Cheshire business owner Adeline Bibby, from Wilmslow, is celebrating five years of running her own business, which she was inspired to set up following the adoption of her two young daughters in 2013.
To mark National Adoption Week (18-23 October) this week, Adeline (Addi) is helping to raise awareness of adoption and how it can have a really positive impact on your work life as well as your home life.
Addi started her marketing consultancy business, Addi’d Value, in 2016 following 20 years working in senior marketing roles for several big consumer brands. The drive to leave the corporate world behind and set out on her own came after Addi and her husband Ady became parents to their two adopted daughters.
“When we decided to start a family, Ady considered adoption from the start as he knew of a colleague who had done it and was really inspired by their experience, but we were both keen to try for our own baby first. We underwent IVF treatment and, following the second round, we received the wonderful news that we were expecting.
“Sadly, after just ten weeks, the doctors had identified a significant problem with our baby’s development. She had a very rare condition which meant that her organs and limbs weren’t developing properly and she was unlikely to survive.
“Although she was very tiny, our baby girl, Eirene, was born on her due date in February 2012. She was taken straight to ICU and put on a ventilator but, unfortunately, she was just not strong enough to survive on her own and she passed away peacefully after 9 hours in hospital. We are both so glad that we were able to meet Eirene and spend time with her and I am very proud that I was able to carry her to full term. She was a very special and important part of our lives, even for such a short time.”
Six months later, Addi and her husband decided to begin the adoption process, which was long and thorough and involved a sequence of interviews and panel meetings and what felt like an eternity of waiting.
“We have had our two girls for eight years now and life is completely unrecognisable from before they arrived. Going from a couple to having two, walking/talking children overnight was a massive undertaking, particularly considering the challenges and instability that the girls had experienced earlier in their lives.
“I took a year off work from my busy marketing job in Manchester to spend time getting to know the girls, learning how to be a parent and establishing some stability and routine for them, as well as securing places at school and nursey.
“Our lives had turned upside down and I made the decision that I didn’t want to go back to my city job with long hours and commutes, but it was a real struggle to find a role that suited my level of experience as well as my need for flexibility. I have always loved working and enjoy the fast-paced corporate environment, but it no longer suited my lifestyle.
“I spent some time contracting at first but for the girls this meant long days in nursery and after school clubs. There were part time marketing roles available, but not at my level and, in all honesty, I would’ve been bored doing them!”
In 2016, after working with a small business, Addi decided that she could use her experience to help small to mid-sized businesses who wanted to be measured and planned in their marketing but didn’t have the budget or know-how to do this themselves. Addi’d Value was born.
“I’m so fortunate now to work closely with clients on a very personal level. I get to understand their market, develop their proposition and create a marketing strategy that is true to their values. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, but it’s a joy to help them to achieve their own growth and success.
“Adopting my two daughters was the perfect kickstart for me to start my business and, work wise, it was the perfect solution for me. Having my own business alongside the girls has also enabled me to build flexibility into my life, which was particularly important in the early years. I’ve become a more rounded person by having them and have lots of great memories because I had the time to spend with them, my parents and wider family too. Adopting kids also led to new friends and connections that we would never have made if it wasn’t for adopting them.
“It hasn’t been easy, in fact it has been pretty tough at times, but the moments of pure joy, like seeing them grow and become more independent, snuggling up together or when they make something for me, make it so worthwhile. Having my own business has just made it all so much easier because I can put my skills to good use and learn and develop myself while having the flexibility and time for the girls that they need.”