Adopting Siblings with Dan Part 1

July 26, 2021
“We originally came through a different agency closer to us,” answers Dan when I ask why they chose Western Bay as their adoption service.
“But we were eventually matched with siblings from Western Bay after a bit of encouragement.

“To be honest, looking at the statistics of the children waiting we felt it was the right thing to do. We were always going to want more than just one, so just thought why put ourselves through the process again?”

There are currently around 300 children waiting for adoption in Wales at and whilst last year saw an unprecedented amount of people enquiring about adoption –  there is still an urgent need to find adopters who can be matched with siblings.

“We were really well supported from the start,” continues Dan with no need for prompting.

“Both social workers were readily available from the start and our support social worker Claire who came on board after a while…well, she’s been pretty fundamental to us surviving really.

“I just think social workers are often demonised in the press and it gets me quite annoyed.”

“We’ve had nothing but extraordinary adoption support from Western Bay in fairness.

Suffice to say that the recent spring and so far this summer there has been a lot of media coverage regarding adoption with not all of it positive.

Dan says, “Ah, I just think social workers are often demonised in the press and it gets me quite annoyed.

“The support we’ve received has been amazing, the extras they do with things such as Letterbox and training.

“Some of the reporting that we’ve seen could lead to children being left in care. Yes, there are sad stories but there are also massive triumphs that we should be celebrating,” says Dan passionately.

“Yes, it’s been hard; yes it’s been tough, but that’s why there is a strong support service which is there for you.”

“I’m actually super proud of where we are now,” says Dan his eyes softening.

“I’m proud of where the kids are now but I’m also pretty proud of where we are as parents and how we’ve grown.

“Adoption is parenting plus”

“And the proof of the pudding is that we now actually have 3!”

Adoption is of course challenging, but also massively rewarding. As much as we normalise the process and the new families being created it does present additional issues which parenting birth children may not always have.

“Adoption is parenting plus,” explains Dan.

“You are dealing with trauma at the end of the day.

“We took all the support that was on offer and it did make us stronger.  On a positive note my eldest has come so far now.

“He used to have a therapist in school who is no longer needed and he recently graduated from therapy.

“Major celebrations!”

Western Bay Adoption work closely with schools to ensure that a multi-agency approach covers the child’s needs in what can be as stressful environment, where behavioural issues can be exacerbated.  The services children and young person’s officer and TESSA coordinator play key roles in facilitating this – alongside therapists and social workers.

Moving onto wider societal issues facing families today Dan says, “There is more to be done, we are all responsible for fixing this.

“There is a cycle with the birth parents, which can pass between generations and needs to be addressed at the root.

“We’re really grateful for them at the end of the day…they gave birth to our children.”

“The birth parents themselves have often experienced trauma and pain.

“We really want to enable relationships with the birth parents and feel it’s really important,” Dan says.

“We’re really grateful for them at the end of the day…they gave birth to our children.

“Some adopters may feel fear towards the birth parents and recent media stories may exacerbate this.

“But we’re their parents, we don’t feel threatened, the birth parents are almost part of our extended family and an important part of our children’s identity.”

Dan and his family are now fully settled and established, they have been together in all for around 5 years.

He explains, “There’s been some dark times along the way, I don’t hide from that.

“But it’s been totally worth it when I think of the triumphs and victories.

“Becoming an adoptive parent has fundamentally transformed me as a human being and changed all aspects of my life.

“I’m far more empathetic towards people now: everyone has their own story, their own weight that they are carrying, albeit some are lighter or heavier than others.

“Some people think you lose your identity when you become parents or adopt, especially with siblings, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.”

Any advice for people about to become adopters?

“You have to embrace it all whole-heartedly,” says Dan.

“Some people think you lose your identity when you become parents or adopt, especially with siblings, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.

“You just have to find space for yourself and your identity, we always make time for ourselves.

“You have to look after yourself in order to look after others.

“And as zen as all this sounds, we often fail as therapeutic parents. We all do! We’re all human doing this challenging stuff.

“It’s not about what you did wrong, it’s all about the repairing and sometimes the path of least resistance.”

Any particular instances?

“You go through these various storms, the first lockdown for example was particularly tough.

“But you have these bumps and the children still see that their Daddies are still there together, still stable –  that’s where the real bonding and healing can take place.”

Any regrets then?

“Nope, I actually find parenting 3 easier than 2!

“The 2 brother had an intense relationship together being quite binary opposites and having a third has broken that dynamic a bit.

“And if one of them gets on my nerves now I’ve got two more I can play with!

“There’s just so much diversity in the family now and they all look after each other.”

#ThisIsAdoption

Western Bay have siblings waiting for adoptive homes right now, find out more here 

Maker sure you follow our social media to catch the next blogs from Dan!

 

The challenges of adoptionNo turning back – Adopting siblings with Dan Part 2