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

Sunday Mirror - - SAIRAKHAN -

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’.

FO­CUS

“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

IN­SPIR­ING

LOV­ING She raised her young son on her own EMPTY NEST Fa­tima with grown-up son Ryan

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