I adopted siblings four years apart


We decided adopting one child initially and then perhaps another later on would be best for us (Picture: Suzy Stanton)

I always thought I’d be mum to two children.

I have an older sister and can’t imagine growing up without her. I’ve learned so much from her, from my taste in music and radio station (Radio 1, always), to fashion and parenting.

Adoption had always been on the radar for my husband and I, and when things didn’t happen for us naturally, we decided it was the way we wanted to create our family. 

During our adoption assessment, our social worker felt a sibling group – which means two or more children who are brothers or sisters – would be right for us.

In the end, we decided adopting one child initially and then perhaps another later on would be best for us. We didn’t feel we could meet the needs of two different aged children straight away.

When you’re adopting, you have to be honest about what you can and can’t cope with. I know that may sound like you’re picking and choosing so you just get the best bits.

If you have a birth child, you don’t choose your child’s health conditions or personality traits. You just get on with it, dealing with things as and when they arise.

But that’s the thing. You aren’t having a birth child. You’re welcoming a child into your heart that already has a personality, likes and dislikes, trauma, disruption and sometimes, known conditions.

Saying you can cope with something because you think that’s what’s expected isn’t doing anyone any favours. It isn’t fair on you, but more importantly, it isn’t fair to a child who’s already suffered trauma. They need you to hit the ground running. If you know their needs are more than you can deal with, you aren’t doing them any favours by saying you could cope.

Just under a year after we started the process we were approved for a single child under the age of two. It was a September and naively I was convinced our child would be home by Christmas. She wasn’t. In fact, she hadn’t even been born.

Our youngest daughter was six months old when she came home to live with us. (Picture: Suzy Stanton)

We waited 10 long months before we found out about her. When we did, everything made sense. We had to wait that long because she wasn’t ready for us until then. She’d had some health concerns initially so we didn’t find out about her until she was six months old. All the meetings and approvals meant she didn’t come home for another three months.

Just over a year later, our daughter started nursery and I went back to work three days a week. Life felt very difficult. She loved nursery once she was there but was hysterical at drop offs. She was unsettled, particularly at night, as she adjusted to our new way of life.

And then we got an email from our social worker to say our birth mum was pregnant, due very soon. Tragically, her circumstances hadn’t changed so the plan for the unborn child was adoption. We were asked if we wanted to be assessed for the sibling, which completely floored us.

Everything felt too unsettled. Our daughter was struggling and adding a young baby into the mix didn’t feel right. We knew it was what everyone would expect us to do. But we also knew at that point in time, it wasn’t right for us as a family.

Coming to that conclusion is the hardest decision we’ve ever made. By saying no, we were deciding our daughter couldn’t grow up with her sibling. That’s massive. But saying yes, when we knew it wasn’t the right time for her, would’ve been worse.

It felt the right time for her to become a big sister (Picture: Suzy Stanton)

The next few years showed that we’d made the right decision for our daughter. She thrived having us to herself and we enjoyed being a family of three.

Then, three years later life sent us another curveball. Our social worker emailed to say her birth mum was pregnant again. The baby wasn’t due for a few months and once again, we were asked if we wanted to be assessed as adoptive parents for the baby.

Everything felt different this time. Our daughter was very settled. It felt the right time for her to become a big sister so we said we’d like to be assessed.

Our youngest daughter was six months old when she came home to live with us. It was four years to the day that we’d met her big sister for the first time.

Their sibling that was born between them had also been adopted and lives just a few miles from us. We write to his parents every year with an update about how the girls are doing and hopefully one day we’ll be able to arrange for them all to meet up. 

In the meantime, I can’t help but feel very blessed to have been chosen to be mum to two amazing sisters.

Seeing the love they have for each other makes all the heartache and stress it took to get us here, worthwhile. They’re growing up knowing they grew in our hearts not my tummy, and I hope they’ll be able to help and support each other understand their birth history together as they get older.

Suzy is creator and editor of www.wemadeawish.co.uk a free digital adoption magazine.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

Share your views in the comments below.

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Adoption Month

Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.

For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.

We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.

If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at adoptionstories@metro.co.uk.

Here is a selection of the stories from Adoption Month so far:





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