One North East woman shares her story of adopting siblings
We’ve teamed up with Adopt Coast to Coast – the regional adoption agency for the North – to find out more about adopting siblings.
Finding families through adoption for groups of two or more children is a UK-wide challenge.
In fact, recent research from #YouCanAdopt shows that groups of two or more children wait 36% longer than individual children to be matched.
Compare this with the fact that 43% of the children with an adoption order in Adopt Coast to Coast’s core areas – Cumbria, Durham and Sunderland (via Together for Children) – were part of a sibling group in the last reported year, and only 23% of people were looking to adopt brothers and sisters. So, it’s clear to see how there’s a shortage in the number of prospective adopters looking to provide homes for more than one child.
North East couple Claire and David adopted their son and daughter last year during lockdown.
While they are the first to say that adopting two young children during an international pandemic wasn’t easy, they’re very clear that it’s still the best decision they’ve ever made.
‘I always knew that I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally, due to health reasons,’ explains Claire. ‘And although IVF was an option for us, I just didn’t want to put my body through it – especially when we didn’t know for certain that it would work.
‘As a couple, we were also worried about all the emotional turmoil IVF treatment can bring, and we had no doubt that adoption was the best way for us to start a family. We were both in complete agreement about starting the application process when we did. It just felt like the right time for us.’
Reflecting on the early stages of the enquiry process, Claire credits her social worker for giving her and David the confidence to consider adopting siblings. ‘We initially made the enquiry about adopting one child. But, once we got talking to our social worker, they looked at our circumstances and our future plans for adding to our family and suggested that we would be good candidates for adopting siblings.
‘In the end, we decided it was right for us. We had always planned on having more than one child anyway, we really liked the idea of keeping children together, and we loved the fact that they would have an unbreakable bond. Of course, we were worried about all the usual things: if we had enough time to dedicate to two children, if we had enough space for them, if we could afford two children and if we’d need to get a bigger car! But ultimately, we realised that if we’d conceived naturally, we would have had to have accounted for all these things anyway – it’s just the timing that was a bit different with adoption. For us, the benefits of protecting their sibling relationship, the children having a shared life story and it helping during the setting in period, far outweighed any negatives.’
Speaking about their family life now, Claire and David and their son and daughter couldn’t be happier.
‘The change in the children is unbelievable,’ says Claire. ‘Our daughter only had about four words when she first moved in, but she now sings all the words to Frozen and her speech is expected to hit all the milestones by the time she starts school. While our little boy is just a bundle of happiness and joy. It goes to show what support, time, security and love can do and we are incredibly proud of them both.’
So, what advice would Claire offer to anyone else who may be considering adopting more than one child?
‘During our first conversations with our social worker, we were told that local authorities find it more difficult to place siblings,’ Claire explains. ‘As we didn’t know anyone else who had done it, they put us in touch with another couple who had adopted a brother and sister. The couple gave us some great advice and it was invaluable to hear about their own experiences. We found it really reassuring to hear their story.
‘So my advice to anyone thinking about adopting more than one child is to talk to people who have been through it themselves. They’ll tell you the ups and downs and they know exactly how daunting it is, but also how exciting and rewarding it is too. Adopting my son and daughter was tough, but I wouldn’t change it for the world – if I can spend six weeks stuck in the house due to heavy snow and during an international pandemic with two children under three, then anyone can do it!’
9 reasons to consider adopting siblings
Paula Gibbons, Head of Service for Adopt Coast to Coast, gives her top 9 reasons to consider adopting brothers and sisters.
- You’ll only undertake the adoption application process once.
- Siblings have a unique bond, like no other.
- Sibling relationships can support mental health, emotional wellbeing and social skills.
- Being adopted with a sibling can help children settle into a new family.
- There may be financial support available to those looking to adopt sibling groups.
- Siblings may have a shared understanding of their past and can support each other.
- The children could have some personality and physical traits that they recognise in each other, which may help with their identity and sense of belonging.
- You can complete your family within one process.
- It’s often easier to manage two or more children than you think!
Are you interested in learning more about adopting siblings? Find out more at the Adopt Coast to Coast website, speak to the team on 03000 268 268 or drop them an email at email@example.com