1)What led you to make the decision to adopt?
We didn’t have biological children of our own so we were open to considering adoption as a way to complete the family
2) How did you come to decide on adopting siblings?
We wanted to have 2 children. Given we were older at the time we decided to adopt , and the process can take long, we didn’t think it feasible to do it twice over and so we decided to adopt siblings.
3) Do you think the process of adoption would have been any different had you chosen to adopt a single child? If yes, how?
Can’t say much about the process. Possibly the referral would have taken longer to come by. The children also appear to be settling in easier because they have each other.
4) What were the areas that you thought you would have to introspect to make this decision? or What were some considerations that you had to make to adopt older siblings into your family?
For adopting older children we informed ourselves on specific considerations. Once we had a sense that we knew what the first steps of the journey might entail, we felt confident in taking the step. A lot of the prep was making sure that we both were on the same page, and understood what we were looking at.
5) What was your experience in the pre adoption process?
We did a lot of reading, took counseling and attended workshops in the pre adoption phase. The counselling sessions we did with Gayatri were by the far the most solid resource we had in this space.
6)Were there some difficult moments that you experienced during and after the adoption process?
During the HSR and the counselling phase we had mentally prepped that the wait to get a referral could be up to 2 years. Given the category we picked, our first referral came through the very next day after our HSR was approved. In fact we didn’t accept the first referral because it came through “too soon” and this was a tough decision.
When our second referral came through we were ready and accepted the referral right away. However we had to delay bringing the children home because of a wedding in the family. This wait period was tough.
7) How was the homecoming experience?
We had been doing video calls with our children during the waiting period after we accepted the referral. Between this and the preparation that the agency had done, the kids were ready to ‘go home with mom and dad’ when we got there.
8)How did the immediate family and friends respond to your decision?
I think it’s a learning journey for them as much as it is for us. Overall they have been all trying very hard to do their part in making the children feel at home and loved. The kids have also owned the family members as theirs.
9) How’s the experience of being parents in the first few months?
It’s only been a month for us. Overall I’m surprised at how much simpler it is than I had imagined. It feels like we all just fit. Most issues we deal with are what other parents of kids this age deal with, like kids wanting to push boundaries, throwing tantrums when they don’t get what they want. Each day is easier than the day before.
10)Any guidance for couples/ individuals choosing to adopt older siblings?
a) Know what you’re getting into. Older children do have a past and memories of their past. Some may have experienced trauma. Others have had no school education. They may have different diet preferences, may speak a different language and pray to a different God. As long as you’re open to all these possibilities, adopting older children is an option.
b) There are some things you can plan for example, I knew I would take an online class if the kids spoke a different language. So when I accepted the referral, I enrolled in a language class as I planned. Discuss your work schedule and make sure you’re on the same page with your partner about work schedule and splitting time. I had planned to take 6 weeks off work and my husband planned to work from home. See what works for you
c) Be flexible and practice patience. Trust that the rest will work out. Be kind to yourself as you learn to be a new parent. Trust your instincts as you navigate your role. You know what to do as much as anyone else. Don’t hesitate to seek help where you need expert help.
d) Tap into your resources and network. We had identified our paediatrician ahead of time. We reached out to friends who are in the education space. We ask for family help to find a suitable nanny. It does take a village, so reach out to your friends.