We have three birth children, two adopted and have a mixture of boys and girls. I grew up in a large, mixed family of birth and adopted siblings so adoption has been very normal for me and always a part of how I envisaged growing my own family. I was once the birth child and having siblings who were adopted only enhanced my life in every way. My husband had not had this experience but we knew very early on that we planned to adopt. I always dreamt of a busy, noisy, household full of children, chaos and brimming over with joy. My life is testimony to dreams coming true.
We are very proud parents to our five children, all aged 10 years and under. We have three birth children, two adopted and have a mixture of boys and girls. Our two adopted children are placed second and fifth in our family order and both have additional needs, which was a very intentional choice. Most of my siblings have additional needs ranging, from moderate to complex and profound needs. Again due to my unique and special family we have the incredible privilege of insight and are fully invested in offering permanence, stability and love to those that are so often overlooked and under valued. We knew that our children would take their emotional lead from us. We were always open and honest with them throughout the process and involved them as much as possible. Adoption for them is a normal way of growing a family.
Our children all have unique, close bonds. They argue and get on each other’s nerves like all siblings do but guaranteed wherever one is, the others are never far behind. We are so fortunate to know that ultimately the journey to becoming a family doesn’t alter your feelings in the end. Birth or adopted all of our children are so ours, equally cherished and adored.
Each of our children are deeply accepted by us all, simply for being themselves. We were not naïve to think that everyday or every moment was going to be all sunshine and sweetness. Far from it, we have seen the challenges, the commitment, the reflection and personal growth required to parent children who have endured trauma, which by the way is all children who have been adopted.
Parenting our children is simply the greatest adventure and the focus of our lives. Regardless of their history all children quickly develop the capacity to know how to push your buttons and when is the worst time to do it! You have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth, to accept that your child is very much on their own path and will achieve their personal best in their own time. What we as adoptive parents have to be is open to accepting them and celebrating them, whatever that personal best is. We have to change and adapt to meet our children’s needs. Sometimes the rough bits are extended and can seem endless, but in the end they are not. We all, the whole family, come through the other side better, more patient, more tolerant, kind and understanding. I want to emphasise this growth is for all of us; parents, children both birth and adopted being their history. I think that sometimes for our children who have experienced trauma or whom have additional needs, the steps forward can sometimes seem tiny, despite the effort from us and them to take them but my goodness, it makes them all the sweeter when they come.
We are so proud of all our children, of how we became eternally interlinked, of how we became a family. The privilege of parenting our children will never be lost on us. I could talk all day about adoption, the worth of children with additional needs and how we would love to encourage more families to put aside their doubts, anxieties and ignorance to enable more children who have additional needs to experience the very things that all children should have; to belong, to be wanted, cherished and celebrated. Adopting children with additional needs is not always an easy life path but the joy and love in our family is immeasurable. We wouldn’t change a thing.