'You don't have to be perfect to adopt'
When a group of five brothers and sisters all needed a new home, social workers were sure the family would have to be split up.
That was until Terri-Ann and John from Glen Parva opened their house and their hearts to all the children.
Two years, and plenty of tantrums and giggles later, the family are stronger than ever.
The couple, who already had three children, fostered and then adopted the youngsters, who were all under seven at the time.
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They are backing the Mercury's campaign Changing Children's Lives which hopes to encourage more people to open their homes to vulnerable children, by adopting or fostering them.
"I got a call from the social worker asking me to take the three younger ones," said Terri-Ann, 52.
"The social worker said she was thankful, but she now had to find a place for the older ones. I thought they had been through enough, being separated from their parents, so we offered to foster them all."
After nine months with Terri-Ann and John, social workers decided the children could not return to their birth parents and should be put up for adoption.
After discussing it with their grown up children, the couple decided to adopt the four girls and one boy.
"I was asked which ones should be split up and which ones should be kept together – I could not be a part of that," Terri-Ann added. "They were all so close that we could not bear the thought of them being split up.
"I just could not have the situation where one of them was told they were going to a new mummy and daddy, with the others thinking 'when's my new mummy coming?'
"With them being so young it was a bit of a handful, but really they settled in so well and so quickly, it felt as if they had always been here. You could tell they were happy with us from the moment they walked through the door."
When they adopted the children, now aged four, five, six, eight and nine, Terri-Ann and John were no strangers to opening their home to vulnerable children. The couple adopted their daughter Bronny, now 20, when she was one, and have offered a temporary home to more than 50 children over 25 years.
"It isn't all easy all of the time, but it is all worth it," said Terri-Ann.
"We had one 13-year-old boy many years ago and he was really tough.
"He screamed and shouted and defied us when he could. But then we saw him again a while ago aged 20, and he came up to us and said sorry for everything he said and did and thanked us.
"Moments like that make it all worth while. You don't have to be the perfect parent to foster or adopt – what parent is perfect? All you just have to remember is that every child has love to give, and deserves to be loved in return."
For information about adoption or fostering call Leicester City Council Fostering and Adoption Centre on 0116 299 5800 or visit: