The Story of Alex Bell, an inspiring single mother who adopted nine children with Down Syndrome and other learning difficulties

Written by Erika Petrie

September 6, 2020

I find this story truly inspiring – a single woman who decided to adopt not one, but up to nine children of which seven with down syndrome and the other two with autism and other life limiting conditions. An incredibly giving and selfless woman determined to make a difference to these children’s lives, and helping them each individually find their niche in life.

They said she couldn’t do it, but Alex Bell, a 53 year old single woman from Swinton (on the outskirts of Manchester) has managed to single-handedly raise a family with special needs against all odds. She adopted her first child, Matthew, at 28 and was the first woman in the UK to be granted adoption whilst being single. She then went on to take eight more children under her wing, Simon, Adrian, Nathan, Andrew, Chloe, Tom, Emily and Callum. 

She has also been able to reunite families who have been torn apart by Downs by encouraging them to communicate with each other and to continue to be a part of their children’s lives even when they have given them up for adoption. She is certain that these children are ‘gifts’ sent from above who deserve to be nurtured and loved and to find a place in today’s society. Matthew who is now 24 gives tours of Manchester United which is something he dreamt of doing from a very young age!

Alex jokes that her hobbies consist of ‘in my free time I sleep’!


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