Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Our experience of adopting a sibling group

Sibling groups are among the children who wait the longest to be adopted. With this year's National Adoption Week focusing on the need for prospective adopters to come forward and consider taking on children who need to stay together, we speak to Sally Donovan who tells us about her experience of adopting two children.

We first lay eyes on the images of our children in a grey office, in the depths of the social services building, eight years ago. We were immediately struck by how lovely they looked and at that moment our bonding process with them began.

Rob and I had yearned for a family for a long time and so being matched with our two children was a highly charged experience which came after many hopes had been raised and then dashed. Jamie and Rose were 3 ½ and 1 when they moved in with us. They had both experienced tremendously hard times and we knew that parenting them was not going to be straightforward. The eight years that we have been a family have truly been years of many extremes. They have been wonderful and fun and energetic and life-affirming. They have also been testing and challenging and at times relentlessly hard. Rob and I have to operate a little like 'professional' parents in that we have had to educate ourselves on the impacts of early trauma on the behaviours and demeanours of our children and we have had to learn to parent a bit differently, differently from the ways in which we were parented.

But for all the challenges that the past eight years have presented to us, Rob and I are both certain that adopting our two children is the best thing we have ever done. Our family doesn’t always make sense to others with tidier lives, but we are a strong unit full of art and sport and music and play and fun and mess and noise and love.

For more information and advice about adoption, please visit the National Adoption Week website.

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