Hopes and Nightmares

This week I was contacted on the phone by a social worker asking me if I was willing to be assessed as a potential adopter for OB's two younger birth siblings.

I would say the phone call was out of the blue, coming as it did with no warning just as I was making tea. But if I'm honest, it wasn't. I knew about the existence of these little ones. In fact once, I actually saw their mum pushing them down the street in a double buggy. And I knew that if you adopt a child, there's always the possibility that you'll be asked to consider future siblings. So, no, not out of the blue.

Within about six months of adopting OB I knew that, when the time was right, I would look into adopting again. I had various ideas about how this would happen. Maybe I would adopt a child I fostered. Maybe I would contact the LA and be matched with a child I didn't know, like other adopters. I did not know how it would happen, but I knew I wanted to make it happen.

When I realised OB had one sibling, and then two, I held back. In fact, I held my breath. At each stage, I expected a call. It was all I could do to stop myself from calling social services and demanding information.

As the months, and then years went by with no call, I began to relax. And I began to feel hopeful. I had spent a lot of time around OB's birth mum. I got to know her. I wanted her to do well and hoped for her to have a better future. I moved forwards and began the process to adopt Birdy. I fervently hoped that OB's birth mum was able to move forwards too, together with her family.

That this has not happened for her has upset me more than I thought possible. I cannot take OB's siblings. It's simply an impossibility, so there has been no soul searching on my part. I am certain that to attempt it would be to bring disaster down upon us all. My sorrow is not about making that decision, but about that young woman and these two little children, and the loss and the grief and the anguish.

The whole adoption scenario would be so much more clean cut if birth parents were monsters. There probably are monsters, but I haven't met any. I have met a lot of vulnerable, abused, lost people. I can't say definitively that the right support, whatever that looks like, would have remedied their situations - the reality is much more tangled than that and won't be neatly tidied up - but I do know that, even in these nightmares, not everything that appears monstrous is a monster.


  1. I understand you. I wouldn't be surprised to receive a call from a SW asking if we are willing to adopt a new sibling. It's a difficult to find the balance between wanting to keep the siblings together, not being in the position to adopt again, and wishing for the birth parents to be able to move on and keep the new child. It's hard to reconcile these feelings, and a part of me wishes to never receive that call.

    1. Both of my children's birth mums have had subsequent children, and are young. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to receive more calls in years ahead :(

  2. I shouldn't laugh, but I've been holding my breath for at least five years and we've categorically decided to ay no if we're asked. However, I'm pretty sure we'd struggle to say no if we're asked. You're a star.
    Roll on the menopause.

  3. We've wondered too, but think we are almost at the no point. Maybe it's the wondering that is the hard bit? Thanks for the sharing xx

    1. I think the answer probably depends on what your circumstances are when the phone rings. Things might have been different for us a year or so ago.

  4. When our daughter was place birth mum was already prwg8& were told we would offered offered the baby. We weren't. Somehow she kept it & had 3 more. We've since learned she's a lot better but we very much doubt she was at the beginning. She was given support for the first but was too young to learn. It is good to see her happier in the photos but not sure how our daughter will feeling years to come.

    1. Things change in people's lives, support networks shift. Sometimes, the partner they are with is a strong influence. I have often wondered how OB would feel about his sibs being raised by BM when he couldn't be. Now the story will be different, I'll have to work something out for that!

  5. We were asked about a younger siblings of our two. We said no. It was unthinkable, given the challenges we are at live with!

    1. This is it, isn't it. Initially I assumed I'd seriously consider any siblings, but as the years have gone on and I've got a better understanding of how things are, I'm more realistic about my limitations!

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