A Sunderland couple who completed their family through adoption have spoken of their experiences as they reach out to others considering doing the same.
Andrew and Anne-Marie Calder welcomed two sisters to their Ashbrooke home after they found they could have difficulties having a children of their own.
They are amazing and as good as gold, all our families are smitten with them and we can’t believe we’ve been so lucky.Andrew Calder
Now they have opened up about their own journey as they support to National Adoption Week, which runs from Monday and this year focuses on sibling groups.
Children from the same family often wait for longer than single children to be placed with their forever family.
Andrew, 39, who is self-employed, said: “We’d always liked the idea of adopting and it just seemed a natural thing for us to do.
“Although it was nerve-wracking, we knew from the off we wanted to adopt two siblings.
“We knew siblings often wait longer because many people feel more comfortable adopting one child at a time, but we felt this would make our family whole right away.
“We decided to approach Together for Children, who took us all the way through the adoption process.
“It was really informal and relaxed, with lots of support and training along the way, which really helped prepare us for our new family.”
After starting the adoption process in February 2016, Andrew and Anne-Marie, 34, have now officially been parents to their two girls for almost a year.
Andrew added: “I can’t believe it’s a year since we first adopted the girls.
“They are amazing and as good as gold, all our families are smitten with them and we can’t believe we’ve been so lucky.
“We thought it might take them a while for us all to form a bond, but we all just clicked.
“The second time they met us, before they had even moved in with us, they came running out with their arms open and it’s been a fantastic experience ever since.”
Across the North East almost 68% of the children waiting for adoptive families are brothers and sisters in groups of two or more, and more than half of them aged under four.
Kathryn McCabe, adoption manager at Together for Children, which runs children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “The majority of people adopting for the first time choose to take a single child into their family.
“But it is often in the best interests of the children that a sibling group finds a family together rather than experience further trauma by being separated, this means we often face a challenge finding the right homes for sibling groups.
“There’s no denying that adopting more than one child can come with real challenges but it also has advantages and brings great rewards.”
Together for Children will be hosting an information evening on Wednesday, October 18, at Silksworth Wellness Centre, from 6.30pm.
There will also be an free seminar Prospect 9 on St Peter’s Campus, hosted in partnership by Sunderland University and Together for Children, from 9am to noon on the same day.
Places can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more visit www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/families/adoption.