On World Adoption Day, Chrissi Pegg shares the story of how she and her husband came to adopt their two daughters
My husband, Dave and I never explored our fertility. We know that’s unusual but adoption was always our first choice. People had been asking us for years when we were going to have children, but we were still viewed as young adopters when we started the process at the ages of 32 and 35! We felt God calling us very clearly to adoption over the course of a few years. He broke our hearts for those children who needed a loving family.
The numbers are still heartbreaking and haven’t changed much in the last ten years. Currently, a child enters the care system every 15 minutes in the UK. It is estimated that 8,600 new foster carers need to be recruited in the next year to meet the needs of children in care. There are 3,000 children waiting to be adopted and approximately half of them are siblings – 27 per cent of these children have been waiting 18 months or more to be adopted.
Our adoption journey
The assessment of adoption was long and arduous when we did it; it’s changed a lot now and things move a lot faster. In spite of that, we knew it was going to be totally worth it. We had already decided that we wanted to adopt siblings. Siblings, BAME children and those with disabilities and additional needs wait the longest to be adopted and many of them end up in long-term foster care. Foster carers do an awesome job but the permanence provided by adoption is so important to children who have had a traumatic start. For us as Christians, it also reflects the relationship we have with our Father God. Paul tells the Romans, Galatians and Ephesians that we have been adopted into sonship alongside Jesus. We wanted our children to experience our miniature version of that love.
Our girls came home eight years ago. Our placement was a little unusual as they were in separate foster placements. Our younger daughter, Hannah, was born very early (at 29 weeks) and so she needed a foster carer with experience of caring for premature babies. Our older daughter’s carer wasn’t in a position to do that, so a new one was found for Hannah. When our girls came home, although they are siblings they’d never lived together before. But our home was ready for two little excited girls who were looking forward to being sisters together.
That year, 2013, was a great year for sisters as Disney released Frozen, the story of two sisters and how their love for each other saves their town as well as one other. Our cute girls immediately latched on to the idea of sister-love portrayed – we had to watch the film many, many times! Our prayers for our girls to bond as sisters were being answered every day and it is so obvious to all who see them that they have a great love for each other. Of course, they have their fallings out like all siblings, but God has blessed them with a strong love and they would do anything for each other.
We were so blessed to have an incredibly supportive church around us as we went through the whole process. There were some days when we could not have got through without them, as we live so far from our families. It was the small things (checking we had a space in church to sit, always saying hello to our girls) and the big things (bringing meals for a week after Dave returned to work) that helped us out. Practical things like giving us a cot, pushchair and clothes made such a huge difference. And knowing that people were and still are praying for us has been such an encouragement. Having such a massive support network was a seen as a real asset by our social worker too.
Could you adopt – or support someone else who is?
If you are interested in fostering and adoption, then the Home for Good website is a great place to start. There are lots of resources there for helping people to think about adoption from a Christian perspective, as well as for churches who want to know how they can support families going through the adoption process and after children have been placed.
For information about the adoption process itself, take a look at the You Can Adopt website. There’s lots of information on there about how the process works and you will be able to find your local adoption agency too.