It wasn’t the first time people had said we were brave to be adopting siblings, but coming from a social worker during our preparation groups, it filled us with foreboding.
- I didn’t feel brave
- I wasn’t sure I wanted to be brave
- But I did want to adopt siblings
Was brave shorthand for that’s crazy? Out of seven couples at our prep groups, we were the only ones considering adopting siblings. Really?
I was shocked.
To us it seemed logical. We wanted a family, not an only child. We knew that siblings were harder to place and so why not invite a set of brothers and sisters to join us? Did they know something we didn’t?
Both Andy and I had siblings and knew we wanted at least two (me), if not three (Andy, who would be going to work) children.
Do You Need To Be Brave?
Four years later, I can answer this question honestly. Was it brave? No. It was definitely hard work taking on two toddlers at once. They arrived and turned our life upsidedown in an explosion of nappies, spoons, toys and routine. Even simple things like bedtime or a meal became logistical headaches. And then there was the lack of sleep from two children waking at different times, for different reasons for many many nights.
It was hard. It was tiring. It was exhausting at times, but it wasn’t brave.
It Was Joyful
Right from day one, the relationship between Nibbles and Bubbles is crammed to the rafters with joy. During introductions, she was chasing him around the park, as he tottered in tiny circles and she dashed this way and that, more steady on her feet.
He was besotted with her, and everything she did was magic. The way she looked after him, hugged him, helped him reach things, pretended to read to him, fed him – it was a cornucopia of sibling love and caring.
It Was Giggly
Put the two of them in swings. Swing them as high as you can. Then listen. They would blow raspberries, sing, make nonsense noises, and giggle their heads off. I recorded them time and time again, because I knew that this time would pass as they gained words and new ways to make each other laugh. Listening to it now, it still makes me laugh uncontrollably. So cute.
There isn’t a day since we adopted them when they haven’t made me laugh.
It Was Love
When we first saw their photos and information during matching, both Andy and I knew. Don’t ask me how I knew, but it was like an angel (or God if you wish) shouted deep into my soul and heart that these were the children who most needed me to be their mummy.
Their love for each other is huge. Enveloping. Magical. They love each other to the moon and back, then Aunty Sally’s and back and even to the splash park if they remember. She always wants a hug from him as she goes into school and has to say goodnight each night to her wonderful brother. Add that to the love they get from us, from their foster family Ken and Mary, and from everyone lucky enough to be a part of their lives and the love that surrounds our family has never been so ginormous.
To Sum Up…
But if there was one word that summed up my experience of adopting siblings it is adventure.
A great big, hair-raising, heart-racing, breath-taking rollercoaster of an adventure, a proper Indiana Jones style adventure, which has taught me a great deal about myself, about strength, about siblings, about friendship, about connection, about laughter, about playfulness, about love and most of all about life. And I am still learning, every single day.
So let me take Helen Keller’s words and re-write them anew, in honour of the fantastic siblings that have made my life incredible…
Adopting [siblings] is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
These four and a bit years have definitely been a daring adventure. Packed with new experiences, new places, new faces, new giggles, new joy, new love and more. Long may it continue.
If you are up for an adventure, perhaps you might consider adopting siblings too?
To celebrate National Adoption Week (16-21 October 2017), the Kindle version of my book is available for just £2 (in honour of the two incredible children who have made my life into an even more daring adventure). Get yours on Amazon here