National adoption week was the 16th to the 22nd October, the focus this year was siblings. 61% of children waiting to be adopted in England are in a sibling group (source first4adoption). This brilliant post by Emma Sutton really took me back to when we made our decision to be approved for a single child rather than a sibling group. Whether to have 1 or 2 or 3 or more children is a dilemma that is often faced by parents. Sometimes mother nature makes that decision for us.
When you adopt, it’s slightly different because to a certain extent, you can choose how many children you have. I always thought we’d have 2 children. I’ve got a sister and I can’t imagine my life without her. My husband has a sister and a brother. Having a sibling is what helped me to learn and grow. My taste in music comes from my sister. I’ve learned so much from her, good and bad and she’s always been there for me.
Part of the adoption process is to be realistic about the type of things you think you can and can’t cope with as a parent. We really struggled with deciding what would be the best fit for our family. It seemed wrong saying no to certain things as if we’d had a birth child, we’d have had no say in what traits or conditions our child had.
I had an overwhelming urge to say we’d take any child, no matter what the issues were, just because I wanted to be a mum. My heart broke that there were so many children in the care system who couldn’t be with their birth families. I just wanted to be able to give them all a home and nurture and love them.
Clearly this was completely unrealistic. We had to be honest and say what we felt we could and couldn’t cope with. We wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours, not least the child, by saying we could cope with something we knew we couldn’t. Taking on a child with needs beyond our capabilities would simply add to the trauma suffered by the child.
It was the same with looking at whether we wanted to be considered for a sibling group or a singley. I desperately wanted to be able to say that we could cope with siblings. My heart said we could cope with 2, my head was telling me otherwise. I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to cope going from not being a mum, to a mum of 2 overnight. How could I possibly be able to meet the very different needs of 2 children of different ages?
It’s funny how things turn out. From the moment we met our daughter, it felt right us just being a family of 3. She came with a lot of uncertainty about her development. Having her on her own has meant that we’ve been able to invest a lot of time in her to help lay the foundations so that she has the best possible chance of developing to her full potential. We couldn’t have done that as easily if we’d had siblings.
It isn’t always easier to parent 1 child than two, it’s just different. Logistically it may be easier to get 1 child out of the house than 2 (although sometimes it doesn’t feel that way!). It’s easier to give 1 child your undivided attention than it would be to give it to 2. There are definitely downsides and Emma has listed these in her post as the positives of having 2 children. The biggest downside for me is that our daughter won’t get to experience growing up with a sibling.
No-one knows what is going to happen in the future. Whatever it holds, I know that she has brothers and sisters that she’ll hopefully want to meet and build a relationship with when she’s older.
I strongly believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that we were always meant to have the honour of being our daughter’s parents. If we’d said we wanted to be considered for siblings, that wouldn’t have happened and we would never have met her. That thought utterly terrifies me.
The adoption rollercoaster is an amazing ride of euphoric highs and indescribable lows. It’s worth every second though whether you think you could cope with a big family or a small one. If you think you’ve got what it takes, First4Adoption is a good place to start to find about the process.