Please, give an older child a chance!

Emily explains how finding a forever family was far from easy.

My name is Emily. I am 11 years old. I have a little brother called Kevin. He is seven years old. When I was five I was put into foster care with my brother because my mum could not take care of us properly. We were told what we would be getting a ‘forever family’. I was excited because I wanted someone to call Mum and Dad, but I was also a little scared, but I had to be very brave because my little brother did not really understand what was happening.

Image of black mum with two children
It took a long time for us to find a forever family. This was because I was too old – I was only five! Seemingly most people want babies or toddlers, which meant my brother, who was only 18 months, would find it easy to find a family, but not me! I was worried because I wanted to stay with my brother. It was scary for me to go to a new family but if I didn’t have my brother, it would be a lot worse and I wanted to live with my brother. He was the only family I had left.

We were very lucky because when I was seven, a family decided they wanted to adopt the two of us! I was really happy.

When we first went to live with them it was very hard because I still had lots of memories of my ‘tummy mummy’, and I still loved her even though she didn’t take care of us properly, and I would take it out on my new mum. I would scream a lot and say nasty things. I would throw things and make even the nicest times miserable for everyone! I was really only testing my new parents to see if they really loved me, or if I was really naughty, would they give me back? I loved being with my new family but I couldn’t believe it would really be forever – I had been badly hurt before and I wasn’t able to trust anyone.

My forever family took me to therapy, and this really helped because they explained to me that what happened in the past was not my fault and it was OK for me to love both my mums. I went to therapy for a while and now I feel much better. My brother and I are really happy, and we know our new mum and dad really love us.

I hope that more people will adopt older children because we deserve a chance too! I didn’t do anything wrong and I do deserve a chance to be part of a family. All I needed was someone to love me and be patient with me. The first five years of my life were not very nice but I know that’s all behind me now because I have good parents who will always look after me.

When I become an adult I want to own a big house so that I can adopt all the older children out there who no-one wants and I can show them what it’s like to be loved. My mum always says, everyone deserves to be loved no matter how old they are! I am going to make sure that siblings are not split up because if I did not have my little brother with me I would be really sad and I would always wonder where he was.

My mum said that lots of people will be reading this and they might be thinking of adopting, so I just want to say: “Please think of me and give an older child a chance!” This would make me very happy, and my mum also said: “It was worth it all and she wouldn’t trade me for the world” – see, I am loved!

Emily and Kevin are not their real names.

Have you see the Be My Parent features on siblings?

Originally published in the Be My Parent newspaper in November 2004.

This article is published with the kind permission of the people involved. You may download it for your own reference but if you wish to use it for any other purpose, please contact Be My Parent for authorisation: Be My Parent, BAAF, Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS. Telephone: 020 7421 2666/5/4.

Last updated: 04 December 07

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