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Children Who Stole My Heart

Foster mum Christina has seen many children come and go from her home. But there was just something about these two, Mikey and Dean, that meant that Christina couldn’t let them go anywhere. She adopted them both – and after you’ve read this story, you’ll see why. Mikey and Dean are two very special children who just belonged in Christina’s family, full time. Their story appeared in Woman’s Own, accompanied by gorgeous photos that perfectly illustrated what a lovely family they’ve become.

Christina loved being a foster mum. But there were two very special children who she just couldn’t let leave her family…

“After I’d had four children, I was a single mum and wanted to help other kids who hadn’t had it as lucky as my own. In 2004, I qualified as a foster parent. I had a few children come to me – all with different stories. Some for a week, some for a few months. Then along came Dean. As soon as he was in my arms, I know he was going to be mine forever. There was no way I could have ever let him go. Dean, now nine, arrived with me from hospital. His dad had shaken him to within an inch of his life and they didn’t know if he’d make it. His ears were in the wrong place because he’d been so violently shaken. I didn’t sleep for the first week, I was so scared he would die.

‘He’ll never walk or talk,’ the doctor said.

But I didn’t believe him. I knew Dean would be okay if I could look after him forever.

It took nearly four years but in 2008, I officially adopted Dean. We did intensive physiotherapy and now he can run, let alone walk. And in the last year he’s begun to talk clearly too. He has learning difficulties because of what happened but he’s an incredible child. I’m open with him – I tell him I adopted him because his dad hurt him.

I’ve fostered 27 other kids in my time. You get used to them moving on – you have to move on too. But then came Mikey. I was told I’d be fostering a baby as soon as he was born. When I called up to see when he’d be born they told me he had Down’s Syndrome and asked if I still want him. Of course I did.

Just like with Dean, as soon as I saw Mikey, I knew he was meant to be part of the family, permanently. He was tiny and had bright white hair. Summer, 16, and Shannon, 14, my daughters, fell in love with him too. When I sat them down, with Gary, 29, and Gale, 26, my older kids, and asked them how they felt about me adopting him, they begged me to do it as quickly as I could.

‘He can’t ever leave us, he’s part of the family,’ they said.

As far as my biological kids are concerned, Dean and Mikey are family.

I’ll keep on fostering as long as I can. But sometimes, fostering just has to become adoption because some kids were born to be a part of my family.