Scared! That’s what I was feeling. The thing that kept me going was imagining how scared the girls might have been feeling?
They were living with their cousin, who was in her 30’s and already had children of her own. She actually wanted to keep the eldest of the girls but not the youngest. When she first told me about the youngest she said things to me…’you will see there is something wrong with her when you meet her’, ‘she looks different’, ‘she is really naughty’. Tell you what, if she was trying to ‘sell’ her to me then she was going the whole wrong way about it. I mentioned after meeting the girls to her that I would want them both to stay together, so my husband and I would want them both to live with us. She wasn’t happy about that. I don’t know why she would think it was ok to split them up?
We had 1 meeting with the girls’ social worker. Shortly after that meeting the girls’ cousin decided she could no longer look after the girls and rather than put them in temporary foster care the social worker gave my husband and I the choice to take the girls.
The call was awful, my alarm hadn’t even gone off to get up for work! It was about 7am. My husband had already left for work. She said to me she needed to find an emergency placement for the girls as their current placement had come to an end. She knew my husband and I were thinking about it and at that point weren’t keen on taking the girls as the step mother and birth mother had taken an interest in them but had to be assessed. So we didn’t know whether the girls coming to us would be permanent or not and I don’t know if I could have handled bonding with them and then having them taken off us. The social worker knew we were thinking about adoption and it was basically put across to me that if I said no and didn’t take the girls even if it was only temporary then it would go against us if we decided to adopt with the council in the future. I was gobsmacked and felt like I had been backed into a corner. I told her I would get back to her.
I got in touch with my husband at work and talked about it as much as we could within the few minutes we had…I called back the social worker and said yes to having them in our care. She said she would be in touch but the girls would be placed with us that day! I called in an emergency leave day at work and then it was a mad rush to get the spare room sorted to suit 2 young children! We had a double bed in there but that was it. I needed bedding, pillows, curtains, a light shade, I even bought some posters of children’s tv show characters to make the room look less bare. My husband finished work at 4pm, we had an hour together and the girls arrived just after 5pm!
We were waiting nervously for them. We knew the youngest was very sociable but the oldest was very shy. They came with a carrier bag of clothes and some cuddly teddy bears. I was shocked they had so little really as I know their cousin had been given a grant to buy them clothes, but that’s another story. They had not had their tea so I asked them what they wanted. They didn’t eat a great deal. My husband had to make another dash to the supermarket to get bottles, drink cups, nappies, wipes etc. We didn’t really know what we would need. The youngest hardly touched her food as she was still on bottles of milk, at 3 years old, and in nappies.
It was very surreal. We suddenly had 2 children in our care which we knew very little about. The time flew over and it was soon bed time, the girls had been quite chatty and we tried to find out more about them. My husband and I were exhausted! I had to lie with them holding their hands until they went to sleep. It took around 40 minutes, i do think it helped that they were in the same bed together.
My husband and I were soon tucked up in bed too. The oldest woke up in the middle of the night as she wet the bed. I had not bought spare sheets so they ended up in our bed and hubby ended up on the couch. They woke up at 6am which we were sooooo not used to. We were shattered to say the least. My husband had to go to work too.
I think back to that day and how much they have changed. They quickly settled with us and I am just glad we made the right decision that day, as things could have been a whole lot different….