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James and Kate adopted twins on a walk

Kate and James adopted twin boys on a walk

Kate and James adopted two boys. In this piece, Kate shares their experiences, from how they reached their decision to adopt several years ago, to the support the couple received during and post adoption, and what life is like for the family now.

Kate: We were a little bit older, into our 30’s, when we felt we would like children, but it just didn’t happen for us. We looked into IVF and were a little bit relieved when we were told that it wouldn’t be suitable for us as we weren’t sure that it was something we wanted to do.

We had already talked about adoption and there was a period when James was keen to do it and I wasn’t sure and then a time when I felt certain, but James was less sure, it’s a big decision, but we decided to get some more information and went to an open evening.

For us, the adoption process was very quick, 6 months after first meeting our social worker, the boys moved in.

It’s funny as you’re asked at the beginning what you have in mind, and James was quite set on adopting one girl at first. But we were asked, ‘What about twin boys?’ and even though we hadn’t seen their photograph and didn’t really know anything about them, I just knew they would be the ones we would adopt.

I found the few weeks when we were all getting to know each other really hard because there were so many different emotions involved.

They were two years old then and we’d take them out for a day, and it would be absolutely lovely, but at the same time such a massive responsibility, because they still weren’t ours at that point.

To go from having no children, to having responsibility for two children, is really full on, and we found taking them back to their foster carer at the end of each day so hard because by then we felt they should be with us.

When they first came to live with us the boys were understandably quite withdrawn. I think up until that point they’d been on their best behaviour but now they knew something significant was happening.

It was hard because we’d imagined the things we might do with them and the places we’d take them to, but we knew they needed to be at home and that we had to take things at their own pace until they settled in.

Our social worker was supportive, they came once a week to check that everything was ok, and we all agreed that we just needed some time to bond as a family.

We did a course of Theraplay, which introduced us to some new play activities to do with the children, that encourage challenge and empathy. The boys were possibly a little too young to benefit from it but it was a real asset for us, as it encouraged us to explore therapeutic parenting and that has made a real difference to our life as a family.

The boys’ school has been very nurturing and supportive. When the boys first started school, we found that some of the other parents there had adopted children and the school set up a parents’ group for us, led by one of the learning mentors who was ELSA (emotional literacy support assistant) trained.  We meet every few months and all know each other’s children and there’s something to be said from knowing others who are in similar situations.

A charity called ‘Passion for Learning’ runs a mentoring scheme, where volunteers, usually trained in education, go into school, and spend time with children who need a little bit more attention, and the boys have really benefitted from this project too.

Our social worker also identified some drama therapy for the boys, which is very gentle, and allows them to explore different feelings.

All families who have adopted can talk to a social worker at any time, the support doesn’t end after you’ve adopted, but we’re now in a place where we don’t need to do that. James and I get our support from each other; we always talk to each other about how things are going and often have a little review at the end of the day, which we find really helpful.

The boys are settled and happy. Adoption does have a sad side to it, because they will always have some past trauma in their lives and the fact they’ve been adopted will always be something that has happened, but it’s no longer the defining element.

Our own families have been very supportive. We’re small in number but children don’t need lots of people in their lives. My sister lives close by and also has twins. It’s funny as people who see us all together often say, ‘They must run in the family’, and we just smile.

There have been many highlights over the past few years.

Sometimes the boys achieve something small, that other families may have experienced at an earlier age, but we know it’s a massive achievement for them.

One of them won an award for, ‘most improved player’, at his football club and I was in floods of tears over it.

They’ve both been involved in school plays, and I’ve definitely had some ‘proud parent moments’ watching them participate in those.

I would say to anyone who’s thinking of adopting that you’ll probably need to be very patient because things may be very different to your expectations.

The first few times we took the boys on holiday we had to come home early because they couldn’t cope well with the change and with being away from home. Even recently, on holiday, one of the boys had a moment where he said he felt really homesick, and we had to let him know that we could go back home whenever he wanted to, but it passed, and he was fine the next day.

Nothing can prepare you for the journey ahead, but we’ve always been happy to meet the challenges that have come our way.

Adopting the boys is the best thing we’ve ever done, and we wouldn’t want things to be any different.

If you’re thinking about adoption and want to know more, contact our team by completing our online enquiry form or call 01942 487272.

You can also find out about the adoption process at our monthly virtual information sessions.

*Adopters names have been changed to protect their identity.

Posted on Monday 11th October 2021