Age at interview: 48
Background: French and her husband have three children, aged 13, 10 and 7, who are siblings adopted from India. They live in a large city. French is a teacher and is from an Anglo-Australian background.
French experienced four miscarriages, including one following IVF. She and her husband decided to pursue inter-country adoption, and adopted three siblings. French feels the children have settled into life in Australia well and encourages them to keep their connection with India alive.
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More about French
When French was in her mid-30s, she and her husband decided to start a family. Three months later French was excited to learn that she was pregnant. However, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. French said her 'world collapsed' and she felt very angry. After the miscarriage she described going through an 'obsessive stage', during which she could not relax or stop thinking about getting pregnant again.
French had two more miscarriages over the next two years. She said these experiences made her realise many people are uncomfortable talking openly about miscarriage, or do not know how to respond in a sensitive way. French suggested that education about miscarriage would assist in better supporting those who experience it.
French and her husband then underwent two rounds of IVF, which she described as a 'rollercoaster'. They conceived with IVF, but once again French miscarried. As she was approaching 40, they decided to take a break. Soon after, French and her husband decided to stop IVF and pursue inter-country adoption instead. This was a big decision, but French said it was a 'natural progression' on their journey towards parenthood.
French said the adoption process was very slow, and at times frustrating. However, she said the system was centred on the children's protection. This was important to French as she wanted reassurance that any children she and her husband might adopt genuinely needed a family.
Six years after their initial application, French and her husband were allocated a sibling group of three children from India aged 10, 7 and 4. On hearing this, French said she felt 'completely overwhelmed'. Although friends and family cautioned her and her husband, French said 'it was always going to be a yes'.
French described feeling nervous about meeting her children but said the orphanage had worked hard to prepare the children. She was very impressed with the love and care the children had received at the orphanage and still communicates with the staff. French said the children's acceptance by her family and friends was her 'biggest joy'.
French said she and her husband had decided not to treat their children as if they were 'broken', and to work together as a team. She said that the children have 'slotted in like they've been here forever' and acknowledged that one benefit of siblings being adopted together is that they can support each other. French said she and her husband strive to maintain their family's connection with India, and regularly talk with the children about their mother and father. She hopes they will be able to find the children's birth parents one day.
French said she was fortunate to have had her husband's love and support throughout their experience of becoming parents. Support from family, friends and a 'brilliant' counsellor had also been very important. French feels that people can be 'conned into thinking you've got forever' to have a baby. She advises that people should test early for fertility issues and not leave it too late to start a family.