Sally and Sean share the highs and lows of their adoption story
From the moment we started talking about adoption we always wanted to adopt siblings.
We really didn’t mind what gender they were; I suppose initially we thought a boy and a girl would be lovely, but in reality we just knew we wanted to adopt 2. (Actually we really wanted to adopt 3 to start off with; thank goodness our social worker discouraged us from this madness!!)
We knew that adoption was the only way for us to have a family, and we believed that our family meant us and more than one child. We also thought that siblings would mean they always had someone who was 100% ‘theirs’ and had been through similar things; I suppose we hoped that this would help them as they got older as they were ‘in it together’.
We knew that we wanted one child to be under school age, but we were happy for the other child to be older. We thought we would probably be placed with a 3 and 7 year old, but in reality we adopted a 13 month and a 3 year old.
Since adopting our beautiful girls, and from talking to their foster carer, we are now aware that there had been talk about not placing the children together. Our eldest was classed as ‘hard to place’ due to a medical condition, whereas our youngest was an ‘easy to place baby’. The thought now of our girls not being together doesn’t bear thinking about. They have a wonderful relationship; yes they fight like cat and dog at times, but they truly love each other and are always looking out for each other.
There is a lot of talk in adoption about ‘trauma bonds’ with siblings, and I know that this is a real issue and is the main reason why siblings aren’t placed together, but, thankfully, with our two this isn’t the case. They help each other, and are there for each other, and are so alike – and yet so different!
Before our girls came to live with us we were totally prepared for the challenges we knew we would face; we went into adoption with our eyes wide open and the rose tinted specs well and truly put away but nothing, NOTHING, can prepare you for the rollercoaster that is adopting two children. It was incredibly difficult at the start; our eldest was very unhappy after 18 months with her foster carers whom she loved, and she found it very difficult to let us care for her. She tried to hide all feelings, and wouldn’t cry if she hurt herself or was upset.
It was desperately upsetting being pushed away when we had wanted children for so long. At the time we felt that our youngest coped very well with the transition, but now that we really know her, 4 years on, we can see that she also struggled greatly, and was highly anxious and unsettled. We had an incredibly difficult first 6 months, when we really did wonder what we had let ourselves in for, but we had made a commitment to our girls and no matter how hard it got we were never going to give in, and gradually, as the girls got to know us, and us them, they began to trust us, and slowly we felt that we were their parents, and not just two strangers trying to forge a relationship with two children who didn’t want it. During that very difficult period we did try and remember that whilst we had chosen adoption; our girls hadn’t. We also kept reminding ourselves that if it was this hard for us, two adults who had waited years for this, then how bhard must it be for the girls!
Every day little things happen that make us burst with pride, our girls have come on so much since those early days and we know that they love us, and we love them. Since day 1 we have had some amazing highs, and some heart breaking lows, but we love our girls with all our hearts, and cannot imagine life without them (or remember what life was like before them!)
There are constant challenges that we need to face; adoption is never easy, but then again, being a parent is never easy but we know that whatever obstacle we have to face next (and we envisage lots!) we know that we will get through it together as our family, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
To find out more about adopting with us call 0800 169 2061 or come along to our next information meeting.