone who may not be able to have a baby naturally like they do with pregnancy complications.
Thank you Nicola for sharing such a personal journey with me. To wrap up this article in the words of your son ‘He grew in someone else’s tummy but grew in mummy’s heart’.