Sarah and Andrew

We decided we wanted to look into adoption and 18 months later our family increased from 2 to 5!

We had been together for 7 years and married for 2, when we decided that we wanted to have a family. Adoption was something that we had spoken about as being an option for us so we started looking into the process and read about all the different things that needed to be considered when adopting children who had come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect.

We had a few meetings with different agencies but we attended an information evening with Action for Children where a couple talked about adopting two siblings - this evening taught us a lot and confirmed our opinion that we wanted to proceed with AfC. It also made us seriously consider adopting a sibling group.

We immediately felt very at ease with the social worker that we met on the initial interview stage. She was incredibly informative and provided us with all of the information that we needed to make the decision to continue. She was thorough, without making us feel like we were being scrutinised.

We have said often that we feel like we have been incredibly lucky with how the process went for us. The few delays we had were down to outside factors (DBS checks, moving house) and Action for Children supported us fully through any hiccups. The training days felt long at the time, but they were totally necessary and the knowledge that we gained was invaluable. Without those training days and social worker visits, we would have been thoroughly unprepared for the realities of adoption. 

 

Find out more about the adoption process

It was clear throughout the training stages that everyone working for Action for Children has a genuine love and passion for what they do. They wouldn’t commit so much time and energy into helping families find each other, if they didn’t.
Sarah and Andrew, adopted their three sons through Action for Children

We had been approved for 2 children, yet when we actually started looking through the profiles properly we found ourselves drawn to, and enquiring about a sibling group of 3. We discussed this enquiry with our social worker who made sure she had gone through the (many) potential issues of taking on 3 traumatised children, before we submitted our enquiry.

We were lucky that the enquiry about these 3 progressed; and we found ourselves, 2 months after approval (with a very long Christmas in between) meeting the family finder, and social worker for the children who were to become our sons.

The process from this point seemed to take a long time. We had many many things to consider about each child, and we did a lot of work with our social worker about how we would manage the very different needs of each of them. We had to wait for medical tests, a house move, and a deferred matching panel before we finally brought the boys home in August 2016. The reality was though that we decided on 14th February 2015 that we wanted to look into adoption; and on 17th August 2016 (only 18 months later) our family increased from 2, to 5.  Really not so long in the grand scheme of things!

The settling in period was the strangest, and most stressful period of our lives to date! Following introductions which were quite structured, we suddenly had 3 little strangers living in our house who were dependant on us for everything. Forever! And we felt like we had no idea what to do. The year or so of training seemed blurry and distant and it was really just a struggle to get through each day.

The rewards seemed slow to arrive, but they do arrive, and they become greater every day.
Sarah and Andrew, adopted their three sons through Action for Children

We worked very hard to keep our family unit small, and ‘enclosed’ for the first month or so and it was very very difficult. We needed the support of our friends and family, but we knew that it was in the best interest of the boys for them to recognise us and only us as their new family; without the outside influences of our family and friends. When we decided that the boys were ready to meet people, it certainly relieved some pressure on us. And it was from that point that things became easier.

brothers stock

The challenges are: not knowing who is going to be moving into your home and your life; but also your family and friends lives. Not knowing how the children are going to cope with the changes put in front of them; and how you will cope with the changes to a probably very entrenched lifestyle. The constant second guessing as to whether or not you are doing the right thing by the children, in getting a good balance between therapeutic parenting, and just ‘normal’ life. Realising that ‘normal’ really doesn’t mean anything. Worrying that the love isn’t going to appear for 1 of them/2 of them/all of them. Reminding yourselves that they aren’t deliberately being difficult – they’ve had a terrible time and have so much to work through and it’s your job to get them there. Making it your job, and your life - whilst still remembering who you are, and remembering to do what you enjoy, albeit with much less spontaneity and frequency…….The list is endless, and terrifying.

The rewards seemed slow to arrive, but they do arrive, and they become greater every day. On a specific level it could be seeing that you have helped a little boy find his voice, and therefore have the confidence to have a tantrum because he doesn’t want to do something, when he would have previously complied to whatever was asked. Dropping another boy at a party, and when he asks you to leave, realising that it’s not because he doesn’t want you there with him, but because he knows that you are going to come back. Hearing the littlest one, with a speech disorder saying, as clear as day: ‘Mummy, me like you. For ever, ever, ever, ever, ever……….’

Hearing your family members say ‘it feels like they've always been here – we can’t imagine you now being without them.'
Sarah and Andrew, adopted their three sons through Action for Children