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Lucy’s story

Read her touching account of adopting 2 little boys.

 

My boys and I became a family on the 4th June 2021, I was 39 and they were 7 and 5.

They had been in care for just a little over two years. We live together, with two dogs, along the East coast where we can be found eating ice cream in the summer or splashing in chilly seas in the autumn and winter.

For me, adoption seemed as natural as having birth children.  Although I wasn’t told I couldn’t have children through birth until my late thirties it had never truly been my first route to motherhood. Even as a child I imagined adoption as the way I would have my family. Because I had always seen adoption as an equally natural way to become a mummy.

I grew up with two brothers and know that, for us, a bond between siblings is always there, no matter how faint or small, and that there is an unspoken link between us. I wanted to adopt siblings from the first moment I thought of adopting not only because of my own upbringing with brothers but also because I knew they would have a family bond too. With that bond, no matter what they had been through in the past they would have each other. My boys have other siblings too and we will endeavour to keep contact between all of them as they grow older. My boys have a bond for sure, they love each other fiercely but can sometimes want to be away from each other just as strongly. We divide up our time as equally as we can in our day to day lives which can be exhausting but when I look at them playing or hugging each other as they leave a carrot out for Santa’s reindeer, the cross words they may have shared with each other fade away.

As much as I knew how much I wanted to adopt a sibling group, there were times when I became nervous – mainly when the reaction to me saying I was adopting siblings was, ‘good luck with that’ or ‘are you sure?’ or ‘on your own?’ But my optimism drowned out those voices as deep inside I knew that my family needed to be more than two.

My boys and I were initially matched at around the time I was approved for adoption – informally. Matching panel came five months later. During that time, I researched and tried to read as much as I could about sibling adoption; talking to people I knew who had done the same; I joined Facebook groups and carried on reading some more. Training was adapted to include the unique benefits and challenges of adopting siblings and tailored towards my wish to do so. Chats with my social worker and those of the boys were crucial in preparation. Meeting the boys’ teachers was a joy as part of our Child Appreciation Day – every time I talked with someone the picture they painted was charm and cheekiness personified. I then got to meet the boys in a series of ‘bump intos’ – everything people had said about my boys was true – they were incredible.

My boys have a wealth of shared experiences and this brings with it both joys and ‘bumps’ in the road every now and then. The trauma that is part of them will sometimes come to visit when we least expect it and when it does we talk and wonder our way through harder times. They can play together beautifully and love nothing more than being able to run free in nature – at the beach or in local woodlands, climbing trees and paddling through shallow rivers, pretending to be trolls under bridges. The smiles on their faces and complete joy in their laughter never fails to brighten even the dullest of days – the fun of a water gun on a sunny day is never lost on me. This is what being a family is to us, finding moments when we can be free. But the first few months were hard, there were obstacles to climb, fights to calm down and numerous routines to put into place. Exhausting. That is the word that would sum up those first few months but, out of nowhere, love blossomed. When I look at my boys that is all I feel now – yes, we still have our moments and times when we kick against what may or may not be happening but we are as much a family as any other. Having only one child was not an option for me, having a house that is filled with the chaos of two suits me just perfectly. We may have double the squabbles but we have a house filled with more than double the love.

If I could give any advice to someone considering adopting siblings it would simply be – do it! My boys have given me a new lease of life and make every aspect of life richer. It is not without its struggles – set boundaries and try not to bend them. Be resilient, one day may be tricky but the next day is never, ever the same. Be kind and realistic with yourself, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Self-care is vital, carve out time for yourself.

My adoption journey, as a single adopter, has been supportive and, at times, therapeutic. The team around my family is wonderful. I have found that it really does ‘take a village’ to help to raise a child. In our start as a forever family, it has been not just my immediate family that have been an ever present source of advice and support but also my friends, many who are honorary aunts and uncles to the boys that play a significant role in our lives – whether as a sounding board when mummy needs someone to talk to or an extra pair of hands at the park. Our social workers have also played a critical role in our family finding its feet and stepping out into the world. Visits are always lovely and phone and video calls are a time to catch up and chat.

We have only been a family for 10 months but I can’t imagine life without my boys – something I didn’t think I’d find myself saying 9 months ago but we have bonded and connected far more deeply than I thought could happen. My boys have taught me patience and love in abundance. When I’m greeted at the end of a school day with a big bear hug or greeted early in the morning with a shout of ‘Mummy’ I know that this is where we should be, us three together.

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