Family brought together by South West adoption celebrate 10 years together
A FAMILY has paid tribute to an adoption charity as they celebrate 10 years since they were brought together.
Claire and Julian, from Crownhill, adopted their three children, Toyah, 14, Britney, 12, and 11-year old Kane 10 years ago through local adoption charity Families for Children.
Now the family has pledged to raise £10,000 for the charity to celebrate their first decade together.
Claire, a GP, and Julian, a computer consultant, adopted the children in 2003, when they were five, three and two.
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The first Claire and Julian saw of the children was a picture in the charity's own publication, along with descriptions of each of the children.
Claire said: "There was a magazine they use where you can see the children that are up for adoption.
"It's horrible because you want to adopt everyone in it.
"We saw the picture of them and one of the things that first made us look at it was that Toyah looked so much like me when I was little.
"We almost didn't get them, though – they interviewed about 30 couples."
In the magazine Toyah was described as "bright, friendly and patient", Britney as "outgoing and comical" and Kane as "affectionate and smiley".
The couple met the children for the first time on October 2, 2003, after sending them a DVD they had made through Families for Children to introduce themselves and their home. They had also attended courses and classes to prepare them for what lay ahead.
Claire said: "Apparently they played the DVD we sent them over 30 times. It showed them around the house so they knew where they were coming to.
"Families for Children gave us a lot of support initially – to go from nothing to having three children is hard work.
"They have all had their own issues but the charity was there to help us out."
The children moved into the couple's Crownhill home just over two weeks later, on October 19.
"You are prepared in some ways but you don't really think about things when they arrive," Claire added.
"They all slept badly at first so we used to sleep in shifts; it was exhausting.
Claire and Julian give lectures and talks to people about the process of adoption.
Julian said: "We support couples thinking about adoption and we spend time with other families who have adopted through the charity.
"If you're thinking of adopting then you need to be prepared to be exhausted but it's also a lifetime of fun."
The family will be fundraising throughout the year, including a charity ball on Saturday, September 28, at The Palace Hotel, Torquay. For more information on the ball, fundraising or Families for Children go to www.familiesforchildren.org.uk.