Most recent posts
Tag Cloudadoptee adopter adoption adoption panel adoption reunion adoption support adoption worker adoptive dad adoptive mum attachment difficulties birth parent children christmas diversity education families family heritage identity LGBT life story work parenting school school holidays siblings social work step children surviving christmas teenagers theraplay transracial adoption volunteering young people
“I hope that, as they grow, our 4 girls will be thankful to have a tribe they can call their own”
Published: November 1, 2017
In our latest blog exploring sibling relationships, “Mrs 6”, Mum to 4 girls, reflects on the rewards and challenges of growing her family by adoption.
Last weekend our girls had their first sleepover as a group of four sisters. It has been over two years in the making and much longed for by our Little Legs. The girls have been talking about it with their cousins for months and nagging to have a sleepover including Little Legs. Little Legs had never had a sleepover before. She was with her foster family for a few years and spent every night with her foster Mummy. Since she came home, she has spent every night with me. So it was a big weekend.
We started the adoption process almost four years ago with our three birth daughters. Our youngest daughter was three when she came home, and has been an amazing addition to our family. She is feisty and funny and completely holds her own in Team Six. We’ve been a family of six for just over two years and our girls have begun to have sustained moments of being a totally cohesive group of siblings.
Siblings can be hard work in any family, regardless of how it is constructed. I have just one sister and I know our parents would say that there were times when we were hard work. Like any parent we have had times, even before Little Legs came home, when we would wonder whether our girls liked one another. They are sisters who spend a lot of time in each other’s pockets, which brings moments of bickering and frustration. But even when they have cross moments, they come round and are soon friends again.
Sometimes they leave each other little notes, make each other stuff or buy each other a present. Sometimes they get angry and call each other names (usually under their breath,or one of them will poke another as they walk past. Little Legs upped the ante with her settling in period that saw biting, hair pulling, spitting and raging added to the repertoire of sisterly love. Her big sisters were at a loss how to respond, how to bond with this little girl who clearly adored them, but at times couldn’t cope with their love.
Attachment is a tricky thing to understand, never mind master.
Blending our family has brought its challenges and difficulties. There are times when we have felt clueless as to how to move forwards in helping our four girls to bond. At other times they have amazed us with how naturally they gel as a group. We know this would have happened had all of our girls been our birth children, without adoption added into the mix. But bringing one into the equation from outside added an extra dimension. We are blessed to have been supported by our wonderful post-adoption social worker from the Centre for Adoption Support (CfAS), who has walked with us and talked us through many of the obstacles we have faced and the behaviours that have caught us off guard. She has introduced us to the benefits of Theraplay, which has been a lifeline in promoting attachments, not only between us as Little Legs’s parents and her, but between the girls as a group of sisters. The Theraplay activities have seen our girls playing together and laughing together. They have allowed each of them to take control of an activity and lead it with the others following.
Family traditions that we have forged, both before and since Little Legs joined us, have created space for shared memories. Time is allowing us to develop those experiences and create more family moments.
When we started the adoption process we struggled to find other families with younger birth children still at home who had chosen to adopt. We felt like we were forging our own course and created resources to support our girls in understanding what was going on. Over the last couple of years, we have loved connecting with other families whose make-up is similar to our own. It is always a joy for our girls to meet other children who are blended through birth and adoption, who understand the differences and challenges of this way of building family.
Would we do it if we had our time over again? Absolutely we would! It has enriched and challenged and grown us as a family. It has been fun and hard work and a joy – and really quite tricky at times. But I hope and pray that as they grow all of our girls will be thankful to have a tribe they can call their own.
You can read more from Mrs 6 and her family at http://justafamilystory.me.uk/