We spent 7 years trying to have a child. But in the last 15 months we have become parent to 3 children through adoption. This is our story....
Writing this all down is actually the first time I have done this although I have been blogging about our life since we adopted for a while now. My husband and I met over 10 years ago and got married after a couple of years. We were young but not too young to know that we wanted a family straight away and were ready for it. Like many people who have suffered infertility, we spent a long time waiting and hoping each month would be ‘the month’. It never was and we embarked on medical investigations which took a long time as well. Eventually, 6 years after our wedding we met the end of that road whereby we were told we would never be parents naturally and that all means to help us medically had been exhausted. This was a dark time for both of us and we took another year or so to recover, all the time surrounded by friends and family who fell pregnant time and time again at the drop of a hat. We grieved for lost dreams and licked our wounds.
We had discussed adoption previously but now we sat down and really considered it properly and felt that yes, this was something we wanted to do. Adoption doesn’t appeal to everyone but I can honestly say that it did for us, perhaps because our culture and the way we were both brought up really encouraged fostering and adoption. We chose a Voluntary Agency and embarked on the Home Study process – but not until we had been on the Preparation Course of 5 days. It was at this that we really fully understood that adoption is not about you becoming a parent but about a child (or children) finding parents. It is not a fix to the desire to mother, it is an opportunity and process whereby the needs of the child come above all else particularly due the background they may have come from. We were Approved in December 2010 and luckily found our children at the end of January 2011.
Finding your child is a funny process – its rather like ‘shopping’ for a baby...you are presented with profiles and of course your heart tells you to take them all. Especially when you read their background and see their faces. But you have to put your emotions aside and be realistic...you have to consider properly the type of child you could parent which is something you investigate at length in the Home Study process. People also talk about how when you see your child’s photo for the very first time, you ‘know’ they are the one. Well in our case that was true....I went to an Exchange Day and their photo was pinned to a board amongst hundreds of others and hand on heart, it jumped out at me. I don’t know why – their faces, their names, their details, I felt a connection. I still remember it now.
Our eldest son and daughter moved in with us in the Summer of 2011, aged 13 and 25 months. The first few months were really hard. We were first time parents and they were in chaos – not just because of the move and change but because of other personal factors. Attachment was hard with both but different. Dear Son 1 (DS1) resisted all attempts at attaching with me but clutched on to my husband. He was volatile, aggressive and violent at times. Dear Daughter (DD) was desperate and needy and angry. I didn’t know a small baby could feel such fury. The first 2 months passed in a bit of a haze as they and we found our feet. We instilled a routine and used therapeutic parenting techniques to help with attachment and we began to build bonds. Somewhere around month 3 we turned a corner and bit by bit we became a family full of love and it felt like they had been here forever.
When they had been with us 7 months we received a bombshell. Birth Mother had had another baby. We were shown a photograph and asked if we would consider taking their full sibling on too. We spent a couple of months agonising over this – it was so soon since DS1 and DD had been placed and we worried greatly that it was too quick. We wanted more children – but hadn’t anticipated it being this fast! We worried also if it would be too much for us and if we could manage. But no matter the practicalities of it, which we were fortunately able to sort out, we kept coming back to the fact that this was their brother and they should all be together. So we proceeded with a fast-tracked Home Study and Approval, less than a year since DS1 and DD had moved in. We couldn’t believe we were doing it again!
A few weeks ago, DS2 arrived. We are now parents to a 3 year old, 2 year old and almost 1 year old. 15 months ago we had no children and now we have 3! So far, things are going great, he’s settling in well and DS1 and DD have taken to him amazingly well.
Adoption is an amazing thing. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this all really happened. Life has changed so much from how it used to be but we love it. There is a happy ending in it all for everyone in our case but its not the happy ending most people imagine when they think about adoption. We have attachment issues we still have to take account of, contact with social workers and massive question marks hanging over all their heads for the future because of their genetic and personal backgrounds. Like all adopters we have also had to accept that we ‘share’ our children with their birth family and yet we have safeguarding concerns to be aware of. Sometimes people praise us for what we have done but it makes me uncomfortable. Yes we deal with and have dealt with a lot. There are all sorts of things that we have missed out on and all sorts of issues that we have to deal with that biological parents will never have to consider. But we aren’t amazing super-humans, we just did what I believe most people would have done in our situation. And for all the stress and tiredness and the fact I don’t sit down all day, life is good. We aren’t a conventional family but we are a family and whatever the future throws at us, I think we will manage somehow.
You can read more about Maryam and her family at: www.maryamlane.blogspot.co.uk
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