Julia is the mother of two siblings who, with her husband, she adopted through Coram over ten years ago. In this special blog, she looks back on the last decade, and reflects on how they’re an ordinary family who just happened to have an extraordinary start…
“We adopted two siblings – a girl then aged three and a half, and a boy aged 20 months. With the benefit of hindsight, the first year was the hardest, but at the time it was magical. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to be allowed to look after these gorgeous, bright children who brought us such joy.
“We always wanted to adopt siblings as we knew we wanted more than one child. We wanted an ‘instant’ family without the need to go through the adoption process twice, and we thought it might be easier for the children if they had a brother or sister who moved with them. I think that was the case. The children had always lived together and were a very close unit, they gave each other comfort. In fact they have remained very close to this day. Yes they squabble now, just like most siblings, but for a long time they were each other’s best friend.
“Coram supported us throughout the process, helping us navigate the paperwork and the emotional rollercoaster of the matching period. More importantly they were there to offer support and advice after the children came to live with us. Nothing can quite prepare you for that period. We were lucky in that the children settled in well initially which enabled us to find our feet and gain in confidence as parents. Everything felt new and strange and I kept waiting for someone to shout ‘imposter’ at me, a bit like the Emperor’s new clothes – that woman doesn’t know what she’s doing. But we managed and we got better at it. And when we hit a bumpy patch about five months in, then Coram were there to help us through.
“Our daughter became very unsettled around her birthday, flying into a rage and becoming inconsolable or withdrawn. Coram helped us to help her cope with the feelings that were overwhelming her, and eventually things got better. It took us about four years to understand why birthdays were such a problem for her; that they triggered a very strong memory from her past, but each year they got easier until the issues just disappeared.
“Our children are now 15 and 13 and happy, settled ‘normal’ teenagers They are proud to be adopted and very open about their background. But it doesn’t define them. We don’t stand out from the crowd, we blend in. We are, in fact, a perfectly ordinary family who just happened to have an extraordinary start – and for that, we will always be grateful.”
*Pictures are posed by models