Three years ago, Angela and Fran adopted two siblings and feel adoption has ‘completely changed their lives… in the best possible way’. They have also built a great relationship the children’s younger sister and her adoptive family. Angela shares their adoption story…
'Fran and I have been together for eight years now, and parents to Tim and Ivy for three of those years. Our children are full siblings who are four and five years old respectively. They came to us when they were both under two. Ivy was a baby and Tim a young toddler, so going from a relatively quiet household to having two noisy, active, and demanding little people overnight was quite a shock to the system!
'We have always imagined having more than one child, so it made sense to adopt a sibling group and keep two children together. We actually found out about Tim and Ivy before we were approved as adopters, then things moved very quickly. From completing the initial paperwork for the adoption process to bringing the children home was only 10 months.
'When our social worker sent us the photos of Tim and Ivy, then read their Child Permanence Reports (CPRs) later that day, we knew they were our children. We fell in love with them instantly and felt an overwhelming sense of needing these children to join our family. We sent a text to our social worker saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” and she made the necessary arrangements for us to meet the family finder. We had to be approved first, though! Luckily panel wasn’t far off.
'The family finder came to see us at home and showed us a video of the children. She cried when we watched it! We then arranged to meet the children for the first time at the foster carer’s local park. We were terrified of meeting her because we were worried that she wouldn’t like us.
'On the day, we parked at the roadside and saw a woman pushing a pushchair with our tiny daughter in, and our son running across the field wearing a puddle suit and wellies. We watched for a minute before building up the courage to get out of the car and walk over to them. Ruth the foster carer gave us both a huge hug and told us she gets emotional when she meets adopters for the first time! We felt instantly warm and welcomed - in that moment we knew she accepted us, and it felt just right. We didn’t know what to expect from the “bump into” meeting but we kicked a ball around with our son, held our daughter in our arms (she wasn’t yet walking) and pushed them both on the swings. It was over very quickly but we felt so relieved and happy at the end of it.
'Once we’d been to matching panel and the match had been approved by the panel, we had a very good introductions plan where we’d go to Ruth’s house for increasing lengths of time over 14 days. We got to know the children’s routines and gradually took more and more responsibility - but Ruth trusted us to get on with it and very quickly we got to the point where we felt ready for the children to come home.
'Moving day was very emotional for us all. Ruth played our special song for us that we said reminded us of our journey to these children, and we said our goodbyes to the lovely foster family. We drove the children home and that was that. They were home, forever, and we were a family.
'Tim and Ivy share an extremely close sibling bond and we think this has helped them to feel secure. They are very protective of one another, though at the same time they do fight and clash with one another. We think this is to do with the fact that they’re very close in age, plus the fact that they had such a difficult start in life where they had to fight for attention. We really promote the idea of our home being a safe and secure base, and the children respond very well to this.
'Adopting our children has completely changed our lives but in the best possible way. It’s not all plain sailing - the reality here is that we’re caring for two children who have experienced significant trauma - however, we wouldn’t change anything about our experience for the world. We love to advocate for our children, to support them through the difficult times, and being an adoptive parent means being part of a very special and wonderful community. We have made so many friends we never would’ve met had we not adopted. Adoption is something we consider central to our lives.
'Another thing we are keen to share is that we have established a lovely relationship with Tim and Ivy’s younger sister, Chloe. She has been adopted by another family and we have had a relationship with the family for nearly two years now. We meet up regularly and the children all have a really lovely relationship. We also have letterbox contact with other siblings, birth parents and grandparents, and have had a few replies from siblings.
'Tim and Ivy have changed our lives in the best possible way and although we adopted them as a baby and toddler, having school-aged children is the best. We love being thrown into school nativity plays, birthday parties, the magic of Christmas, the hilarious conversations, singing Disney songs and going for bike rides. It’s just brilliant fun, and very chaotic - we are constantly exhausted - but we wouldn’t change it at all.'