Cherry Willoughby - adoption

Our love was not enough…

Cherry Willoughby’s story about how her life was virtually ruined when she and her husband adopted two little girls appears in the DAILY MAIL newspaper. Adoption nightmare, Daily Mail

After years of IVF and heartache Cherry and her husband were delighted when having decided to adopt, a little picture of two angelic looking girls landed on their doorstep…
Cherry was then 31 and her husband also in his 30s and they had everything – the only thing that was missing was children.
Immediately they fell in love with them and decided to adopt. Maryann was three and her sister was six months old.
But the decision was to tear the couple apart. Maryann became a nightmare because she was violent towards other children.
Still, when the couple moved to a five-bed house with lovely gardens and they began a village school, they thought things would improve. But they did not and the couple were plagued with calls from teachers about her behaviour.
Birthday parties were the saddest as Cherry would send out invites and no-one would come.
The couple begged for help from social services but were given none. They lost friends themselves – they were embarrassed by the behaviour of Maryann. Soon they began to argue themselves – Cherry’s husband said they should be firmer, whereas Cherry didn’t agree.
Finally when Maryann was 11, the couple split up and when Maryann was 14 her mum could no longer cope – devastatingly she had to put Maryann back into care.

Cherry Willoughby - adoption
Cherry immediately fell in love with her daughters...

Meanwhile, Nicola also had social problems. The final straw came when she stole the entire contents of Cherry’s bank and ran off with the money. She was placed in a home for troubled teens.
Nicola is currently in prison after a drugs offence. And last year Maryann was sentenced to eight years in jail after admitting false imprisonment and grievous bodily harm.
The crimes are shocking and beyond Cherry’s comprehension – except that they are following in the same footsteps as their mother. Shockingly, she was convicted of murder.
In all this time, Cherry and her husband begged for help from social services but claim they were only given parenting tips. She believes they could have been saved if they’d received specialist help. Cherry also feels they were not told just how bad the children’s pasts were before they adopted them.
But Cherry still loves her daughters and she is still there for both of them.

Following her feature in the Daily Mail, Cherry said: “Thank you so much! I think you did an amazing job on the article Alison.”

The story was also the best read news story on MailOnline for the entire day – meaning it will have been read by millions all over the world and we received 2000 hits alone on this website from people wanting to read more and searching for more information.

Featureworld has also received some feedback from other readers. One woman emailed: I found your recent article in the Daily Mail about adopted children more than interesting. It is also very sad and is not an isolated case.You probably know already the article has have not even touched the tip of the iceberg on this part of adoption. The quote ‘ … Despite begging for help, none was ever forthcoming is very true. Another quote is ‘we have helped you once, don’t ask again’. I hope you continue to write about what happens to adoptive families who, yes, do beg for help with the children they have adopted. It needs to be brought out into the open of how badly these families are treated. You will find plenty to write about.

We have already secured further coverage for Cherry with two major women’s magazines.

Cherry has written a book about her battle to do the best for her children, which she hopes will help other parents who might experience similar difficulties. She is currently looking for a literary agent or publisher. If you would be interested in seeing Cherry’s book, contact us here.


Do you have a story about adoption? Our sister site, Featureworld specialises in dealing with very sensitive stories. If you would like to put your story in the safest hands, contact Featureworld here.

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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