Sarah reveals how the adoption of two sibling groups helped turn her family of three into a family of eight!

You tell people you have six children and they look at you aghast! There is never any need to explain that you only actually felt the pain of labour once: they are all our children; some may have blue eyes; some have brown eyes and one has grey/green eyes but hey, they’re all our kids. And maybe the 23-hour labour for Calum was long, but the years of waiting for our other kids was much more painful.

We began the adoption process after discovering I could no longer have children. We had always planned on having a large family. The idea of adoption wasn’t new to us: my sister is adopted; my parents fostered throughout my childhood and I have several adopted cousins. There were people who thought we should have been content because we were truly blessed with a wonderful son. It’s hard to explain that need to have your life filled with children, but the important people understood, so we went ahead and enquired.

Why did we want to adopt? We wanted laughter, tears and fun to fill our days…

And eventually the process brought us our brood of three sisters. Yes, that’s right, three gorgeous girls. Life went on from there; Calum welcomed his sisters to the family with ease. He helped with the baby, played with the two older girls and actually didn’t mind too much about being the only boy. Our support came from family and friends: there is no point pretending it was easy to go from one child to four in a day, because it wasn’t. Life with children who have experienced the trauma our girls had endured is difficult and it doesn’t stop. Amy is 16 now and still has trouble accepting the things that happened to her in her early years.

Eight years passed and we thought things were a little too quiet! The kids were getting bigger and more independent. So we started the adoption process all over again. After a while we were rewarded with two very precious children: a boy and a girl this time. That made six: two boys and four girls. Our family is complete!

It is hard; no one should ever be fooled into thinking it is easy. Adopted children are just that though, children. Our oldest daughter, Amy, told us once that she doesn’t think of herself as adopted; she is ours and that’s it. The problems she has have to be understood in a different context from Calum’s but they are still just teenage problems. She hates us to use her adoption as an excuse for some of the things she does, and we never do; as with the rest of the children many of their difficulties come from their past, but we use this to understand their behaviour, not to condone it. We are a family and that’s all there is to it really. We have the same family problems everyone does. We could have a whole week on Jeremy Kyle with my husband asking who the father is to each of his children: but the truth is they have only one mum and dad who matter to them now, and that’s us. Their past has to be part of their present but it shouldn’t shape it.