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Sarah and Neil

Sarah and Neil from Warrington have just adopted two brothers. Here they share their story.

Childhood sweethearts, Sarah (37) and Neil (40) first met when they were teenagers. Sarah was 16 when she met Neil. She said: “I felt so lucky, I was going out with a boy who had his very own car. He took me everywhere – I was the envy of all my friends!” It was love at first sight and it wasn’t long before the pair got married. Soon after they decided to try for a baby to complete their family. They tried for twenty years, but nothing happened.

Sarah’s friend told her about a WWiSH adoption evening she’d been to. The evening gives potential adopters the opportunity to find out more about adoption.

“Before then I’d never considered adoption. But the conversation played on my mind. I kept thinking if we adopt we could not only make a difference to our lives, but the life of a child too. Our minds were made up and we started the adoption process with WWiSH.”

The couple applied in March 2013 and were approved in February this year. In July, brothers Martin (5) and Matthew (3) moved in with their new mummy and daddy.

“We fell in love with them straight away; it really was love at first sight. The first morning that we all woke up in the house together was amazing; I still pinch myself to make sure I’ve not dreamt our perfect little family,” Sarah said.

In four months the couple’s lives have been transformed. As Neil points out:

“A lot of parents probably dread the mess that children leave behind, but that was the part that I looked forward to the most – the sticky finger prints and the muddy footprints – little reminders of how lucky we are.”

Since moving in with their forever family, Martin and Matthew’s diaries have been jam-packed. They’ve been swimming for the first time, seen the lights at Blackpool, been on camping and caravan holidays, not to mention the numerous family occasions, including weddings and christenings. The family have got exciting plans for Christmas too – they’ve already circled the important dates on the calendar, including a trip on the Father Christmas train and the markets.

“We want them to have as many experiences as possible; we don’t want them to miss out on anything. We’re making memories,” continued Sarah.

Originally Sarah only wanted to adopt one child, but Neil managed to convince her to have two.

“I’ve never been a mother before, so I didn’t know if I’d cope with one, let alone two! Neil was very convincing though and he managed to change my mind – I’m so pleased he did. They get to play together and it’s a great feeling to know that you’ve helped give two children forever families.”

Annette Hope, the children’s social worker explains the benefits of adopting siblings:

“Children in foster care experience a variety of emotions which include sadness, loss, confusion and even guilt. Some children will have gone through traumatic experiences and have those emotions to deal with on top of that. Having a sibling with them can help them with these feelings, as well as supporting the child to maintain a sense of identity when everything else familiar to them is gone. I believe siblings’ remaining together, when it is appropriate and safe, helps them re-build their individual strength and resilience. Siblings are a source of support to one another. Not only this but they learn skills from one another and develop empathy as a result of that sibling relationship.”

In four short months, Annette’s already noticed a massive change in the boys.

“When I met Neil and Sarah I knew they were a perfect match for Martin and Matthew. The boys have progressed so much since living here – they’re confident, outgoing and happy little boys.”

Sarah said: “Our little family’s complete now. We really couldn’t be happier. Initially it was a shock to the system and it has been a tough process, but four months in and we’re all settled. We can’t wait to spend our first Christmas together as a family.”

Children and families depicted in these stories are not real children or adopters but are developed using the experiences of staff working on adoption to demonstrate real situations.

Thank you to WWiSh Adoption Service for providing us with this case study from their website: http://www.wwish.org.uk