Husband and wife Chris and Gill adopted a brother and sister who had been living in foster care for 18 months.
Like most people who decide to undergo the process to be approved as adopters, we hadn't really though of adopting more than one child. We had also really only thought of adopting a younger child.
However, as we went through the adoption training and approval process, this changed. The social workers gradually introduced us to the idea that because of our age (around 40 at the time), we would most likely be approved to adopt an older child of two or three years or older, rather a very young one.
When we went through the matching process, we were told about a sibling pair - a brother and sister aged five and three - who had been in foster care for the last 18 months, and who were now looking for their forever family.
This prompted a lot of heart searching. Could we cope with two rather than one? Adoption is both a happy and a stressful time - would we be risking doubling the stress by having two children? How could we cope with changing overnight from a couple to a family of four?
We were given more information about the children and met them, initially quite briefly with the social workers and foster family, and later for longer periods to give us all a chance to get to know each other. We then moved ahead with the adoption process, becoming the very happy family that so many years later we still are.
People seeking to adopt tend to have a mental picture of the age and sex of the child they would prefer, and few of them start out with the idea of adopting a pair of siblings or a larger sibling group. Our experience shows that opening up your ideas to the possibility of older children, and brothers and sisters, can be incredibly fulfilling.
Certainly the thought that our children might have faced the possibility of long-term fostering or worse, of being separated if they hadn't found suitable adoptive parents, makes us realise that keeping an open mind when considering adoption can be incredibly positive for both the children and the parents.
In all the years that have passed, not a minute has gone by when we have regretted our decision. We would urge prospective adopters to consider adopting siblings and older children. We did. It's the best thing we ever did.