We are delighted to share a guest article from adoptive parent Kirsty who adopted along with her husband Paul. Here Kirsty talks about their experience of becoming a parent for the first time with ARC Adoption in 2019, and then being asked to consider adopting their daughters’ siblings, just a year later!

Kirsty’s story

My husband and I had been together 14 years. We already had two fur babies and knew we wanted to become parents and grow our little family when the time was right.  We decided that adoption was the right route to parenthood for us, and searched online for information about adoption agencies, contacting a couple of them. ARC stood out to us from the minute they responded. They seemed really supportive and offered post adoption support too, which when we were reading up on adoption, not a lot of agencies or local authorities could offer this in the same way.  

Starting the adoption process

We started the process with ARC in 2019, and found the adoption training very interesting, and the information provided very informative. At this early stage of the process (Stage One training) we were only ever thinking we would adopt one child, but after hearing about how adopters are often contacted if the birth parents of their adopted child go on to have more children, we said if it came to that, it would be something we would discuss. 

Stage Two was where we met our social worker, Linda, and I think we hit gold with her! She had been working in children services a long time and there wasn’t anything she didn’t know. She had also adopted, so the first time we met one thing she said was is that she wears three hats, the social worker, the adoptive parent and the birth parent - which was obvious to see the further along we got. She always knew just what to say, how to comfort or how to give us a reality check when we needed one. Honestly, she made our adoption journey amazing, as the bits we found really hard she was there to guide us.

One part of the process I found particularly hard was the family finding, and the wait to be matched with a child once we were approved, even though our wait wasn’t as long as it is for some. But then I remember Linda rang us one night, pretty late around 8pm which was unusual for her, and I looked at Paul and I just knew what it was about, before I even answered. She told us about a 10-month-old little girl called Ruby* and we fell in love with her there and then, over the phone.

Meeting our daughter

In the next few days, we learned all about her, met with her social workers etc and in the coming weeks we travelled up to her foster carers house and met her in person. Still to this day, it is one of the best days ever! I remember being so nervous beforehand, even stressing about what I was going to wear and mulled over my outfit for days! I needed not have worried as the foster carer was so welcoming. We sat, had a cup of tea and just chatted for ages about little one. Our social worker Linda was with us, and I can remember getting into her car afterwards and just crying - happy tears of course! Ruby came home in the next couple weeks, after matching panels and a phased introduction etc. 

Ruby settled straight in. I remember being really worried that she wouldn’t sleep very well in her new home, but from day one she settled right in. Everyone in our family and friends fell in love with her just as we did, and we got on with our lives together as a family of three.  

Hearing about the twins

Ruby had been home with us around one year when we got a phone call to say that her birth mam was expecting again - and this time it was twins! We were asked if we would consider adopting them, and I remember having to sit down on the kitchen floor. It was a shock! To be honest we hadn’t given it any real thought after that initial very brief conversation way back in stage one training, and I had only just gone back to work after adoption leave with Ruby. We had moved house to a smaller property, so didn’t have any spare bedrooms. We had a lot to think about. We didn’t think we could financially cope. We would have to move house, get a bigger car. So reluctantly at first, we actually said no, and we broke our hearts, as we really wanted all the girls to be able to stay together – but on thinking about it all the more, we decided to go for it! They already felt like family even though they weren’t even born yet.

We were told by ARC about financial help available when going on to adopt more siblings, and this did massively help our situation. Of course, it’s not all about the money, but going from raising one child to three children - it’s a very big thing to think about with lots of practicalities to consider, and would be unfair to everyone (us and the children) if we were to go into it without thinking everything through properly, and knowing we could make it all work.

The twin’s arrival

The twins came home with us when they were 12 weeks old under a ‘Foster to Adopt’ type of placement, which means they came to us as soon as possible, while work was still going on in the court system to confirm that they were to be adopted.

They were both still very tiny babies when they arrived home (into our new house as we did move for more bedroom space!), as were really small when they were born. It was so lovely watching Ruby with her baby sisters. She would sit and ‘read’ to them, and when I say read, I mean pretend to read books to them. It was very cute and lovely for me and Paul to see. As Ruby was 10 months old when she came home to us, we missed that very new baby phase, so it was really nice to experience everything with her sisters from a younger age. 

Three under three!

That said, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though ha ha. We had a 2-year-old, and two tiny baby twins! Three children aged two and under - twin babies and a toddler!! I look back now and don’t know how we got through it at times. Paul went back to work after a couple of weeks. He works nightshift, so was gone from 4pm until 4am and then slept during the day time – so he was tired too. And at this time of adopting, it was during the COVID lockdown. So yes, it was hard. Really hard at times. I can remember crying figuring out how to split myself into three people, but thankfully I still had the best people around me for support.

My Mam was going through chemo for breast cancer, so we couldn’t really spend a lot of time with her, as her immune system was so low, but she was there for emotional support and would always tell me what I wanted to hear, bless her. I had friends who would be my access to the “normal” outside world. Being cooped up with two tiny babies and a two-year-old, I needed some gossip and talk of work etc. I also had kind neighbours who would bake and leave snacks on my door (due to COVID). Linda our social worker who had been with us right from the beginning with Ruby, was amazing too. By this point she knew us inside out and I could ring her anytime, and she would offer support and remind me of what a good job we were doing.

It’s so easy to feel like you’re stuck in a hole during the first few months, so all the people pulling you along, even the small things like a text message checking in helped massively. Going from one child to three was a rollercoaster, but would I do it all again! Probably! Don’t tell my husband that! Being a Mam to these three girls is the best thing in the world. I love my little girl gang! 

Considering adoption? Go for it!

To anyone looking to grow their family via adoption I would honestly say go for it! Go for it with open arms. Of course, you’re going to come across some obstacles but that’s the same with any route to parenthood. If anything, it will prepare you more for the little bumps along the way when you are a parent! On the days I found things really hard and hid in the bathroom crying for five minutes, I would come out and see their little faces and all would be right again. Parenthood is hard but the love you get back outweighs the hard times over and over again. 

 If it’s possible to use ARC Adoption to support you, then oh my goodness please do! They feel like an extended part of our family now. We look forward to seeing them at Christmas for their annual party and other little days out. I still speak with Linda, she literally helped piece together our little (or not so little now) family. The knowledge and support that the ARC team can offer is unmatched. 

Thank you so much to Kirsty for finding the time to share her story with us, as we know that time is something that she doesn’t have a lot of – our team is in awe!

There are lots of benefits in brothers and sisters being adopted together, and as they often wait longer for an adoptive family, the ARC Adoption team is always looking for prospective parents who could consider providing a loving home to more than one child.

If Kirsty’s story has inspired you to find out more about adopting and helping siblings stay together, please do get in touch with us for an informal conversation, or register to join us for one of our upcoming information events.

Please note that children’s names have been changed for safeguarding and privacy.