Clare gets emotional as she recalls how her then newly adopted son told her that Father Christmas never visits him or his sister.
Toby, then aged four, had been placed with Claire along with his sister Alice, around three months before Christmas.
Clare said: “I well-up with tears whenever I think back to that comment and, of course, Father Christmas barely had time to deliver elsewhere that year with all the presents being delivered to our house!”
Clare is adopted herself, as is her father, so her two children are third-generation adoptees.
“I feel blessed with my two children”, Clare said. "They came from an extremely abusive and neglectful environment and have grown into two teenagers (now aged 16 and 17) who I’m immensely proud of.
“I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. It was my favourite time of year and my adoptive mother’s. I do remember one Christmas when an aunt commented that she could ‘never adopt as you’ve no idea where they’ve come from’. I was aged around 12 at the time and I haven’t spoken to her since.”
One of Clare's memories from Christmas’s past with her children is of Toby asking her mother-in-law if she was adopted.
“When she replied ‘no’ he said ‘oh dear, never mind’. Her face was a picture - having descended from a long Manx line that dates back to the 13th Century,” Clare chuckled.
“I realised Toby must have believed every child has parents who are unable to care for them properly so was feeling sorry for her because she had not yet found a new family – that all took some explaining, not least to mother-in-law!”
Clare describes membership of Adoption UK is a “vital lifeline for adopters”.
She added: “As in much in life, no one ever truly understands unless they have experienced similar.”