I was 6 years old when me and my brother were put into care. It was a difficult time. I say that I remember waving goodbye through the back of the car but really I remember turning around, sitting up straight and telling myself to be strong. I was very lucky to have stayed with my brother throughout care and later through our adoption when I was 10 and he was 8 years old.
I remember murmurs of how lucky we were to be adopted together but don't specifically recall any real possibility of us being split up, I think this would have been too traumatic for either of us but that doesn't mean there weren't discussions surrounding the topic.
The earliest period of adoption was definitely easier because he was there, having been through everything together we could tell each other anything and it was important to me that he had settled in. I wouldn't have agreed to the adoption if he wasn't happy. Thankfully we both were.
We both settled in in completely different ways, I was a very quiet individual; constantly trying to blend into the background while he was far angrier than me and so it meant that in order to settle we both had different things to work through; and with the help and support of our adoptive parents, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and more importantly each other, we managed it. Though it was easier being just us two with our adopted parents. I remember the day very clearly; we were in a courtroom surrounded by our social worker, the judge, our parents and many other important people. We both agreed that after spending two years with our parents we felt safety, security and we wanted to be adopted by them. My brother was the happiest I have ever seen him, inviting the judge over for chocolate cake after - and naturally that meant the world to me.
It is well known that I looked to my brother in a similar way a mother might their child but if it wasn't for him I would have had a lot less to fight for. He was and still is my shoulder to cry on and so much more support than I could have received from anyone else. Once we were adopted, things calmed down and began to feel more normal but there is not a day that goes by I don't check up on him.
The greatest thing about my brother is his heart. He is so kind and thoughtful, constantly supporting me no matter what. The hardest thing is that now I have an interest in finding our birth parent and he doesn't. As you can imagine having gone through so much together it makes it difficult that he doesn't want or need the closure I do. That being said, he still asks how it's going and still does everything he can to make me smile.
Now I am 21 years old and we have been adopted for 13 years and I really want to emphasise to those who are in a similar situation that it is so important to cherish every second you get with your sibling. Hopefully you won't be separated but it is possible and no one is a better friend or bigger support than the person who is going through it all by your side.
Finally, for those looking to adopt; remember we are two very similar but also different people who may need different types of support. However, I urge you not to discard siblings or think that it will simply be too much. We are a strong team and I guarantee our love and memories will make you understand just how rewarding it can be with twice the amount of love. We are forever grateful to our parents for sharing their love with us and for giving us our best possible chance in life.
Sophie is a member of the Coram Adoptables, a peer network for adopted young people. Find out more at coram.org.uk/supporting-young-people/adoptables.