Today’s article is written by Sarah, sharing her experience of adopting siblings. She describes a bit about her journey to becoming a parent as well as giving some tips about coping with the early days. You can follow Sarah on Instagram.
When we first started our adoption adventure, we were very lucky to have a supportive social worker. She said it was good to have an open mind and see which little ones would become part of our family. So we didn’t have any firm views about being matched with one child or a sibling group. We did think we’d be a good match for older children.
As our adventure began, it became clear during home study that our social worker had us in mind for a sibling group. She couldn’t tell us about the children as we were still being assessed at that stage.
We were then told about a sibling group of four. However, because of the needs of all the children it was decided that it would be more supportive for them to have separate placements.
In the end, we were matched with the younger children our social worker first had in mind for us. Our amazing children came to us when there were turning three and five. Our lives changed forever for the better. I can honestly say that we feel truly blessed to be the parents to our two children.
Before our children came home, I had lots of experience working with children although that doesn’t mean it was easier. You don’t need to have lots of experience as nothing can really prepare you for becoming a parent to two children overnight.
Our introductions lasted two week. When they first came home, the children shared a room. To help build their trust in us, we often slept next to the children in their room so that they knew we were close. This worked well for us in terms of building our bond and attachments. Thankfully, eight years on, we don’t need to sleep on the floor anymore so things do get easier!
Some things that worked well for us in the early days were things like having a buggy board for our eldest, so we were all close together. They were a bit big for the pram and didn’t want to sit in it, although deep down they did.
We kept our days simple with walks, trips to the park and we played with lots of play dough and use Theraplay. I found a rucksack was best when we were out and about so I had both hands free.
Even though there’s an age difference between them, we treated our little ones more like twins as they both needed lots of nurturing parenting. When the youngest was asleep, I often encouraged the eldest to hold her sibling’s hand. This really helped them to bond.
Thinking back now to those early days, aside from parenting, the hardest part was keeping on top of everything. Regular social worker visits, lots of paperwork to keep up with and I couldn’t believe how much washing two small people could create! Look after yourself, mentally and physically, as much as you can.
If I could give myself some advice from what I know now, it would be that preparing to bring home toddlers is very different from preparations for a new baby. They’re wriggly and heavy when you pick them up which I don’t think I’d thought about before they came home. I had to have a number of trips to the osteopath to put me back together from picking them up.
It’s also easy to underestimate how tired you can get going from no children to two. Early nights are a must in the early days as your body and mind adjusts to becoming a parent.
Keep your sense of humour and laugh as much as possible. We can forget to enjoy the fun side of life when you’re a new parent and things overwhelm us. Ask for support and seek the right advice when you need it. But trust your own judgments. It’s amazing how quickly you become in tune with your little ones needs.
Our children are now 10 and 12. They continue to amaze us every day, making us laugh and keeping us on our toes. They do now have there own rooms. But that was something that evolved naturally. It’s so important to be guided by your children and tuning in to what feels right for them. Each sibling group is so different. What works for one family doesn’t always work for another so don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others.
As the children get older it’s lovely to see their bond develop and grow. Yes they love to argue (as all siblings do). But they LOVE each other deeply and it’s the sweetest thing to watch when they’re holding hands and giggling.
Good luck to you, wherever you are on your parenting adventures. Always know you’re never alone. There’s always someone else going through what you’re going through.
It takes a village to raise a child as the saying goes. And when you’ve become a parent through adoption, your village might come from people who give types of support you never thought you’d need. So for example from medical professionals, therapists, social workers, teachers and other adoptive parents.