Louise had cancer when she was 17 and after all sorts of investigations realised that her and her husband John would not be able to conceive naturally. But, both agreed that it was never so important to have their own biological children,it was just important to have a family. So adoption became a rather natural conclusion for them.
Louise had cancer when she was 17 and after all sorts of investigations realised that her and her husband John would not be able to conceive naturally. But, both agreed that it was never so important to have their own biological children, it was just important to have a family. So adoption became a rather natural conclusion for them.
We spoke to our friends who had recently adopted and went with the same agency that they used. At that time it took about a year and a half to get approved, but these days it’s usually completed within 6 months.
Our social worker gave us the questions in advance of each meeting for us to discuss and consider and then went over them with us during her visits. We had nothing to hide, and it didn't feel inappropriately intrusive which is what a lot of people worry about.
A couple of months after our approval our social worker gave us some information and photograph of our children to consider. A boy age 16 months and a girl aged 8 months. She was born four months premature and there was quiet a lot of uncertainty about her future, but we were not put off.
We were visited in October by the children’s social worker; we went to matching panel in December and started introductions in January. Both the children came home with us five days later.
A first we were completely shell shocked. At the end of our first evening when we sat down we realised that we had not eaten! It was full on. I remember standing in the middle of the table, one spoon in each hand, feeding them from both sides, and how my arm hurt from carrying the children around on my hip!
For the first two weeks my mother in law and my sister in law stayed with us. They knew what they were doing around children and it was really very helpful having that support.
When my son came to live with us, he already had his own little personality, so it took a while for us to bond. Whereas my daughter was still a baby and so we found it easier to make a connection with her.
Socialising at toddler groups at that age can be quite tricky, because you can’t talk about your pregnancy or birth. So we had our cover stories, which we used when we didn't want to tell everyone about our story.
After a time we set up an adopter’s toddlers group. It was the best thing we ever did. We met once a month in a church hall, and had access to all the toys and facilities.There were about ten adoptive families to start with, and even now there are still five of us, who regularly meet .The children are all friends and still in contact with one another.
The toddler group was so important to us. It enabled us to talk openly about our experiences and to find understanding and support, on the issues that adopted families and adopted children have to deal with.
By the time the children were school age, both had been identified as having a lot of needs. Our son was then diagnosed with Hemiplegia and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), and our daughter had ADHD, an attachment disorder and Asperger’s.
Shortly after this we were approached by social services to consider one of the children’s siblings. Despite our busy lives and the children's difficulties, we felt we would be able to manage, and so we said yes.
In 2014 our second daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, and now has a diagnosis for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
Our oldest daughter finds it very upsetting to hear that birth mum still has babies that get taken away. We always have to carefully manage the information we share and think about what the children can cope with.
Our son is not in the slightest bit interested in his birth family, and he gets annoyed with his sister telling everyone that they were adopted, because he does not want people to know.
Watching them grow into teenagers is quite a journey. At times, it has been challenging due to their mental health conditions, and you never know what is round the corner. But then do you ever, even with your own birth children!