Annie and Bob got the family they always wanted when they adopted three sisters. When serious illness struck, Annie 30 and Bob 31 were forced to halt the adoption process and reconsider their options. They decided to adopt three sisters and embrace family life full on.
We had been together for 13 years and married for three. Six months after we got married I was diagnosed with cancer. We were already half way through the adoption process, so we had to pause. It was terrible having to stop. I had a full hysterectomy. When we went back to the adoption process we decided to adopt siblings because we knew the chances of having our own children were zero.
During training one of the speakers had adopted three siblings and she said how hard it was but also how rewarding, because they’re never alone, they’ve always got each other.
Our social worker showed us the profiles of two girls aged three and two. There was nothing that was above and beyond what we could manage. They looked really sweet with big blue eyes.
We met their social worker and she told us their birth mum had just had a baby. Three girls! I thought, that sounds lovely and Bob said, ‘I’m not adopting three!’
But something kept drawing us back to the girls. We kept looking at their profiles and talking about them. We found out the next day their social worker was considering us as prospective parents. We could adopt the two girls and go through the Early Permanence Placement (EPP) route and foster to adopt the baby. We decided to do it; and then it all happened really quickly.
We first saw them in the foster carer’s window waving and shouting: ‘Mummy! Daddy!’ and I thought, oh my God! The foster carer came in with the baby who was tiny and handed her to me and said, ‘There you go mummy.’ I was in bits. It was so wonderful. The foster carer was fab: she’s still in our life now and we talk weekly and send her pictures. It’s a really lovely relationship.
That contact was really important to our oldest daughter, Rosie. She said to her foster carer, ‘I won’t let you go ‘til I know that they’re right.’
We didn’t have children of our own so it was a bit of a shock when they moved in. My husband was like a kid at Christmas. In the first two weeks they were all over him and saying, ‘Daddy, daddy, push me on the swing.’ That eventually settled down and we became a family with all the challenges that come with that. And the girls settled really quickly because they had each other.
The girls would have been devastated if they had been split up. Together is all they’ve ever known. They were adamant we weren’t taking the baby from them; they were so protective of her. It was so important for them that they all went together and were looked after and loved together.
They came to us aged two and three and could already dress themselves. The oldest one was changing nappies and initially we had a struggle about her being mum and me being mum, and that was quite difficult. She felt I was taking over. That’s changed now.
When the baby said ‘mummy’ for the first time I cried because she wasn’t told to call me mum by a foster carer or social worker. I was her mum. I was in absolute bits. Watching her grow, being a parent: it’s just amazing.
Now Kylie is at nursery and Rosie is at primary school and is absolutely thriving. All three go to gymnastics, swimming, dancing - all the clubs you can think of. They’re so active and loving life and we’ve got the family we always wanted. The best things happen every day: coming out of school, you’re the first person they want to tell things to.
My advice to other parents is don’t force it. They love each other because that’s all they’ve ever known but it’s not about breaking them down or anything like that, it’s simply a catching on game. They will love you eventually.