I was so lucky to find my foster family.. now my son’s leaving I’d happily give a home to another child
– FATIMA WHITBREAD
story into a film. “I have been working with two film scriptwriters,” she says. “Now it is up to them to get it written. But I’ve been with researchers for the past year and they have read my book Survivor. “Basically the script will focus on the first 25 years of my life and the 14 years I spent in children’s homes and the anxiety and isolation I suffered as a result.” She admits the insecurities ingrained in her over those years are never far away.
“I get crippling anxiety still and I have to try to combat that,” she says. “If I stay in my routine then I am not so bad, and so every day I go for a run or to the gym or I walk my dog.
“If I don’t have a routine then I find it hard because as an athlete I was always training three or four times a day for 20 years.”
Fatima has recently supported Adopted by coach Margaret, Fatima rose to athletics fame Barnardo’s adoption campaign, which aims to encourage more people to consider taking in vulnerable children.
If she gets the chance to adopt or foster, she says it will be a new chapter in a life in which she has triumphed over tragedy. And she’s not fazed by the prospect of adopting a child alone.
She says: “My husband died when Ryan was nine and I have been a single mum ever since really.
“I didn’t really want to introduce anybody into the equation and I was always a bit worried whether it would upset the apple cart.
“It does work for a lot of people, but I have my own issues and I decided I would enjoy being a mum on my own. I have my family around me. Margaret and I have a special bond and I am very close to my brothers who were only two and four when I came into the Whitbread family, so they have only known me as ‘big sis’.
“It’s important for me to be a good mum because I didn’t have a mum when I was a youngster and it’s been important that I am hands-on.
“Ryan is in his final year and he might well move in with his girlfriend so I have to embrace that – but equally make sure I always keep my focus on my family.” ■■There are more than 1,100 vulnerable children waiting to find loving, stable families in the UK. Barnardo’s, the leading children’s charity, is calling for adopters to come forward and welcome a child into their lives. To find out more about adoption, please visit barnardos.org.uk/adoption
I have a lot of love in me. It runs through everything that I do FATIMA WHITBREAD ON HER AIM OF ADOPTING
LOVING She raised her young son on her own EMPTY NEST Fatima with grown-up son Ryan