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Welcome to the family

When Barbara Meakin* fell in love with a widower who had a daughter, she thought she was walking into a fairy tale. Instead, she found herself embarking on the emotional journey of her life

When I met a clever, kind handsome man with a beautiful 11-year-old daughter, it seemed like a dream come true. I was 49 years old and had always wanted children, but that had never happened for me. When he asked me to marry him on my birthday in Venice, it was the happiest day of my life. At our wedding, we included a prayer for children. I was determined to be a mother to J. I wanted to fill that gap in her life.

It had started well. J and I had our first meeting over a litter of puppies at a street party. She loved them. I loved them. She was earning points to get a puppy and I suggested to her father that, as she was obviously going to get the puppy anyway, why not let her have it now? It was the summer holiday and she’d have time to enjoy it… He wisely gave way. J was delighted and associated that happiness with me.

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