Rebecca and Andy’s story
Discover how Rebecca and Andy adopted siblings.
Rebecca and Andy, both aged 46, adopted siblings Ellie and Freya two years ago when they were aged 6½ and 3½.
The couple got together quite late in life and tried to have their own children but “knew that time wasn’t on their side” and so discussed adoption as an option very early on in their relationship.
Their close friends are foster carers and Rebecca and Andy were part of their foster support group. It was through this that they became aware of older children going into long-term foster care, and that many are considered ‘too old’ to be adopted once they reach age four or five. Rebecca and Andy therefore decided they would like to consider adopting older children and Rebecca says: “We felt determined that older children should be offered the same opportunities as other children to find their forever family.”
Rebecca and Andy started the adoption process and felt that throughout the training, Coram was very honest about the challenges that could arise. Rebecca says: “You are prepared for the worst case scenarios of some of the trauma and issues that adopted children can face, which is absolutely the right thing to do. You do need to be aware of the realities. Adoption certainly isn’t the easiest option but it’s definitely rewarding for sure.”
Meeting Ellie and Freya
They recall the first time they met Ellie and Freya. Rebecca says: “It was a very emotional day. Their foster carers had prepared them so well, by the time we met them they were very prepared for the adoption and couldn’t wait to meet us. We started the bonding process immediately.”
Rebecca and Andy introduced Ellie and Freya to the wider family quite early on, and say that everyone was so welcoming which really helped them to feel part of it. Andy says: “We bought everyone a book about adoption for the wider family as Christmas presents just before the girls came to us. It had some great advice in and really helped.”
Rebecca and Andy encourage the girls to talk openly about their birth family and how you can ‘love more than one family’. Rebecca says: “The piece of advice that has resonated most with the girls is ‘don’t let your past define your future’. We tell them ‘you can be who you want to be – don’t let what happened affect who you want to be in the future.”
“The girls are going from strength to strength. It feels like they have always been with us. They’re blossoming; they’ve settled in and are part of our family.” - Andy
Rebecca adds that giving the girls boundaries and structure has been key: “They’ve gone from having no boundaries and feeling unsafe to the complete opposite and that’s made them feel settled. Freya recently said ‘mum I don’t feel scared anymore’ which was a big step.”
We know support is there any time
Rebecca and Andy said that they would ‘absolutely’ recommend Coram to others. Rebecca says: “We’ve been really impressed, the level of support that we have with them, we know it’s there at any time. The social workers were very professional, helped us through the process, helped us understand about the background, family, history and what they’d gone through and we got really good advice what it all meant and what support the children would need.”
The couple’s advice to those considering adoption would be ‘do it!’ and especially to consider adopting older children who may otherwise end up in long-term foster care. Andy says: “Don’t feel it’s too late to make a difference. Don’t feel that you won’t be able to bond with them or that their behaviour is set in stone. You can make a massive difference to their lives. I would encourage anyone who feels they can to do it.”
“Adoption is not easy. But the benefits outweigh all of the difficult moments. Show them love and attention but be consistent, show them structure and understand their unmet needs. Your social workers will help you through this.” - Rebecca
Andy concludes: “Our lives have changed in so many ways. We are complete as a family. Life changes completely but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s amazing.”