It was time for a family conference. A crucially important one that would have, in all fairness, to involve Lowri. She was only nine years old, but even so. This was nineteen eighty-six for heaven’s sake, not the bad old days when children were never consulted. Glyn and Sioned Rees were modern in their outlook, they liked to think. What they were now seriously considering would impact as much on her as themselves. She’d had nine years of being the centre of attention, of being an only child. That might be about to change. So she had every right to an opinion as to whether she wanted to share her parents with a sibling.
But the thing was, it – he or she – wouldn’t, couldn’t now, be a biological one. Glyn and Sioned had always thought they could be content with Lowri. And of course in one sense they were. Absolutely. She was everything you could wish for in a child: happy, bright, funny, enthusiastic, a joy to be around (most of the time anyway). But nevertheless, wouldn’t it be so much nicer, the family be so much more complete, if there were a second child? A brother or sister for Lowri? So long as she wanted to have one, naturally. In the normal way she wouldn’t have been consulted of course, but this was different. This was a conscious choice whether or not to expand the family. It didn’t involve a physical act and the following miraculous evolution, if you were lucky. It involved instead a solemn assurance to the powers-that-be that you would take a child that someone else hadn’t wanted and love and cherish him or her just as much as if she or he were your biological own. It was an enormous commitment and responsibility.
Glyn remembered how it had been after Lowri’s far-from-easy birth (which had had to be a caesarean in the end and for a terrifying twenty minutes had threatened Sioned’s life too); his mixed up emotions; relief at the eventual safe delivery and saving of his wife’s life all swirled up with the joy of the new tiny arrival in his and Sioned’s life. After that experience with its emotional overload, their lives had felt complete. It really didn’t matter that Sioned must never risk pregnancy again. He’d willingly submitted to a (rather painful, to be honest) vasectomy. The past eight years had certainly been happy. They’d moved to Liverpool in search of brighter lights than were to be found in west Wales and he’d done quite well in his job as a surveyor at the estate agents.
And yet . . .
And yet. In recent months Lowri sometimes talked wistfully (or so it seemed) about her little friends having brothers and sisters. And they couldn’t help feeling sometimes that she was just a little deprived. Well, disadvantaged anyway. She was probably just a tiny bit spoiled; had never had to learn about sharing. Inevitably.
And then, a few nights ago, they’d looked at a programme on the telly about adoption; about how there was a dearth of potential adoptive parents and how some poor kids had to spend years in institutional care, which was fine as far as it went (the staff did their best) but could never be as good as life in a normal family. Sioned had gone very quiet, and continued pensive later in bed. Glyn knew her so well, could easily divine what she was thinking. She wasn’t settling to sleep; something was on her mind.
He knew he’d have to make the first move.
‘Penny for them?’
Sioned turned towards him and snuggled close, hand across his chest. ‘Oh; you know. Just thinking about those poor little kids.’
‘Well they looked well taken care of.’
She sighed. ‘Yes I’m sure they were. They looked happy enough. But it’s not the same as being in a proper family is it?’
Glyn gave the shoulder his arm was around a squeeze. ‘No you’re right, Cariad. It isn’t . Every child deserves love.’
Sioned lapsed into silence. Then: ‘Glyn . . .’
‘Yes?’ He could almost have predicted what was coming.
Another silence, and then, cautiously, the words forming reluctantly: ‘What if we did that?’
‘Glyn! You know exactly what!’
‘What; you mean adopt?’
‘Well why not?’
‘Duw Duw Sioned! Hang on!’
‘No but why not, really? Wouldn’t it be nice for Lowri to have a brother or sister?’
‘Well, yes, but . . .’
‘You know she’d like it!’
‘Well no, we don’t actually. She’s never mentioned it.’ Glyn paused. ‘Has she?’
‘Well not actually in so many words.’
‘Then we’d have to ask her opinion. Obviously.’
Glyn could sense her head lifting in the dark to look at him.
‘You mean . . . you’d like the idea? Perhaps?’
Glyn grinned. ‘Well you’ve probably got your way as usual, woman!’
Sioned punched him on the chest, quite hard.
‘Glyn; be serious! You know we’d have to be in total agreement about this. All three of us!’
He rubbed her shoulder reassuringly. ‘Yes, of course we would. Let me think it over. But yes; the idea does appeal, come to think about it.’
‘Okay’, Sioned said (he could feel her relaxing), you have a long think, and so will I, and we’ll talk about it some more, and if we both want to go for it we’ll ask Lowri what she thinks. How’s that?’
‘Yes; sounds good to me. Let’s do that.’
Sioned suddenly felt unaccountably amorous.
So now it was crunch time. They were sitting in the lounge, Glyn in an armchair and Sioned and Lowri together on the sofa. There was nothing particularly interesting on telly so it had gone off. Lowri made to get up, announcing that she was going up to her
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