My IVF ended in 2008 after we decided not to continue with anymore treatments. To be honest i thought once we stopped ‘thinking’ about it, that it would just happen. We did stop thinking about it for while as we had other things to think about….
In 2010 we got a phone call that changed our lives forever. It was early July, a weeknight, my Mam called to say her cousin had been killed. I had never met him, we talked about how it happened, and what a shame and how old he was, he was in his 40’s. She said he had 2 daughters he would be leaving behind, i did think about them, thinking ‘poor things’ but assumed they were older children….
The next week i was talking to my parents again about my Mam’s cousin and it was mentioned that the children he had were both 3 years old, one was almost 4 and once had just turned 3. I couldn’t believe how young they were and immediately said ‘we’ll take them in’. Obviously there was more to it than that, they had a birth mother, but had not seen her since being under a year old. They had a step mother also who due to complicated matters couldn’t care for them, they were staying at their dad’s nieces house but she had children of her own and couldn’t cope.
My husband and I spoke about it and my Mam had already spoken to the girls Great Grandma who had mentioned us as potential long term carers for the girls (she knew we had no children of our own). So from that i got in touch with social services. We had a home visit and we arranged to take the youngest out for the day as she had fetal alcohol syndrome and they wanted us to be sure this is something we could do and wanted to do. That day was the most stressful day of my life, but in no way did it put us off. We wanted the girls.
So the ball was rolling with social services and the girls cousin was keen to get the girls out of her house. Things had to move quickly. We had a further meeting with social services, it was then mentioned that we could potentially be long term carers for the girls, but the birth mother and step mother had taken an interest in caring for the girls. So if we took them in it may not be permanent and we would be classed as family foster carers with no financial help.
This changed everything.This had been mentioned to us on the Thursday – 5th August 2010. Social services contacted us the day after and said she needed our decision asap , otherwise she would have to look for a foster home for the girls if we didn’t take them in and they could be split up. We made a decision that morning. The girls arrived at our house with a bag of teddy bears and a bag of clothes between them at 5.30pm that same day.
It was a quick turn around to make their teas, give them baths, put them to bed. My hubby had to make a quick trip to supermarket. We needed things we hadn’t anticipated. The Youngest, who had tuned 3 a couple of weeks before was still having milk! 9 bottles a day in fact, and still in nappies!
It wasn’t the best of nights, they didn’t come with pj’s, and the oldest one wet the bed, we had to change her in what clothes we had. The next day we hit the shops. They needed everything. When you know something is happening you can plan, a baby for instance, you have so many months after you find out to buy things and prepare. We had a few hours.
I took 2 weeks off work, my husband and I both worked full-time, and as it was foster care and not adoption we were not entitled to any time off other than annual leave. It was hard, I’m not going to lie, they needed constant attention and they were fragile too. The oldest was very quiet and withdrawn and always wanted to act like a baby. The youngest had behavioral problems and had very testing behavior! She was really hard work. She had also seen her father be killed, which at that time she could remember what had happened and some things effected her more than others.
So within a month of being told about these 2 girls, they were living in our house. We had gone from 2 to 4 basically overnight!