Adopting three siblings
My partner and I knew that adoption was our preferred route to having a family and having talked to other adopters from the LGBTQ+ community, we could see that it could be a positive experience for us and for the children.
During our Stage One training, social workers encouraged us to consider a sibling group. Initially, I was unsure if we would be able to provide adequate emotional support; for two maybe, but three? How would we find the time and energy? And practically speaking could we afford it? We did some research on the internet, joined New Family Social – the LGBT+ Adoption and Fostering community again, and talked to friends with more than one child. We read some stark headlines and worrying statistics about adoption breakdowns but also heard motivating stories about clear benefits, especially for sibling groups. We realised that with the right professional and family support there were good reasons to consider a sibling group.
The first time we saw a picture of our three, we felt strongly that we would be a family. We scrutinised all the reports and met with professionals, as we wanted to be sure that we could meet each child’s individual needs, and that the bond between them was a positive one. We also got to meet the children at an adoption activity day – nothing gave us as much confidence as seeing the children together for ourselves.
The mental and physical effort required to instantly take on three children was astounding. I remember the terror I felt the first time I took them to a park alone; it was as though I was managing 30 children, not 3. However, it soon became easier – and now I occasionally panic that I must have lost one because it all seems too simple!
Our children’s shared history helps them to make sense of who they are and their lives so far. Our little clan supported each other in their birth family and that strong bond remains. By offering them continuity, it has helped them cope with the transition to us and reduce their sense of loss. Conversations about their past easily weave into everyday life. They don’t feel lonely or ‘different’ because they always have each other, and they will be life-long companions. They also have the chance to mix with other adopted children when we have meet-ups with New Family Social or the groups set up by the adoption agency for adopted children.
We joke about having our own kids club. They entertain themselves for hours; there’s always someone to play Dominoes, Lego, Guess Who, or dressing up with while also learning about sharing, rivalry, and respect.
Finding the time to give each child is becoming easier as they develop different interests and friendships. The older two are gradually letting go of the parenting role they were so used to taking on, and with the help of therapeutic professionals, our oldest is becoming less anxious whilst our youngest is developing his independence.
We have been a family for two years now. Life has changed dramatically. We have a family planner in the kitchen and, much to the amusement of friends and family, we have a slow cooker and have learnt to make cakes and cookies! We are lucky that we share the same family values and can present as a united front despite being outnumbered! We have had great practical support from social workers, New Family Social and the school as well as from close friends and family who help us make time for date nights.
Adopting a larger sibling group is not for everyone, and we started out thinking it wasn’t for us – but we’ve surprised ourselves with what we can do, and have discovered the fun of a big family and most of all we are motivated by the clear benefits we can see there are for our children.