09/02/2018 11:34 GMT | Updated 09/02/2018 11:34 GMT

Adopting Siblings… Double Trouble?

There’s no denying the fact that being a parent is hard work, right?

On one hand, you have the enormous responsibility of raising your children into moral, hardworking, healthy, content people. That is despite the fact that most of the time they’re either pestering you for something that they’re not allowed or making a tremendous mess somewhere that you’ve only just cleaned up a moment ago.

On the other hand, you have the more pressing issues of the management of a Pinterest worthy home (yeah, right) or at least a tidy, functioning home. You’re also negotiating a jam-packed routine from the very moment your little offspring wake you up with a high pitched “Can I play on the PlayStation Daddy?” at 6am, with school uniforms to iron and sandwiches to make.

It is hard work, agreed!

Let me introduce myself. I’m Jamie, one half of ‘Daddy and Dad’ with my fiancé, Tom. We have two adopted handsome little boys, Lyall who’s nine and Richard who’s eight (and eleven days, yes Richard I’ll put that in, babe).

Here’s Lyall and Richard, on a double decker bus in London (the most exciting mode of transport, obviously).

The boys were placed with us, or ‘moved in’ as they endearingly describe it, four years ago and we’ve been a very happy, proud family of boys ever since.

When you adopt a child, as a new parent you invariably take on all of the daily, repetitious business as mentioned above. But, in addition to all of that, you also have to account for the dreadful trauma that adopted children have experienced.

“Every adopted child, however fine their mental health appears on face value, will have been removed from their birth family. And that doesn’t happen without good reason.”

Most of these adorable, clever little kids have seen, heard and felt things that no person should ever see, hear or feel. It’s heart-breaking.

Every adoptive parent has to adopt (excuse the pun) a therapeutic parenting technique to suit the needs of their child.

So, with that in mind, you’re probably thinking that adoptive parenting sounds like very hard work. Moreover, considering the challenges ahead, why on earth would you choose to adopt more than one child at the same time?

Well, in celebration of our fourth family birthday and LGBT Adoption Week coming up in a few weeks, I will fly the flag for sibling groups and explain the advantages of adopting two (or more) siblings at the same time.

Familiarity

As mentioned, adopted children have been through a very rough time before they find their forever parents. Even the least traumatised children in the care system have been taken away from familiar surroundings and placed in the care of strangers. Our boys had a very turbulent start to life, several disrupted* foster placements (*that’s social worker lingo for ‘failed’) and that’s after seeing some very disturbing things as toddlers. Needless-to-say, when they first moved in, the boys were incredibly disorientated, homesick and nervous.

When siblings are adopted together they provide a reassuring sense of familiarity and comfort in a new unfamiliar environment. This presents itself in a number of subtle ways; for instance our little’un Richard would occasionally put a reassuring arm around his big brother and sometimes Lyall would encourage Richard to speak for himself, that kind of thing. That’s not to say that they didn’t squabble and bicker like other siblings but it was lovely to observe them settling in together with each other for comfort.

Dynamic

When you adopt two children, it brings a fantastic family dynamic.

Our boys look alike, there’s no denying that. But their personalities and interests are completely different, and that presents a remarkable formula for family life.

Lyall, on one hand absolutely lives for football. He’s in the local team, he has football calendars, posters, watches football on telly and plays Fifa like the best of ’em. Richard, on the other hand absolutely loves drinking tea, drawing giraffes and baking. And football, too. They both love to sing and dance, dress up in trendy outfits and have their hair styled. A great mix.

Tom and I are equally different (I mean, sometimes it amazes me that we function as a couple, but opposites attract, as they say) and so the four of us together provide each other with myriad new experiences and activities. There’s never a dull or boring moment.

Twice the cuddles

Forget ‘double trouble’. That was just a catchy headline. Don’t get me wrong, when the boys are in trouble (which is probably at least 50% of the time that they’re awake) they’re usually in trouble together so you only need to get angry once and Tom and I take turns to be the angry one.

Instead, think twice the cuddles. Lyall and Rich are very loving, cuddly and affectionate. In the evenings, while Tom and I are on our sofas watching the One Show or catching up with social media, the boys in their fluffy dressing gowns will each choose one of us to snuggle up with on the sofa. Then, every ten minutes or so they’ll swap to the other sofa for a cuddle with their other dad. It’s adorable and we never want it to end.

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