My adoption journey
My husband and I first explored the idea of adoption in 2013 after two failed attempts at IVF. We had always talked about it as a way to grow our family as my husband was adopted.
In 2016 our eldest son joined our family. Parenting a child who has experienced early trauma takes patience, empathy and a willingness to continually learn and listen. We grew into a strong family unit and decided in 2018 to add another member. In 2020 our youngest son joined our little family and brought his own unique approach and spin on life. We are never bored!
At home, we were very happy, but I found being an adoptive parent isolating at times. We couldn't take part in certain conversations with other parents, e.g. birthing stories, when they started walking, etc. We also felt slightly removed from other parents at school - often cliques are set in reception and it can be hard to build relationships with the other parents when children join the school later.
Through all the highs and lows, one thing that has always helped me to cope is getting out into nature. That's why I started this business, and why I'm so passionate about sharing my story.
My teaching career
Before adopting and turning my focus to being a mum, I was a school teacher. I spent a lot of time with children with special educational needs and those who had been excluded from mainstream education, which taught me a lot.
The experiences I had as a teacher have helped me as an adoptive parent, especially when my kids have difficult days and struggle with school or home life.
I weave lessons and techniques I learned through those experiences into my approach and activities at my nature retreats. They help me as a parent, so I hope they help others too.
My Forest School training
I got involved in Forest School in 2019 and completed my training to be a Level 3 Forest School Leader.
My training focused on helping people to connect with the rich and diverse patchwork of the forest environment. By doing that, they built confidence in themselves, sensitivity to others around them, and resilience in difficult or turbulent times.
In 2021 I completed a certificate in therapeutic skills for outdoor leaders which helped me understand that the forest is an amazing place for emotional growth and development.
At the end of 2021, I embarked on my training as a natural mindfulness guide with Ian Banyard. This has allowed me to hone my skills at helping others reconnect with nature to relax and live calmer, happier more connected lives.
My focus today
I'm now on a mission to build a community of adoptive parents and prospective adopters who understand that the best thing we can do for our children is looking after our own mental health. I'm based on Surrey, so retreats currently run here.
We'll support each other online and in our own day-to-day lives, we'll come together regularly at retreats to reconnect with nature, each other, and ourselves - and our children and entire families will be all the better for it.