• Damian Kerlin

Let's talk adoption

It’s been a while since I talked about adoption.


Next month (May 2021) marks three years since we met the boys and all of our lives changed forever. Andrew and I always knew we wanted more than one child. It was never a matter of if, but when. Initially, you worry about the practicalities. We had never had a family. How were we going to afford it? How would we fit anymore than one child in our home? We only had a small car.


So, when we started the assessment process, we explained our thinking to our social worker, who was happy to process our application for one child. Or so we thought. As we navigated the adoption process with the support from our social worker and we discussed in further detail our future family, it became clear to us, that we were ready and our once reasons, were only excuses. Fortunately, our social worker had predicted this so we continued to progress through the process seamlessly.


In those days before the boys moved in, I remember staring at their empty car seats we had diligently waiting, trying to picture two children (twins to be exact), our children, in them. Now they are covered in stains and crackers crumbs. The past three years seems to have passed both as slow as forever and as fast as the blink of an eye. What did we do with all this love before them? Over the years we have had it all. Laughs. Tantrums. Lack of sleep. Hitting.


You name it, we have had it.


Are these adoption related? Yes and no.


Over the years we have learned to identify behaviours which are related to and the effects of their early childhood trauma. The rest is down to not getting their own way, tiredness, growing up and learning how to handle their emotions and some days, whichever way the wind blows. You know, the ‘normal’ stuff.


Their whirlwind tantrums, how the simplest and most menial tasks can take hours, I feel, when that moment of peace finally comes, that we got through something huge, and I say, ‘If you two were anyone else, that would not have been cool.’ I mean it. I would not take that crap from anyone else. In so many ways being an adoptive parent is exactly as joyful, relentless, messy and profound as being any parent.


We don’t have crystal ball. We can’t predict the future. There will be many hurdles (their teenage years!), but there will be so much joy. We prepare as best we can, as we continue to learn from each other through a space of understanding, openness, honesty and love. No painting of perfection.


This future was not always predicted for our boys. When they went into the care system and due to their early childhood experience, there were initial conversations that they would need to be split up. The thought of this breaks my heart, but this is the reality for so many children across the country. Sibling groups are being split up as social services struggle to find them their forever home.


Last week You Can Adopt a nationwide adopter recruitment campaign which aims to raise awareness of adoption and bust myths around who is eligible to adopt launched Brothers and Sisters. A new campaign aimed at potential adopters & approved adopters to consider adopting family groups and highlights the benefits of adopting brothers and sisters together.


There are currently 2,030 children waiting to be adopted in England, of those 890 are part of a family group. 520 children who are part of a sibling group have been waiting for 18 months or more to find a home.


Adopting two (or more) children definitely comes with it challenges, but the bond between our two is one of my favourite things to watch develop, grow and thrive. They are the best of friends and like every best friend they have their up and downs but they are never not there for each other. They would not be the children they are now if they had been split up and in my honest opinion it would have been hugely detrimental to their long-term mental health.


If you are thinking about adopting, or only considering it, please check out You Can Adopt’s latest campaign because you may find you have more room, a little more money, and that car, may not be as small as you think.

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