Jilly, whose daughter and son have Down’s syndrome, had always wanted a family.
She was referred to Coram, a leading voluntary adoption agency which specialises in finding families for children who may wait longer to be adopted, such as children with disabilities.
Meeting my daughter
She describes the moment she met her first child Emily* in 2009 in the article:
“The first time I was introduced to my little girl… she was attached to oxygen and had a feeding tube, but I didn’t even notice them.
“I just saw the child, and her big blue eyes that never stopped watching me. The photographs I’d been shown couldn’t prepare me for the reality of holding this bundle of warmth, and I loved her from the moment I held her.”
Today, Emily* who is nearly six, is in a dual- school placement, spending two days at a mainstream school and three at a special one. Coram provides her with music therapy once a week to support with her communication skills.
Coram has a range of post-adoption support options for families, including parenting groups and music or art therapy.
Baby Tom makes three
Jilly had always wanted two children and in 2011, she returned to adopt her son, Tom*, who is now nearly three.
The children spend their weekends together with their mum in the park and are regulars at the local library. The first thing Emily* does when she gets home is shouts “Hello Tom!”
In the article in The Guardian, Jilly describes their bond:
“When they sit and sing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ together I know in my bones that this was the right decision for all of us.
At bedtime I sit rocking him (Tom*) and singing him a lullaby, she (Emily*) cuddles his toy and sings along. When I put him to bed, she puts the toy in next to him, and together, we tuck them in.”
While the children’s health needs mean they do need a lot of care, Jilly says she felt she’d be a better parent to children with disabilities than those without.
“For me it wasn’t a second choice, it was my first choice and I have the children that I wanted.”
The difference the right home can make
Coram finds families for children from all over the country who have a range of different needs. Some may have disabilities, whereas others may have emotional or behaviour challenges.
There are also many children waiting for adoption who are part of a sibling group or who are past their toddler years and are approaching school age.
Coram’s Head of Adoption, Jeanne Kaniuk OBE, says:
“The children we find families for have often been waiting longer than others. This means they have been looking forward to meeting their forever family for some time. When they are nurtured and can begin to trust their new parents, they start to make wonderful progress. We are always pleased to hear from people who are ready to make a commitment to bringing up and cherishing children who may have had little stability in their lives.
“With over 6,000 boys and girls waiting for a loving home today, there is a great need for more adopters to come forward.”
*Names changed to protect privacy