Emily Wood is the Sales Director of Newsquest Media Group and new mum to adopted son, Dan. Here she writes about how the process may be difficult at times but it is also incredibly rewarding.

Emily says: "I sometimes liken the adoption process to being pregnant for an indeterminable amount of time! In our case, a pretty extensive and complicated 4.5 years, just to reach the point that we were formally approved to bring our little boy home. A rollercoaster to say the least, the outcome has more than justified the sometime intrepid journey, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My working life is a huge part of who I am, so we made the decision very early in the process to be honest about what we were choosing to undergo. Practically, this made my regular absences to attend various courses, training sessions and meetings, so much easier to manage; but it also brought a level of support and care that I greatly needed and vastly underestimated. The ongoing and unfailing understanding and love from my work family, went far beyond a ‘policy’, and continues to do so.

I am the very proud daughter of a very hard-working Mum from a different generation, when being a fulltime working mother could sometimes still be frowned upon. I’m thankful I don’t have to battle those demons; and my workplace has certainly never made me feel like the personal ambition I harboured before, needs to be diminished as a result of my new offspring. Far from it. It’s hardly surprising that like my Mum, I’m determined to set an example for my son – that women can succeed in their chosen career and be present as a parent.

Like so many new parents, the arrival of our new baby and the start of adoption leave was a stark departure from the life I knew before. Change is pace would be a gross understatement! I think it’s probably taken me 12 months to truly feel comfortable with the new normal. Throw in a pandemic whose effects are still being felt today, and there were plenty of days I worried for my sanity.

I was always determined that I’d take six months of leave; veering as I do toward the financially cautious and practical. Those in the know (including my manager) told me not to be too dogged and determined; having a child brings with it so many emotional and priority altering experiences, best start at six and see how I go. In the end, I had around eight months of leave and whilst this was an incredibly special opportunity to bond and get to know my son; I was unashamedly glad to also be ready to step back into the relative comfort of the ‘career’ version of myself after that time. Except I like to think that eight months has actually improved that version – a new sense of perspective, a different level of empathy, and one very significant main priority.

I’m now eight months post-adoption leave deep. A status I’ve only attained through the flexible working pattern I’ve been allowed to adopt; judged on outputs, results and strategic processes, rather than how long my Teams status has been on green! I can’t speak highly enough of the LocaliQ team and their treatment of people in my position; I might have been forced to make some very different choices were I not so well supported.

I’m always happy to talk to anyone about adoption and its life altering, incredible effect. We often have people kindly tell our son how lucky he is to be part of our family. Always well intended, but it’s not true: we’re the lucky ones."



Cumbria County Council (one partner of Adopt Coast to Coast) place on average 35 children each year with adoptive families.

Between April and September 2022 the team placed 21 children and 14 of these were placed with a brother/sister.

According to the latest figures for Cumbria, of the 36 children with a plan of adoption (not yet placed with a family) there were 21 boys, 15 girls and seven had a diagnosed disability. Four were aged under 12 months; twelve were aged 1-3 years; eleven were aged 3-5 years and nine were aged 5 plus. Seventeen of those had a plan to be placed with brothers/sisters.

Employers support

Employers must provide adopters with Statutory Adoption Leave. As with maternity and paternity leave, some employers will have an enhanced offer, so it is always worth discussing this with your HR department or looking it up in the company handbook. Although not compulsory to do so, some employers also give applicants time off at their discretion to attend training and appointments during the application process.

Statutory Adoption Leave is 52 weeks. It’s made up of 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave and a further 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave. If you get adoption leave, you can also get paid time off work to attend 5 adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child.

Similarly to maternity/paternity leave – if you are in a couple, only one person can take adoption leave and the other partner would get the equivalent to paternity leave which is 1 or 2 weeks’ paid Paternity Leave. This person would also be eligible to attend two adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child.

Adoption leave can start up to 14 days before the date the child starts living with you (UK adoptions). Dates can sometimes change and if this happens, you must tell your employer within 28 days if the date of placement changes.

Contact details

Adopt Coast to Coast is the Regional Adoption Agency for Cumbria County Council, Durham County Council and Together for Children (Sunderland City Council) – together the partners find permanent homes for children in their care with adoptive families from across Cumbria and the North East. To find out more about adoption go to www.adoptcoasttocoast.org.uk