Kirsty and Ian’s adoption story

We wanted to keep siblings together

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My husband and I came to adoption after a long journey with infertility, IVF and miscarriage. After the assessment process, panel and introductions, our boys (then 4 and 5) finally came home; seven months later they were legally our boys following the court process. The boys have now been home three and a half years, they are now 7 and 9. They are full siblings and despite the bickering, they are incredibly close and needed to stay together in their forever home.

When we initially started our adoption journey, siblings did not really cross our mind. However, as we went through assessment, we decided that we wanted to try and help some siblings stay together – for us it meant we would have our family in one go and would not need to go through assessment twice. We felt it was important to keep siblings together, to stop them being separated. A sibling bond is incredibly strong, and sometimes people do not want to adopt siblings which can make it harder for them to find a forever home. Going from zero to children overnight was extremely challenging, but it meant our boys at least had each other while they adapted to being part of our family.

What a journey it has been so far. It has been the hardest, but most rewarding time of our lives. Between them, the boys have quite a few diagnoses and challenges. Thankfully, we have a number of professionals involved to help them and we are incredibly lucky that we have a very supportive school team, including the senco, teachers and head, who work and support us all. We are also grateful for the ongoing support (when needed) from the post-adoption team.

There have been some real challenges with behaviour and our boys are so very different that, as with normal siblings, they need different approaches. Routine and strong guidelines on behaviour / what is expected are needed but, more importantly, a loving, therapeutic, understanding approach is what they both need.

We use a therapeutic approach to parenting and find we are always adapting and learning to work out what helps the boys the most as they grow up. We also have to think ahead with new events and the impact this may have, so we can support them through every step. At times, it is beyond exhausting (especially when behaviours escalate) – like average parenting but with the additional aspects of parenting children with additional needs and having had a traumatic start to life.

We are very open about the boys' adoption and will talk openly about their past with the birth family and foster carers. This is usually led by the boys, but when we can sense they need to talk we will take the initiative, they know they can ask us anything and we will continue to support them and their changing need to understand as they grow older.

The greatest pleasure is to see how the boys have changed and continue to do so as they grow up, they really are amazing!

Would we change anything? No! We love our boys so very much as do all of our family and friends. Most of all, we have fun and love being a family of four! Based on our experiences so far, we would certainly recommend adopting siblings together.