UK

'Why I'm crowdfunding to adopt an orphan boy'

Emilie Larter and Adam Image copyright Emilie Larter

When Emilie Larter held a five-day-old orphan in her arms, it set her on a journey to becoming a mum.

The 25-year-old was volunteering for a children's charity in Uganda when staff received news that a woman had died - leaving behind seven children.

The youngest was a baby boy who didn't even have a name.

With no-one to take care of him, he was given over to staff at the charity.

Emilie, from Leigh Sinton, Worcestershire, became the baby's sole carer and had sleepless nights looking after the boy, who became known as Adam.

Now, she is fundraising to help cover the costs of formally adopting the youngster and bringing him back to live in the UK.

She has received more than £15,000 in donations, with the majority being raised since her story was shared online on Sunday.

Image copyright Emilie Larter
Image caption Emilie held Adam for the first time when he was just five days old

She says the response has been "amazing" and it takes her on the next step to finally becoming Adam's mum.

Emilie told BBC News: "I've raised far more than I ever thought I would.

"I thought I'd be pestering family and friends, so it's insane but amazing at the same time.

"I'm so grateful. I've been getting messages from people in China, Australia and Germany.

"People have been telling me how inspiring I am and how it's lovely to read something nice.

"But this is just my life."

Image copyright Emilie Larter
Image caption Emilie became the sole carer for Adam after his biological mum died

Emilie's journey started in September 2014 when the charity she was volunteering for in Uganda received a call about a newborn boy in need.

They arrived at the burial of a woman who had died because of excessive bleeding after birth. Her children included baby Adam.

"He had not received any breast milk or formula and there was no one able to care for him. His mum left this world before even giving him a name," said Emilie.

"We took him in and I became the little one's sole carer. The sleepless nights were down to me, but they were no bother. I felt privileged to do it.

"I didn't do much but never a day went by where I was bored. I could sit and watch him for hours."

Image copyright Emilie Larter

Over the next two years, Emily visited Adam as often as she could while working in a teaching job in the UK.

But the short visits were not enough and she moved back to Uganda in August 2016 after finding work at an international school.

Now Adam, who is two-and-a-half, lives with her full time while she tries to adopt him.

Emilie said: "I feel like his mum already. We had such a strong bond every time I was coming out but especially now since he's been living with me.

"He calls me mum."

Image copyright Emilie Larter
Image caption Emilie has been living with Adam full time since August

Emilie has to foster Adam until August before she can apply to the Ugandan courts to legally become his parent.

She will then need to get permission from the UK to bring the little boy back to Britain.

She is hopeful that they will be living together in the UK by the end of the year.

Emilie said she had planned to fund the adoption herself until she lost her job in December, prompting her to set up a Go Fund Me crowdfunding page to pay for the process.

Her parents help support her living costs and she has taken another teaching position to cover Adam's school fees.

Emilie admits becoming a mum at the age of 25 had not been on her agenda, but she doesn't regret the path she has taken.

"It was not in my plan, but for the last two-and-a-half years Uganda is all I've thought about. I'm either talking about it or thinking about it.

"I imagined I wouldn't have kids for another 10 years but I don't regret it.

"It will be amazing to bring Adam home."

Image copyright Emilie Larter
Image caption Emilie has raised more than £15,000 to help adopt Adam

While Emilie has received overwhelming support for her decision, some online comments have questioned why she wants to remove Adam from his home country.

"I've been coming back to Uganda for him and I want to continue to do that," she said.

"I've done my best to keep him in touch with the village he came from so he can see his neighbours.

"I do my best. But a mother's love is one of the most important things and he's never going to have that here."

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