Mark and Karen
"Our daughter was placed with us at age six months. From the comprehensive information shared with us by the adoption team, we were aware that she had three older siblings who had already been adopted by two other families (one on their own and two together). I myself (Karen) was adopted as a baby back in the late 1960's and I had none of the information about my birth family growing up, because back then we didn't have the benefit of research which highlights the importance of knowing your life story and having a tangible connection with birth relatives.
I didn't want our daughter to grow up without knowing who her birth siblings were or to be denied the opportunity to share her childhood with her older brothers and sister.
After our baby girl had been with us for just over a year, we asked social services whether we could go beyond letterbox contact and perhaps introduce some direct contact with the siblings' families. They contacted the four other adoptive parents and set up a meeting between us all, with a social worker present who facilitated the meeting. We met at a quiet coffee shop so that it could feel a little more relaxed and we all instantly hit it off. We all felt a huge connection through our children and agreed to take it from there ourselves with support from the adoption contact team available if we ever felt we needed it (to date we haven't!).
Our daughter was around 18 months when we first met her older siblings, at a children's farm so that they could all meet, play together and enjoy an afternoon getting to know each other. It may sound sentimental but when she met them, our daughter instantly took to them all and having been quite a shy and reserved little girl when meeting strangers, this meeting was far from it. It was magical seeing them all together, relaxed in each others' company, and we agreed to try it again six months later.
Our daughter is now 9 years old, and her younger birth brother was placed with us several years ago too. They both love seeing their siblings twice a year. We always meet somewhere like an adventure park or the beach in the summer, so that they can enjoy some fun time together and we very much see the children and adults as part of our (large) extended family. We make sure the dates we get together avoid birthdays or other 'trigger' points in the calendar such as Christmas. We continue to share information and photos too via letterbox once a year as this is important for their life stories and memory boxes, but it makes such a difference corresponding with people we now know very well. That was our hope for our daughter and our son, that their birth siblings would not be 'strangers' to them if/when they met as adults, and that they can all look back on shared family experiences together.
I know that contact with birth families can be very sensitive, emotive and a challenge, but as an adopted adult, I feel knowing your own identity and life story is crucial to laying the best foundations for a successful adoption - secure in your adoptive family, and reconciled to your birth story."
Chris and Kevin
Adopters Kevin and Chris are a same-sex couple who adopted two brothers. “Watching them grow up together is so fulfilling and amazing and the thought of them not being together, growing up together, is unimaginable,” said Chris.
“Working through the pandemic will have been a difficult task. We weren’t able to see the ones we love and for some, didn’t have an opportunity to say goodbye. On the other side of all the hard work that was done; we were matched with the most amazing little boy.
Our lives are now whole thanks to the tenacity and hard work of all the staff at the adoption service. Our little boy has come out of his shell, where once he barely spoke, he now sings and talks to his heart’s content. He loves his new life and day to day, from giggle to giggle, our love increases evermore. He doesn’t quite realise just how amazing the team have been in helping us, but when he is older he will be told the story of how he was helped by such an amazing group of people .
So thanks to you all, you’ve made our family complete.”