Brothers James and Mack were taken into care when James was aged 5 and Mack was 18 months old. Their birth father had a police record of 44 counts of domestic abuse and their birth mother was an alcoholic who regularly self-harmed whilst the children were with her. They suffered severe neglect and Mack was covered in eczema due to stress, which has now completely gone. The boys were in foster care for about two years before being adopted. Their adoptive parents were their last hope of staying together because Jamie was 7 when he was adopted – beyond the age at which most children are adopted. Social workers were considering splitting them up to give Mack a better chance of being adopted. Jamie would have stayed in care for the rest of his childhood.

The boys were both scared and excited when they met their adoptive mum and dad for the first time and felt sad that they were leaving their foster parents.

James said: “It wasn’t scary for me as I was looking forward to having a mum and dad again. But when we met our adoptive parents for the first time it was scary as they were just random strangers to us, so it was really awkward. It was scary not knowing what mum and dad were going to be like, or knowing anything about them.”

Mack said: “When we were first told that we were going to be adopted it was scary for me. I also found it scary meeting mum and dad for the first time.

“It was also kind of sad as we knew we’d not get to see our foster parents again. We went from living with them one day to hardly ever seeing them during the first few months.”

James agreed: “When our social worker told us we were going to live with our adoptive parents forever we thought we’d never see our foster parents ever again which was sad as we’d become close to them. We didn’t see much of our foster parents for the first couple of months after moving in with mum and dad – other than an awkward ‘hello’ if we accidently bumped into them in the street or in a supermarket - but now they’re part of our lives again and we regularly see them, which is great.”

James continued: “It’s not always easy to explain all of this to friends at school. I tell them a little bit of my background but not all of it because I don’t want people to know all of the details because some people might think it’s not cool and I worry that some of the details might make them feel uncomfortable.

“I also don’t want people talking about my personal life. It’s scary because you know you’ve got a secret that they don’t know about,” James added.

Can you help children like James by making a donation to Adoption UK?

Donate now

Alternatively, text the word Heal to 70490 to donate £3. You will be charged £3 plus the cost of a standard rate message.